Helllo everyone! Welcome to the biggest night in show business. Forget the Oscars. Forget the Golden Globes (already done, amirite). And forget the SAGs. That’s right. It’s time for Dylan’s Top Ten list!!!
Honestly, this has been a pretty good year. Making the Top 10 list was extremely tough. There were a lot of movies I’d give 8s or 9s that simply did not make the cut. I love them. They’ll be in my heart always. But, it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there and when the competition is this stiff, I’ve got to make some difficult decisions. Some of my favorite movies of all-time came out this year, which makes writing up something like this both incredibly rewarding and incredibly difficult.
So, let’s jump to it… after a few disclaimers of course.
As always, these opinions are solely mine. Additionally, they are very personal. It’s all about how these movies made me feel, how they stuck with me, and how likely I am to revisit them time and again for years to come. If you disagree with some of my takes, that’s awesome. I love that you had a different experience than me. Heck, bring it up to me. But, please, be civil.
The other quick disclaimer. I have not seen everything. I’ve seen a lot (60+) but there are definitely some moderately successful movies I missed. So, again, this list is not conclusive. If there’s something you really, really loved and it’s slightly obscure, there’s a chance I haven’t seen it. Bring it up and I’ll put it on my list of things to checkout.
Ok, onto the awards then the list!
Best Supporting Actress
And the nominees are… Women Talking was packed to the brim with brilliant supporting performances but Jessie Buckley’s tragic turn was just barely my favorite. Hong Chau went toe to toe with Fraser in The Whale and, honestly, came away with an underrated performance that’s nearly as good. Everything Everywhere All at Once asked a lot of Stephanie Hsu as the troubled daughter turned villain but she absolutely gave everything and then some. Zoe Kravitz gave us the most relatable Catwoman to date, allowing her to be both vulnerable and incredibly badass. And, unraveling the mysterious past of Anya Taylor-Joy’s character was half the thrill of the excellent The Menu.
And the winner is…
Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once: For as good as Everything Everywhere is, I don’t know if it would’ve hit so hard emotionally if the mother-daughter relationship wasn’t 1000% believable. And, Hsu more than did her part to make sure that it was. One of the most relatable characters in the movie, it’s cathartic to see her go from heartbroken young woman trying to impress her mother to badass destroyer of universes and then all of the other places this total blast of a movie takes her. I mean… how many actors do you know that could give a monologue about bagels that changed my goddamn life? Seriously, she’s amazing. I haven’t seen her in much else, but I will definitely be keeping a (googly) eye open after this killer performance.
Best Supporting Actor
And the nominees are… I dare you to watch On the Count of Three and not fall in love with Christopher Abbott’s both incredibly charming and heartbreaking character. Timothee Chalamet continues to crush the game as the cannibalistic mentor/lover in Bones and All. The Batman may have given us the scariest Batman villain ever in the form of Paul Dano’s Riddler. Brendan Gleeson made what could’ve been an unlikeable douche sort of relatable in The Banshees of Inisherin. And Ke Huy Quan had the comeback of the century playing the loving, goofy, kind-hearted, and (sometimes) badass father/husband in Everything Everywhere All at Once.
And the winner is…
Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin: Here’s the thing; I should’ve hated this character. After all, he’s a pretentious douchebag who just suddenly on a whim decides that he’s too good for the man he’s had a decades long friendship with. And, worse yet, he’s willing to go through some pretty extreme measures to keep this poor, dumb man out of his life (no spoilers but holy crap). Yet, he’s some sympathetic, due mostly to Gleeson’s acting abilities. You can feel the pain the man goes through. He doesn’t want to hurt his friend. He doesn’t want to be this over the top. He just would like to be left alone. And, in the quieter moments of the film, you can read all of that on Gleeson’s face. It’s a brilliant performance, a fascinating character, and a fun, unique viewing experience. Check it out if you haven’t.
And the nominees are… I didn’t love TAR, but I will always stan Cate Blanchett and her jaw dropping acting abilities. Mia Goth took a one note villain from X and turned it into the performance of a lifetime in the prequel, Pearl. The tragic, beautiful, disgusting love scene in Bones and All alone would earn Taylor Russell this nomination. Letitia Wright had my entire theater both sobbing and cheering excitedly in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. And Michelle Yeoh gave a not one, not two, but several of the year’s best performances in Everything Everywhere All at Once.
And the winner is…
Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once; Holy crap. What a performance. Or… as I said earlier, performances. I don’t know that a role has every required so much out of a performer. She had to be distant and manipulative but then kind and caring. Helpless and scared, then a literal Kung Fu master. Stern and serious, then extremely goofy and silly. I’ve never seen an actor have to act in so many different genres in one film. All while maintaining enough of a link that it would be obvious this was the same character. When you really think about, there really was no choice but to honor Yeoh with this award. She put in the work of everyone else nominated combined.
And the nominees are: Daniel Craig is even better as Benoit Blanc than he was as James Bond and Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery just further illustrates that point. Brendan Fraser gave a career best performance as a depressed, dying college professor in The Whale. War is hell and Felix Krammerer showed us that better than almost any other actor in the cinematic history. Robert Pattinson became my favorite Batman in The Batman, which is quite the accomplishment in his first outing. And Alexander Skarsgard absolutely crushed it as the Viking trying to get retribution for his father’s death.
And the winner is…
Brendan Fraser, The Whale: I’m going to start off by saying a controversial opinion of mine. I was not a huge fan of The Whale. I think it has a lot of problems, including mostly being sadness porn and I don’t think the message landed quite as well as many claim it did. That having been said… Fraser definitely deserves all of the praise he’s gotten. His performance is truly phenomenal. I forgot that I was watching someone act on more than one occasion. It almost feels like a documentary. And the levels of his soul that he bared on screen; incredible. It’s amazing that he had this in him. Before this, I was convinced that he was a likable enough guy, but not really all that talented. I will now fully admit that I was wrong. Because, holy crap, what a comeback. One of the best performances of all-time for sure.
And the nominees are: If you don’t feel James Cameron earned his spot here, allow me to remind you that nothing you see on screen in Avatar: The Way of Water actually existed. It’s all Cameron and his team making it happen. Robert Eggers took what is really a pretty simple story and made it feel like an all-time epic in The Northman. Rain Johnson continued his quest to turn the murder mystery on it’s head in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert easily made the most ambitious movie of the year. And Matt Reeves did the impossible by reinventing and reinvigorating Gotham yet again in The Batman.
And the winner is…
Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, Everything Everywhere All at Once; This might sound like an over exaggeration but I promise I mean it. I think The Dans might’ve changed cinema forever with this movie. Legitimately, I don’t think anyone has ever been quite as ambitious with a movie. Or, at least, in the last 15 years or so. What they did on Everything Everywhere is truly artistic expression at its best. The fact that they were able to balance such a silly tone with tragic, beautiful undertones is absolutely amazing. I mean… one of the most emotional, poignant moments in the movie features two rocks talking to each other in subtitles. And it freaking works. Extremely well. I already knew these guys were geniuses from Swiss Army Man, but it’s nice to see that they’re really taking off now. I hope this is just the beginning of a long, strange, beautiful resume.
Dylan’s Top 10 Movies of 2022
10. Women Talking
And this is why I make sure to watch all of the Oscar nominees before writing my Top 10 list. Because you never quite know which “borderline pretentious” independent flick is going to strike a cord with you. In this case, Women Talking did just that. On the surface, it is a movie about nothing but… well, women talking. However, the conversation is so fluid and tense and, frankly, captivating that the time flew by. Seriously, I saw movies shorter than this in 2022 but none felt like such a quick watch. But that’s what happens when you’re hanging on to every word. It doesn’t hurt that this cast is packed to the brim with truly spectacular actresses either. I was constantly jumping back and forth between who I think gave the best performance. Now maybe I’m just a special breed. I love watching a good debate. So, maybe I’m more inclined to be into this sort of thing than the average moviegoer. But, if you’re at all like me, I think you’ll be into Women Talking too.
9. Top Gun: Maverick
Top Gun: Maverick was one of the most pleasant surprises of the year. I am not a huge fan of the original Top Gun. I think it’s a fun little movie, but a tad overrated. It’s just not as emotional or thrilling as many seem to think it is. This, however, has everything the original does but pumped up to 11. Holy crap was I invested in this movie. First of all, the flying sequences were incredibly tense. It’s been a long time since aerial battle sequences had me on the edge of my seat like that. And the way that they were shot where you were in the cabin with the actors added a whole different level of realism that took it to another level. But, it was all thrills as we were able to get intensely emotional with these characters as well. Maverick wasn’t just the poster boy for the Air Force’s recruitment wing anymore. He felt like an actual human being with insecurities and doubts with Tom Cruise giving his best performance in years. That reunion scene with Iceman? Cried like a freaking baby. Now, I don’t know how it holds up on home media. I haven’t rewatched it, but Top Gun: Maverick was one of the best theater going experiences I had of the year.
8. Avatar: The Way of Water
Speaking of not knowing how things will hold up. My thoughts on Avatar are… complicated. I will very often join in on those that are saying these movies have almost no cultural impact and that they lose 25% of their value the moment they leave the big screen. I get it. I agree with it. Heck, the day after The Way of Water came out I was referring to it as “simply okay.” But… here we are. Time to wrap up the year and it’s still sticking with me. I just couldn’t leave it off of the list after thinking back on all the things it made me feel during the cinematic experience. And what is cinema if not different experiences. Seeing the Na’vi swim alongside massive sea creatures who understand their emotions through wavelengths (or whatever) is going to stick with me for forever. Avatar may be flawed, but it’s such a unique, thrilling experience that it simply cannot be left out of the discussion for best of the year.
7. On the Count of Three
Odds are pretty good that you haven’t seen On the Count of Three. Heck, you’ve probably never even heard of it. Well, I’m here to tell you that it’ really is THAT good. In fact, I may have it ranked a little low in fear that I’ll be judged as trying to be different for having it here. I’m not. This is one of the greatest experiences I had watching a movie this year. Now, I’m not going to go into too much detail because I do want people to check this out. Let me just set the table though. Two depressed friends decide they’d like to off themselves, but the one decides that he’d like a day to sort of tidy things up. What follows is a hilarious and often tragic story of how people end up in that circumstance and how beautiful the little things can be. Now, is this for everyone? No. It obviously deals with a lot of heavy issues and can be quite dark, but, if you’re willing to take the dive, I think you’ll see why it’s more than worthy of this spot.
6. The Northman
Story wise, The Northman is not all that unique. You’ve seen variations of this story a million times. It’s Hamlet. It’s The Odyssey. It’s The Lion King. But the way Robert Eggers tells it makes this feel larger than life. It reminds you of why this type of story is passed down from generation to generation, as every moment takes on a level of epicness rarely seen in adaptations. It’s a tale as old as time, but it feels fresh and rejuvenated as you’re experiencing it. I mean… two people fight to the death in a volcano for crying out loud… naked. If that’s not award worthy I don’t know what it. Oh, and it’s another one packed with big name actors giving their 110%. I’ve already brought up Skarsgard, but Anya Taylor Joy, Willem Dafoe, Nicole Kidman, and Ethan Hawke are also bringing their all here. It’s truly a masterpiece of epic, manly proportions.
5. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
For years now, the biggest question on my mind when it came to the MCU’s future was “What are they going to do with the Black Panther? How do you carry on after something so tragic?” We finally got our answer this year and the results were absolutely stunning. Frankly, the first ten minutes of this movie may be the most mature in superhero movie history. It’s such a beautiful tribute to Chadwick Bozeman and his onscreen legacy. But, what really amazed me was how they were able to translate that grief into a superhero story with a big bad without it feeling cheap. It never once felt like they were “Darn. Well, anyways…” The loss of T’Challa and Shuri’s grief towards that permeates every inch of this movie. Yet, it never feels overly gratuitous either. It’s maybe the biggest challenge Marvel Studios has come across yet and I’m truly proud of how well they balanced everything.
4. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
I did not know I need a second one, but, if Knives Out movies keep being this good, I may have a new favorite franchise on my hands. I’m telling you Rian Johnson has a grip on my interest with this franchise. First of all, I’m always down for a good murder mystery. Plain and simple. Second, he packs the cast with A-list celebrities playing interesting, funny, complicated characters. And, third, he takes what you think you already know going in and completely turns everything on its head. Honestly, he’s a genius. And these movies are a perfect example of that. Of course, that’s only going to make the discourse around tThe Last Jedi all the more frustrating for me in the future but I digress. See the Knives Out movies! They’re so good!
3. All Quiet on the Western Front
All Quiet on the Western Front might be a contender for best war movie of all-time. If Top Gun: Maverick can be seen as pro-military propaganda, All Quiet is the exact opposite. This movie shows the atrocity of war in ways very view movies do. You just watch as this fun, light hearted young man from the beginning of the movie loses all sense of humanity after experiencing hardship after hardship during WWI. It also does a fair job at showing that sometimes war isn’t even about territory’s or patriotism. A lot of the time its about one or two big shot’s egos getting stepped on and their ability to sacrifice the youths of their country just to make themselves feel a little better. Truly tragic. But definitely important, beautiful cinema.
2. The Batman
Ready for another controversial Dylan take? I don’t that any live-action adaptations have truly understood Batman until Matt Reeves’ The Batman came along. Because this is absolutely going to be my go-to version of the character from now on. He’s dark, brooding, has anger problems, and definitely needs some therapy like all of the others BUT he’s also a symbol of hope, truly caring about those around him, and wanted to make the world a better place. Maybe it’s just me but the other Batmen always felt a little… self centered. Like, they were doing the right thing but not because they loved the city or anything but because they were hurt. That’s not how I see Batman. I think he’s a legit good person who wants to see the best possible version of the world around him. He just knows that the best way to do that is through fear and intimidation. And I got all of that in The Batman. Heck, I got it all from the one scene where he leads victims out of the flooding sports complex. I’m excited for James Gunn to reboot DC and make it consistent across the board, but he better leave this universe alone. Because if this is the only Battinson movie I get, I will riot. Seriously. It’s that freaking good.
1. Everything Everywhere All at Once
Oh my god. What a freaking movie. As I’ve said, this was an incredible year with a ton of really good, unique cinematic experiences. It was tough to make the top ten. But, nothing even came close to Everything Everywhere All at Once. When it was released, every other movie fell to a distant second place at best. There’s no competition. It’s in a league of its own. And, I’ve said a lot about it. But.. I could go on all day about this incredible piece of art. First of all, it’s remarkably original. In a sea of remakes, retreads, or just plain retelling of classic stories, it’s refreshing to see such a unique, interesting, fresh voice on the scene. Second, it’s so ambitious. I’m not over exaggerating when I saw that it’s impossible to tell you what genre Everything Everywhere fits. It’s a comedy. It’s a drama. It’s an action movie. It’s sci-if. It’s fantasy. It’s everything. If I were to break this list down by Top Five of each genre, this movie would top 90% of them. And, it tells an absolutely beautiful story about generational trauma, letting go of your failures, and learning to appreciate the little moments. Loving exactly what you’ve got instead of longing for more. The visuals are insanely creative too with The Dans never going for the easiest shot. Constantly finding new, visually interesting ways to tell this story. And the story goes so many different ways, there’s no way you’ll be able to guess exactly what’s going to happen next. I’ve seen it three times so far and every time my mind is blown. It hasn’t lost any of its charm yet and I don’t think it ever will. Not only is Everything Everywhere All at Once one my easy pick for movie of the year. It might me one of my favorites of all-time. Such a masterpiece. I recommend everyone at least giving it a shot. At the very least, you’ll have an experience you’ll never forget. Or, heck, you might just end up loving it as much as I did.
And with that 2022 is wrapped up. Like I said, pretty good year for movies. So good in fact that movies that I loved like The Banshees of Inisherin, Bones and All, and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish just barely missed the cut. Any other year, there’s a good shot they’d be on there. But, yeah, strong competition. What do you think? What were your favorite movies of the year? Are you shocked by any of my picks? Are you thinking about checking one out you haven’t seen? If so, please reach out. I love to talk movies and these ones in particular I could talk about for hours.
Anyway, I’ve got to go watch another movie. Thanks for sticking around to the end. I would need to get my thoughts out either way, but it definitely helps to know that people care about my opinions for some reason! I’ll see you all in the next review. Peace!