Reely Bernie’s Top Ten of 2022

This was my favorite stretch of movies since the dire reality of March of 2020. Laughing at the face of COVID with new, audacious filmmaking playbooks and neo-classical perspectives, 2022 cracked the medium wide open.

This was also a tougher year for me to choose just ten. I realize many will have Everything Everywhere All at Once on their list, but its make-up-the-rules-as-you-go randomness grew tiresome for me. I enjoyed Robert Eggers’s The Northman, but its testosterone-saturated brutalism wore thin months after its release.

The most pristinely executed setup for brooding tension was in the first half of Alex Garland’s Men.

The most disappointing movie was found in the second half of Alex Garland’s Men.

I found the bottom of the barrel in Home Team.

I giggled at Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, but I laughed the most at Jackass Forever (guilty pleasure).

Because Top Ten lists are so subjective, personal, and inconsistent, they are a blast to create. Some movies mentioned below are “great,” my “favorite,” or actual, genuine “groundbreakers.” Ranking them in order is frivolous fun and a good conversation starter. And, that’s the ultimate reason we see movies: we love to talk about them!

Let me know what you think and feel free to share your Top Ten of 2022!

10. The Batman, Directed by Matt Reeves

It takes a lot for an MCU/DC Comics superhero “theme park” movie to stand out among the canon of titles, but The Batman did for me. In all its grungy, Seven-esque glory, this one places revived noir over caped schtick and CGI overkill. Paul Dano’s Riddler is twistedly fun to root against, and the gumshoe suspense overrides the action. Say what you want to say about goth Robert Pattinson, but this Batman still has wings.

9. Three Thousand Years of Longing, Directed by George Miller

It is a good problem that the storyteller is just as awestriking and engaging as the director’s vision, especially when that director is George Miller. Such is the case with Idris Elba, playing a djinn who falls in love with zealous women for 3,000 years and narrates his tale in an Istanbul hotel (in a bathrobe, no less). Only the cunning Tilda Swinton can outlast his shrewd wit in this visual feast of mystical worlds and stellar performances. Elba is so good, he should act out a sequel at home via videocast.

8. Moonage Daydream, Directed by Brett Morgen

Moonage Daydream is more a lightshow experience than an information spew, and Ziggy Stardust probably would have wanted it that way. Part life resuscitation piece for diehards and part mystery bait for appreciative bystanders, it is impossible to keep the jaw from dropping at this audiovisual celebration of a music legend.

As we all know, David Bowie is a complex package of awe and hearsay. The details have always been and will always be vague, and Morgen’s doc places another veil over the rockstar to keep the secrets more secret. I think Ziggy would have wanted it that way too.

7. Watcher, Directed by Chloe Okuno

It is rare for a thriller/horror to surprise me at every corner, providing explanations that actually make sense without going over the top or showing the cards too soon. Instead of going loud with jump scares and an abrasive film score, Director Chloe Okuno favors subtlety and minimalistic approaches to instill an anxiety only the camera knows best.

There’s more to the story than voyeurism, paranoia, and fear. There’s an undercurrent of denial, and that can be more frightening.

6. The Fabelmans, Directed by Steven Spielberg

The Fabelmans is not just the reason we go to the movies, but the reason we seek a world comfortably close to our own.

Along with being a visual mastermind, Steven Spielberg is a kindler of empathy. This is a poignant movie about movies, yes, but none of these would exist without dysfunctional mothers and fathers, annoying sisters, and a crazy uncle. Michelle Williams as Steven’s mother carries a burden too big for her adolescent son to understand but too great an opportunity for reconciliation to ignore. Their last hug in the kitchen stays with you.

5. Aftersun, Directed by Charlotte Wells

Aftersun is the indie gem of the year and one to experience without knowing anything in advance. More a fragmented memory vignette than a movie, we observe from a distance a special moment shared between father and 11-year-old daughter. It is a sensational endeavor, demanding patience with ambiguity and knowing there will never be easy answers. The performances of Paul Mescal and Frankie Corio are natural and unfeigned without ever selling out to a Hollywoodized message. This is the kind of cinematic poem that embraces the present moment and reminds us why it is so important to do the same.

4. Top Gun: Maverick, Directed by Joseph Kosinski

Top Gun: Maverick checks all the necessary boxes for summer blockbuster movie fandom and soars above the typical cinematic “retread” label. Respectfully paying homage to its predecessor while capturing the daunting possibilities of g-force in today’s aircraft, Maverick is probably the most “watch-and-repeat” movie of the year. The trip down memory lane even draws a few tough guy tears amidst the action, and Val Kilmer’s inclusion is remarkable. For me, Maverick is a good reminder of why we have sequels in the first place.

3. The Banshees of Inisherin, Directed by Martin McDonagh

Here’s a tragicomedy about two buds who bond over pints until one decides he wants to bond no more. Because these God-fearing men hold firm a stubborn predilection only the Irish know best, the explanation behind their breakup is superfluous. What matters most are the awkward chuckles and cringes between pub crawls and the severed digits that might hit your head (you have to see it to understand). This is a Martin McDonagh masterpiece for those who prefer cutting dialogue, anti-romanticism, and guilty pleasure laughs during these touchy times.

2. Decision to Leave, Directed by Park Chan-Wook

Astonishingly, Director Park Chan-Wook has created today’s Chinatown. Or, is it more a neo-Vertigo? Either way, the classical film noir is now a disjointed narrative that intertwines characters’ over-voiced reflections with flash-cut action to a convolution where the erotic confession is more alluring than the murder mystery. This is an entirely new cinematic language that replaces exposition with a cerebral edema. Think of this as a highly caffeinated Terrence Malick taking on a whodunit without worrying about who did it — just what they’re thinking.

1. Tár, Directed by Todd Field

Tár is an empowerhouse of a movie, empowering its female phoenix protagonist in a chauvinistic classical music industry and empowering Cate Blanchet to wear the wings of fire. The burning question is: Who is to blame for the demise of the scholarly music world? The great male composers who broke ground with their genius and powdered-wig privilege? The archaic conductors who interpret their cause with an entitled baton? Or, is it the social media, cancelling any imperfect musician with a thumb to a phone?

Regardless, the music always wins out, and Blanchet deserves to win the Oscar for personifying the consequences of woke as a fictional female spearhead in an all-too-real world.

Thank you for reading and be sure to share YOUR favorites of 2022!

Merry Christmas,

Reely Bernie

23 thoughts on “Reely Bernie’s Top Ten of 2022

Add yours

  1. Totally agree with you on Banshees and Aftersun – the latter of which has stuck with me like few other films this year, just a beautiful piece of film-making. Top Gun: Maverick has left a goofy grin on my face every time. I’m seeing Tar and Decision to Leave later this week, and trying not to let my expectations spoil them! (The Fabelmans isn’t out yet here in the UK – but will see that later this month!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Overall, I thought it was a good year for movies, especially since the postponements and chaos of COVID 2020. All of these gems in my list were unique and differentiated themselves quite well. Tar and Decision to Leave were more polarizing that I thought, but that’s what makes a good movie conversation at least. The Fabelmans is simply a much needed hug 🙂

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  2. I have saved this list!! I am especially looking forward to “Watcher.” I have been in the mood for a good Thriller! I finally graduated University, so now I have evenings free to catch up on movie watching!! I always enjoy your reviews. Thank you for sharing them!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Congratulations! What an honor and opportunity for you! And, yes, now you can enjoy earned free time at the movies or at home! The Watcher is a good one for a bad weather day 🙂 Enjoy! Thank you for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a terrific list. I really want to watch Tar now. It sounds like a movie I’ll love. I also want to watch The Whale. They say Brendan Fraser’s acting in that movie is Oscar worthy. The trailers are really emotional. Have you watched it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice to meet you and thank you for reading. Yes, Tar is a fierce experience. I wanted to get my list out before Christmas and took a risk by not viewing The Whale. I will definitely still see it, and if Fraser’s performance is as powerful as advertised, I’ll modify my list 😉 Merry Christmas!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We’ve already met before. I used to comment on your posts when I wrote on my old blog using my real name. That blog stopped working and so, I’m using this private one. Thanks for accepting my invite to view this one. I watched the trailer for Tar. It seems intense. Just the kind of movie I like. The Whale might be too much for me to handle, but I’ll probably watch it anyway! Merry Christmas to you too!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. What’s embarrassing is my obsession with movies, Max. However, I am grateful for my wife for giving me two hours every week to leave the newborn and toddler for much needed movie therapy. It helps recharge me, and I love writing about them afterwards. It was a great year.

      I look forward to Christmas break so I can catch up with my blog community. I hope you and your fam are healthy these days. So much yuck out there still – COVID, strep, flu, etc.

      And, yes, do check out one of these movies! I think you’d like Watcher, Banshees, and Top Gun!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dude I love movies as well…I keep looking for movies I’ve missed liked in the early seventies…that style I just love.
        We had covid but it was a mild case…so we were lucky.

        I will…Bailey is going to make sure I watch a lot of these.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Bailey is the bomb. You mentioned going back to the movies of 70s and that style. Have you seen Don’t Go in the House (1979)? Someone recommended it to me. I figured you have seen it.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. No I haven’t seen that…see this is what I need… “A disturbed young man who was burned as a child by his sadistic mother stalks women with a flamethrower.”

            Oh hell yea…I’m there! I may have asked you this before…have you seen “Bring me the head of Alfredo Garcia?”

            Liked by 1 person

  4. I am happy we got the films we did this year, but here’s hoping a more normal release schedule is realized in 2023 where we have a bunch of new product to chose from. Nice to see some love for Top Gun here. One of my top 2022 favorites for sure!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting. I’m definitely a drama category fanatic, but Top Gun was a blast! Yes, releases have become more widespread, and the quick streaming options are convenient (even though nothing will beat a theatre viewing experience). Happy almost Christmas to you and your fam!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Still need to see that one! It’s streaming now. Also, EEAaO disconnecting halfway for me too. It needed a pause, a reflection, or a moment to breathe, but it kept adding nonsense on to nonsense.

      Like

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