Movie Midterm - My Favorite Movies of the First Half of 2022


The first half of 2022 had a lot of heavy hitters. There are a few films on here that will definitely be in the end of the year list. A few others are some small gems that should be sought out. Below are 3 honorable mentions and then my top 10 favorite films of the year so far.

Quick Note: Due to my location, commitments and/or financial situation, I haven't been able to watch every movie released this year that I wanted to, so there will be gaps in this list. Some of the films were limited runs that don't play around here, and others I just simply couldn't afford the time or money to drive to, rent, or go see at the time.

I'm sure at least a few of those would have made the list, but they were not one of the 28 films released so far in 2022 that I have seen. At the bottom of this post, there will be a list of every film that was released this year that I have seen, that way you can see what I had to choose from!

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Honorable Mention 1 - Beavis and Butt-Head Do The Universe


Look, I know what you're probably thinking. And you're right. This comes with a caveat. You have to be in the bag for juvenile humor to enjoy this. Do The Universe is 100% pure Beavis and Butt-Head all the way through. If you enjoy that brand of humor, you'll love this. It is immature, juvenile, and completely stupid. But the humor hits, the story is tight, and there are laughs at every turn. People incorrectly watch a comedy from the 80s or 90s, and say "you can't make something like this today." That is obviously not true, and Beavis and Butt-Head Do The Universe is the proof. Mike Judge made a great film worthy of a view if you enjoy this kind of humor.

Honorable Mention 2 - Windfall

This is a tiny little film on Netflix, that takes place mostly in one location, with a single camera. It has suspense, and will keep you on the edge of your seat, but also does a ton of character development in the short run time as well. Jesse Plemons delivers a wonderful performance as usual, and if someone wanted to perform this story on a stage, they could. It is structured in a way that they could absolutely do this as a play. It can get tense at times, so this might not be a "watch any time" type of film, but if the mood suits, it's a good one to check out.

Honorable Mention 3 - George Carlin's American Dream


The only reason this isn't higher, is because of the structure. This is divided into two parts, and is nearly 4 hours long between both parts. So you can debate whether it is a "movie" or not. But outside of that, it is a wonderful look at one of the most brilliant comedians to ever grace our presence. The man has been dead for over 15 years, and his wit, observations and comedy are still as relevant as ever. If you like his comedy, and want to see what made him tick, this documentary from Judd Apatow is worth the watch.

10. Hustle


The best Adam Sandler movies are not Adam Sandler movies. In other words, he is his own worst enemy. When left to his own devices, he is the driver of poorly written, poorly acted shells of comedy movies. When used by others in different circumstances, Sandler is one of the best actors working today. Luckily Hustle is the latter. Sandler plays an NBA scouting agent who takes a chance on a kid with a troubled past. It is a wonderful movie. Perhaps a smidge too long, but overall strong performances from everyone and an incredibly heartwarming story. I hope Sandler abandons his juvenile man-baby characters and just does stuff like this from now on.

9. Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness


MCU films have been a staple of these lists since I started writing them. But they've been consistent, and its paid off. This one brought legendary director Sam Raimi back to the superhero genre, and when the structures of the MCU let him break free and go full Raimi, is when the movie really shines. The film is a bit sloppy, and doesn't quite accomplish everything it set out to do, but it is an enjoyable romp through the multiverse. I respect Kevin Feige for him being willing to let Scarlet Witch be the villain, a move that not a lot of people would make. Sure, she'll be redeemed later, but I'm glad they didn't play it safe in that regard. The visuals are fun, the cameos are too, and it'll be an important chapter in the rapidly expanding MCU.

8. Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers

If you told me this would be one of my favorite films of the year, I would have laughed at you. But nothing in the world makes sense anymore, so here we are. Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers is the spiritual sequel to Who Framed Roger Rabbit, yet it carves out its own identity too. There are some wonderfully creative things happening here, and the world identified feels lived in and fully realized. There are some legitimately funny jokes packed in here as well, and some wild surprises that you never would have guessed. This is a great film for a family to watch - there are things for kids to enjoy but has some adult humor that will make the parents chuckle too. Some of the voice acting can be a bit off-putting however, as they just sound like the celebrity who is behind the mic, but if you can get over that, there is a lot of fun to be had here.

7. Kimi


Steven Soderbergh is one of my favorite directors ever, having made one of my favorite films ever (Ocean's Eleven). So to see him do a modern day take on Rear Window was an instant watch for me. And you know what? The movie is great. It is tense where it needs to be, and meticulous all the way through. Zoe Kravitz is absolutely incredible at every turn, and the movie would be a lesser thing without her at the helm.

6. Turning Red

Pixar hit another home run with this film, which deals with what every Pixar film deals with: Existentialism. There is not a single Pixar film in existence that doesn't explore these 3 questions: "Who am I? What do I do now? Where the hell do I belong?" They all do them in slightly different ways, and Turning Red is no exception. Meilin has to deal with her families legacy, and trying to be herself at the same time, while dealing with a big secret, and normal pre-teen angst. It is done really well, and if you have ever felt trapped between wanting to be yourself, and the expectation of what your parents want you to be, this film will resonate with you in a big bad way.

5. Jackass Forever


I never thought this movie would exist, as all of the cast members are getting on in their years, especially considering the extreme stunts that the movie requires. But it happened, and while I expected it to be funny, I didn't expect it to be so poignant and heartfelt. (Yes, I'm serious). There is a lot of new blood in this movie, and while the old squad still gets put through the wringer, the new guys do a lot of the work too. But it is all a giant lovefest, and for how tortured some of the people are (Ehren
McGhehey is the true MVP of Jackass Forever), it is really powerful to see people being cheered on, conquering their fears, and seeing the torch be passed to the next generation. If you don't care about any of that, however, you still have a hilarious, gross, cringeworthy, laugh-out-loud stunt filled film that you can laugh at and forget about your troubles for a little while.

4. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

There is nobody like Nicolas Cage. Nobody. He is a unique talent who has done some of the most interesting work in the history of motion pictures. So a film with Cage playing himself, getting into a precarious situation, while it all being a meta commentary on his career is an amazing idea, if it can be executed properly. As you can see by how high it is on the list, it was executed properly. This is one the best roles of Nicolas Cage's career, who isn't afraid to poke fun at himself. He is joined by Pedro Pascal, who seems to be having the time of his life here. This movie is absolutely ridiculous, and I did not stop smiling the entire time in the theater. What a gift it is. If massive talent does indeed come with an unbearable weight, then Nicolas Cage is the perfect person to bear the brunt of it. People complain that there is nothing original out there anymore, but when a gem like this comes along, it gets ignored. Please do not sleep on this one. It is spectacular.

3. The Batman


Batman is the greatest superhero ever invented. Period. There have been many adaptations of him. Some landed with cheers and applause, others fell with a dud, but the character always persevered in many mediums. After coming off of two incredible Planet of the Apes movies, Matt Reeves crafted a wonderful dark noir for the world's greatest detective. Is it a perfect film? No. But any movie not named Jaws can't live up to that. However, the flaws are masked by some of the best cinematography seen in a movie this millennium. Pair that with Michael Giacchino's outstanding score, and you get a wonderful immersive treat for the senses. There is no homework involved with this one. You don't need knowledge of a burgeoning cinematic universe, or even much knowledge of the character itself to enjoy this. You can press play and go for the ride. If this is Reeves' first attempt at the Caped Crusader, I can only imagine what he is going to treat us with in the sequel.

2. Top Gun: Maverick

This sequel was so unexpected that it made someone eat a shoe, but it justified its reason to exist by how extraordinary it was. Yes, all outside criticisms of the forces that made the movie happen are valid, and should factor into your decision to view the film. No judgment here. But in a bubble, Top Gun: Maverick is a visual masterpiece, one that needs to be seen on the biggest screen possible. Take the longer drive. Pay the extra money. Splurge. Treat yourself. This is the one you want the full movie experience for, not the one you want to watch on your phone in the corner of the airport while waiting for your delayed flight. Tom Cruise will kill himself doing a stunt for our entertainment one day. He is the last pure movie star that we have, and he proves it time and time again. While I'm always in the bag for the Mission: Impossible movies, this was just as exciting, but without some of the baggage that M:I has. It also provided what is maybe Cruise's most emotional role to date. It was nice to see him have to do some real emotional acting this time around, so everything that came to the character felt deserved in one way or another. I do not need another Top Gun movie after this. But I said that about this one too, and here we are. This was the ultimate mic drop, and should be studied in the future to show how legacy sequels should be approached. Top Gun: Maverick proved that there is something new to see from movies still (even if it is part of an existing IP), and that not everything has to be CGI on a green screen to be entertaining. (I am not knocking the method, it's necessary for movies now, but there can be a healthy balance). This was something special, and all of the Covid delays were very much worth the wait.

1. Everything Everywhere All At Once


When I go see a movie, I want to love it. I want every movie I see to be one of my new favorite movies. That is a high bar, and it almost never gets cleared. But every now and then, something so special comes along that it not only clears the bar, but raises it for future films. This is one of those. Everything Everywhere All At Once fires on all cylinders, and every single aspect is spectacular. Whatever your favorite part of a film to study is story, character, score, cinematography, direction, sets, costumes, acting, lighting, visual effects, sound mixing, stunts, etc, they are all nearly perfect. The entire movie is a delight from beginning to end. The story, while wrapped up in this multiversal war, and people with unique abilities, at the end of the day, is about a woman, her husband, and her child, and how they can figure out their relationships. It is a powerful film, one that made me laugh so hard people were judging me, and one that made me tear up so much that I couldn't see clearly. The word "masterpiece" is thrown around too much. But it is absolutely warranted here. Fan favorite Ke Huy Quan (Short Round from Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom, and Data from The Goonies) returns to acting after nearly 30 years away, and has one of the most emotional, heartfelt and poignant roles I've ever seen. He says one line that will hit you upside the head and just floor you. The line itself is powerful in context, but the heartfelt way Ke delivers it bring it to the next level. Michelle Yeoh and Stephanie Hsu carry the film though, they were the perfect choice, and I hope they both star in everything, everywhere, until the end of time. Don't even get me started on how great Jamie Lee Curtis was in this either, or this review will run even longer than it is already. It's one of the best roles of her career.

There are a lot of movies to look forward to in the second half of the year, but I would be genuinely surprised if anything stole the top spot from this film. This is the one to watch. If you pick one, make it this one. Yes, it is a little weird, but go for the ride, it is absolutely worth it in the end. I cannot wait to watch this again, and show it to as many people as humanly possible.

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2022 Films I have seen:



If you have any questions or would like more information or a further recommendation, don't hesitate to contact me by Twitter, email (mavern519@gmail.com), or by commenting below. Thank you!

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