There were a lot of movies released in 2022. Some knocked it out the park; others made you angry about the time you’ll never get back. Horror is my favorite genre, but other films made their way into my favorite films of 2022. After adjusting the order a little, here is my top ten best films of 2022! Keep in mind, this is my list of faves based on what I saw.
10. Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul
This mockumentary-style film blends comedy and drama to tackle religion’s capitalistic, predatory, and comical dynamics. Written and directed by Adamma Ebo, the movie stars Sterling K. Brown as a pastor, Lee-Curtis Childs, who, combined with his supportive wife, Trinity Childs (Regina Hall), have a filmmaker document their return to the pulpit after a huge scandal. Regina Hall does not get enough credit for her acting skills. She is phenomenal in comedies, but she also navigates heavier stories. Sterling K. Brown is also wonderful in his role as a predatory pastor. Leaving you laughing, uncomfortable, or shaking your head in agreement, watch this one on Peacock.
I said in my review that RRR belongs on a “best of” list, and here it is because the film is that good. One of the few films with a lengthy runtime that does not drag and leave you checking your watch. A fictional story about two revolutionaries during British colonialism, the movie mixes a few genres; romance, action, comedy, drama, and musical. Your mouth will drop at the fight sequences and laugh heartily at the comedy. With a beautiful bromance at the heart of the film brought to life by the stellar performances of N.T. Rama Rao Jr. and Ram Charan Teja, check number 9 out on Netflix.
8. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Thanks to the stunning visuals, music, and opening that allow a collective grieving over the loss of Chadwick Boseman, including Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is essential. So much of the film speaks to our pain and exhaustion with white supremacy but gives hope for something better. Letitia Wright and Angela Bassett shine in this sequel, one encompassing the raging river of grief, the other heartbreak and regality. And seeing Winston Duke again is always a joy alongside newcomer to the franchise, Tenoch Huerta; the film talks about loss, unity, and who our enemies are. Ryan Coogler did that.
Sissy mixes horror with the bright colors and music of social media. Using social media for validation can be a lifeline for some, and old pain from childhood bullying does not go away easily. Cecilia (Aisha Dee), known as Sissy when she was a child, runs into her childhood best friend, Emma (Hannah Barlow). Despite not seeing each other for a decade, Emma invites Cecilia to her bachelorette get-together but does not disclose another person they know from childhood is in attendance. A slow spiral of accidents, comedy and colorful mayhem follows. I can watch again and again for the score alone. Watch this one on Shudder.
6. Everything Everywhere All At Once
I am sure you heard of this one. Almost everyone will have this on a top ten list. From the story to the action to the multidimensional, multiverse, parallel universe, whatever the hell you call it, the movie is a mindblowing, hilarious tale with family at its center. The entire cast does a fantastic job handling the various characters, and I am not saying anything else because it is one of those films you just have to experience. Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, and Jamie Lee Curtis deliver in this movie written and directed by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. It is easy to see why this movie is a frontrunner for award nominations.
5. Banshees Of Inisherin
Bromance tales are always adorable. But Banshees Of Inisherin is about the end of a one. The inconsequential reasoning creates significant ripple effects of drama. We have all had friendships end over something small and insignificant. This is an extreme look at what happens when one person wants the friendship to end, and the other does not. It is the bromance version of The War of The Roses, so expect a lot of surprises and jaw-dropping moments. Written and directed by Martin McDonagh, Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson bring the pair to life in their best dual performances. Uncomfortable, funny, and a tad disturbing, watch for laughs and gritted teeth.
4. The Menu
While all the movies listed are rewatchable, The Menu, directed by Mark Mylod and written by Seth Reiss and Will Tracy, brings something new with each watch. Dark comedies cuddle alongside horror, and this film has a lot to unpack. A humorous look at capitalism, classism, validation, art, consumption of art, white patriarchy, sexism, and critics, The Menu has it all. When these select few disgustingly rich guests head to an island for a meal by renowned chef Julian Slowick (Ralph Fiennes), they get a lot more than they expected. With outsider to the group Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy), the only one sensible enough to see something is amiss but stuck, all the same, The Menu presents a wittily crafted story to enjoy and dissect.
Emergency looks like a comedy, and, for the most part, it is. Yet, throughout the film, there is a creeping discomfort and fear rooted in real life that comes with living in a white supremacist society. When two Black men, Kunle (Donald Elise Watkins) and Sean (RJ Cyler), find a white girl unconscious in their living room, they decide to find the party she attended and drop her off there. You understand the reasoning, but your dread underlies every laugh, and the situation becomes increasingly volatile with one mishap after another. Director Carey Williams and writer K. D. Dávila capture how the danger, trauma, and fear of being Black in a white society through a comedic joyride tale. Watch this one on Prime Video.
2. The Woman King
The women in The Woman King give a knockout performance. Viola Davis leads the charge both in performance and as General Nanisca, the militaristic might of the Dahomey kingdom. With the next group of recruits in training, they must prepare to battle against other forces, including encroaching white colonialism. The fight sequences are exceptional; everyone trained and brought their A-game. John Boyega as the young king, King Ghezo, trying to find the best choice for their kingdom is a superb casting choice. But the shining stars are the ladies, including Lashana Lynch as Izogie and Thusu Mbedu as Nawi. This movie deserves more praise and eyeballs because director Gina Prince-Bythewood delivers cinema-making at its finest.
Just for the color scheme alone, Nanny, written and directed by Nikyatu Jusu, is memorable. Those cool, blue colors are as much a part of the story as Mami Wata and Anansi the spider. The movie weaves traditional African spirits with the submersive effect of navigating a new country. One steeped in white supremacy that presents challenges to a dark-skinned Black woman. When Aisha (Anna Diop) moves to New York from Senegal, she works as a nanny for a white family. Saving to bring her son to the U.S., the situation shifts as her dreams and reality become harder to separate. The acting between the cast captures that discomfort and faux allyship that exists in white spaces, especially with added power imbalances. Hands down, my favorite film of 2022, Nikyatu Jusu, makes every moment, every scene, have purpose. This one is available to enjoy on Prime Video.