Gather ‘round children and hear the tale of days gone by. Let me take you back to a magical time. ‘Twas a time of serious filmmakers allowed to do the films they wanted. A time when studios would spend money to promote films that didn’t always have big stars or explosions. This was a time when there were next to no comic book films and audiences showed up to see films with adult themes. Keep these memories in your head children, for the time of serious films by true artists are almost gone. But there is still the occasional hope…
Cinematically speaking, 2022 was a hard road to travel. As the 2020’s carries on, modern films become increasingly pedestrian, catering to no one over the age of 30.
As studios fail to back serious, adult-themed works, some of our finest filmmakers see their films ignored by a moviegoing public that has been served nothing but “amusement park ride” drivel for so long, it is all they will pay to see. (Make no mistake, some filmmakers can make gold out of big budget tent pole films, and you will find a positive example of this type of film in my top 10).
While the last few years in the world of film have been the absolute worst in my 53 years on this planet, there are certainly good ones made. On occasion we are lucky to find one or two of that oh-so-rare diamond in the rough of modern filmmaking, a truly great motion picture.
As the years continue, it is becoming terribly difficult to make a full “best of” list. Where it used to be hard to whittle it down to just 10 or 15 due to an abundance of great films, these days it is near impossible to fill a list because there just aren’t enough great films getting made.
That said, I was in complete love with the films that fall in the top two spots on my list. The first is directed by one of the great American masters while the other was crafted by the best director of this new generation, as he respects the pure art of the filmmaking process and has proven so with only three films.
Here are my choices for the Best Films of 2022-
- THE FABELMANS (Steven Spielberg)-
A film of emotional beauty. Spielberg’s heart is laid bare and in doing so, he achieves one of his finest masterpieces.
A soulful ode to the connection of family, the wide-eyed privilege of youth, and a deeply moving tribute to the power of images.
The very best film of 2022 and one alive with dreams and wonder.
- THE NORTHMAN (Robert Eggers)-
A stunning artistic achievement that earns Eggers his place as one of the most consistently interesting filmmakers working today.
Truly, a picture that dodged audience expectation with mysticism and artfully presented psychological quandaries.
A masterful and primal film born of blood and steel and a work of powerful intensity and cinematic fury driven by a expertly artistic eye.
- A LOVE SONG (Max Walker-Silverman)-
A beautiful film that speaks to loss and distance, need and love. Dale Dickey is transcendent, and Wes Studi has never had such a soulful part to sink his talents into.
A film full of beautiful and tender moments and a work with a natural kindness and a beating heart.
- THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN (Martin McDonagh)-
A quiet and emotionally powerful character piece. McDonagh excels at sharp dialogue and continues his streak here.
Fantastic performances from Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson compliment the literate script and patient, focused direction.
- EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE (Dan Kwan & Daniel Scheinert)-
One of the most entertaining and inventive films in years that has fun with the madness of it all.
This is the kind of well thought out entertainment that modern cinema so desperately needs right now. A bold, imaginative, and richly impassioned work.
- SHE SAID (Maria Schrader)-
A timely and powerful work. Well written and acted by the entire cast.
A testament to the power of the truth and those who seek it.
- THREE THOUSAND YEARS OF LONGING (George Miller)-
A sad, sincere, and beautiful tale from the great George Miller.
Miller’s undeniable passion for filmmaking shows in every moment.
A passionately adult fairy tale that captures the magic of myth and the soul of the human spirit.
- CAUSEWAY (Lila Neugebauer)-
Jennifer Lawrence and Brian Tyree Henry give career best performances.
Neugebaue tells the story of Lynsey and James with supreme care, staying out of the way to allow her lead actors a wide canvas on which to explore and create.
A rare film about real character depth.
- AFTERSUN (Charlotte Wells)-
Film as Art. Wells uses images to expertly tell her devastating story of a woman’s memories of her troubled father.
Deeply moving and full of emotion.
- (A tie of two visually stunning treasures from two of our greats) GUILLERMO DEL TORO’S PINOCCHIO (Guillermo del Toro)-
Perhaps del Toro’s masterpiece. An artistic fusion between the harsh reality of Mussolini’s Italy and the director’s patented mythical visions. A macabrely beautiful work that is pure magic for the heart, and mind.
AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER (James Cameron)-
One of the great movie events of the decade and an even more magnificent visual feast than the 2009 original.
Once again upping the ante in FX, this film has imagery that you will never forget.
An absolute triumph and a tremendous work of Science Fiction adventure.
- IS THAT BLACK ENOUGH FOR YOU?!? (Elvis Mitchell)-
An incredibly informed documentary using Mitchell’s deep knowledge of film history to tell the story of Black cinema from (finally!) a Black perspective.
Deliberately structured, this film speaks to the casual racism of Hollywood throughout the years.
A tremendous documentary.
- BARDO: FALSE CHRONICLE OF A HANDFUL OF TRUTHS Truths (Alejandro G. Iñárritu)-
Is it imperfect? Perhaps, but what Iñárritu achieves is something filmmakers such as Antonioni and Fellini strived for with every film, the power of the image through heady and fantastical artistic expression.
As with any personal work of art, the director lays his soul bare.
A film that challenges its audience and one made with pride of country and of self by one of the best filmmakers working.
- YOU WONT BE ALONE (Goran Stolevski)-
Stolevski’s feature film debut is a strikingly philosophical work that studies what it means to be human, through the life journey of a witch.
A film of horror and beauty, one of ideas and deeper examinations of what makes us human.
14. Tár (Todd Field)-
An artful work with a strong message pushing back against the puerile arguments of the cancel culture generation.
Blanchett does her best work since Woody Allen’s 2014 “Blue Jasmine” won her an Oscar.
A somewhat imperfect but educated and intense film of human drama.
- THIRTEEN LIVES (Ron Howard)-
A film crafted with dedication and supreme skill in front and behind the camera.
Howard’s skill as a storyteller has never been stronger.
William Nicholson’s screenplay and Ron Howard’s expert filmmaking capture fully the power and emotion of the story.
A gripping film about selflessness and the ability for people to find the absolute best inside them.