Well, 2022 is coming to a close and we’re about to usher in a new year. I have no doubt 2023 will be a big year for movies but it will especially big for The Obsessive Viewer since this little corner of the internet will be turning 10 years old in February (with the podcast turning 10 in June). So before I send off 2022 with a bunch of words about stuff I watched and enjoyed, I want to take this moment to thank anyone and everyone reading this for taking the time to read what I write and/or listen to what I record. It’s much appreciated and I’m looking forward to doing this through 2023 and beyond.

Nearly three years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is still definitely on fire and it’s hard not to still feel cynical about things. But one upside to the various points of stress we may or may not be subjected to at any given time is the continued magic and power of movies. In my opinion, 2022 had a lot of great art to offer and of course, Tiny, Mike, and I will be doing a full Year in Review podcast episode in a few weeks. In the meantime, it’s my pleasure to present to you my personal ranked top ten films of 2022 here.

But before I get to the top ten, I have five honorable mentions to share. These are five films (presented in alphabetical order) that were in fierce contention for my top ten this year.

Bad AxeDir. David Siev

David Siev’s “fly on the wall” documentation of his family’s experience and struggles running a restaurant in rural Michigan throughout 2020 is a wonderful time capsule and stark reminder of one of the most bizarre times in recent memory. Coming from the perspective of an Asian-American family, this documentary also serves as a chronicle of one of the more contentious political eras of life in the United States. Seeing the family navigate backlash they receive from their standing up against racism (as well as customers’ pandemic anti-mask obstinance) shows us deeper cracks in the foundations of our society.

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The Banshees of InisherinDir. Martin McDonagh

The Banshees of Inisherin is an excellently told story about the abrupt end of a friendship against the backdrop of the Irish Civil War occurring on the mainland. The conflict between the two characters at Banshees‘ center is silly on the surface before diving into the more extreme levels of absurdity. Yet, McDonagh doesn’t present the film in an absurdist light. The drama plays out straight and becomes gruesome and heartbreaking as characters find themselves pushed to more and more extremes. It’s delicate and complex with two powerhouse performances from Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson driving it.

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The BatmanDir. Matt Reeves

Matt Reeves’ take on the caped crusader had just about everything I would have wanted from a post-Nolanverse gritty Batman. For years I have wanted a serial killer Riddler story on the big screen and though Reeves does push the Fincher homages pretty far, this film still delivered for me. Robert Pattinson’s angsty brooding as Bruce and embraced loner persona worked very well for me and makes me eager to see him grow in future films. The inexperience and fatigue from two years of vigilantism helped make this iteration of Gotham and its various players come alive.

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The FabelmansDir. Steven Spielberg

Spielberg’s excellent semi-autobiographic story wisely avoids the self-indulgent pitfalls other filmmakers have fallen into in recent years as they’ve made their own nostalgia pieces. The Fabelmans emphasizes Sammy’s love of film first through his discovery of the art, then onto film as a means to show him the world around him, before resting on how he learns to use film to understand the world. It’s more than a love letter to filmmaking, it’s an intimate portrait of a character learning a medium before he masters it.

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ResurrectionDir. Andrew Semans

Anchored by two jaw-dropping performances from Rebecca Hall and Tim Roth, Andrew Semans’ Resurrection is a haunting exploration of control through trauma and manipulation that leads to an ending so unnerving and strange, it will stick in your mind long after seeing it.

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#10 – The WhaleDir. Darren Aronofsky

Brendan Fraser is magnificent as Charlie in The Whale. Every nuanced movement, labored breath, and pain (both physical and mental) of the character commands every moment of screen time Charlie has. And Fraser gives one of the best performances of the year as he clearly gives it his all.

The Whale isn’t just a performance movie, however. The intricacies of the sound design and the way Aronofsky finds odd corners and spaces within a confined apartment space to tell the story is awe-inspiring. The finished product is a gloriously heartbreaking look at a man slowly killing himself with grief and food but finding the resolve to try to make amends and leave his physical prison with the comfort that he’s done something right.

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#9 – TÀRDir. Todd Field

Another absolutely stunning performance this year came from Cate Blanchett in Todd Field’s TÁR. Her turn as Lydia Tár (an embattled classical music conductor and composer) is worthy of all the accolades coming to her. With an incisive script and masterful direction by Field, TÁR is engrossing from the jump and never lets up as its character is put through the wringer.

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#8 – Glass Onion: A Knives Out MysteryDir. Rian Johnson

It’s rare for a sequel to match its predecessor. So when Glass Onion gets incredibly close to matching the fun energy and mystery of Knives Out, it’s something to be commended. Rian Johnson and Daniel Craig have struck gold with the Benoit Blanc franchise and I truly hope they never stop making them.

While Knives Out‘s ensemble felt like the family reunion from Hell, Glass Onion sets its sights on friendship and plays out like a class reunion from Hell. Bigger and more intricate than Knives Out with just as fun an ensemble, Glass Onion is a murder mystery that will prove to be just as rewatchable and entertaining as Knives Out.

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#7 – Decision to LeaveDir. Park Chan-wook

Park Chan-wook’s enchanting neo-noir love story benefits from incredible cinematography, editing, and an intimacy between its two leads that drives the film to one of the year’s most memorable finales. The fleeting nature of human connection and attraction is explored incredibly well and leaves a ton to chew on.

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#6 – AftersunDir. Charlotte Wells

Charlotte Wells’ Aftersun is a quietly devastating coming of age drama from the perspective of a young girl on vacation with her father. The film showcases the father’s hidden mental health issues and insecurities through the prism of his daughter’s experiences at the resort they’re staying in. The quiet moments of the father wrestling with his mental health are harrowing and brought into focus by the adult Sophie’s reflections of the vacation late in the film. It’s a beautiful, poignant, and painful drama.

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#5 – Everything Everywhere All At OnceDir. Dan Kwan & Daniel Scheinert (The Daniels)

One of the most acclaimed films of 2022, Everything Everywhere All At Once is a wily genre piece celebrating love, family, connection, and hot dog fingers. The set pieces are thrilling and oftentimes hilarious and the emotional resonance in the film’s climax hits home in such a distinctive manner. It’s one of the most entertaining and original experiences at the movies this year. Wonderful.

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#4 – ScreamDir. Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett (Radio Silence)

By far the film I’ve seen the most times in 2022, Scream (aka Scream ’22 and 5cream) is an incredible ode to Wes Craven’s legacy and a loving requel to the franchise. Introducing a new cast of knife bait alongside legacy characters and a Ghostface that’s more grisly and gruesome than ever before, Scream is an absolute blast. It brings the wit and fun of the original film into a new era.

While the motive of Ghostface in this installment is admittedly different and polarizing to some, it worked like gangbusters for me. In addition to getting everything else right in my opinion, Radio Silence wisely makes the franchise within the franchise (Stab) about fandom and influence. It’s no longer a franchise chronicling Woodsboro horror and Sidney Prescott. It’s a lifeform unto itself with its own cultural footprint in the Scream universe. This allows the Stab franchise to transcend mere meta commentary and become its own blank canvas for media satirizing. 

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#3 – After YangDir. Kogonada

Kogonada’s After Yang is a truly remarkable science fiction film about life, grief, and family. Colin Farrell (who had an incredible year) gives a beautifully measured performance as a man trying to get his family android/surrogate son repaired and, in the process, learning much more than he expected about Yang and life itself. This is a stunning film that does what the best science fiction does in reflecting humanities strengths and follies to the audience; leaving us with a lot to consider and think about.

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#2 – RRRDir. S. S. Rajamouli

The majority of RRR is set piece after set piece of absolutely wild, out of this world action filmmaking and choreography. This is the quickest three hour movie in recent memory and, at the end of it, you’ll want even more. It’s also a wonderful story of friendship amidst all the off the wall, insane action. RRR is a truly unique and magical experience in a field of spectacular films that came out this year.

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#1 – Marcel the Shell with Shoes OnDir. Dean Fleischer-Camp

The feature adaptation of the endlessly charming mollusk voiced by Jenny Slate on YouTube is the best movie I saw in all of 2022. The feature expands the world of Marcel the Shell to tell a heartwarming (and heartbreaking) story of loss and the power of family and community. Adding more emotion to the narrative is the subtly told story of Dean, the documentarian who is chronicling Marcel’s journey.

This is a movie that knows how to cut to the core of its audience and, if you allow it, leaves you with a profound sense of wonder and happiness. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is a movie that’s filled with warmth, comedy, and centered on one of 2022’s best characters.

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 The Conversation (1974) – Dir. Francis Ford Coppola

This was both my first time seeing The Conversation and my first time seeing a movie at The Kan-Kan Theater. As an added bonus, I was the only one in the theater, which made it all feel a little more special. The Kan-Kan is a beautiful theater with great community involvement and spectacular programming. Coppola’s The Conversation was a spectacular experience as well.

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Psycho (1960) – Dir. Alfred Hitchcock

I’ve seen Psycho countless times and always try to catch it in the theater when it plays. This screening was especially nice as I had recently moved to the northside of town and now live very close to Keystone Art theater. The theater does monthly “Retro Replay” screenings and will continue to be a place I visit repeatedly.

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Scream (1996) – Dir. Wes Craven

Scream (1996) is the movie that made me the movie fan I am today. 2022 saw an amazing revival for Ghostface with Radio Silence’s take on the franchise. I first saw Scream as a kid when my parents rented it on VHS in the 90s. It’s been 25 years and I had never seen the movie in a theater. Until now.

Getting to see it on the big screen is special enough, but getting to see it at The Historic Artcraft Theatre in Franklin, Indiana was the icing on the cake. The theater, it’s general ambiance, and the town of Franklin itself all contribute to the Artcraft being one of the best places to see a movie. My girlfriend Jess and I made a day of it and had an amazing time.

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The Shining (1980) – Dir. Stanley Kubrick

Any chance to see Kubrick’s horror masterpiece in a theater is an opportunity I will try my best to seize. I was glad to get to see The Shining at Keystone Art as part of their “Retro Replay” series. Next month Keystone Art is doing a Kubrick retrospective for their replay series and I’m really looking forward to hopefully catching a couple of them.

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Seven Samurai (1954) – Dir. Akira Kurosawa

In 2019, I was able to see Seven Samurai (my all-time favorite movie) at the Artcraft Theatre. I assumed it would be a while until I had the opportunity to see it in a theater again. If ever. Sure enough, the Kan-Kan delivered a wonderful screening experience and thankfully had the forethought to schedule a full half hour for the intermission.

They also hosted a Japanese whiskey tasting event as part of the experience. While I didn’t participate in that event (tickets sold out quickly), it is exciting to see a local theater programming such unique events around some of cinema’s greatest titles.

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So there you have it. My 2022 in movies! This was a great year for movies and I’m looking forward to breaking it down even further when Tiny, Mike, and I record our Year in Review episode of The Obsessive Viewer podcast. That will be up sometime in January.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a sampling of episodes we at Obsessive Viewer Podcasts released this year. I produced and hosted a total of 59 podcast episodes spread across my three shows throughout 2022. I couldn’t be more proud of the work I and my friends put in this year and am eager to go into 2023 and celebrate this website and podcast’s tenth anniversary.

Thank you so much for reading, listening, and supporting what I do here. It means the world to me and I hope your 2023 is amazing! Happy New Year!

Standout Episodes of Obsessive Viewer Podcasts in 2022

Patreon Episodes
Obsessive Viewer
Anthology
Tower Junkies

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