After a catastrophic downfall caused by the pandemic, the movie industry is finally making a comeback. This comes as no surprise when you look at the growing success at the box office and how studios are becoming more confident in releasing non-franchise films. To make our readers’ lives easier, we’ve compiled a list of our staff’s 2022 top movie picks:
Juan Jocom’s top pick:
“Triangle of Sadness”
Balenciaga or H&M, where do you belong? A film by Ruben Östlund, “Triangle of Sadness” is a satirical dark comedy that will give you even more reason to hate the rich. The story follows the characters Carl (Harris Dickinson), a model, and Yaya (Charlbi Dean), a social media influencer, as they navigate through an assortment of excessively rich people during a luxury cruise trip. With a run time of 147 minutes, the movie never felt like a drag to watch, mainly because of how Ostlund manages to make use of each characters’ quirks. One thing I have to give props to is the standout performance by Dolly De Leon who plays Abigail, a character I think most of us can relate to. After poking fun at beauty standards, consumerism, classism, and social hierarchies, the film received an 8 minute standing ovation during its premiere. It also earned the Palme d’Or, the Cannes Film Festival’s most prestigious award.
Sophia Bruscato top pick:
Directed by Ti West, “Pearl” features Mia Goth who portrays the character Pearl. Set during Hollywood’s golden age, 1918, the film is a new take on the American slasher genre and is a prequel to “X”, a movie also released in 2022. The movie’s cinematography is beautiful, colorful, and haunting. It is definitely one of those films that remains in your mind. Goth excels in portraying the rage and psychosis of her character, whose husband has left for war while she is stuck living and working on her parents’ farm. Her mother, a German immigrant, suffers from enduring her father’s illness, which leaves him in a vegetative state. The film features a good development of the relationship between Pearl and her mother, displaying both of their suffering and hardships. I always find it hard to run across horror movies that encompass more than simply jump-scares and an empty plot full of gore – which are not particularly my taste –, but “Pearl” does a good job in its plausible yet disturbing plot. A worthwhile watch.
Also Haylee Jarrett’s top pick:
2022 has been a fabulous year for the slasher genre. The best overall gem goes to the “X” prequel, “Pearl”. This low-budget origin story uses technicolor to add a rich “Wizard of Oz” nostalgia to our twisted Dorthy. Pearl is a woman constrained by the misogynistic and Influenza-stunted world of World War I era Texas. Inside her lives a rage that she both feeds off and fears. Pearl’s story is one of big city dreaming that she fights for by all means necessary. The expectations placed upon her offer a look into the psyche of an American woman with limited options in the early 20th century. Her choice is between the world that keeps her small or the one where she can defy her limits. She won’t let anything get in between her destiny as a star, no matter the cost. Mia Goth offers the audience a full-bodied, vibrant, and empathetic performance that gives Pearl the spotlight she deserves. Self-proclaimed crazy bitches, this is our Joker.
Johnny Horton’s top pick:
“All Quiet on the Western Front”
My favorite film from 2022 was the Netflix release, “All Quiet on the Western Front”, directed by Edward Berger. Based on the 1929 World War I novel by German author, Erich Maria Remarque, Edward Berger’s film offers a 21st century take on the 1930 film of the same name. File this under “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” Whereas the original film ends with the protagonist and German soldier, Paul Bäumer, reaching for a butterfly only to be shot by a sniper in the final moments of the war, Berger’s film highlights machinations behind the scenes as Germany tries to negotiate an armistice. Staying true to the original novel’s anti-war message, Berger adds the fictional German General, Friedrichs, who wants to end the war with a German victory so badly that he orders an assault on the French lines 15 minutes before the ceasefire is to take effect, sentencing hundreds of young men to die with the outcome of the war already decided. Bäumer, who saw his best friend killed the day before, goes berserk, killing several French soldiers before he’s gutted by a French bayonet and left to die in the mud just a few seconds before the fighting stops. Thus, Berger’s film preserves the original’s spirit while honestly confronting the absurdity of war without discounting the emotions that drive people to kill. It’s refreshing to see an anti-war film deal honestly with human rage.
“Bodies Bodies Bodies”
Eloise Maguire’s top pick:
Halina Reijn’s English-language debut, “Bodies Bodies Bodies”, is a whip-smart, gore-filled, Gen Z nightmare of a great time. A post-college “friend” group of wealthy student film actresses, bloggers, podcasters, and a 40-year-old Tinder date turn on each other when a party game ends with a dead body. Sarah DeLappe’s screenplay portrays the social tensions and paranoia of chronically online 20-year-olds without feeling out of touch or cloying, which left me feeling both satisfied and also slightly called out. A soundtrack featuring Azealia Banks and Charli XCX accompany tense and exciting visuals with glow sticks and phone flashlights, building a rave-esque atmosphere as the group becomes increasingly caked in dirt, sweat, and blood. Ultimately, the performances are what make the movie with standouts from comedic geniuses Rachel Sennott and Chase Sui Wonders, and a surprisingly tasteful and effective Pete Davidson. “Bodies Bodies Bodies” is a highly stylistic, clever, and tense murder mystery that proves to be a ridiculously fun 95 minutes with characters that are as endearingly relatable as much as they are horrible.
“Everything, Everywhere, All at Once”
Grace Molinaro’s top pick:
Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s brainchild, “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once”, is A24’s highest grossing film to date and the perfect definition of what Marvel’s multiverse should be. The story follows Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh), Waymond Wang (Ke Huy Quan), and Joy Wang (Stephanie Hsu) as they thread through their crumbling family and laundromat business whilst being audited by the IRS. The movie perfectly encapsulates many issues including, but not limited to: the challenges immigrants face, homophobia, hotdogs for hands, depression, divorce, bagels, life regrets, Taoism, and sex toys. But really, as chaotic as the movie may sound, it never feels like too much. “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once” is packed with surprisingly entertaining action and spiral-inducing existentialism. With triple threat performances by Yeoh, Quan, and Hsu, you’ll either be left sobbing, laughing, or both. If you want to feel a variety emotions while also stimulating all six of your senses (yes, six), this is the movie for you.