One of the most pleasant surprises of the year. After the PREDATOR franchise went off the rails with many past installment, this one takes the series back to basics. Easily the best movie in the franchise since the original, it even features a talented largely Native American cast. I didn’t come into this one expecting much, but I was blown away!
9) THE FABELMANS
This semi-autobiographical tale from Stephen Spielberg is one of those movies that reminds you why you fell in love with the movies in the first place. Well cast and deeply nostalgic, it’s like ALMOST FAMOUS meets CINEMA PARADISO, and I mean that in the best of ways.
8) THE NORTHMAN
While this one underperformed at the box office (though it became a hit on viewing services later), it’s a gorgeous, dark, and violent epic unlike anything else out there. The performances from the film’s all-star cast suit the material perfectly. It’s not for the squeamish, but if you give this one a chance, you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
7) RANDY RHOADS – REFLECTIONS OF A GUITAR ICON
This guitar phenom lost his life in a freak accident at age 25, but he’s arguably more popular and influential than he’s ever been despite it. This doc compiles some fantastic rare footage from the Quiet Riot and Ozzy Osbourne guitarist, shedding the light on this icon that’s overdue and deserved. Despite some minor issues, this is a must see for any rock/metal fan.
6) DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS
It seems like every time I do a Best of the Year list for movies, at least one entry from the Marvel Cinematic Universe ends up on it. While BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER is the more profound film with a deeper statement, this Sam Raimi-directed installment is certainly the more “fun” installment, with Raimi’s unique touches, entertaining universe hopping, fun cameos, and a great performance from young Xochitl Gomez, who this moviegoer hopes moves on to a great career.
5) RAYMOND AND RAY
Sometimes, a film comes completely out of left field and pleasantly surprises you. For me, this was that movie. A reunion between two estranged brothers traveling to the funeral of their distant father, it’s a fantastic comedy-drama that’s as touching as it is hilarious. I have a feeling this one will be overlooked by movie fans, and that’s a shame given the talent on deck.
I love rock and roll movies, be them biopics, documentaries, or anything in between. This ultra-stylized biopic from Baz Luhrmann features Austin Butler as the King of Rock and Roll, and Tom Hanks as Colonel Top Parker, with the movie largely being told from his perspective. This isn’t the first movie about Elvis that’s ever been made. It won’t be the last. It looks good and hits hard, telling a timeless story in a truly unique fashion.
3) THE PHANTOM OF THE OPEN
Another pleasant surprise. This one features Mark Rylance (who I’ve always felt is criminally underrated as an actor) as a man who, on a while, takes up professional golf and fails terribly at it! It’s that rare movie that’s equal parts inspirational and hilarious. When it comes to “stranger than fiction” stories, this one’s hard to top.
2) DIO – DREAMERS NEVER DIE
This one’s been in the works for a long time. When Ronnie James Dio passed away in 2010 at age 67, it was a crippling blow to the rock and metal world. This long-awaited documentary tells Mr. Dio’s story with rare archival footage and interview clips from those who knew him best. It rocks hard and hits all the emotional highs it needs to. It’s the doc that Ronnie deserves.
1) TOP GUN: MAVERICK
The original TOP GUN is the movie I’ve seen more times than any other. This long-time fan of the original 1986 film was equal parts excited and skeptical regarding the arrival of the legacy sequel. After three years of delays, I’m happy to say that the sequel brings emotional weight, a career-defining performance from Tom Cruise, spectacular aerial action sequences, and reminds us of why we love going to the movies in the first place. It’s a legacy sequel done right, even improving on its predecessor in many ways. I have no reservations in declaring TOP GUN: MAVERICK my favorite movie of 2022.
Taylor T. Carlson’s Best Movies of 2022!
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