Curtains Open On the New Year: Top 10 Movies of 2022


Madelyn Woodard

Posters for “The Woman King,” “Nope,” “Everything Everywhere All at Once” and “The Menu”

Madelyn Woodard, Opinion Editor

Best selling albums, new TV shows, a never ending supply of Youtube videos and books, 2022 truly had it all. Now that the new year has begun, it feels like a good time to look back on the true stars of 2022: the movies that came out.
10. “Where the Crawdads Sing” rated PG-13
Set in the marshes of North Carolina, “Where the Crawdads Sing” puts nature front and center as it leads you through the life of Kya Clark (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and the events of her trial when she is arrested for murder in the first degree. The book—as always— allows for quite a bit more detail. The way the camera seemed to glide through the marshes was breathtaking without making me feel motion sick. At times these scenes, composed of a simple voiceover and calm waters felt like they were straight out of a nature documentary. While I didn’t come across any significant flaws with the movie, there were simply better movies that came out this year and “Where the Crawdads Sing” lacked that something special that many other movies showcased.
9. “Glass Onion” rated PG-13
Much like its predecessor “Knives Out,” “Glass Onion” had a wildly satisfying ending that had me smiling the whole way through. This stand alone mystery, starring Daniel Craig and Janelle Monáe, ended with the simple message that rich people are dumb. From the title of the movie, the whole plot is given away in a beautifully deliberate way. My only critique of “Glass Onion” is that the flashback was just too long. This small criticism was lost by all the positives, namely the attention to detail that was shown in the background of every scene. Obviously, a mystery has to be deliberate in every aspect, but the specific art pieces that were included in Miles Bron’s extravagant mansion were next level.
8. “Strange World” rated PG
Climate change, familial troubles and adventure, oh my! This movie has it all. “Strange World” follows a dad, his wife and son as they join a crew and venture into a peculiar world beneath their own in hopes of stopping a sickness affecting their energy source. Along the way the dad (Jake Gyllenhaal) is forced to deal with issues from his childhood surrounding his own father and the relationship with his son. I was a big fan of the entirely unsubtle and in your face allegory for climate change, and think it is nice for children to see that it could be made right. Climate change is daunting, but being afraid of it does nothing to stop it. Kids should have hope for the future and that’s exactly what this movie fosters. “Strange World” featured what is becoming a Disney staple of a plot that can be enjoyed by young and old alike.
7. “Bullet Train” rated R
Set on a Japanese bullet train, this movie barrels towards an ending that can never quite be predicted by the watcher. When a group of first-class criminals all end up on the same train, each of their plans throwing several wrenches in everyone else’s, things get complicated quickly. This movie’s brilliant cinematography, exciting fight scenes, fantastic comedy and graphics are all distracted from by the unstoppable force that is the ceaseless Fiji water product placement. In almost every scene this water bottle pops up with its label facing out in a shameless display of disintegrity. Product placement aside, I was unimpressed with the ending of “Bullet Train,” the creators focused on the least compelling duo in the story when there were so many better options.
6. “Nope” rated R
“Nope” may not have been my favorite of Jordan Peele’s creations, but it was still more than worth the watch. OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) and his sister Emerald (Keke Palmer) spot a UFO and risk their lives to catch it on camera so they can make some much needed money. This new take on alien-based horror felt very modern and demonstrated Peele’s ability to make anything spooky, even in broad daylight. However, I would have liked the movie more if it had explained in some way where the alien came from. Obviously, OJ and Em wouldn’t know this information, but I feel like it could have been worked in somehow.
5. “The Menu” rated R
I wanted to love this movie. I thought that it would be revolutionary, an “eat the rich” tale for the ages, but it just lacked the suspense that is demanded from a thriller. That being said, the story was excellent. The ridiculousness that was showcased by these uppercrust folk as they find out they are in more danger than they could have ever expected from a fancy restaurant was comedy gold. Given the amount of time the plot spends flitting between conversations, the background characters could have been more interesting and could have had more intriguing dynamics. One thing “The Menu” goes above and beyond is the symbolism. After watching the movie I spent an embarrassing amount of time picking apart little details left behind by the director.
4. “The Outfit” rated R
One thing I never get tired of is when an entire movie is set in one place and is completely linear. It’s such an interesting way to make the watcher feel as though they are in the main character’s shoes. “The Outfit” is a fast paced story about a British tailor who gets caught up in the dealings of the Chicago mob and tries his best to get through the night in one piece. My heart rate stayed up throughout the movie, and with each new twist in the story, I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. Mark Rylance, the tailor, was by no means an undiscovered actor, but by the end of the movie I had joined his fan club and vowed to watch everything he’s ever appeared in.
3. “Bodies Bodies Bodies” rated R
“Bodies Bodies Bodies” answers the age old question: What happens when a toxic friend group of spoiled young adults are left unattended in a hurricane? Things get crazy. Fast. Most of these characters have known each other since they were little and have a decade worth of dirt on each other that they are willing to use to their advantage at the drop of a hat. Apart from the suspense and unique premise of the movie, “Bodies Bodies Bodies” really shines in its comedy. The characters are utterly unhinged, and the fact that most of the suspense in the movie comes from the on screen reactions of the people only made the movie better.
2. “The Woman King” rated R
“The Woman King” follows an infamous group of female warriors in West Africa during the 1800s. It tells the story of the effects of the slave trade on African nations with the nuance and care that the complex history deserves. The movie is dark. It discusses sexual abuse in a raw, unashamed manner that puts the victims first. From the title alone I was worried this movie would be a feeble attempt at a feminist film by an underprepared writing team of white men; instead, I was met with the most harrowing tale of courage, strength, grief, anger and belonging I’ve seen to date.
1.“Everything Everywhere All at Once” rated R
It’s uncommon enough to get one movie in a year that is nothing short of a masterpiece, but 2022 supplied us with two. When I watched “The Woman King,” I didn’t think any other movie would even come close to being as good. I was wrong. “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is an action packed, emotional sci fi adventure, centered around Evelyn Wang, her husband and daughter as they deal with their familial issues in an epic, multiversal fight. This movie cuts heavy scenes with downright silly jokes that come out of nowhere. Now that Marvel has moved into the multiverse, the once mindblowing concept has been reduced to little more than a trope. “Everything Everywhere All at Once” reclaims the multiverse and makes it its own with creativity seeping out of the screen. Imagination is what made “Everything Everywhere All at Once” such a hit. The concept of the movie allows for the creators to get as weird as they want and they definitely took advantage.
Last year had a lot of ups and downs out in the real world, but the movies released definitely made the year better for audiences across the world. There was a surplus of mysteries and horrors, but more importantly, there were a lot of very original stories. 2023 has some big shoes to fill, but I’m excited to see what comes next from the film industry.