Opinion: The top ten movies of 2022
The results of the eighth once in a decade Sight and Sound "Greatest Films of All Time" poll were released last year, which kind of puts my list in its place. The number one movie there was Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles; haven't seen that one yet. Catchy title, though! Hey, my top pick for 2017 did make top 100 (in a five way tie for last)! Well, let's see how influential my picks for this year are in 10 years for the next poll.
So, this is a year end top ten list of my picks for favorite movies of the year. Pretty simple premise, and I've written what counts and what doesn't before, and this is the internet, so I can just link to older lists if you want the nitty gritty details. I don't need to rehash them. Though Flayrah is a furry site, this is not a furry list. However, I will pick out my favorite furry movie of the year, which was Turning Red this year, as well as a Cutest Vixen Award, just for fun. This year's prestigious CVA goes to Diane Foxington, a.k.a. the Crimson Paw, in The Bad Guys. It was an overall pretty good year for movies, so much that I actually feel like giving away a few honorable mentions, listed here in no particular order other than alphabetical; Beast, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Everything Everywhere All at Once, Three Thousand Years of Longing and The Woman King. Also, shoutout to Prey, which was streaming exclusive, and which I didn't consider for the list, but was worth a shoutout anyway.
Well, let's get to the list proper. The film's title and posters link to IMDB or a Flayrah review for more information than the short blurb here could give you. Enjoy!
10. Mad God
Directed by: Phil Tippett
This is a largely plotless, purposely ugly collection of scenes that some may find hard to watch. But the craft on display is pretty breathtaking, even when the visuals are so brutal. And even though those visuals are brutal, they also linger in the imagination, like a nightmare you remember fondly because you just have to be impressed a human mind came up with it.
In this year where the discussion of whether or not animation can be an adult was lead by people who either just made an animated "family" film or have made a career out of making animated "family" films, its kind of refreshing to see Phil Tippett just go ahead and make an actual adults only animated movie, you know? Yeah, it took him 30 years to do it, I didn't say it was easy, but he did the thing.
Directed by: Joel Crawford
I have an unusual relationship with the original Puss in Boots movie. I gave it a positive review when it first came out, it gained a #9 spot on my inaugural top ten list, actually moved up a spot in my furry-only top ten of the decade, and yet I still feel like I was too hard on it in the actual text.
I wonder if something similar will happen to The Last Wish. It came out a bit late, after a lot of my list felt set in stone. And, keeping up the theme from last movie, it's an animated "family" film that does everything other, bait-ier animated movies from this and last year did, but actually has an adult protagonist, but also doesn't apologize for being another fairy tale. But ninth just felt right, you know? Also could've used more dancing scenes. The original had better dancing.
8. The Northman
Directed by: Robert Eggers
Taking this year's designated "romp through European mythology featuring a symbolically significant fox" spot from last year's The Green Knight, The Northman manages to be both an arthouse feature and a movie featuring an action hero protagonist who does things like catch an enemies' thrown spear out of mid-air, then casually chuck it right back.
And not just arthouse snobs and action slobs can find something here. I mentioned the symbolically significant fox earlier, but there is plenty of other animalistic aspects to keep furries entertained. I'm not trying to say this is a furry movie (though I did review director Egger's earlier The Witch for Flayrah), but there are plenty of spirit animals running around to check out, if you have to have that. Also, you can compare how this movie and The Lion King diverged from it's Hamlet story roots.
Directed by: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett
Scream is the best Scream since Scream. In this postmodern slasher franchise, there's a reason the fifth film is also just called that, and not just because 5cream would've also been appropriate, but way stupider. The movie works on its own terms as a horror/thriller, with one excruciatingly long take in particular being terrifically suspenseful, despite the fact that it involves nothing more than a character setting a table for lunch.
But more than that, this is the first Scream since the first one to actually have something to say, with a funny yet horrible takedown of toxic fan culture. As much as I love the first film, it's messages about the responsibilities of makers of violent entertainment in the face of real world violence are a bit muddied by the fact that it's a piece of violent entertainment itself. But this movie is much more straight to the point with its targets, and it cuts to the bone.
Directed by: Sam Raimi
I'm going to have to turn in my Film Twitter card for this one. Not only was my one top ten choice for a multiverse movie not Everything Everywhere All at Once, I picked a Marvel film over it! The Marvel films get a bad rap, honestly, and they may be popcorn hokum more often than not, but, if you don't feel like popcorn hokum as a film fan every now and then, what are we even doing here? Thor 4 might have been disappointing, but we live in a world where Thor 4 was disappointing! Did anyone see that coming?
In my defence, though, if I was going to pick a Marvel movie this year, at least I picked the one by the schlock auteur Sam Raimi. And while this movie still does still feel like a Marvel movie, it also does feel like a Sam Raimi movie. And not just the obvious ways the Marvel movies have been influenced by his Spider-Man movies. Another reason I liked it is just that it is pure Gothic cheese, and Sam Raimi can certainly do that!
Directed by: Martin McDonagh
This is one of those movies that I just got, if you get me. I spent the entire time the movie was playing chuckling to myself at the dialogue, both as written and as performed. Well, almost the entire time. This movie starts out as dark, and ends up getting darker and darker. In the end, it's dark and cold, and I wasn't laughing as much anymore, but I still enjoyed the experience.
Furries might also note that this is another movie that uses animals for strong thematic purpose. A character in a confessional booth refuses to acknowledge that punching out a police officer counts as a sin, but seeks forgiveness for accidentally hurting a little donkey. The priest asks if he thinks God really cares about little donkeys. The man replies that he is afraid He doesn't.
4. The Menu
Directed by: Mark Mylod
A horror movie about a chef at an incredibly exclusive restaurant going murderously bonkers, and yet cannibalism isn't on The Menu, to its gain. No, Hawthorne's is much too classy for something as simple as cannibalism (eat your heart out, Hannibal Lecter, but not literally). You can tell they are classy; when it's a patron's birthday, they actually sing "Happy Birthday to You", and not a knock off. They spare no expense.
The servers versus the served theme resonated with me; I think I loved the bit where a man is drowned in the background while Ralph Fiennes rants, "There are no substitutions at Hawthorne's!" just a little too much. But the movie is oddly fair to its victims; oh, the investment bankers are furious at the breadless bread course, but the restaurant critic and the movie star are absolutely delighted by it. Another funny but dark one.
3. The Bad Guys
Directed by: Pierre Perifel
Let's lighten the mood a little, shall we? And there's no studio better at lightening the mood then good old DreamWorks Animation. Like Marvel movies, DreamWorks get a bad rap. The thing about The Bad Guys is that it feels like the ultimate DreamWorks movie; "bad goes good" is the essential DreamWorks plot, there's farting talking animals, and my Cutest Vixen basically has resting DreamWorks face. But, you know what, I like it.
Directed by: Jordan Peele
Hey, remember that Sight and Sound poll I started this ramble on? How is that guy, the director from 2017, who I gave my top spot to and Sight and Sound gave their bottom spot to, how's he doing? Like, he isn't a one hit wonder who faded into the background since then, is he? Nope. Uh, oh. Things are about to get darkly funny. Again.
And we're also going back to animals in non-furry movies having important thematic resonance territory again. The protagonists are horse trainers, and their horses being "adbucted" by a UFO named Jean Jacket does not sit well with them. Another character witnessed a "tame" chimpanzee go on a murderous rampage as a child. As an adult, he works in a show where the audience is reminded that working with "trained" animals can be unpredictable. You think he'd already have learned that lesson. Nope.
1. Turning Red
Directed by: Domee Shi
For those of you annoyed that I don't put enough actually furry movies in these lists to justify there inclusion on Flayrah, well, first of all, that's actually pretty fair. When I first did it in 2011, it was kind of a bumper crop year. But most years, let's face it, you've got one, maybe two really furry movies, never mind good or bad. Some years, you get lucky, like 2022, and you get three. Sometimes, none.
But, in my defence, I usually do pick that one good furry movie and put it near the top. I'm a furry fan. Liking furry things is literally what I do. Turning Red may actually be less furry than The Bad Guys or Puss in Boots: The Last Wish in terms of sheer technical genre definitions, but thematically, Turning Red may be the most furry movie ever. So, best furry movie of the year, and best movie. Period.