All 2022 Movies Reviewed, Graded, and Ranked From Worst to Best

Note: More than ever, it would be truly impossible to watch all the movies that came out in a modern calendar year. I’ve seen well over two hundred 2022 movies, but there were still a dozen major ones I would’ve loved to have seen before finalizing this countdown–although, frankly, I doubt it would’ve made much difference to the overall rankings. Sometimes you just have to say “this is enough,” and I feel this list truly is… [As always, two films sharing the same grade doesn’t mean they’re exactly the same quality, which is where the rank comes in.]

The Worst Movie of 2022: “The Invitation” tied with “Alice”…This was actually a very tough decision as I saw an above-average amount of terrible movies in 2022. Truthfully, any of the bottom 10 (or 20) could’ve easily gone here, and this was probably the first year in the 12 I’ve been doing this where the bottom 20 slots were just as competitive as the top 20 slots.

I picked these two horror stinkers because they are pretty great examples of why the “loony left” dislikes cultural appropriation, as both of these movies were written and directed by lily-white women with a particularly tone-deaf lens towards racism and the evils of white men/black women relationships. I’ve mentioned countless times that clueless Hollywood mostly portrays interracial couples in a negative light, and “Invitation” goes out of its way to play up the racial contrast in what is not only clumsy, but the umpteenth rip-off of “Get Out.” [At one point, a black female character is teased for having dated three white men, and even says she needs “therapy” to help her correct this. Please imagine seeing any other minority than interracial couples talked about in this way and there being no outcry whatsoever.] For its part, “Alice” is a direct rip-off of “Antebellum” (itself lousy) in a way that feels particularly tacky, except its made with the “skill” of a student film that didn’t have enough money to shoot its most pivotal scenes. Grades: F

239. “Ambulance”…This movie was inexplicably positive on Rotten Tomatoes–which is increasingly common for crappy movies–and that probably made me want to rank it lower than similarly lousy action films (you’ll see another three of them in the bottom ten). The script is preposterous, the dialogue is mostly screamed, a talented cast delivers some of their worst performances, the ending is braindead, and the direction is completely un-evolved with Michael Bay directing this exactly the same as he would have one of his 90’s action capers. By the end, my eyeballs had gotten a workout from rolling so much. Grade: D-

238. “The Soccer/Football Movie”…As a parent, I used to say there was “no such thing as a truly bad animated movie” because it gives your kids something to do for an hour or two. This movie might single-handedly change that perception. It was so bad, my kids zoned out after the first 15 minutes and were more restless than if I had a weather pattern on TV. Grade: D-

237. “The School for Good and Evil”...If you wanted to teach a class on exactly what’s wrong with modern movies, you could simply show this all-dazzle, no-soul film. An obvious “Harry Potter” ripoff for source material + “Twilight” rip-off romantic elements but without actual couples forming + overacting by “we’re here for the paycheck” stars (as if the “Fast” movies didn’t already pay for your house Charlize) + denying your interracial romance a chance to actually exist = this movie. Netflix is willing to waste a fortune on this piece of crap but has made comments considering “The Irishman” a failure, showing that they may not realize what an actual good movie even is. Whew, brother… Grade: D-

236. “The Gray Man”…A movie like this is technically more capable than “Eraser: Reborn” but it somehow manages to be even less fun. It suffers from a fatal case of “generic-osis” wherein the movie is so joylessly on autopilot that you might believe A.I. software wrote the “original” script. It’s not only a real waste of everyone’s talent (a movie with Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Ana De Armas, Jessica Henwick, and Bill Bob Thornton has to try to be uninteresting), but is already threatening a franchise. Why? Grade: D-

235. “Eraser: Reborn”…This might be the most incompetent movie of the year (certain sequences have worse CGI than Alabama Liberal’s YouTube channel), but at least it offers the climax of a major villain being killed by a rhinoceros–which seems to exist in the scene solely to gore someone. This is one of the many 2022 examples of an uncalled-for sequel or reboot that has no reason to exist, speaking of… Grade: D-

234. “Hocus Pocus 2”…Many would argue that we’re in an especially creatively-dead period for Hollywood, and–much scarier–audiences like it that way (9 of 2022’s 10 highest grossing movies were sequels whereas only 1 or 2 would’ve been the case throughout any year of the 90’s). “Pocus 2” is just like the first film but without fun, surprise, danger, or heroes we care about. It unfolds with a type of sad desperation hanging over it almost like the film itself is saying “You like this right? This is what you want right?” and about the only “new” thing is a murkier, darker cinematography that makes most of the movie hard to see, and robs it of campy joy. Grade: D-

233. “The 355”…Jessica Chastain looks truly miserable slumming it through this autopilot action mess. Worse? It wastes Lupita N’yongo’s considerable talent as well with a Chinese Communist Party-appeasing plot (Chinese production companies funded it) that are becoming increasingly dated and yawn-inducing in the spy genre. [Also, the second it’s revealed N’yongo has a white boyfriend, I said out loud “welp, he’s dead…” and the movie killed him within the hour.] Grade: D-

232. “Bardo: A False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths”…An inexplicable misfire from the director of “Birdman” and “The Revenant” (his last two films that both earned him Oscars for Best Director). This film is too long, too indulgent, doesn’t truly feel personal at all (despite being obviously semi-autobiographical, it’s also borrows very heavily from “8 1/2”), and saddled with an uninteresting, pretentious lead character that only truly comes to life when he’s shouting at a Latino customs agent in an airport. [The movie bloviates a lot about the history of European/indigenous conflict, but seems oblivious to the distasteful way its snobby, white Spanish protagonist is actually treating this less-wealthy, browner man.] Grade: D-

231. “White Noise”…Why do they still make movies like this? Who are they for? This is a “comedy” without laughs, a “drama” without stakes, and an existential puzzler that doesn’t seem remotely interested in its own mysteries. The forced, monotonous “quirkiness” drowns out any insights you might otherwise stumble upon, and what you’re left with is nothing. Grade: D-

230. “Men”…Similar to “Bardo” and “White Noise,” this is an excruciatingly tedious and pretentious arthouse-jerkoff from a (usually) talented creator. I have grown very tired of metaphysical horror films that are too allegorical to be scary and too vague to be profound. This is yet another awful portrayal of black/white couples (Jessie Buckley’s dissolved marriage to a black man who possibly kills himself is the plot catalyst here), and it barely fits with the rest of the film as all other male characters are played by Rory Kinnear–meant to signify that all men are essentially the same, so why not have Kinnear play the dead husband as well? Ultimately, the most memorable thing here is an endless scene of multiple men giving birth to each other, complete with graphic crowning. Grade: D-

229. “A Jazzman’s Blues”Another terrible portrayal of black/white couples in film. [For most interracial portrayals, 2022 might as well have been 1952.] This is Tyler Perry’s most openly anti-miscegenation film since 2008’s “The Family That Preys Together,” and a major step backwards for him. This dated, hokey film about “passing” in the old South is apparently the first screenplay Perry ever wrote (all the way back in 1995) and it shows. Grade: D-

228. “Lou”…And yet still another negative portrayal of black/white couples on film, as the villain is a white male that spends the entire movie trying to murder his estranged black wife and daughter. Yes, Allison Janney makes for a credible action hero (her and Bob Odenkirk’s character from “Nobody” should team up), but the movie around her is too light on action, and too heavy on ludicrous melodrama. Grade: D-

227. “Don’t Worry Darling”…The off-screen drama is surely more compelling than the actual film. [As my mind wandered while watching it, I remember thinking this is the rare film I’d actually like to see a warts-and-all “making of” documentary about.] This “original” script borrows heavily from better movies (“The Matrix,” “The Stepford Wives,” “The 13th Floor,” “Mad Max,” “The Village,” and “The Truman Show” in the last fifteen minutes), and–as is all too typical of white female written/directed movies–is dehumanizing to its women of color, killing off its black female character early on and making its Asian female character scheming (Gemma Chan appears to be the real mastermind instead of Chris Pine). Grade: D-

226. “Halloween Ends”…Truthfully, this movie might be worse than “Bardo” or “Gray,” but it does something that I like very, very much: it definitively ends a franchise that should’ve ended a loooooong time ago. Michael Meyers dies so thoroughly that it would be beyond ridiculous to bring him back, and thus a franchise that has had no real reason to exist for decades finally comes to a close. However, that won’t make the first 90% of this movie (which wastes most of its runtime seeing Michael train an apprentice…only to have that clown die as well) go by any faster. Grade: D

225. “Scream”…This one goes the opposite route of “Halloween Ends” (and is the reason I ranked “Ends” higher than I might have) by “rebooting” a horror franchise that should’ve stayed dead. Because it was a box office hit, we’re probably stuck watching nostalgia-driven “scream” movies for another ten years, because critics can apparently no longer tell the difference between a good horror movie and ugly, preposterous, hysterically-acted dreck that feels about as fresh as a landfill. Grade: D

224. “Out of the Blue”…Another canvas for Neil Labute to work out his paranoia of women, this one complete with an absurd, last-minute sapphic twist. Grade: D

223. “Stars at Noon”…The “The Last Thing She Wanted” of 2022, this is a maddeningly-plotted, slow CIA-in-Central-America “thriller” that only occasionally comes to life for its numerous sex scenes. Grade: D

222. “People We Hate at the Wedding”…When people wonder why Hollywood stopped making so many romantic comedies, you can point to this turd. A talented cast is surprisingly irritating in a film that’s like watching Meghan Markle’s posh British wedding from the perspective of her awful white half-siblings. As we wait for the movie to move through its predictable beats (fights, estrangement, reconciliations), it begins to feel like time is standing still. Grade: D

221. “End of the Road”…If there was one remotely interesting trend in 2022 movies, it’s the more nuanced portrayal of rural America that we saw (“Vengeance,” “Jerry & Marge Go Large”), but “End” didn’t get that memo as it’s drowning in predictable cliches (redneck jerks, corrupt sheriffs, and skinheads–oh my!). The sloppy script was co-written by David Loughery, repeated offender of inept, interracially-negative exploitation films (“Obsessed,” “The Intruder,” “Fatale”). Grade: D

220. “The King’s Daughter”…A lot of Americans suffer from insomnia; this bland, lazy fable can probably cure that. This mess was filmed in 2014, but not released until 2022 in the ultimate “no confidence” vote, and it’s sad that this wound up being the late, great William Hurt’s final film role. Grade: D

219. “Beauty”…Disjointed drama that has too many elements that don’t work at all (like the fratricide among Beauty’s brothers–allegorically named Cain and Abel–that feels connected to a different movie), and feels longer than its 90 minute runtime. Also, it ironically has a hard time getting beneath the surface of its main character–with Gracie Marie Bradley playing nearly every scene with the same soft, doe-eyed passivity. Grade: D

218. “Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio”…A perfect example of how a bad movie can completely coast on an acclaimed director’s reputation. Del Toro’s take on the iconic hapless puppet is shrill, depressing, unenjoyable from start to finish, and unfaithful to the source material. I mention that last one specifically because many critics (who probably did not actually watch this movie, merely rubber-stamping it due to Del Toro’s involvement) have said it is the most faithful to the old book, yet it omits huge chunks of it (no tricky fox and no donkey metamorphosis) in favor of a protracted, added-on subplot about Mussolini (which would’ve obviously come nearly 60 years after the 1883 book was published). Perhaps most irritating is Del Toro’s repeated assertion that animated films are not “just for kids” even though adult animation already exists and has a huge following (you’ll see some on this list and my TV list included the excellent “Primal” series) while this PG-rated stop motion movie–which was marketed to kids–is merely pleasing no one. Grade: D

217. “Matilda: The Musical”…Another “family” clunker coasting on the reputation of some of the talent involved (Emma Thompson in this case, a great actress who is nevertheless miscast as Miss Trunchbull). Kids will probably hate this movie–which is marketed to them–and people that actually like Roald Dahl’s classic will find it unfaithful except for the cliff notes plot points. Sure, the always-game Lashana Lynch is a wonderful Miss Honey, but how in the hell did the rest of this movie bamboozle critics into giving it a Rotten Tomatoes rating in the high-90’s? Grade: D

216. “The Requin”…I’m a sucker for shark movies, and so one has to be pretty bad to earn a D-grade from me. That’s especially true when it uses the relatively-original premise of a vacation bungalow becoming unattached during a storm and floating into shark-infested waters. So where did this movie go wrong? A razzie-nominated performance by Alicia Silverstone is truly unpleasant (she yells so much, I imagine her vocal chords shredded by the end of filming), and the sharks take a loooong time to actually show up, with half the movie being uninvolving filler about a marriage on the rocks. Grade: D

215. “Marmaduke”…Between this and the also-lousy 2010 “Marmaduke” movie, I’m becoming convinced that the beloved cartoon dog just can’t work in a full-length movie. The good news? Unlike most of the movies ranked lower than this, “Marmaduke” is merely terrible instead of quasi-offensive. Congratulations dear readers, we’ve entered “merely terrible” territory! Grade: D+

214. “Mack & Rita”…Diane Keaton is arguably the original flaky, “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” at a time when those pre-indie tropes made her one of the most critically beloved actresses of the 1970’s, but it is simply depressing to watch her relive that same schtick well into her actual 70’s. This film is ostensibly about aging and not wishing your life away (the main character is a Los Angeles-living young woman who wishes to be old…yeah, sure), but indulges in a fantasy of old age where “Mack” becomes even more popular on social media after becoming 70+…also yeah, sure. Yet Keaton is the right actress for a fantasy on aging since she has played variations of the same flighty, frazzled, uniquely-styled character for 50 years. Grade: D+

213. “Morbius”…A bad movie with occasional flair (Matt Smith’s villain certainly has panache). Only Marvel diehards will find value here. Grade: D+

212. “They/Them”…Kevin Bacon gives it his all as the nefarious head of a gay conversion camp. However, this movie makes it clear early on that it has no real interest in endangering its LGBTQ characters (none of the victims wind up being kids forced to attend the camp), which ruins the suspense–after all, there are likable characters in “Black Phone,” “Scream,” and “Smile” too, but they still die. What results isn’t really even a horror movie, but a diatribe that repeatedly undercuts its own psychological suspense. For example, a harrowingly nasty “therapy” session has the non-binary main character questioning themselves…for about five minutes before a “Glee”-worthy musical number breaks out in their bunkhouse. Wow, just think how much better the original “Friday the 13th” would’ve been if the kids had had a Broadway style musical number and Jason was the only one who died. Grade: D+

211. “The Desperate Hour”…Naomi Watts huffs and puffs for 80-odd minutes as a mom on a pleasure run who begins to make a scared journey to her son’s school after hearing of a shooting there. There’s a much better “real time” movie about the parents of a school shooting called “Mass,” and fans of quality dramas should seek that out instead. Grade: D+

210. “Monstrous”…If you put a gun to my head, and demanded I tell you a plot description, I’d probably be a dead man. There’s a “twist” ending that means the first 90 minutes of the movie are pretty meaningless, so I don’t feel too bad for occasionally nodding off and struggling to stay focused while watching. Grade: D+

209. “Clean”…There’s been so many better variations of this movie that there’s nothing to recommend here. This is a cheap, ugly movie with only occasional flashes of gory action, and overlong stretches of ponderousness. Grade: D+

208. “Dual”…Karen Gillan buys herself a problem as a terminally-ill young woman who recovers, but then has to fight her clone (who has thoroughly stolen her boyfriend and mother) to the death. The set-up screams “gut wrenching sci-fi thriller” but the delivery chosen is arc black-comedy…for some reason. Eventually, you just wind up feeling so bad for Gillan #1 that laughs are scarce while nightmare fuel is plentiful. This probably could’ve contained insights into identity and how much most people are willing to fight for the life they have, but instead just feels glibby depressing. Grade: D+

207. “Bull”…An ugly revenge film that is the British crime caper version of torture porn. There is a last minute supernatural twist (and I do mean last minute) that feels like a different script they absorbed into this one. Grade: D+

206. “Gold”…Eventually, there will be so many lousy dystopian films that a dystopian film will be made about a dystopian future where there are only dystopian movies to watch. Surely, there are better ways for Zac Efron to prove he’s a good actor than being covered in dirt, being by himself on camera for more than half a movie’s length, and fighting a wild dog. It didn’t totally make me think “that guy has gravitas” so much as “shit, I’m bored.” Grade: D+

205. “Interceptor”…An actioner so dumb you might lose brain cells watching it. Amazingly, it features neither Bruce Willis nor Nicolas Cage, and is therefore not very much fun either. Grade: D+

204. “Queen of Glory”…One of those “slice of life” indies most critics will rubber-stamp because there’s a believable heroine and the plot is character-based instead of hinging on forced events. However, a closer look shows this to be yet another Godawful portrayal of black/white couples, as the Ghanian-American heroine is dating a stereotypically-insensitive white nerd who seems more interested in the ingredients of his lunch order than anything to do with our protagonist. The movie is subtly cliched in other ways (there’s the inevitable scene where deep-sixing a weave in favor of natural hair is shorthand for spiritual growth), like embracing the tired ending of having the black female main character shelve her own dreams to keep her mother’s Christian bookstore alive; it’s not said that she’s remotely religious, and she’s essentially giving up being a Scientist to run a Christian version of a Starbucks–how is that not a Tyler Perry ending? Grade: D+

203. “Fit for Christmas”…As you’ll see, I’ve got almost a dozen different Christmas-themed movies listed in this countdown. In years past, I’ve always left them off the countdown wondering if they’re even “real movies” or TV movies that don’t really belong on a countdown like this. A good argument could be made for either one, but I’ve decided to include them this year since the “Christmas movie” sub-genre is becoming more popular than ever. “Fit” is the worst of the ones I watched this year because of its uninvolving conflict, chemistry-deprived leads, and generally grating characters. The bare minimum for these movies is a romance you actually care about, and “Fit” didn’t have that. Grade: D+

202. “Minions: Rise of Gru”…My kids have watched “Despicable Me 3” about a dozen times, and so I thought it was curious when they weren’t enthusiastic about watching this when I put it on (my first time watching, but only their second time). I can see why; “Rise of Gru” has neither a worthy message, genuine sentiment, organic fun, or even much in the way of infectious mischief (Gru freezing people in line to buy ice cream or setting off a fart gun to clear a crowded movie theater are about it, and they happen in the first 15 minutes). Grade: C-

201. “Hotel Transylvania 4: Transformania”…It isn’t much worse than the first three “Hotel” movies, but I’m curious why Adam Sandler and Kevin James didn’t return for this farewell cash grab–I mean, “sequel.” Replacing the original voices of this series in the (supposedly) final installment feels cheap for a franchise that didn’t have much going for it other than the loose chemistry of Sandler and his buddies to start with. Grade: C-

200. “Ice Age: Adventures of Buck Wild”…Speaking of movies replacing their original voice actors to diminishing results. “Buck” has replaced almost the entire cast of the previous “Age” movies (only Simon Pegg returns), and you wonder why they included Manny and Co. at all for this spinoff. Also, the animation is the weakest we’ve seen since the original “Ice Age” (which now looks like a video game) with some of the characters almost pitifully drawn. Grade: C-

199. “The Sky is Everywhere”…Josephine Decker is a white female director who had her biggest critical hit with “Madeline’s Madeline,” which featured an opportunistic white female director using a black female performer’s vulnerability and talent. Since then, it’s been the misfire “Shirley” and this disjointed, straight-to-Apple+ snooze that most will probably watch as they fold laundry or something. Can Decker resist opportunistically retreating back into race-conflict dramas before the whispers begin that she’s lost her touch? Grade: C-

198. “RIPD 2: Rise of the Damned”…Many would rank this lower, but Jeffrey Donovan is always good, and he fully commits here. There’s a handful of laughs or clever touches, but this is still junk for the Comic-Con diehards. Grade: C-

197. “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed”…Nan Goldin is a good subject for Russian puppet/filmmaker Laura Poitras–who is often drawn to vain-glorious “activists” (her most famous work is Edward Snowden’s “escape from America”…when no one was looking for him). This movie perhaps gives Nan too much credit for “bringing down the Sackler family,” and their own malfeasance has been covered more throughly and better in many other works (“Dopesick,” “The Crime of the Century” documentary, and about a dozen books like “Empire of Pain”). But Nan has been out there a loooong time, so much of “Beauty” is just her narrating 70’s/80’s stories in the driest voice possible. It’s rare that a documentary about a rabble rouser is this dull in presentation. Grade: C-

196. “Blacklight”…When it comes to assembly line Liam Neeson action movies, “Memory” was your better bet in 2022. Grade: C-

195. “The Pale Blue Eye”…Another dreary, lifeless team-up for Scott Cooper and Christian Bale (“Out of the Furnace,” “Hostiles”), this one with a nearly all-British cast pretending to be American. Harry Melling is particularly bad at portraying Edgar Allen Poe. Grade: C-

194.She Said”…There’s been no shortage of Oscar-Baiting “MeToo”-inspired movies in recent years (“Women Talking,” “Tar,” and “Blonde” competed at this year’s Academy Awards alone…”Said”‘s own star Mulligan was nominated for “Promising Young Woman” two years ago), but “Said” is the closest one has come to being ridiculous. The same Hollywood that enabled Harvey Weinstein (master of the Academy schmooze) for decades is now going to make an Oscar-season movie off of his downfall? The hypocrisy would be galling even before taking into account this movie is made by NBC/Universal–which Ronan Farrow alleges buried his reporting on Weinstein for years. Maybe that’s why we’re watching the corporate-appeasing “Said” get made into a movie first, when Ronan’s story is actually more dramatic/cinematic and would make the better movie. Grade: C-

193. “Fresh”…This movie has talented lead actors and good production values, but don’t let that distract you from the reality that it’s just a gorier version of a Lifetime movie, complete with an over-the-top ending. Grade: C-

192. “Uncharted”…A handful of good action sequences almost save this otherwise lousy movie (I particularly liked the mid-air pirate ship and the old gambit of falling without a parachute). However, Tom Holland is once again miscast (beginning to wonder what this guy can actually play), the dialogue is mostly irritating patter, and Tati Gabrielle’s villain vamps like a dastardly supermodel asked to play e-v-i-l with a capital E. Grade: C-

191. “The Immaculate Room”…An intriguing premise undercut by Emile Hirsch’s annoying character (it’s clear early on he’s not going to make it). This movie must’ve been cheap to make, so you wish they’d spent a little bit more on the script. Grade: C-

190. “Ticket to Paradise”…George Clooney is so good in the handful of scenes that allow him to showcase his talent (he gives a monologue about his aborted dream home and what that meant for his marriage that is startlingly authentic), that you almost don’t want to discourage his comeback by crapping on this below-average movie. However, this is another “romantic comedy” that is neither funny nor romantic.

More importantly, I thought the main character was making a mistake by marrying a guy she barely knows and completely abandoning her goals so she can adopt his (she is a lawyer…he is a seaweed farmer ignorant enough to believe a certain beach is cursed or that filing down his teeth before the wedding is a worthy, practical tradition to carryon). If this were a movie in which an educated foreign woman gives up her law degree to work on a Bible-beating corn farm in Kansas, I don’t think people would have such a positive impression of that, even if it’s essentially the same thing. Grade: C-

189. “Persuasion”…I’d recommend smelling salts to keep yourself fully awake and watching until the end. This 4,000th adaptation of a Jane Austen novel is another contemporary work that is “bold” enough to reimagine some of the character’s races but still segregationist enough to keep the couples paired up according to skin tone…so…not really so bold after all. Grade: C-

188. “Thor: Love and Thunder”…I might’ve been the only critic alive who didn’t like “Thor: Ragnarok,” so it’s gratifying to see so many people actively dislike this movie (which is pretty much the same thing with that jokey tone and lackluster plotting). Christian Bale is actually pretty good in a subplot that you wish was an entirely separate movie, and the mind wonders what might’ve been if the opening scene were only the beginning of an entirely different, standalone movie. The movie we’re stuck with instead brings back Natalie Portman (why?) and buffs Thor up to comical proportions but keeps him sexless (the most obvious love interest is still Tessa Thompson, who’s once again given nothing to really do whilst in the friend zone). Grade: C-

187. “Doctor Strange 2: The Multiverse of Madness”…In “Thor 4,” there was a subplot I wanted to watch instead of the main movie. In “Strange 2,” there were subplots that were introduced, and then immediately slaughtered. I’m thinking specifically of having John Krasinski as Reed Richards (perfect) in the same scene with the excellent Lashana Lynch, underrated Anson Mount, and a female Captain America, but killing them a few minutes later. The core movie we’re stuck with never takes off, and is a dramatic downgrade from the first “Doctor Strange.” Grade: C-

186. “Emancipation”…Did you know that slavery sucked? Well, it did. Now that you know that, I’m not sure what this movie can show you. On the one hand, it’s a faux-gritty drama where one of the world’s most entitled movie stars rolls around the swamps of Louisiana and makes a serious face. On the other hand, it’s a faux-entertaining “chase movie” where a meaaaaaaan Ben Foster wants to hunt down Smith’s escaped slave. The photography is striking (it’s not exactly black-and-white, but uses various shades of gray), but the rest unfolds with little passion or purpose. Grade: C-

185. “Kimi”…Steven Soderbergh might be one of the most talented directors alive (and prolific), but they can’t all be winners. “Kimi” could’ve been a millennial version of “The Conversation,” and it’s high-time devices like Alexa were the subject of more thrillers, but this one is held back by an inconsistent script, occasional tonal lapses (some of Zoe Kravitz’s mannerisms belong more in a Whit Stillman comedy and the ending is more goofy than convincing), and somewhat lackluster production values. Ultimately, Soderbergh was able to make a much better “trust no one” noir with 2021’s panoramic ensemble of crooks “No Sudden Move.” Grade: C-

184. “Empire of Light”…Another example of film’s dismal portrayal of black/white couples. There’s a mid-movie twist that makes this movie almost an anti-romance, and definitely feels like a betrayal of the first half. If the first half is a quiet, tender romance, then the second half is a long, pointless, miserable slog. Grade: C-

183. “Wendell & Wild”…Another terrible portrayal of a black/white couple, with this stop-motion film’s villains being a black Trump-lookalike and his tall white wife. This movie was co-created by Jordan Peele (who is also one of the voices), and this has become such a theme in his work, I sometimes wonder how he views his actual interracial marriage. Anyway, the animation style is too grungy/depressing for kids to really enjoy it, but isn’t sophisticated enough to capture adult attention either–there’s no “Nightmare Before Christmas” magic here, just a tedious, ramshackle dive into the dangers of for-profit prisons and strict schools. Grade: C-

182. “Sneakerella”…Disney executive: “Should we make a half-assed, barely-trying, gender-swapped version of Cinderella that revolves around sneakers?” Executive 2: “Who’s asking for it?” Exec 1: “Absolutely nobody.” Exec 2: “Sure, why not? We’ll just throw that shit up on Disney+ and some poor sucker will probably watch it.” [A year later] Alabama Liberal: “Hmmm…what’s this? Sneak…e…rella?” Grade: C-

181. “Jackass Forever”…I know, I know, I know, most critics really liked this “re-quel” (the last film was so long ago, this is as much a reboot as a sequel), but this just isn’t my thing really. I hope we can still be friends? Grade: C

180. “Lamborghini: The Man Behind the Legend”…A movie that I wanted to like so much, it almost convinced me that I did like it. That is, until questions started piling up, such as: “Why cast Frank Grillo if you’re going to sideline him for the entire first half of the movie?” “Why spend so much time on Lamborghini’s origins as a tractor company, making the pivot to high-end cars look rushed?” “If Mira Sorvino is this bad an actress, was it really Harvey Weinstein that prevented her from quality work for 20 years?” I thought the answer to the first two questions might’ve had to do with budgetary constraints, but that doesn’t totally make sense if the first half of the movie is an expensive, period flashback. Still, some of us will look for any excuse to watch Lamborghinis doing their thing, and this does have at least a couple shots of racing (through a fabricated drag race between Lamborghini and Enzo Ferrari). Grade: C

179. “The In-Between”…I watched every frame of this movie, and yet I can’t remember 95% of it. I know Kim Dickens is the “mom” and her brief scenes are welcome, but so much of this “Young Adults find romance with supernatural elements” feels like a plot where they just plugged in popular elements and hope it works. Grade: C

178. “The Independent”…Jodie Turner Smith is the millennial Grace Jones, and you wonder why more casting directors haven’t picked up on that. She should be playing Bond women and otherworldly Blue Fairies and mischievous Mad Hatters and glamorous dystopian queens, but is instead stuck in dull, de-glammed roles like this (or a laboratory-bound Scientist in “White Noise,” where the best part was her dancing at the end). Here she is a two-dimensional journalist who uncovers a tame corruption plot (movies do know we just survived the Trump years right?). Towards the end, I thought she was making a mistake exposing it, and that’s a pretty big problem for a conspiracy thriller to have. Also, this is one of those movies that still pretends a newspaper story written on the day of a Presidential election (when most people have already voted via mail-in ballot or will just drown out a “last minute” news story) will make all the difference. Grade: C

177. “The Valet”…It’s wild that people judged the lack of chemistry between Owen Wilson and Jennifer Lopez in “Marry Me” harshly, but didn’t seem to notice that the two leads here barely appear to be in the same movie. Is it because the film quickly shoves them into the “just friends” zone and never even attempts the chance of romance? Of course, that completely defeats the purpose of this reverse-“Pretty Woman”/”Maid in Manhattan” wish fulfillment comedy. And if the movie’s purpose was to be a true comedy, then…oof… Grade: C

176. “Drifting Home”…An anime that is too depressing for kids, but not engaging enough for adults. If you simply must seek out anime on Netflix, I preferred “Bubble.” Grade: C

175. “Black Adam”…The movie is marketed with the tantalizing premise of “what if Superman were an anti-hero?” But the actual movie forgets to show Black Adam doing much that’s actually bad. The closest we get to seeing Black Adam (Dwayne Johnson, an actor who rarely plays to his dark side) creating mischief is killing bad guys rather than handcuffing them, but I’m not sure that’s enough in a Deadpool/Logan/Joker/Watchmen world. The entire movie feels too familiar and like a missed opportunity. Grade: C

174. “Don’t Make Me Go”…One of the year’s most depressing movies, and I’m not just talking about the third-act twist. The entirety of it could’ve felt like a heart-wrenching, desperate moral dilemma (a terminally-ill father must find his daughter’s mother to see if she’ll take care of her), but instead feels whiny, sluggish, and with an overall mood of petulance rather than anxiety. John Cho should be scared to death, and too many scenes just have him looking irritated. Grade: C

173. “Father Stu”…Mark Wahlberg does his motormouth, sassy-charm thing, and it’s certainly his liveliest performance in a while. I’ll freely admit most critics loved “Stu” a lot more than I did–probably because they were just so relieved to see an R-rated Christian movie that doesn’t treat faith like a toothpaste commercial. And “Stu” is better than 99% of Christian movies (as if that’s saying something), but this is still a movie where the Catholic Church is treated as a noble thing, and I thought Stu was making a huge mistake by ditching his relationship with Teresa Ruiz to become a priest. Plus, the movie doesn’t really dig as deep as it could have, often pushing aside what’s actually happening to Stu in favor of caustic sitcom squabbling between him and his estranged father (Mel Gibson). Frankly, Wahlberg’s more maligned movie “Joe Bell” tried harder to ask the tougher questions. Grade: C

172. “Luckiest Girl Alive”…A strange movie overall; the themes are Lars Von Trier-dark, but the presentation occasionally feels like an affluent Nancy Meyers comedy. There’s also threads that go nowhere (like Scoot McNairy’s teacher), while shoehorning in a last-minute diatribe about cancel culture. It’s all over the place. Grade: C

171. “Sam & Kate”…Most people aren’t paying direct money to watch the majority of movies today–meaning they might watch them for free in some form or as part of a streaming subscription. Meaning that movies today aren’t competing for your dollars so much as your time. When a movie like “Sam” sets you up for a low-key, multi-generational romance but betrays that with a depressing second half, it can feel like a waste of time. It’s particularly disappointing when you’re most interested in seeing Dustin Hoffman and Sissy Spacek slide into a comfortable romance, but are denied that pretty thoroughly. Grade: C

170. “The Man From Toronto”…Woody Harrelson could make even the most disposable junk watchable, and so that’s exactly what he’s asked to do here. I doubt even Kevin Hart’s most diehard fans could defend this movie. Grade: C

169. “Memory”…I don’t think any 2022 Liam Neeson thrillers were very good, but “Memory” had punchier action sequences than “Blacklight,” and that can help keep you awake when you’re watching one of these movies on an airplane. Grade: C

168. “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone”…If you wanted phone-based thrills from the family of Stephen King in 2022, your best bet was “The Black Phone.” The first hour of “Harrigan” takes its sweet time setting up the suspense–the only disturbing thing is a school bully who looks like muppet come to life–and the second half isn’t exactly riveting either. Still, any movie with Kirby Howell and Donald Sutherland is bound to be watchable. Grade: C

167. “All Quiet on the Western Front”…Want a faux-gritty war movie that’s really just turgid and obvious? There’s this wildly overrated remake. I’m flummoxed as to how this thing scored so many Academy Award nominations, but clearly voters who barely watched movies in 2022 sure liked it more than I did. Grade: C

166. “Day Shift”…More comic-con junk you’ll forget you’ve seen about 30 minutes after you’ve watched it. You know, the “Netflix specialty” these days. This is the kind-of movie that almost feels like it’s wasting time setting up such an elaborate mythology (endless scenes explaining the difference in vampire teeth, the bureaucracy of vampire hunting, the vampire hierarchy, or the different types of “Vamps”) since none of it feels important, especially thought-out, and all they really want to do is blast vampires anyway. Lots of needless exposition, but it’s not presented in a visual way later on (such as the different vampires having different appearances or features). Grade: C

165. “Breaking”…It’s not everyday a movie pulls off the unique feat of making a bank robbery boring. “Breaking” not only has the sense of tension of an elevator, but it’s overly reluctant to tackle the movie’s real theme: men that cannot adapt to society. John Boyega’s bomb-carrying, ex-military hostage taker is portrayed as a fussy nerd with a legitimate grievance against the VA, instead of a nut with the nonsensical plan of holding hostages at a bank so he can get a $900 check from the VA. [It’s never mentioned that a $900 check isn’t going to make much difference in anyone’s life, and he might just be a cosmic loner looking for a reason to blow himself up.] A better movie might’ve been more interested in what makes this loose cannon tick. Grade: C

164. “Paradise Highway”…Juliette Binoche as a red state truck driver might be some of the year’s most hilarious miscasting, and her “connection” with the young girl she’s been asked to traffic is almost as believable as that. However, Morgan Freeman almost saves the movie with an effortless B-plot as a weary FBI agent who’s as suspicious of the system as the criminals he’s chasing. This is a case where you wish you could follow the supporting characters instead. Grade: C

163. “Cha Cha Real Smooth”…Let’s be honest and admit that Cooper Raiff is a fairly generic, indie Gen-Z leading man (watching him in this is like someone with Mo Rocca’s face and expressions trying to be sexy for 90+ minutes). But Dakota Johnson knows how to make vaguely-written characters seem more mysterious than they might have been on the page. She elevates the material without breaking a sweat. Grade: C

162. “Stutz”…Have you ever wanted to hang out with Jonah Hill and his therapist? If your answer is “no,” or even “what the hell are you talking about?” then this movie will probably be a snooze. I agree with snippet reviews that say the movie is “too in its own head” and “more for Jonah Hill than it is for us” so why in the hell did they give it a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes anyway? As a straightforward experience, it’s a letdown, and its only real value feels completely unintentional: as an example of how therapy may simulate vulnerability through elaborate self-deception more than actually letting someone be truly vulnerable. Grade: C

161. “Chickenhare”…A one-joke movie about a chicken/rabbit hybrid main character with a seriously jealous uncle. A good movie to put on for your kids while you stare at the wall or something. Grade: C

160. “Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, a Journey, a Song”…I love this song, but I almost feel this over-long documentary manages to diminish it somewhat. It features so many covers of lesser-artists doing shallow variations that it takes away from the mystery of it after a while. To take one of the most profound popular songs of all time, and play it backwards and forwards to the point of exhaustion gives you the lurching feeling that even the otherworldly is being made mundane. Grade: C

159. “Causeway”…Whereas most 2022 portrayals of black/white couples were horrifyingly negative, this is an example where the “romance” is inexplicably excluded. Even though Jennifer Lawrence and Brian Tyree Henry’s characters do share real heat (there’s a kiss that is–by far–the liveliest moment in the movie), Lawrence’s veteran mentions that she’s a lesbian…exactly one time and it’s never brought up again. So…why make an indie romance about a “couple” that is never allowed to become a couple? Your guess is as good as mine. Grade: C

158. “Black Crab”…A Swedish action film starring the workmanlike Noomi Rapace (always watchable, rarely riveting), and featuring a pretty good action set piece on ice. The overall plot? Who cares? It’s got bullets flying on ice. Grade: C

157. “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore”…This is the “best” of the “Beasts” movies, and it’s still only a C-grade. I would be fine if this pointless franchise didn’t continue, but at least they’ve finally got the casting of Grindelwald right–here portrayed by an icy Mads Mikkelsen. If there’s a fourth installment, how about changing up the director too? David Yates may be good to J.K. Rowling, but he’s a lousy fantasy director, and shoots nearly every scene with the “magic” of a politburo meeting. Grade: C

156. “Moonfall”…A lot of people would be shocked to see this piece of shit ranked so high, and I can understand that, but ask yourself this: when was the last time you saw a movie present a genuinely original sci-fi plot? Now sure, “Moonfall” is only original, because most directors wouldn’t want to rip-off something that makes so little sense, but it’s still something I haven’t seen before–and that is becoming all too rare. Grade: C

155. “The Greatest Beer Run Ever”…Did you know that the Vietnam War sucked? Well, if you didn’t, then let Zac Efron’s naive boozer be your vicarious guide through some seriously bad times. And if you did, then you’ll probably find this movie’s “insights” to be about fifty years too late. Grade: C

154. “The Outfit”…For me, this movie wasn’t convincing nor riveting, and the “She-caw-goo” accents (by mostly British actors) were truly dreadful. Grade: C

153. “Dangerous Play”…You would think a documentary about drug-traffickers trying to rig soccer matches would be “can’t miss,” but something about the execution doesn’t gel, and somehow makes the story seem less interesting than it probably was. Grade: C

152. “Lady Chatterlay’s Lover”…A few steamy sex scenes is about all there is to recommend here. The central conflict never becomes interesting because the title Lady never seems remotely torn about which man she’ll choose. Grade: C

151. “The Weekend Away”…Another mediocre Netflix thriller designed to “trend” for a week and then disappear forever. Grade: C

150. “Catch the Fair One”…Expect big things from Kali Reiss. She’s the primary reason to watch this movie–one of the most depressing of 2022, and that’s truly saying something–and if “Fair One” is remembered at all, it’ll be as a very early showcase for a potential action star. Grade: C

149. “Senior”…Robert Downey Sr. was an underrated director of subversive 60’s/70’s comedies that still hold up pretty well today. This documentary mostly just hangs out with Robert Downey Jr. as he asks his dad a few questions, and I couldn’t help but feel such a unique artist could’ve received a much better exploration…possibly by someone that’s not his own son. Grade: C

148. “RRR”…I know, I know, I know, I’m supposed to love this wildly-overrated Bollywood historical epic, but I was confused as to what was so special about this movie other than the colonial setting and over-the-top British villains. In most other ways, it’s not different from most other Indian films at all–right down to the “half hour too long” running time and out-of-nowhere dance sequence. Grade: C

147. “The Ledge”…A killer premise (a woman is literally hanging off a cliff as murderous men try to reach her) is undermined by awful performances and a villain so over-the-top, you expect him to break off a piece of that mountain and start chewing it. Grade: C

146. “Flight/Risk”…This is the Amazon documentary about the failed Boeing planes, and it’s not “bad” exactly, so much as there’s a much, much better documentary Netflix made on the same subject matter…as you’ll see further down this list. Grade: C

145. “Infinite Storm”…Surprisingly flat-execution hampers this Naomi Watts drama where she saves some hapless bastard’s life on a snowy mountain. However, their complete lack of connection (his interactions with her are beyond bizarre) made it difficult to really care if she saved him, and that’s a pretty big problem for a movie with no real plot outside of that. Grade: C

144. “The Wonder”…A movie where we sit and watch a young girl starve to death. And it is almost as exciting as it sounds. There are timeless themes of religious zealotry making people do crazy things, but the presentation is far from riveting. Grade: C

143. “Nanny”…Critics overpraised this cliched horror film where the scariest thing that happens in the first half is a disagreement about wages. [The second you see the African nanny talking to her white male employer, you know it’s a countdown until he makes an unrequited move…meanwhile, a black American guy catcalling said nanny on the street is presented as the answer to all her problems.] It’s not until about the last 15 minutes or so that the actual scares take place and the movie begins to ask what should have been its central question: “If you’re being paid to care for another’s kid more than your own, will you eventually hate them?” Grade: C

142. “Operation Mincemeat”…Another stuffy British movie about World War II; probably a good movie to eat stew with on a cold night. Grade: C

141. “13: The Musical”…A movie I sincerely wanted to love, but I have to question some of the rapturous reviews (Variety’s Owen Gleiberman may be one of the best critics alive, but putting this in his “Ten Best of the Year” list is dubious). I get that this is supposed to be cheesy and wholesome–these are some of the squeakiest young teenagers I’ve ever seen–but that doesn’t make it any more interesting to watch, and some of the production values are so poor this thing looks like it was shot on videotape. Grade: C

140. “Falling for Christmas”…Lindsay Lohan is ready for her comeback. Whether you’re ready for her is another story, but you have to admit she’s the best thing in this Netflix Christmas movie…if that’s saying a lot. Grade: C

139. “The Adam Project”…”This is a Ryan Reynolds movie that went to Netflix.” “But…that’s not really telling me much about the movie.” “Oh, that tells you everything about the movie.” By now, you’ve seen “6 Underground” or “Red Notice,” and I think you have a good idea what you’re going to get: something that isn’t flat-out terrible, but also isn’t trying very hard either. Blandly forgettable entertainment that can “trend” for a few weeks and then disappear without a trace. Speaking of… Grade: C

138. “Rescued by Ruby”…Sweet, wholesome, dull, and not contributing much to the “dog genre” you couldn’t get from a dozen other movies. Grade: C

137. “Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again”…A “straight to Disney-plus” cheap, animated sequel that has almost none of the same cast as the live-action movies doing the voices of the same characters. It’s not even 75 minutes without closing credits, and yet manages to still feel too long. Grade: C

136. “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Roderick’s Rules”…Another cheap animated film that went straight to streaming, and I suppose the old adage of “you get what you pay for” is true here too. Grade: C

135. “Ebenezer Scrooge: A Christmas Carol”…The 4,000th version of “A Christmas Carol” out there, and not even the best one of 2022 (“Spirited” is slightly better…slightly). And the animation style sometimes comes off as generic. Grade: C

134. “Santaman”…I hate to be the curmudgeon that gives this movie a “C”-grade, but the animation style almost looks unfinished. You may not be expecting an A-grade script from a Christmas cheapie, but professional-animation could compensate for that. Grade: C

133. “Slumberland”…People will like this movie more if they know nothing about its source material. However, “Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland” was a movie I watched countless times as a kid (itself based on a century-old comic book strip), and so this completely unfaithful adaptation is a disappointment. Grade: C

132. “Jurassic World Dominion”…Since the very beginning of the “Jurassic” franchise, we’ve wanted to see these dinosaurs let loose in our world. “Dominion” finally fulfills that promise, and the result is the best in the “World” franchise…even if that is still only an average experience. Grade: C

131. “After Yang”…For a movie starring Colin Farrell and Jodie Turner-Smith as a positively portrayed interracial couple to score a “C” grade from Alabama Liberal it must be doing something very wrong. “Yang” is one of those “reaching for profundity” sci-fi dramas that feel like something you’ve seen before. Most critics have gone nuts for its hushed tones, glacial pace, and vague mood of clinical depression, but the general dullness of “Yang” never won me over. Grade: C

130. “Samaritan”…Neither a good movie nor a total waste of time, the true definition of a “C” grade movie. Sylvester Stallone knows how to make even haphazardly written characters charismatic, and there are a few “better than you would think” action set pieces here. Grade: C

129. “The Day the Music Died”…This is a documentary on the song “American Pie,” and I would say it accomplished something close to the opposite of “Hallelujah” which is that it made me appreciate a song I didn’t have much interest in a little bit more after watching it. Grade: C+

128. “Fantasy Football”…Marsai Martin has effortless charm, and so even if this Nickelodeon-produced movie isn’t great, you might find yourself smiling more than you would think. Grade: C+

127. “Downton Abbey: A New Era”…This sequel tries to “liven things up” with a motion picture subplot, a trip to an Italian villa, and the death of the series’s most beloved character. Still, this never shakes the feeling of being a cozy, so-so TV-movie that’s been promoted to theaters because the first one made money. What we all really want to see is these characters during WWII blitzkriegs (“Mrs. Miniver” style), but I’m scared they’ll all be dead by the time this series makes it to that point in history. Grade: C+

126. “Devotion”…A curiously abstract viewing experience, this is advertised as a buddy-movie about the deep friendships that develop during war, but then why does Jonathan Majors look like he barely wants to share a scene with Glen Powell? Their chemistry never sparks, and I also think there’s a much better Glen Powell-co-starring war movie about the complex relationships between Navy combat pilots you could’ve seen in 2022. Grade: C+

125. “The Automat”…If you have ever had any interest in hearing Mel Brooks talk about what he and Car Reiner could get for 50-cents at an automat-restaurant, this documentary is for you. Probably, 90% of people will just simply have no interest in this subject matter, but this is the best possible presentation of that subject matter, and may give you a feeling of nostalgia for a time when you could get an actual meal for a dollar. Grade: C+

124. “Paws of Fury”…Speaking of Mel Brooks, there’s this bizarre remake of “Blazing Saddles,” which transports the core story to samurai cats and dogs. Some of the animation really pops (like a flashback samurai scene that looks like a graphic novel), but the humor rarely does. It’s also a depressing commentary on the corporatization of our media that even a legendarily scandalous movie like “Blazing” can be watered down into a “cats vs. dogs” cartoon. Grade: C+

123. “Mr. Malcolm’s List”…Dull period romance where the most interesting hookup is happening off to the side: Zawe Ashton’s spikier beauty scheming revenge on one man while falling for another. Grade: C+

122. “Bullet Train”…Given the enormously talented cast, this probably could’ve been a lot better. Truthfully, this might be the weakest presentation possible of the seemingly can’t-miss premise of having Brad Pitt, Brian Tyree Henry, Michael Shannon, and the always-luminous Zazie Beetz (who’s on-screen for about five minutes) trying to kill each other on a train. Grade: C+

121. “Hello/Goodbye/And Everything In-Between”…I know for a fact I watched this disposable teen romance, but I’m struggling to remember much about it all these months later. Perhaps I should take notes when watching teen romances since something about these movies seems especially forgettable to me. Grade: C+

120. “The Forgiven”…A bunch of soulless, white rich people party it up in a Muslim country where the locals hate their guts, and make only a minimal effort to hide it. Ralph Fiennes plays the one most capable of redemption, and is the film’s unexpected heart. Grade: C+

119. “The Lost City”…Like most critics, I wanted to like this movie more than I actually liked it. It’s rare Hollywood even attempts “Romancing the Stone”-style adventure movies, and I think every effort should be made to get more diversity of genre out there (watching 50 cheap horror movies a year and everything else being sci-fi or fantasy is going to get old pretty fast). The movie has occasional flashes of smarts–Brad Pitt’s commando steals the handful of scenes he’s in–but too much of it feels like one irritating slog through the jungle. [Right after this movie came out, Sandra Bullock said she wanted to take a break from acting because she no longer wanted to be doing movies. I hate to say it, but her lack of passion is visible, and the phrase “phoning it in” comes to mind.] Grade: C+

118. “All the Old Knives”…Not a great or even very good spy drama, but man oh man, do Thandiwe Newton and Chris Pine have chemistry. A more traditional (and bigger budget) spy romance starring these two would’ve been nice. Grade: C+

117. “Enola Holmes 2”…Not sure anybody was really demanding this become a franchise, but this one isn’t much worse than the original, and Millie Bobbie Brown is effortlessly charismatic. Grade: C+

116. “A Christmas Mystery”…Plucky kid detectives tackle a case in this HBOMax-movie that feels like an old “Harriet the Spy” script with a tacked-on Christmas setting. Grade: C+

115. “Call Me Miss Cleo”…Psychic hotlines are a great subject for a documentary, but I could almost feel the reluctance for these filmmakers to truly dig deep on their subject. [For example, they never come out and ask Miss Cleo directly if she’s a fake and if she felt bad about misleading people.] And many of the talking heads are….”less than relevant,” such as repeated interviews with Raven Symone, who has no real connection whatsoever to this material. Grade: C+

114. “Not Okay”…A movie that gets worse the more I think about it. For a while, “Okay” is a scathing, dead-on portrayal of a young urban culture that is ridiculously fake even as it pretends to prize “realness” (the main character works at a Buzzfeed type online news platform that is so ludicrously “hip” none of the employees even know they’re stock characters). But then the movie tries to have its cake and eat it too by satirizing a culture so fame-hungry, they’ve even commoditized being a victim, but also joining in on the ruthless attacks when someone falls from grace (if celebrating being in the wrong place at the wrong time is in fashion now, a side effect of that is a culture that wants to choose who it blames just as harshly). At the end of the movie, the only options for our disgraced protagonist seem to be killing herself or becoming invisible. Grade: B-

113. “Armageddon Time”…A bit of a regression for James Gray, who elevated his usual themes leaps and bounds with the 2019 masterpiece “Ad Astra.” However, “Time” finds him retreating back to the NYC of yesteryear, and even if I could relate to his scruffy, semi-autobiographical hero (who eventually wants to run away to Orlando), this story never grabs you. I’d also like to end the trend of Gen-X and boomer directors exploring their childhoods to mixed results (this, “Licorice Pizza,” “Fablemans”) since the early days of directors are rarely as fascinating as they believe them to be. Grade: B-

112. “A Love Song”…Let’s be honest, most viewers would probably stop watching this after about 10 minutes, and I can’t really lie to them and say the tricky last third makes up for the slow-as-molasses first third. However, it’s always great to see a showcase for the underrated Dale Dickey, and the time you spend with her and Wes Studi’s soulful caller does work a low-key spell. Grade: B-

111. “The Last Bus”…A very old British man decides to take a final cross-country bus ride. This isn’t exactly “Living” but it’s more affecting than you might think. Grade: B-

110. Disney’s Pinocchio…Most consider this the redheaded stepchild of Pinocchio remakes and dramatically inferior to Guillermo Del Toro’s joyless, miserably unfaithful interpretation…and most are wrong. Occasional flashes of a good movie are peppered throughout, and I can’t say it’s any worse than most of Disney’s other unnecessary live action remakes. That the Razzies nominated this film for multiple “awards” (even Worst Picture) only proves how few movies they actually watch each year. Grade: B-

109. “Disenchanted”…Speaking of unnecessary live-action Disney movies, there’s this loooong in the works sequel to “Enchanted.” Is this as good as the first movie? Not even close, but it also manages to have enough good things going for it to feel like more than just a cash grab. In a year that saw the dismal “Hocus Pocus 2,” that’s no small thing. Grade: B-

108. “Father of the Bride”…A movie that has so little to do with any of the previous versions of “Father,” that it would’ve worked much better as an original script (and I wouldn’t be surprised if it started out that way). It even makes the unnecessary decision to have Andy Garcia and his long-time wife be separated at the beginning instead of facing the insanity together. Grade: B-

107. “Secrets of the Oligarch Wives”…There’s a hunger for anything sordid and Russian at this moment, and this Peacock-documentary does a good job of pulling back the curtain (a little bit) on the infamous oligarchs and the complex relationships some have with their spouses…a few of whom are prematurely widowed. Grade: B-

106. “The Good Nurse”…When I read the non-fiction chiller “The Good Nurse,” Charles Cullen might’ve been the scariest real-life boogeyman I’d ever come across. In the film version, Eddie Redmayne doesn’t even come close to doing him justice (Eddie is probably my least favorite young actor consistently getting awards nominations today), and too many aspects of the story feel watered down. [This is the rare Hollywood movie where the real life events are more sensationalized than the film treatment.] It’s a nice performance from Jessica Chastain, but this is absolutely not the best version of this material that could’ve been made. Grade: B-

105. “Barbarian”…There were a lot of low-budget horror movies in 2022, and you could certainly do worse than this well-acted, twist-filled monster movie. Justin Long’s disgraced actor gives the underrated Long his juiciest part in years. Grade: B-

104. “See How They Run”…Occasionally entertaining, but I kept waiting for this movie to really take off and soar (not an unreasonable expectation given the stellar cast), and it never did. Grade: B-

103. “Rosaline”…It’s fine, just…fine. Although it did feel like sour grapes to include an end scene where Romeo and Juliet already look bored with each other. Grade: B-

102. “Escape the Field”…One of those enjoyably schlocky high-concept premise thrillers that is just right for an after-midnight Friday night viewing. Is this a good movie? No, but it’s compulsively watchable, and sometimes that is more than enough. Grade: B-

101. “I Came By”…Hugh Bonneville embraces his hidden dark side as one of the better villains of the year. If only I cared more about the heroes he kept dispatching with ease. Grade: B-

100. “Deep Water”…An erotic thriller with actual steamy sex scenes? Yes, please. Sure, the last act is pretty ridiculous, and Ana De Armas’s character is a hellcat cliche, but Ben Affleck is working in “morally ambiguous” mode, which happens to be my favorite way to see him operate. Grade: B-

99. “Our Father”…A documentary about a sinister fertility specialist who used his own sperm to impregnate unknowing women. With the dozens of kids all grown up (they don’t have an exact count of exactly how many siblings they have but it’s at least 94), they share their outrage and pain with us, and a few even hope to connect with their half-siblings. I’ve seen slightly better docs about this same subject (like “Baby God,” about a different crackpot fertility villain). Grade: B-

98. “All That Breathes”…This documentary about falcons in an urban setting has occasional moments of pure poetry as one of the brothers describes the movement of one of these majestic birds, but also a very leisurely pace. Grade: B-

97. “Home Team”…A Kevin James family comedy centered around football isn’t something I’d normally have interest in, but the reviews have been too harsh for this and I feel obligated to point out it’s probably better than you think. Grade: B-

96. “The Bob’s Burgers Movie”…Fans of the show might love this, but I’ve never seen an episode and thought the laughs were too-few-and-too-far between. Grade: B-

95. “A Christmas Story Christmas”…A sequel to “A Christmas Story” that is probably on par–if not slightly better–than the original, which isn’t necessarily one of my favorite Christmas movies. Some standout features here are winningly low-key performances and the occasional joke that makes you smirk. Grade: B-

94. “The Noelle Diaries”…I like my Christmas romances to be of the interracial variety, and that’s a good thing for this movie, since the central romance is about the only thing it’s got going for it. Grade: B-

93. “Christmas on Mistletoe Lake”…Similar to “Noelle,” this would barely qualify as a real movie without the contagiously-joyful central performance from Genelle Williams (she does a good job of generating real heat with an actor of limited means). Grade: B-

92. “The Blue’s Clues Movie”…This is obviously just a brand extension that barely feels like a “real movie,” and it’s pretty cynical for Paramount/Nickelodeon to put this out as–wait! The original Steve from “Blue’s Clues” is in this? Okay, it’s not bad then. Grade: B-

91. “Confess Fletch”…A few chuckles scattered throughout, but Jon Hamm’s take on the character is pretty light on true idiocy or slapstick. This is more a showcase for Hamm’s charm (and smarm), proving he’d be excellent for the types of roles Cary Grant used to play–so…if there’s ever a “To Catch a Thief” remake… Grade: B-

90. “Spiderhead”…Out of all Netflix’s disposable 2022 thrillers, I thought this one had the most going for it. At the very least, it’s an interesting actor’s showcase as all three of the film’s leads are either trying out new shades (weaselly villainy for Chris Hemsworth) or being pushed to their limits (human guinea pigs Miles Teller and Jurnee Smollett). Grade: B-

89. “Marry Me”…So many people have criticized the chemistry between Owen Wilson and Jennifer Lopez (as they too often do for interracial romances when the truth is that most movie couples don’t have a lot of chemistry), but isn’t it nice to see an intelligent, old-fashioned romantic comedy that won’t make you roll your eyes too much? Grade: B-

88. “Secret Headquarters”…Speaking of Owen Wilson-starring movies that are only so-so, there’s this family action film. I probably would’ve ranked this film lower, but my own kids loved it, and I can’t say that about all of the movies that were supposedly marketed to them. Plus, Michael Pena adds a few laughs as a corporate villain. Grade: B-

87. “Sonic the Hedgehog 2”…A surprising disappointment for me personally, as I’m one of the few critics that really went for the first Sonic movie. However, this thing has too many unnecessary subplots (one involving Natasha Rothwell’s wedding is just embarrassing), not nearly enough style, and just isn’t as entertaining or well-crafted as the first one. Grade: B-

86. “Halftime”…This documentary argues that one of the most visible entertainers of the last 25 years is also one of the most underrated. I’m inclined to agree that Jennifer Lopez is a better actress than most people think, but I can’t say this doc showed us much about Lopez that we didn’t already know. Grade: B

85. “Descendant”…A Mobile-set documentary that has a very “deliberate” pace (you can’t deny it’s slow), but provides a bit of Alabama history that might very well be of interest to anyone reading this blog. Grade: B

84. “Riverdance”…An animated movie that is just weird enough to be diverting. Bored parents have certainly sat through worse in recent years. Grade: B

83. “Holiday Harmony”…By this point, you might be asking “Seriously Alabama Liberal, what’s up with you and these straight-to-streaming Christmas movies?” But this one is better crafted than most, and features a couple with genuine heat. You can’t ask for much more than that out of these types of movies. Grade: B

82. “A Hollywood Christmas”…A straight-to-streaming Christmas movie about straight-to-streaming Christmas movies, so this one is more self-aware and funnier than most. It’s rare to see a cheapie film that both deconstructs the limitations of its formula and offers up an appealing affirmation of it. Grade: B

81. “Spirited”…Ryan Reynolds is well-cast as an irredeemably smarmy bastard, and it’s rare Will Ferrell is asked to play the relative straightman (he pulls it off well), and a couple of the songs are even catchy. Grade: B

80. “No Exit”…A tense, nasty little thriller that is just-right for what it is. One of those movies you might stumble across with little knowledge, and then think “that was better than I thought it would be.” Grade: B

79. “Capturing the Killer Nurse”…For me, this Netflix documentary (meant to accompany the vaguer Hollywood movie) is better than the big-budget movie most will watch instead. It does a much better job of explaining Charles Cullen’s horrifying crimes (there’s a chance he’s the most prolific serial killer in U.S. history) and the motivations of the three nurses who all helped bring him down. Grade: B

78. “Smile”…A genuinely scary movie that doesn’t do much beneath the surface, but still manages to work a creepy spell that may stick with you for a while afterwards. Grade: B

77. “Significant Other”…The most stealth scary movie of the year; I doubt many are even aware this insidious creep-out exists, but I would encourage you to seek it out. Between this and “A Friend of the Family,” Jake Lacy is becoming the most reliably terrifying young actor out there. Grade: B

76. “X”…It eventually collapses in a heap of gore, but the first two-thirds cast a mesmerizing spell with some interesting thoughts on aging and lust. It also reveals one of the deeper truths behind the modern (and always) cultural divide: there’s more than a bit of jealousy fueling the red-state righteousness. Grade: B

75. “The Stranger”…A genuinely clever premise and a pair of strong central performances make this worth seeking out. I don’t want to give away any of the movie’s twists and turns, so I’ll just recommend sticking with this through a murky beginning. Grade: B

74. “My Son”…This movie might’ve technically come out in 2021, but most American audiences wouldn’t have had access to it until 2022. Either way, it’s a “parent’s worst nightmare” thriller with genuine atmosphere, and a riveting lead performance from James McCoy as a father with no idea who to trust. Grade: B

73. “Spoiler Alert”…I feel the first half of this is the movie that most of the world wanted “Bros” to be: a sweet, occasionally funny (but not hilarious), intelligent gay romance with two leads that have genuine chemistry. Of course, tragedy eventually rears its ugly head, and then the story has nothing left to do but hit its “three-tissue” weeper beats quickly and get out without taxing us too much. If it feels a little too traditional (the leads rarely show ugliness or engage in true despair), that feels by design, and I felt a little frustrated that the movie appeared to be holding back its rage and sadness so much. Grade: B

72. “Survivor”…A holocaust boxing drama propelled by terrific performances and occasionally beautiful cinematography. Sure, there are some pacing problems, but the story is compelling enough that you won’t be in too big a rush to get away from these characters. Grade: B

71. “The Hater”…A political indie with a plot you can get behind: a liberal campaign operative living in a hopelessly red district decides to run as a Republican just so she can beat her old school bully (the Republican favorite) and hand the victory to the Democratic candidate. “Hater” does so much right in the first three-quarters, that it’s a shame a less-than-good ending (which heavily implies there is no real difference between Southern Democrats and Republicans) takes it from an “A-” grade to a “B” instead. Grade: B

70. “Thirteen Lives”…The documentary is a better, more thorough watch, but here the performances are solid (Viggo Mortensen and Colin Farrell do it with minimal theatrics), and the ending delivers the “Feel good” goods just as completely as you’d hope. Grade: B

69. “Where the Crawdads Sing”…Reminiscent of those great 90’s melodramas that actually took the rural South seriously; critics used to (somewhat-derisively) refer to these as “middle-brow” movies back when they won Oscars and the Oscars were different than the Independent Spirit Awards. I still want to live in a world where a movie like “Crawdads” gets a theatrical release even if it would’ve been a much bigger hit in the 80’s. Grade: B

68. “Amsterdam”…One of the year’s most unfairly disliked movies (Variety’s veteran critic called it the worst movie of 2022), and actually not bad if you can get past a few unnecessarily-gross medical dissection scenes. This is a film loosely based around “The Business Plot” that sought a fascist coup against FDR, and I sure would love to see a movie based on those actual events. Grade: B

67. “Bubble”…A beautiful anime centered around the appearance of mysterious, fantastical bubbles over Tokyo. [This is not to be confused with the Judd Apatow comedy we’ll see a few places higher on the list.] Even if the plot is mostly nonsense, what a great excuse to look at some of the year’s most striking animated visuals. Speaking of great visuals propping up a weak story… Grade: B

66. “Avatar: Way of the Water”…I count 2009’s original “Avatar” as one of the best theatrical experiences I’ve ever had. I grew tired of defending it from the “it rips off ‘Pocahontas’ and ‘Ferngully'” story complaints, because I realized that it did rip-off several other movies, but the theatrical experience was so strong that it compensated for all that. That year, “Up in the Air,” “The Hurt Locker,” and even “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” might’ve been the better movies, but “Avatar” was the one I watched in theaters 3 times.

So you can imagine my disappointment with “Water,” a movie that largely squanders its first hour as a retread of the first “Avatar,” and then overly complicates the rest with an unsatisfying subplot involving Jake Sully’s old Colonel nemesis having a love child that was never mentioned once in the first movie. This movie only really comes to life when exploring the water, but even scenes involving a personable whale-like creature can’t compete with the first movie’s awe-inspiring flying scenes or the curious, believable romance between Sully and Neytiri. Grade: B

65. “A Trip to Infinity”…A nice little science documentary mindblower made with about 0.00001% of “Avatar 2″‘s budget, and yet it still scrambles our minds just fine even if a good chunk of it appears to utilize free animation you could use for a powerpoint. Grade: B

64. “Good Night Oppy”…Speaking of nice little science documentaries, there’s this story about a Mars rover named Opportunity that was supposed to last only 90 days on the hostile red planet but wound up lasting 15 years. Some of the best parts are how emotional the NASA scientists get over “Oppy” and their investment in keeping the rover “alive.” Grade: B

63. “DC League of Super Pets”…You could’ve done much worse for family entertainment in 2022, and even if it all feels a little generic (a message about working as a team and The Rock as yet another heroically-inclined character), there are a handful of genuine laughs–mostly provided by a feisty turtle. Grade: B

62. “The Bad Guys”…Speaking of movies where guinea pigs are villains, you might prefer this crime comedy instead. Around the middle of it, I kept thinking how much I’d rather watch a caper romance with just Mr. Wolf and Diane Foxington (for animated characters, their chemistry is real) instead of the whole team, but the movie we get is pretty good too…I guess…Grade: B

61. “My Father’s Dragon”…Beautiful animation props up an occasionally too-serious story. Nothing bad about this movie necessarily, but I didn’t find that it particularly stuck in my memory either. Grade: B

60. “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On”…A sweet, original animation/live-action rockumentary hybrid that is occasionally moving, but usually “leisurely paced.” As your mind wanders, you might wonder about unrelated things like whether it was awkward for divorced people like Dean Fleischer and Jenny Slate to work together again and/or whether it actually was “Captain America” star Chris Evans that broke up their marriage. When a movie moves slow enough for you to consider when the right time to file your taxes would be, then the limits of its whimsical charms are revealing themselves. Grade: B

59. “Apollo 10 1/2”…A “what if?” space riff that’s really just a collection of asides about Richard Linklater’s childhood. I enjoyed it, but some viewers might find their patience wearing thin as Linklater goes to elaborate lengths to tell you everything about his early life. Grade: B

58. “TikTok Boom”…A good crash-course into TikTok, how it works, its founding, and especially why so many stubborn Americans insist on using it. Still, I wish the presentation had been a little more critical into the overall culture TikTok perpetuates. For example, one major “creator” is filled with existential dread over the platform possibly getting banned in the U.S. because beatboxing videos on TikTok are how he makes his “living,” and the doc doesn’t seem to question him on how sustainable a career path beatboxing videos are or why he can’t do the same damn thing on a platform that doesn’t explicitly suppress negative stories about the Chinese government. A couple of the creators (usually very young, “hot” women) do seem aware that the flash-fame, TikTok-culture they’re profiting off of is not only bad, but will one day dispose of them, and it might’ve been nice to explore what that does to the psyche of a generation to be cyber-pimped. Grade: B

57. “Elvis”…A truly great performance undermined by lousy direction. Baz Luhrmann does everything he can to make his Elvis biopic feel inauthentic (the entirety of the white cast members other than Austin Butler and Tom Hanks are Australian, and then there’s Hanks’ carnival-freak accent and performance) and suffocating (the first half is over-directed to the point of exhaustion). Somehow, Butler cuts through the bullshit to connect you to Elvis–especially during the strong Las Vegas section. When he finally tells off his parasitic manager or begins losing his mind on stage, you feel as if you’re right there with the real Elvis. Even though I’m glad Brendan Fraser won the Oscar (it’ll doubtlessly be his only win, whereas I believe Butler is just getting started with great things), Butler still gives one of the year’s top 5 performances, without question. Grade: B

56. “Lightyear”…I feel audiences have been too hard on this Buzz Lightyear-solo adventure, which could’ve launched a genuinely interesting space franchise if audiences could’ve gotten past their desire to see yet another “Toy Story” sequel. Even if not everything in this movie works (having General Zurg be an older version of Buzz is a horrible twist), there’s still plenty that does–more towards the first half than the second. Grade: B

55. “Luck”…A sweet, pleasantly strange story that little kids will love. [I can almost thank “Luck” for keeping my daughter entertained enough to write this article.] Once again, Rotten Tomatoes misses the point with a movie like this–increasingly unsurprising–and it’s important to just let this uncynical charmer do its thing without judgment. Grade: B+

54. “Chip ‘N Dale: Rescue Rangers”…The funniest family movie of 2022. There are genuine laughs in this, and not just “funny for a cartoon” laughs. Not since the masterpiece that is “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” have I felt this type of film was pulled off as successfully. Grade: B+

53. “Death on the Nile”…So I hated the “interracial couple meets with tragedy” addition to this version of an often-adapted story. But I’m a sucker for this type of movie, the new Hercule Poirot franchise specifically, and found this to be a little bit better than Kenneth Branuahg’s previous adaptation of “Murder on the Orient Express” (the scenery is better, the mystery twistier, and the cast may not be as starry, but it’s thrilling to watch Gal Gadot and Emma Mackey explore characters they don’t normally play). Grade: B+

52. “Prey”…Just like with “Nile,” I’m a sucker for the “Predator” franchise. [I still maintain that Robert Rodriguez’s “Predators” was the best “Predator” sequel and would’ve made a worthy franchise if they had explored it with further installments.] This prequel has less advanced technology (a great idea) and the franchise’s first female lead (a captivating Amber Midthunder). It may not be as good as “Predators,” but it’s much better than the terrible “The Predator.” Grade: B+

51. “The Menu”…Ralph Fiennes does a good job of making his monster strangely sympathetic and getting you inside his unique ability to see right through people. And the rest of this excellent cast does a good job oscillating between the tricky balancing act of wanting these characters to be saved or maybe not. I can’t say I entirely agreed with the extreme brutality shown to everyone, but this is a memorable, unique movie experience that will stay with you for a while after you’ve watched it. Grade: B+

50. “Windfall”…An enjoyable, small-scale thriller that feels more like a very good, tense psychological play. Jesse Plemons, Jason Siegel, and perhaps especially Lilly Collins are playing against type here–to great results. Grade: B+

49. “Bros”…This is one of the more unusual romantic comedies I’ve ever seen and not just because it stars two men (like its main character, “Bros” sometimes uses its queerness as armor); after all, I’ve never seen a heterosexual romantic comedy where the leads engage in multiple foursomes. “Bros” is scathing (insightful jabs at the commoditization of queerness are numerous), moves quickly, and features a “first sex” scene that looks more like a wrestling match. If “Bros” has a legacy, it’ll probably be proving that Billy Eichner is ready to become the most caustic leading rom-com star since the heyday of Albert Brooks. Grade: B+

48. “The Fall”…Most years there is an enjoyably dumb, trashy shark attack movie or some other such thriller involving young, dumb characters stuck in an impossible situation of survival. “Fall” is a nerve-dangling premise that had my palms sweaty in certain chunks (I think it might’ve been especially fun to watch on a huge screen, but the movie’s limited theatrical release makes it unlikely most people saw it that way). A good “stunt” movie…Grade: B+

47. “White Hot: The Rise and Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch”…I’m right in that millennial age group where brands like Abercrombie tried to make us feel like shit in order to buy their clothes–if they even wanted us to buy them, as “White Hot” makes clear, Abercrombie executives appear to view selling clothes as secondary to selling an ideal. This is a genuinely fascinating documentary about toxic brands and who runs them; for example, the ex-CEO of Abercrombie had a fetish for “All Americanness” that borders on Hitler youth even though he was a plastic-surgery obsessed gay man in his 50’s clearly working through some stuff. However, I wish the documentary had dug deeper into the future to make the point that today’s brands may be more diverse, but they haven’t really abandoned the scheme of selling kids that there’s only one way to be “cool” and marketing directly to that perception. Grade: B+

46. “Beast”…A straightforward (yet better than you might think) thriller. Idris Elba grounds the proceedings with effortless gravitas, and the tense tracking shots add to the feeling that you’re watching this frightening beast hunt our heroes. Grade: B+

45. “Pelosi in the House”…I believe just about anybody other than Nancy Pelosi’s own daughter could’ve made a better documentary about the iconic first female Speaker of the House; “House” tracks with Alexandra Pelosi’s style of cutting together random “fly on the wall” bits hoping it gels into a coherent, well-presented doc. Still, it’s occasionally thrilling to watch a Democratic leader Republicans were actually afraid of doing her thing, getting her votes, passing her bills, and pissing off Trump. Grade: B+

44. “The Swimmers”…A feel good true story that earns its uplift. We follow the “swimming sisters” as they party around Damascus, eventually make a harrowing trip across the ocean as refugees (after their in-denial father finally understands the danger when a bomb literally falls through a swim meet), and then struggle to get a European swim contact as legally-in-limbo refugees. Grade: B+

43. “The Black Phone”…One of the best horror movies of the year because of an insanely-likable lead character (it’s impossible not to root for this boy to overcome horrific odds) and a vividly vile villain (Ethan Hawke, proving he can truly do anything). It’s been wild to watch critics say this movie “wasn’t scary enough” while rubber-stamping snoozes like “Nanny” or “Men.” This movie is beyond creepy and has enough in its shadows to freak you out just fine. Grade: B+

42. “Nope”…A genuinely original alien invasion movie is a hard thing to come by, and just when you think you’ve seen “scary aliens” covered from every angle, here comes one where what looks like the space ship is the alien itself. I enjoyed this more than Jordan Peele’s previous movies, and it’s his inventive, confident direction that puts it over the top. Grade: B+

41. “Dog”…Channing Tatum co-directs the best dog-based movie in years with this movie that’s really an exploration of America that just happens to involve a dog. One of the many things that stuck out is how rude and hostile most of the people are as Tatum’s character goes on his journey through areas as “different” as Portland and Texas. This becomes a snapshot of an America where it’s become okay to be a total jerk as long as you can somehow spin it as being righteous (whether it’s the patronizing women his character tries to flirt with at a Portland bar or a resentful cop played by Bill Burr). Grade: B+

40. “Raymond & Ray”…Ethan Hawke is an actor I would watch read the phone book, and so the “talky” nature of this low-key drama (his most frequent sparring partner is Ewan McGregor but there’s also nice scenes with Sophie Okonedo) is just fine with me. Even if I’m not sure these two brothers would actually spend money to bury their awful father (he was really bad), I bought the rest of it just fine. A good, moody small film that may even help you work through some issues towards your own family. Grade: B+

39. “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent”…Your enjoyment of this movie may depend heavily on how much you want to see Nicolas Cage make a comeback. My feelings on Cage are pretty neutral, but the movie is inventive, occasionally funny, and features the easy charisma of Pedro Pascal, the absolute right actor to make this complex-bromance believable. Grade: B+

38. “I Want You Back”…A high-concept, deception-based romantic comedy with actual laughs? What the hell is this, pre-2015 movies? I do wish the central romance between Charlie Day and Jenny Slate had been given more heat (I believe their chemistry is good, it’s just that the movie isn’t clear if it wants them to be more than friends), but this is still an appealing variation on a genre many are longing to see a comeback for. Grade: B+

37. “Your Christmas or Mine?”…A “straight-to-streaming” Christmas movie that is good enough for a theatrical release. The production quality is better than it needs to be, the lead actors are charming, and the central romance believable. Grade: B+

36. “Cheaper By the Dozen”…There’s really no point in having your own blog that you haven’t received any money to manage for over a decade if you aren’t going to champion things you love that other people don’t. This remake of “Cheaper” received so little fanfare (it was dumped on Disney-plus with no real marketing) that I’m not sure even the cast saw it. However, this is the best possible version of this material (previous versions of “Cheaper” just look like the family hates birth control, whereas it actually kind-of makes sense they have so many kids in this one), brought to life by a cast of goofy performers you would actually want to hang out with. Grade: B+

35. “Lyle Lyle Crocodile”…A charming family film where Javier Bardem steals every scene he’s in as a lovable rogue (not many movies cast Bardem as a rascally good-timer, but he’s surprisingly great at it). Grade: B+

34. “The Pez Outlaw”…A documentary about like “Beanie Mania,” where a fairly-ridiculous toy fad becomes a huge business. This one has an even more compelling central figure as we see a lone “outlaw” doing battle with the Pez corporation and its stubborn CEO. Grade: B+

33. “Violent Night”…Many would probably rank this film lower, but this is an example of a movie that under promises and over delivers at a time when so many movies do the exact opposite. Among the movie’s many (unexpected) virtues: John Leguizamo’s against-type turn as a commanding, steely villain; an aces-supporting cast featuring the always-welcome Alexis Louder having her first real box office hit; an adorably-cast little girl setting up R-rated “Home Alone” style traps; a positive portrayal of an interracial couple; a surprising sweetness underneath the bloodshed; and a terrific David Harbour having a great time as a badass Santa Claus, with the role of leading man looking good on him. Grade: A-

32. “The Bubble”…One of the most underrated movies of 2022 (one of Variety’s critics called it “one of the worst” five movies of the year–apparently not having seen many movies that year), this movie is laugh-out-loud funny in certain spots, and features a loaded cast having fun spoofing Hollywood fakery. [Karen Gillan might’ve used her experience making “Jumanji” for this.] I can’t believe there’s a movie where Maria Bakalova teases/tortures a horny Pedro Pascal and David Duchovny plays off of Leslie Bibb, and somehow people shrugged their shoulders. Grade: A-

31. “The Sea Beast”…One of the many heartbreaking things about Del Toro’s “Pinocchio” winning all these “Best Animated” awards is that it’s not only the worst movie nominated (or even considered), but that there are genuinely terrific movies that get completely ignored. “Sea Beast” is a thrilling animated adventure that takes its thrills seriously (you feel like there’s real danger in some sequences), and has a few stunning visuals (like the lobster-red title monster). This might be the best “seafaring adventure” since “Moana,” and I just hope enough people catch up with it one day. Grade: A-

30. “Polar Bear”…Just like I’m a sucker for Poirot mysteries and “Predator” sequels, there is just something singularly soothing–to me–about Disney’s nature documentaries. “Polar” features some of the most gorgeous scenery these movies have ever had, and the bears themselves make for more personable, compelling protagonists than 2019’s “Penguins.” Grade: A-

29. “Hustle”…Adam Sandler continues to be one of the most perplexing actors alive. He’ll be fantastic in “Uncut Gems,” then terrible in “Hubie Halloween,” and then back to doing great work in “Hustle.” [In 2023, he looks set to be both good and bad in the same year with “Spaceman” and “Murder Mystery 2.”] This is another showcase for Sandler’s vulnerability and frustrations as a middle-aged man struggling to get a chance to fulfill his potential. Nearly all the best scenes involve Sandler operating with an anxiety and soulfulness that feels relatable. Grade: A-

28. “Biden: Year One”…A tight political documentary detailing Biden’s first year in office, and just how tense the situation he inherited truly was. For example: I wasn’t aware that the January 6th coup put the DC-area so “on edge” during the first week, that White House staffers had to take buses from a secure location because no one was allowed to park anywhere near the White House. Most people complaining about gas prices and Biden’s “slowness” to react to whatever ails them seem to have forgotten he took office during the most tense political situation since Abraham Lincoln. To be even more clear: propagandists (like the shameless neo-fascist Tucker Carlson, who recently edited footage to make January 6th look peaceful) would very much like them to forget; hopefully, documentaries like this make that harder. Grade: A-

27. “The Contractor”…This is the best pure-action movie of 2022 (“Maverick” could be considered a war movie and even has elements of an adventure film). The plot is all-too-plausible, the action sequences are well-staged without being far-fetched, and Chris Pine gives his character a soulfulness that may not have been readily apparent on the page. A well-done genre film is nothing to sneeze at (though Rotten Tomatoes sure had an easy time doing it with this one), especially when it’s the action genre, which too often feels like “straight to streaming” junk “written” by the copy and paste command. Grade: A-

26. “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”…In some ways, this is a better movie than the breakout 2019 whodunit, even if the basic formula doesn’t actually deviate that much: an unusual house + a group of shady characters financially dependent on the host (this time friends instead of family) + a breakout young actress (this time Janelle Monae instead of Ana De Armas) + murders that look more like elaborate accidents + a smooth killer of privilege + some sociopolitical relevance = the same general construct. However, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing when the formula is so deeply satisfying. This movie is even more of a puzzle box, and it’s an extra level of delight to see Edward Norton in his best role in a decade, playing an Elon Musk-esque billionaire taken to his logical extreme. Grade: A-

25. “The Woman King”…This movie isn’t historically accurate at all, but that didn’t really bother me since it’s not really about King Ghezo (one of the most vicious slavers in West Africa). “Woman” is one of the most subtly unusual movies I’ve ever seen (a big, bold historical epic centered around black women), and it’s the women and their interplay that are worth watching here. I am downright hungry for historical epics to make a comeback (as evidenced by my number 1 movie pick), and this is a great step in the right direction. Between this and “Wakanda Forever,” 2022 became the first year I can think of where a predominately black woman cast led two big budget epics. Grade: A-

24. “Emily the Criminal”…A lot of people have seen “Breaking Bad,” but a lot of critics don’t seem to fully understand why the show struck such a cord with people: we were essentially watching the birth of a master criminal (the same basic trajectory that made “The Godfather” the highest grossing movie the year it was released) and how cathartic that can be for people who feel the deck is stacked against them. “Emily” gives us a millennial version of that same revelatory feeling, as Aubrey Plaza discovers her true calling. I would love to see a sequel to this movie. Grade: A-

23. “Good Luck to You Leo Grande”…It’s hard to do movies that are (mostly) set in a single-setting without making them feel too stagey or forced. Too often, there’s the obligatory scenes where one character threatens to “leave the room” but (inexplicably) never actually does in a way that strains plausibility in a time when people will storm out of any uncomfortable situation at the drop of a hat. But “Leo Grande” overcomes all these obstacles with a dynamic that makes sense for neither character to stomp out even when their buttons are being pushed, and along the way has a lot to say about gender roles, opening up to your sexuality, and the commoditization of intimacy (Emma Thompson’s character keeps pretending she doesn’t want artifice for her sake…even as she’s paying for a fantasy). At the top of her game is Emma Thompson–who might’ve found a way to at least be nominated for Best Actress in a perfect world–doing fearless work that also plays against her own typecasting as well. Grade: A-

22. “The Banshees of Inisherin”…Friendships disintegrating is something most people have experienced, and yet there’s been surprisingly few movies on the topic. At long last, “Banshees” gives us (possibly) the first truly great film almost-entirely about the falling out between two male friends, and the violent ripple effects of one man not wanting to hear the other’s voice intruding on his thoughts anymore. Real-life buds Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson inhabit their characters like a glove, with the titanically talented Gleeson finally scoring his first Oscar nomination. Likewise, Farrell’s transition from comedically anxious to darkly vengeful shows you how he finally secured his first Oscar nomination as well. Grade: A-

21. “All My Friends Hate Me”…Speaking of bad friends it’s time to move on from, this is one of those dark British comedies many people will have never heard of, but might stumble across on a streaming service after midnight. In some ways, this is the scariest horror movie of 2022, and it’s not even a horror movie at all. It conjures an effective mood of anxiety and dread from early on, until there’s a climax that flips everything on its head. [I personally believe that the lead character’s friends are fucking horrible and he should’ve left the party much sooner than he did, but others may disagree.] Anxiety disorders are at an all-time high, and this is the best exploration of millennial anxiety (it puts you inside the tense atmosphere people with anxiety disorders must feel all the time) I’ve ever seen on film. Grade: A-

The Top Twenty

20. (tie) “Babylon” and “Blonde”…Technically, most of the “A- movies” are better than these films, which are messy, flawed, divisive, and–for me–absolutely thrilling.

“Blonde” is probably the most unfairly hated film of 2023 (it “won” the Razzie for Worst Movie of the Year), and maybe that’s because it’s less a conventional biopic than a movie that deeply wants to take you inside the psyche of the person it’s exploring. It’s not just giving you a follow-the-dots greatest hits version of Marilyn Monroe’s life, but wanting you to feel like you’re really her in a way I rarely see biopics even attempt. By any possible metric, Marilyn’s life wasn’t a happy one, and the viscerally negative reactions this film has gotten are largely because it’s letting you feel that too. Her tortures become yours, and even relatively peaceful times (like her intelligence being instinctively underestimated by future-husband Arthur Miller–the rare man who doesn’t outright abuse her) have a cloud of dread and anxiety hanging over them. It’s not a pleasant feeling, but it’s as close as we’ll likely ever get to feeling not only Marilyn’s life, but the life of most tortured artists…which is probably why so many viewers are resentful for the experience.

Meanwhile, “Babylon” is like the good, 90’s version of Paul Thomas Anderson deciding to make a film about the transition of Hollywood from silent films to “talkies,” and how that inevitably led to the corporatization of the “Wild West” of Old Hollywood too. Director Damien Chazelle is taking big, bold swings here with insanely varied scenes involving elephant dung, snake wrestling, Tobey Maguire’s wax-figure looking gangster, Margot Robbie running wild through the scenery, and Brad Pitt’s moving portrayal of a silent star being told he’s finished. Movie critics of the 90’s–you know, good ones–would’ve championed this film properly and helped it become a cult classic of sorts.

19. “Strange World”…I’m a sucker for adventure films, and an inventive, beautiful, weird, old-fashioned-meets-vaguely-futuristic adventure film with an ecological message aimed right at kids? Take all my money, the whole family is going to the movie theater and even buying concessions, $200 be damned! It’s true that some of the character dynamics in “Strange” grow repetitive, but Disney hasn’t made a movie this flat gorgeous since “Moana” came out in 2016. Plus, the secret of the “hidden land” the characters find themselves in is undeniably cool, almost like the premise of some goofy dream or revelation you might’ve had as a kid (or on an acid trip), which I believe younger ones (or stoners) might find mind-blowing. Not to mention, this film was such a box office bomb that Disney will likely retreat into a world of all-sequels, all-the-time (they’ve already green-lit a whole bunch between this movie tanking and now), so an original film from them should be treasured while it’s here.

18. “Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever”…This follows a similar structure to the first movie, with a somewhat “hokey pokey” first third (aside from the emotional opening scene and funeral), and then really coming to life when the villain gets proper screen time and back story around the middle of the film. In some ways, Letitia Wright’s nerdy, devastated Suri is a more interesting superhero than Chadwick Boseman’s somewhat-plain T’Challa (let’s be honest, Michael B. Jordan’s vividly hateful Killmonger ran away with the first movie), and Wright does a great job of making her loss visceral. Some of my favorite sections include the spooky introduction to our villains (as they murder an oil rig), the visually striking underwater city they live in, and the interplay between different generations of black women trying to decide what’s best for the most powerful nation on Earth (Wright, Lupita N’yongo, the always-interesting Danai Gurira, and Angela Bassett, who–let’s be honest–should’ve won the Oscar).

16. (tie) “Jerry and Marge Go Large” and “Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris”…Many readers might think I’m insane for putting these two relatively-minor 2022 movies in the top 20 (especially “Jerry”), but these are surprisingly-similar, low-key triumphs about old people finding their spark again. [They’re different from “Living” or “The Last Bus” in that nobody’s dying, and they’re just looking to make changes because they’re tired of being stagnant.] “Jerry and Marge” is the rare Hollywood movie that takes its “flyover state” setting seriously, with a scheme to “rig” the Massachusetts state lottery allowing Jerry and Marge to revitalize their atrophying small town. Bryan Cranston and Annette Bening are perfectly cast, impossible not to like, and seem believable as a long-married couple.

“Mrs. Harris” simply has one of the most beautiful character arcs of the year. Viewers who hate their experience watching “Blonde” or even “Tar,” could definitely turn to this as a tonic. There’s something life-affirming on Leslie Manville’s face when she attends a Parisian fashion show and audibly gasps at the perfect dress she’s come there to purchase–even saying she’s buying a “dream” in a way that transcends consumerism to show you just how life-changing the right purchase can feel in the moment. As an added bonus, Jason Isaacs displays low-key charm as a man for whom the perfect dress can reveal something to.

It’s true that neither of these movies will ever win critic’s awards or wind up on too many cutting-edge “Best of the Year” lists, but these movies just might change your life anyway. [They certainly have a better chance than “All Quiet on the Western Front.”]

15. “Honk for Jesus, Save Your Soul”…Sterling K. Brown and Regina Hall are so good in the second-half dramatic scenes, that you almost wish the “mockumentary” format could be dropped halfway through. This is a “comedy” that becomes absorbing enough that you eventually stop laughing at the jokes altogether, as its story becomes deeper, darker, richer, and more tense. There are scenes–such as Brown circling a potential hookup like a shark as he pretends to shoot hopes or Hall’s pitiable desperation when she’s been told to “praise mime”–where the characters barely feel manipulated by a script into what they’re “supposed to do” for the plot, and instead feel more like real people who are almost unaware of why they’re doing what they’re doing.

14. “The Case Against Boeing”…A documentary about exactly what went wrong with those Boeing planes, but it also widens out to show what went wrong with the Boeing corporation more generally. Watching Boeing devolve from an interested-in-innovation, “lifetime job” company in the 50’s to an only-interested-in-the-stock price, “we don’t care about you” company of the 80’s could be the story of the overall American economy, and exactly why we’re “enjoying” the price gouging monopolies of today.

13. “Umma”…My favorite horror film of 2022. Don’t let the PG-13 rating fool you (why are these some of the scariest movies out there?), this is a deeply unsettling movie that will get under your skin. This is a film that captures the subtle terror of child abuse (where the person who’s supposed to protect our protagonist was the thing hurting her the most), and how the abuser might–inexplicably–be just as scared. It’s really about the powerful grip and expectations that old traditions can have on the children of immigrants–no matter negative keeping those things alive might actually be. Sandra Oh has always been good, but here just might be doing her best film work to date as a woman asked to be scared and scary, and delivering both emotions with equal skill. It’s a tricky performance not many actresses could pull off, but she knocks out of the park.

12. “Tar”…I’m still not totally sure how I feel about this movie. Part of me thinks it’s one of the best female antihero dramas of all time (Cate Blanchett is playing the type of role Robert De Niro might have in the 70’s), and part of me wonders about some of the choices writer/director Todd Field (making his long-awaited follow up after 15 years) made. “Tar” is fascinating but frustrating, surprising but too-long, and crisp but vague all at the same time. It opens with a 15 minute fake interview that feels thorough but only marginally relevant, yet closes with an end sequence that feels crucial but murky and rushed. Some people end this movie saying “what the hell was that?” and some leave thinking it’s the best movie of 2022. Because “Tar” is the only movie in the post-“MeToo” era to put you inside the point of view of the accused rather than the accuser (and the house-of-cards anxiety someone living under the threat of being “cancelled” must feel), it’s probably closer to the latter. Is “Tar” critiquing a culture that over-hypes artists only to tear them down with even greater ferocity or is it saying Lydia Tar has been too oblivious to other people’s feelings for too long to ever stop if she doesn’t get a comeuppance? Maybe both?

11. “Everything Everywhere All at Once”…15 years ago, this is the kind of movie that fifty people would’ve watched, and those of us did (myself included) would’ve been screaming from the rooftops for you to go see it. Today, the Oscars have basically become the Independent Spirit Awards, and that allowed this movie to become the first Sci-Fi movie to ever win the Best Picture award, along with almost every major award under the sun. The critical praise for this movie–and equally ecstatic audience response–almost risk overshadowing the movie’s quirky charms (which need to feel surprising and underdog-triumphant, much like the hapless family at its center), and this is a movie so stuffed with fascinating concepts, that it’s the rare movie I wish was longer. For example, a machine allowing you to traverse the multiverse versions of yourself is a brilliant idea that is covered so quickly, you might take it for granted as flashier sequences of dildo fights and cheese-gushing hotdog fingers imprint on your brain.

In some ways, the best performance in the movie is Stephanie Hsu, who has to alternate between nihilistic badass (her “bad version”‘s first appearance in an Elvis suit is riveting) and lost, longing, and lonely young daughter. Ke Huy Quan breaks through the wildness with a third-act monologue that is heartbreaking and optimistic, a perfect representation of this movie’s title having an emotional meaning, as it’s taking us to every place you can imagine–sometimes in the same 5 minute stretch. [I’ll be honest and admit that if this film had not won so much already, it would be in my “top 10,” and probably very close to the top. However, I kind-of enjoy spreading the wealth, and “Everything” is the first film in Academy history to win Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Editing, and three acting Oscars.]

10. “Navalny”…What’s your pick for the most jaw-dropping movie scene of 2022? For me, it has to be Alexei Navalny brazenly calling his own would-be assassins to ask them questions about his own, near-fatal poisoning. Chunks of “Navalny” unfold like the tensest and most remarkable of thrillers, with an element of “Am I really watching this?” in the best possible way.

9. “Sunset”…This twisty Tim Roth drama came out so early in 2022, that some might consider it a 2021 movie instead. For me, this captures the mood of the post-CoVid world perfectly in that Roth’s character knows he’s supposed to “go back to normal” (after a familial loss), but just doesn’t want to. The script could’ve been written by Albert Camus, as the existentialism of the lead character clashes with sudden, violent events. Some may find this movie tedious, but it’s hard to deny it’s an atmosphere many people are feeling.

8. “The Batman”…So I’ll always maintain that Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy is the best possible presentation of Batman, as we see him from beginning to (underrated) ending, and certainly “The Batman” isn’t perfect. [There’s Paul Dano’s over-the-top acting, Robert Pattison’s under-acted Bruce Wayne that’s indistinguishable from Batman, an over-reliance on screen fakery instead of real sets, and plot holes like Batman getting fired at while escaping from a police station but only a few nights later the cops seem to have forgotten it as he prowls a crime scene or the Riddler’s master plan involving a password he’s inexplicably carved into his own floor.] However, the gothic score is spellbinding, some visuals are admittedly unforgettable (like an upside down Batman walking from a background of flames), the corruption-based plot is very strong, Zoe Kravitz is easily the sexiest Catwoman to actually share scenes with Batman (Halle Berry never did), and the climax at a flooded stadium works brilliantly, with Batman carrying a flare as a symbol of his desire to morph from a figure of pure intimidation to one of heroic aspiration.

7. “Top Gun Maverick”…I’ve seen this movie with an audience three times (once was on the deck of a cruise ship), and each time, the audience exploded when it was over. I have been an avid movie goer for decades, but never once seen a film get multiple standing ovations. Cynics may scoff at the analog charms and real thrills of “Top Gun Maverick” (the best film to watch in an actual theater in the entirety of 2022) and you can already hear the refrains of “it wasn’t that good,” but those people are missing something special. Out of the 10 highest grossing films of 2022, “Maverick” is the only one that is not science-fiction, fantasy, or superhero-based–even more remarkable, it’s the highest grossing domestically, getting Americans to care about more than the Comic-Conization of the box office we’ve seen grow like kudzu over the last decade or so. “Maverick” is interested in real people and their physical limitations, and a big chunk of the movie is devoted to testing the limits of what the human body can endure, a problem most modern blockbusters brush away with a magic amulet or superpowers. It is not only resurrecting the war or adventure film, but an era when Hollywood was remotely interested in real people.

6. “The Whale”…I’m still not sure I believe this movie is very good, so much as it contains my favorite performance of the year within it. No disrespect to Austin Butler (a worthy competitor with his transformational Elvis performance), but Brendan Fraser simply blew me away here. Forgotten 90’s stars making a comeback has been very en vogue lately (the McConnaisance, the Reese Revolution, Keanu being cool again post-“John Wick”), but Fraser delivers the most revelatory performance I’ve seen from a major actor since Steve Carell in “Foxcatcher.” He is so devastatingly vulnerable and good-natured (even as we’re essentially watching a slow motion suicide) that it might finally create sustained empathy for obesity, a common condition in America that has been all but excluded from its movies.

Sure, there are things I didn’t enjoy about “Whale” (Sadie Sink’s heartless daughter would’ve been abrasive on her own, but it’s made more repetitive by Hong Chau and Samantha Morton choosing to yell many of their lines), but it’s worth it for the expose on pious faux-“compassion” (a self-absorbed missionary finally admits he finds the main character mostly disgusting), the harrowing deep dive into Fraser’s food binges (frankly, some of it looks uncomfortably familiar), and an ending that could’ve been goofy, but instead feels uplifting.

5. “Vengeance”…To be honest, I wasn’t expecting this movie to be anywhere near as good as it wound up being. This crime dramedy takes the condescending anthropological podcast/TV show premise of “New Yorker goes to the sticks and tries to understand it all” (a la Sarah Silverman and a dozen others), and has real fun with it. For starters, you don’t expect the most insightful character in the movie to be Ashton Kutcher’s ambiguous, eloquent cowboy-record executive (Kutcher acts here with a skill you didn’t realize he had) nor to see a good analogy drawn between Whataburger and Starbucks. Too much “red state vs. blue state” entertainment smacks of exoticism, but “Vengeance” makes a real, genuine effort to understand its characters and deliver laugh out loud cringe-comedy with a compelling mystery. This was a little bit like this year’s “Stillwater,” another underrated, overlooked tale of surprising rural characters.

4. “Fire of Love”…Some of the most beautiful images I’ve ever seen in a documentary can be found here. The story is pretty simple (boy meets girl and they both love investigating volcanoes), and you could probably not even read the subtitles and get a good idea of what’s going on. This is a purely visual story that might’ve been great to watch on an IMAX screen if the theatrical release hadn’t been so small. Still, it delivers interesting facts about volcanoes (I would not have thought the “smoky” grey ones were more dangerous than the fiery lava ones), and an affecting ending.

3. “Turning Red”…The most delightful animated movie of the year, and probably the best from Pixar in the last few years. In a just world, Del Toro’s overrated “Pinocchio” would’ve been pushed aside for this funny, popping movie that contains real truths about mothers and daughters. It’s hard to believe there has never been a truly great movie about getting your period or any major animated movie (regardless of quality) about it. “Red” fixes both those problems, and even provides a cultural snapshot of the early-00’s, as our heroine is obsessed with a hysterically cheesy boy band and taking care of one’s digital pet was the mark of true friendship.

2. “Three Thousand Years of Longing”…Probably the most misunderstood movie of the year, as this thing just barely clears a “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes and one of my favorite critics (Variety’s Owen Gleiberman) put it on his “5 Worst of the Year” list. Well, there’s no point being Alabama Liberal if you’re going to play it safe and just go along with the crowd, and “Longing” is a vastly better movie than it’s been given credit for. For starters, Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba are a movie couple you may not have even realized you wanted, and it’s a credit that they conjure up so much heat when the movie takes a third-act pivot into romance. When he has sex with her for the first time, it’s like being wrapped in a warm blanket of smoke that looks as comforting as a cloud.

Still, the bulk of the movie is Elba’s genie telling his life’s story. What he’s been up to over the last three thousand years turns out to be fascinating, offering up cautionary tales throughout the ages. A little bit like a fantasy version of “Everything Everywhere,” this movie is weird and narratively daring, but also working from a traditional, character-driven core.

The Best Movie of 2022: “The Northman”…As I mentioned in the mini-review for “The Woman King,” I am starving for historical epics to make a comeback, and visionary director Robert Eggers delivered a wilder, modern day “Spartacus” with this bracing, strange, technically-flawless epic. [How in the hell this movie was completely shut out of the technical categories at the Oscars is an injustice.] Alexander Skarsgard’s wronged viking prince has to enter slavery in order to get his revenge, falling in love, discovering he might have the worst mother in history, and having an epic volcano fight before it’s all over. The stacked cast includes Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe, and a seething Nicole Kidman. The scenery is breathtaking (I truly wish more people had seen this in a movie theater), the tracking-shot heavy cinematography thrilling, and Skarsgard makes the most of his best movie role in years. What’s not to love?

One thought on “All 2022 Movies Reviewed, Graded, and Ranked From Worst to Best

  1. Renee

    I always look forward to your reviews each year. I must say that you need to do some movie reviews on the Today show. I miss the guy that did that so long ago. You like him have the same taste in movies that I have.

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