Top Ten Movies from the last two years accounting for retroactive changes from the lists I did on PopScorn that I somehow didn't write up time is a fleeting concept can you ever forgive me
- A Beautiful Day In The Neighbourhood
- The Trial of the Chicago 7
- Uncut Gems
- Jojo Rabbit
- Bill and Ted Face The Music
- Bo Burnham: Inside
- Promising Young Woman
- Judas and the Black Messiah
- The Mitchells Vs The Machines
- The Suicide Squad
- Spider-Man: No Way Home
- King Richard
- Sound Of Metal
- Godzilla Vs Kong
Maybe I’ll do the honourable and worst in an article one day when I’m bored, whatever, here’s the 2020 and 2021 podcasts to give you a flavour of that. Anyway, we revive the tradition this year to give you my best and worst movies of the 63 films I managed to see in the last year (and a bit). For the full list of movies I did and didn’t get around to seeing, check out this year's PopScorn Best and Worst movies podcast.
Right then. Let’s flush some turds.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness - In an infinite multiverse of possibilities, I guess we live in the one where Marvel couldn’t make this work properly.
The Grey Man - Netflix paid $200 million to attempt a franchise launch and got a thunderingly dull slog of bullet smoke and non-existent ‘intrigue’.
Thor: Love and Thunder - This will be studied in future film courses as a lesson on how to piss away all the good faith a director can lose with a shoddy sequel.
Operation Mincemeat - A historical drama that thinks it’s own subject matter is so uninteresting, they forced a lame romantic subplot to the forefront at every opportunity.
The Ten Worst Movies of 2022
9. Lightyear - When it’s possible for complete dunderheads like me to recognise this movie is a bad idea and to write a better version given 30 minutes and a sugary drink, you know you fucked it. Pixar continue their fall from grace and their attempts at franchising their last true hit just looks desperate.
8. Marry Me - So J-Lo wanted to release a new song, and that’s why the movie exists. Outside of this transgression, it’s an incredibly cookie-cutter nothing of a film. Like a ghost poo, it just passes through you without leaving a mark or any impression whatsoever.
7. Black Adam - Blank Adam in every sense of the words. This would have been boring and borderline embarrassing in the year 2000, let alone 22 years removed in the golden age of superhero flicks. The Rock is the least interesting man alive in this dull drag of a film, which shows just how far he’s fallen in likability from his WWE days.
6. Jurassic World: Dominion - Containing a nonsensical plot, terrible pacing and a Generation Game-style quickfire carousel of the dinosaurs you're actually here to see, the third and final Jurassic World movie is up and down a huge disappointment and a contender for worst in the franchise. Turns out you shouldn’t ever let this franchise get a trilogy.
4. I Believe In Santa - Almost as utterly joyless as the attitude of its principal character. It’s a horrifically cast, painfully cheap and cringe worthily written film that nobody will cherish come the holiday season. In short, it is a Netflix Original Christmas movie, fill in the blanks yourself.
3. The Tinder Swindler - What is it with Netflix and utterly unlikable and unrootable people at the centre of their films? This trite documentary puts the spotlight on bad people getting ripped off by worse people, leaving you with the question “I’m sorry, was I meant to feel anything for anyone involved here?”
2. Ticket To Paradise - The opposite of whatever filmmaking is described as. I’m not at all happy to have been involved in George Clooney and Julia Roberts' ponzi scheme to write off a holiday to Bali as a tax expense. A cookie cutter movie that cut its stars an annoyingly good deal.
The Worst Movie of 2022 - White Noise
Each of the three plots of the movie are completely unhinged, both from each other and from reality. What starts as what I assume was meant to be a criticism of academia, the film spirals out of control with a horrifically paced disaster movie second act, and a final act that may as well have been replaced with an interpretive dance section that could have made more sense. But then, the film actually does end on an interpretive dance. And it doesn’t make any sense. Noah Baumbach has made something that actively has disdain for your free time and enjoyment. The sound design is frustratingly chaotic, as is the script, which is equal parts inane chit-chat and the high-concept blunt smoke of a gurgling stoner. Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig are turning in some of their worst performances, despite their talents.
But, most insulting of all is how this film expects to be revered. Film Twitter (aka Hell) has been giving this movie a wide berth on its content, allowing the completely disjointed story to be praised as a ‘meditation’. Allow me to set the record straight: This is a complete waste of time, effort and money. It will not please general audiences, as it’s far too disjointed and incomprehensible to be enjoyed. It will not please the academies, as it’s not picked up any nominations anywhere. It will not please Netflix, as it’s been shoved out onto the service mid-December with no fanfare whilst Wednesday keeps the streaming service relevant. In short, this film is for nobody, save for possibly for Noah Baumbach, who must answer for his crimes.
That was heavy. Shall we get a bit more positive?
Metal Lords - For anyone who has been the outcast goth kid at school, this one will hit differently. A great young cast help to make this coming of age story about band dynamic struggles shine, and all three leads bring believable nuance to their uncomfortably blooming teen characters.
Brian and Charles - Powered by a metric fuck ton of quirk (and apparently a washing machine), Charles is the best sassy robot son to come out of rural Wales. It's so rare to get a proper British film that revels in sheer strangeness, but this film delivers laughs and bewilderment in spades. Delightfully small scale, but not when it comes to laughs.
Matilda The Musical - Maybe I'm already predisposed to recommend this to you given that I really liked the stage show. But my god, the cinematographers and choreographers did not need to go this hard for this adaptation. It's a high energy treat for the eyes that goes full throttle on effort and charm throughout its runtime. The kid actors are a little shaky in line delivery, but my god can they dance.
The Outfit - Think of this as my Number 11 pick. An excellently done single location thriller that nobody seems to have heard of, but one that you should definitely check out. Mark Rylance's subdued turn as a tailor-come-mafioso is a stand-out in a solidly realised cast, that all build serious tension through their fantastic performances. Someone please make this into a stage play like yesterday.
The Ten Best Movies of 2022
10. Jackass Forever
Why - Having your tenth place dedicated to a movie that, for all intents and purposes, should not be counted in the ten best of the year, but wins a spot through sheer enjoyment and quirk. That is, in a nutshell, The Jackass Pick, and was inspired by Darren's legendarily misplaced love for Jackass 3D as tenth best film of the 2010s in his decade wrap-up podcast.
The thing is, Jackass Forever almost earned its tenth place legitimately. Out of our drafted movies for 2022, it came in at first place with a Metacritic score that beat out crowd pleasers like The Batman and Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness. Beyond that, it is a legitimate love letter to long term fans of these stuntmen, with a real 'send them home happy' theme of resolution to the film series. But most importantly, it is without a doubt one of the funniest films of the year. Surely, that alone makes it an easy choice for a top honour.
Best Bit - The insane escalation of Ehren McGhehey's crotch shot.
Why - It's rare that a Bollywood movie gets press and praise in the Western world, let alone a Tollywood movie getting this kind of exposure. Thankfully, the love for this film is not misplaced. RRR is the cover-all experience you've heard about, and is 100% worth the three hour time investment to watch. If you like gigantic set pieces, larger than life performances and plots that don't intrude on the enjoyment factor, this one's for you. And please don't take that final point as a negative, the fact RRR revels in the spectacle and absurdities is the very reason it is so special.
Best Bit - A straight tie between the "Flex on the Whites" Naatu Naatu dance scene and the motorbike launching finale.
8. The Batman
Why - Who likes angst? You do! For real though, you know this is a gargantuan effort of filmmaking when we were lukewarm on the movie at the time of full PopScorn review and it still made the best list. Looking back over this movie with fresh eyes, it's hard to deny that The Batman is a gorgeous film and the murky, grim ambiance of Gotham has all to do with that. Design wise, it's probably the strongest Batman movie, maybe tied with The Dark Knight. We famously dragged Paul Dano's Riddler over the coals for his late-game dive into hysterical screeching, but came away actually liking Robert Pattinson as Bats himself. I couldn't be more excited to see the best character, Colin Firth's Penguin, getting his own spin-off, which I'm sure will give us the Reeves-verse version of upcoming villains and more of that wonderfully realised setting.
Best Bit - The Penguin car chase and interrogation.
Why - If RRR wasn't unique enough for you, how's about an entirely animated documentary? Flee was sadly overlooked by many come Oscar season and scarcely features on anyone's top ten of this year, which is a crying shame, as it contains one of the most heartfelt stories of the year. Centering on Amin, a refugee recounting his escape from war-torn Afghanistan via Russia and Sweden, the film serves almost as an ongoing therapy session to prepare Amin to accept his new life with his husband. The catharsis in the storytelling is truly symbiotic, as the relief when each hardship ends or even momentarily abade were keenly felt throughout, as if we were the only other party in a very private conversation. It's this tangible intimacy that makes Flee shine amongst other tales of displacement.
Best Bit - The border crossing and boat stories are properly heart-in-your-mouth moments.
6. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
Why - Oftentimes, meta humour is appealing to such a small crowd, it's hard to recommend movies that rely so heavily on it. But let's be real, you all know Nick Cage. Through that lens then, we have a film that is so unashamedly meta in the face of its lead stars' filmography and personal life, that somehow manages to land every in-joke and reference it makes, whilst still maintaining broad appeal. It also helps that the film is ever so playful and daft that nothing feels vindictive. Obviously, Cage is great, but pairing him with an inadequate and pathetic character in Pedro Pascal makes for an unlikely, but lovable duo. It always felt like the marketing for this film had a way bigger budget, as its trailer was a huge deal, but then nobody was talking about it when its release came around, which was bemusing to me as it absolutely delivered what it set out to achieve.
Best Bit - Nick Cage and Pedro Pascal get off their tits on drugs and start having a meta freak-out about being in a movie.
5. Red Rocket
Why - When film critic types say "they don't make movies like they used to", I'm sure this is what they are referring to. Refreshingly low budget and naturalistic, Red Rocket reflects the real world with painful accuracy, as the first world poverty of middle America is put at the centre of the story. What's equally impactful is how the film actively fills you with hatred for its lead Mikey (Simon Rex), who is surely one of the scummiest protagonists in recent memory. And yet, the problems our cast face will seem familiar and often empathetic, even when the less scrupulous characters are facing those struggles. Rent, debt, addiction, self worth, domestic betrayal: these issues are keenly felt by a huge number of people, who sadly most likely have not even heard of this indie film. This is all helped along with an over-saturated, ‘default camcorder settings’ aesthetic, that dresses up the dust bowl setting really well and offers a pleasing contrast between location and the morality of the principal cast. Please do seek it out on streaming or VOD where you can.
Best Bit - Mikey explaining his plan for innocent teenager Strawberry makes your skin crawl and sends an awful ripple throughout the movie.
4. The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Why - Reception to this was obviously going to be bigger in the States, where it was released in late 2021, and as you might expect the Bakker name is not notorious here in the UK. But, even with this degree of separation, I do not see why we're not talking more about this film. For starters, everyone is bringing A-game acting. Obviously Jessica Chastain is great as she won the Oscar for Best Actress for her portrayal of Tammy Faye Bakker, but Andrew Garfield and Vincent D’Onofrio especially are wonderfully cast and realised as Jim Bakker and Jerry Falwell respectively. The main thing that makes this stand out, however, is the overriding sense of naivety that the movie uses to heighten the excess and gluttony of the world of televangelism. There’s a time skip in the movie that absolutely snaps the integrity of everyone involved bar Tammy herself, and you’re left there stewing at the double standards that you assumed were there from the beginning whilst Tammy herself clings to the belief that she and her husband are doing God’s work. A fantastic film up and down that should not be one of the forgotten movies from the previous Oscars cycle.
Best Bit - The horror in the evangelist types when Tammy Faye sympathetically interviews AIDS patient Steve Pieter's, and the double-speak fallout that follows.
3. Bullet Train
Why - I’ll be real, this top three embodies the polar opposite of complexity. Bullet Train was ridiculously fun, smartly written, expertly choreographed and jammed with full-bodied crazy and memorable characters. There was no way this was going without a medal this year. You could accuse the movie of coming across as hyperactive, given the five plots it juggles and the intertwining fates of the characters, but I would argue that its sheer likability assuages the vast majority of the issues critics have issued against it. Charming is the name of the game, as the movie wins you over with its colourful cast of characters, beautifully given depth and nuance. Particular attention has to be paid to bickering brotherly hit-men Tangerine and Lemon (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Brian Tyree Henry), for one of the few S-tier comedic performances this year and the greatest use of Thomas The Tank Engine in any film before it. If this can appeal to snobs like me, neanderthals like Darren and people who actively do not like films like my own mother, this should go some way to explaining how this film was an absolute triumph.
Best Bit - The narrative weight of a Diesel sticker.
2. Top Gun: Maverick
Why - I still feel like an absolute dumb bitch for including this in the top ten, let alone in a medal position. Top Gun: Marverick should not work as well as it does. The original is not a film I have any love for, Tom Cruise is not an actor that I particularly care for, movies that glorify the armed forces are definitely not for me. Hell, we were ripping non-stop on the ill-fated 2020 release trailer that was attached to every movie for 2 full years during the Covid years. Imagine the magic that this movie weaves, then, when it completely 180s me on all of those fronts. If you would have told me to expect one of the most technically proficient and visually remarkable movies from the guy whose previous best work was probably that Gears of War trailer, I’d have asked what you were smoking and if I could have some. The fact is, the creative team here went all out on the Tom Cruise crazy and went pure Ronseal on the Top Gun stuff by chucking all the actors into real life fighter jets in order to film the cockpit scenes and aerial combat scenes. The results speak for themselves; utterly gripping stuff with tangible weight and movement, probably some of the best flying scenes we’ve ever seen. These are then bolstered with a great supporting cast that builds on the foundations of the really still very bland original entry, and suddenly you find yourself really caring about the strained relationship between Rooster (Miles Teller) and Maverick (Tom Cruise). I loved it, it was great, and yes I’m still mad that it’s this high up.
Best Bit - After complaints that the mission is impossible, Maverick one-shots the course like the big dicked hero he is.
The Best Movie of 2022 - Everything Everywhere All At Once
Why - Speaking on a personal level, it is originality, in the sense that you’ve never seen a film attempt to tell a story or frame an action in this way before, that makes cinema exciting. It’s the kind of feeling I got when watching Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, Mad Max: Fury Road and Into The Spider-Verse, and it was very keenly felt when I saw Everything Everywhere All At Once. With multiverses being the new hotness and slowly being ruined as a concept by Marvel and other blockbuster franchises, it is a relief for this science fiction staple to get a breath of fresh air. What I love aside from the redemptive factors for its genre is the ability to tell a very personal story about generational trauma, communication and self worth on the scale of something like The Matrix or The Dark Tower (The book, obviously). The healing that both Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) and Joy (Stephanie Tsu) go through by way of kung-fu-action-flick-come-arthouse-mercurial-pondering is complex and uneven in all the best and realistic ways. And talk about a return for Ke Huy Quan, following a 30 year absence from Hollywood, he comes back to phenomenal effect as multiple Waymonds and brings the action, heart and comedy in a truly stand-out performance. Daniels have crafted a wonderfully weird, but greatly realised, personable and endlessly entertaining movie.
Best Bit - Far too many to choose from, but top three include Alpha-Waymonds Kung Fu smack down, everything in the Raccacoonie universe and an extended fight sequence where the goal is to stop an interdimensional warrior from putting a trophy up his ass.
And there you go, another year of highs, lows and an embarrassing glut of middle that is not worth mentioning here. 2022 above most years has felt like one of the most polarising for movies, with either extreme enjoyment, burning hatred or the total absence of feeling with very little room for any in-between. With some hope, I look forward to more nuance and complexity in 2023. But in fairness, I am also looking forward to another cartoon Spider-Man movie and a Guardians threequel, so please don't mistake me for a critic of any worth.
The Editor in Chief of Foul Entertainment, Mike edits most of what you see on the site. He runs the production of our podcasts, and currently pens Pop Culture Club articles.