Mike’s Top Ten of 2022
2022 was a strange year. Not so much for the film landscape (though that is undergoing a sea change in terms of increasingly limited theatrical windows, an altered viewing experience brought about from the still-ongoing pandemic and an evolving definition of box office success, the consequences of which we won’t know for some years), but for me personally. I underwent a few major life changes and had stuff going on consistently all year (at least that’s what it felt like). As such, my film viewing was all out of whack. I watched the same number of movies I typically watch, but they came in bunches, often months after the films got released. Because of that, I never really got a sense of the film year as a whole. But it did mean I got to see all the films on my own terms, removed from knowing (for the most part) how the public at large felt about them. This is something I strive for, and this is about as close as I’ve ever gotten to having a pure opinion about nearly everything that came out in a year.
Then again, it’s really not much different from how the past two years have been. Most of us haven’t really gone back to theaters in any meaningful way and, if we have watched any quantity of films, it was often done via streaming, usually way after the films came out, if at all. And what I’m noticing, with films becoming more like TV or streaming… they just become part of that mound of content and it becomes harder to have them stand out unless they’re one of the ‘major’ ones. For every Avatar and Top Gun, there’s a dozen other films that so many people might not ever know exist because they’re buried under a mound of other options on that same service they’re on. And, unless you’re someone on the lookout for things, you just see a name and a picture in a little box, and you don’t know what that is. It makes me feel doing this list is even more imperative than other years, since at least I have somewhat of an ability to introduce people (at least like, four of you) to cool stuff that’s out there.
One trend I did see this year, though, is that it feels like a year of self-reflection and self-indulgence. A lot of films feel like personal projects from their filmmakers, who either wanted to tell their own stories or tell the stories they’ve always wanted to tell (likely accelerated by all that down time that first year of the pandemic), often in such a way that you almost can’t believe they were even allowed to do it. That, to me, feels like the overarching ‘theme’ of 2022, and even though a lot of these films were divisive among audiences now, I do think they will end up being looked at as the most interesting things to come out this year. (more…)