Favorite Films I Saw This Year

Staying true to my January meaningful consumption post, I logged all the films I saw in 2022. It was over a hundred. Some were films I wanted to see again. Especially introducing them to one or both of my teenage boys.

The list below represents only those I saw for the FIRST time and really loved. I’ve either watched them multiple times since initial viewing or plan to do so. Without further adieu….

(1) What Happened Was by Tom Noonan…I saw it three times and plan to purchase the blu-ray. It won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in the 90’s, but was somehow forgotten for decades until the good folks at Oscilloscope put out a 4K remaster and the Criterion Channel streamed it. It was first an indie hit play in New York and then writer/director Tom Noonan made it into a ultra low budget film. His rehearsal and filmmaking process is truly inspiring. (Hat tip to my friend Kevin for recommending.)

(2) Last Night At The Alamo by Eagle Pennell…I was introduced to it by Richard Linklater and Ethan Hawke who recommended on the Criterion Channel. I saw it twice back to back and fingers crossed there’s a 4K release in the works as I will definitely purchase. Eagle made two incredible low budget films in the late 70’s and early 80’s. This one and The Whole Shootin’ Match (I also saw twice) which are both about characters in his hometown of Austin, Texas. The films feel so authentic and real. In fact, Robert Redford, after watching The Whole Shootin’ Match, created Sundance to shine a light on filmmakers like Eagle and others from all over the globe.

(3) The Bear by Christopher Storer…I know, I know, it’s not a movie. But eight, 30 minute episodes that zip by feel like a longer film. You can definitely binge in one sitting. Sublime acting and writing and a love letter to Chicago and food. Need I say more. Can’t wait for Season 2!

(4) Save The Tiger by John G. Avildsen…How I managed to miss this film starring my favorite actor of all time, Jack Lemmon, who won an Academy Award for Best Actor for this performance is beyond me. So good. Avildsen also made two other films in my pantheon–The Karate Kid and Rocky.

(5) Out Of The Blue by Dennis Hopper…I purchased the blu-ray sight unseen based on the urging of my friend Ron and I’m glad I did. I’ve seen it twice and am working my through all the incredible special features. It’s inspiring to anyone who’s thinking about making an independent film. What Hopper managed to do with the resources and time allotted is miraculous.

(6) High And Low by Akira Kurosawa…Kurosawa and lead actor Toshiro Mifune might be the best director/actor combo of all time. Certainly right up there with Scorcese/Deniro, Lee/Washington and Herzog/Kinski. This one is a masterpiece about a shoe company executive who gets extorted when his chauffeur’s son is mistakenly kidnapped and held for ransom. Moral dilemmas abound!

(7) Licorice Pizza by Paul Thomas Anderson…PTA up to his old magic again. A beautifully shot, coming of age film that’s stayed with me. Kinda makes you wish you grew up in the San Fernando Valley in the early 70’s.

(8) Red Rocket by Sean Baker.…Sean Baker had his breakout with Tangerine and then followed with The Florida Project and now Red Rocket. Baker always elicits fully lived in, authentic performances by his actors and he does so here again. Simon Rex is extraordinary.

(9) Double Indemnity by Billy Wilder…A film noir masterpiece that I somehow never watched until this year. Glad I did and can’t wait to see it again.

(10) Top Gun: Maverick by Joseph Kosinski…I saw it in the theatre with my family and am so glad for the experience. We had an absolute blast. (And I admit to choking back tears of nostalgic joy all throughout.)

Honorable Mentions: The Asphalt Jungle, Jules Et Jim, Ace In The Hole, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Across 110Th Street, The Great Beauty, Blonde, The Alpinist, Jiro Dreams Of Susi, Emily The Criminal, The Banshees Of Insherin

P.S. – Send me your list of favorites of 2022. I wanna watch!

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