2022 must be the weirdest period in all of movie history. There are Marvel films like Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness about a magic warlock who needs you to watch a prior TV show to understand what’s happening, and it makes over $900 million. At the same time, there’s a film about Jared Leto turning into a vampire called Morbius that everyone agrees is trash. I’m not defending the Morb’s out there–hell, I haven’t even seen it–but what audiences think will be “good” or “bad” doesn’t seem to make sense anymore. Snarky wizard man is good, yet team of Batgirls is canceled?

Universally loved films such as Top Gun: Maverick, Everything Everywhere All At Once, and Turning Red are still able to exist among the muck, but there does seem to be an overabundance of “bad.” Studios prioritizing superhero films that bring bodies to seats regardless of their quality is not a good look, and neither is prioritizing ones that feature actors with allegations of grooming and violence. We’re going to leave all those films off this list and save only the cream of the crop. Below, you’ll find the best films of the year.

Bodies Bodies Bodies

Bodies Bodies Bodies is a Gen Z whodunnit thriller with just as many of-the-moment jokes as actual scenes of terror. A group of friends partying in a large mansion during a hurricane find one of their own dead, and the discovery sets off a chain of events that pick them off one by one. Bodies also stars Rachel Sennott (Shiva Baby), Pete Davidson (SNL), Maria Bakalova (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm), and Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games). — Currently in theaters

Crimes of the Future

In films such as Videodrome and The Fly, David Cronenberg built up a cult audience who appreciates his insistence on making his movies intricately detailed and yet incredibly hard to watch. In Crimes of the Future, the Canadian sci-fi master’s first theatrical release in eight years, Cronenberg explores a world without the feeling of pain, where “surgery is the new sex.” Starring Viggo Mortensen, Lea Seydoux, and Kristen Stewart, Crimes proves that Cronenberg is really one of the only guys left with any ideas–be they sick, twisted, nasty ideas. — Available to rent on Amazon Prime Video / YouTube

Emily the Criminal

Aubrey Plaza is humorous and thrilling in Emily the Criminal, a story about how hard it is for felons to find life after prison (no matter how small the crime). Turning to a life of credit card scams, Emily starts to enjoy the danger until she (inevitably) gets in over her head. As one Letterboxd user put it: “If criminals bad then why Aubrey Plaza sexy?” — Currently in theaters

Everything Everywhere All At Once

In Everything Everywhere All at Once, a laundromat owner (Michelle Yeoh) becomes involved in multiverse turmoil stemming from the fractured relationship she shares with her husband and daughter. It was a $20 million sci-fi indie film that exceeded expectations by grossing $100 million at the box office, and a film that employs the use of the multiverse that isn’t anywhere near your typical Marvel outing. With extremely outlandish humor, and even scenes that will make you weep for people with hot dogs for fans, Everything Everywhere is a strong contender for film of the year. — Available to rent on Amazon Prime Video and YouTube

Fire Island

Fire Island is the kind of direct-to-streaming comedy that would have been nearly unwatchable save for its central premise. As a remake of Pride & Prejudice set in New York’s gay summer paradise, the film greatly succeeds, however, and SNL‘s Bowen Yang being along for the ride certainly helps. Actor Conrad Ricamora absolutely knocked it out of the park as the “Mr. Darcy” character, as well as rising type-cast himbo Joel Kim Booster (who also wrote and produced the film). — Watch Now on Hulu

Fire of Love

The most heartfelt film of 2022’s Sundance Film Festival this past January was Fire of Love, a documentary about two volcanologists–scientists who study active volcanoes–who found love over their shared obsession with one of nature’s most destructive forces. Following the careers of famed French scientists Katia and Maurice Krafft, Fire of Love puts viewers as close to the action of an erupting volcano as the fearless explorers could get, underscored with a soundtrack from French electronic duo Air. — Currently in select theaters via National Geographic

Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul

Starring Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us) and Regina Hall (Girls Trip), Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul is a mockumentary that follows Southern Baptist megachurch pastors Lee-Curtis and Trinitie Childs. After a scandal forces their church to close, the Childs must figure out how to reopen their church and bring the people back. — Planned for release in theaters and on Peacock September 2


In Netflix’s Hustle, Adam Sandler plays an NBA talent scout for the Philadelphia 76ers, tired of flying all around the globe in search of international talent. Thanks to league MVP’s Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo, talent–wherever it may come–can be a gold mine. Sandler finds that in the Spaniard Bo Cruz (played by actual NBA player Juancho Hernangomez), and with the help of executive producer LeBron James they turn what is basically an NBA 2K story campaign into a perfectly enjoyable sports drama. — Watch Now on Netflix

Leonor Will Never Die

One of the wackiest offerings this year, Leonor Will Never Die‘s meta-narrative of a grandmother magically transported into the world of her unfinished screenplay is loads of fun. The charming Filipino film pays homage to the country’s history of cheesy action films, and 29-year-old director Martika Ramirez Escobar won Sundance’s Innovative Spirit Award for her creative storytelling. — Planned for late 2022 release


NANNY, dir. Nikyatu Jusu, starring Anna Diop, winner of the Grand Jury Prize US Dramatic Competition

Directed by Nikyatu Jusu, Nanny tells the story of Aisha, an undocumented Senegalese immigrant who lands a job as a nanny for a rich Manhattan couple. Blending in element of West African folklore, the psychological thriller explores the frustrations African women face as they move to America to create a better life for their families back home. Starring Anna Diop (Us, Titans), Nanny won top prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. — Planned for release in theaters November 23, and then on Amazon December 16


Nope, Jordan Peele’s follow-up to critically acclaimed thrillers such as Get Out and Us is a summer blockbuster about UFOs. Reminiscent of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Signs, Nope is at times incredibly thrilling, inventive, and full of characters that drudge up Hollywood’s racist past. — Currently in theaters

The Northman

Based on the Norse source material of Amleth that later became adapted into Shakespeare’s Hamlet, The Northman is brutal, tragic, and features actors like Alexander Skarsgard and Willem Dafoe as raving maniacs. The film dives into magic and savagery with the help of a stacked cast, including Anna Taylor-Joy, Nicole Kidman, Bjork, Ethan Hawke, Claes Bang, and The Lighthouse director Robert Eggers. Although it feels like the story mode of a AAA video game at times, it’s probably the only decent Skyrim-type movie we’ll ever see. — Watch Now on Peacock or rent at Amazon Prime Video / Apple TV+

Top Gun: Maverick

Top Gun: Maverick has no business being this good, and yet it’s one of the best times I’ve had at a theater this year. Released 36 years after the original 80s hit, Maverick not only ups the ante but soars far beyond it by combining all the camp and macho/homoeroticism fans loved with a Mission: Impossible task that replicates what the rebel fighters had to do to blow up the Death Star in Star Wars. Miles Teller is perfectly cast as Goose’s son, and Tom Cruise’s commitment to showing real action and real flights is always a true cinematic gift. — Currently in theaters

Turning Red

Pixar’s latest animated film is the story of 13-year-old Meilin “Mei” Lee, a Chinese-Canadian student who begins to feel the effects of her family curse. She turns into a giant red panda with a strong display of emotion, mirroring both puberty and her relationship with her mother. Turning Red is also a well-written and self-contained story from Disney, which feels great amid their latest offerings of films connected to overlong TV shows. 4Town 4Ever. — Watch Now on Disney+

We Met in Virtual Reality

We Met in Virtual Reality was filmed entirely in the digital space of VRChat, a virtual reality program created to help users interact in creative ways online. Despite being hundreds of miles apart and represented virtually through anime-inspired avatars, people have come together all over the world–especially during the Covid-19 pandemic–to form real emotional bonds. Through interviews and interactive experiences such as ASL classes, dance lessons, and even a wedding, filmmaker Joe Hunting explores the digital frontier for all its oddities. — Watch Now on HBO Max

What do you think? Drop your thoughts in the comments below.