As the new year begins, The Breeze’s culture editors, Michael Russo and Avery Goodstine, are joined by Breeze TV senior anchor Maggie Rickerby and Jack Calabrese, a culture section staff writer, to reflect on the iconic highlights of 2022’s pop culture. Even in a year with a full slate from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, only “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” stood out among the crowd. From big-screen blockbusters to sequels and adaptations, there was a film for all kinds of moviegoers.
Truly running the gamut, here are The Breeze’s Pop Culture Picks for the best movies of 2022.
Michael Russo, Culture Editor
Favorite: “Everything Everywhere All At Once”
What initially seems like an over-your-head multiverse flick is actually an incredibly emotional, character-driven film. “Everything Everywhere” certainly plays up its sci-fi elements, but more than anything, it’s about family, love and finding your place in the world(s). It was a spur-of-the-moment decision for me to go see the film in theaters, though I appreciate not having many expectations beforehand — I was far from disappointed. I was laughing at a fanny pack fight one minute then crying a few scenes later, so I wish I’d brought tissues.
Honorable Mention: “Glass Onion”
As the second entry in the world of “Knives Out,” Netflix’s “Glass Onion” has similar themes to its predecessor but an entirely different feel thanks to a new setting and ensemble, with exceptional work from Daniel Craig and Janelle Monae. The film’s name, “Glass Onion,” is the perfect metaphor. As the audience peels back the layers of the mystery alongside the characters, it becomes evident the answers were clear the whole time. It’s definitely worth multiple watches, which will undoubtedly help fans spot more clues each time.
Avery Goodstine, Culture Editor
Favorite: “Where the Crawdads Sing”
When I read “Where the Crawdads Sing,” I thought it was one of the best books I’d read in a while. I was highly anticipating the film and was not disappointed. While I’m a book purist, I think the film captured the book in a great way. The visual storytelling was beautiful. The book and movie are told through a different timeline, but I appreciate what the movie did.
Honorable Mention: “Luckiest Girl Alive”
This is a Netflix original about a journalist who works her way up to eventually becoming a writer for The New York Times. Mila Kunis plays the main character and delivers an amazing performance. She contends with understanding who she is as writer and as a person while she struggles with dealing with a previous sexual assault. There are many different themes at play in this movie, and I think they were all played out beautifully.
Maggie Rickerby, Breeze TV Senior Anchor:
Favorite: “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”
The way this film came together was a masterpiece. It honored Chadwick Boseman’s death in a respectful, realistic way. There were moments in the movie where scenes of remembrance appeared and the entire theater was silent. I felt connected with other viewers while mourning the actor as well as the Black Panther character. This movie focused on empowering women, especially Black women, to become strong leaders and excel in their careers. Overall, the film was amazing. The post-credits scene was a huge plot twist and hinted at potential third “Black Panther” movie.
Honorable Mention: “Jurassic World: Dominion”
I loved this movie. There were multiple connections to the older “Jurassic Park” movies, which I really enjoyed. The conflict was interesting, too, because it wasn’t solely focused on dinosaurs and centered on the genetic engineering of locusts into huge crop-destroying insects. There was a big family theme throughout the film, which added a heartwarming aura to the emotions of the film. There was also an overall theme of identifying issues with biological engineering, which is prominent in all “Jurassic” movies.
Jack Calabrese, Culture Staff Writer
Favorite: “Top Gun: Maverick”
“Maverick” was one of the best, most feel-good movies of the year and an instant classic. Miles Teller and Glen Powell are stars in the making, and Tom Cruise allows them to share the spotlight in a refreshing way. The practical effects, attention to detail and feel of authenticity make this movie special. This movie has nostalgia, charm and tons of thrills — it’s like an energy drink in the form of a movie, it gets you that excited.
Honorable Mention: “Babylon”
“Babylon” isn’t doing well at the box office, but it’ll age like fine wine. This long, often dragging period piece is a commitment to watch, but it’s so worth it. There are long, incredible sequences about the art of moviemaking that are unparalleled in terms of their technical achievement. The opening 30 minutes is the most exciting piece of entertainment this year. Oh, and it’s also got these two pretty well known actors named Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie. They’re both giving top notch performances, with Robbie going for it all in basically every scene. This movie is a mess, but it’s got heart.
2022 proved movies and television aren’t dead yet, as smash-hit blockbusters and indie underdogs both set box office records and reached critical acclaim. With anticipated new movies nearly every week of the new year, there are plenty more exciting offerings for pop culture consumers to enjoy. Stay tuned for more reviews from The Breeze as 2023 rolls on.
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2022 Pop Culture Picks, Part III: The eight best movies of the year are everything, everywhere
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