The best of 2022 is ComingSoon’s week-long celebration of entertainment that made last year so memorable.
2021 was seen by many as a sort of leap year when it came to most forms of entertainment. Due to the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, many productions on movies, TV shows, and even video games were halted or significantly slowed. In 2022, many of these productions began to rise, and with it came a flurry of incredible content that ran the gamut of genres and styles.
With so much to experience this year, here are some of my favorite movies, TV shows and games, in no particular order.
Everything everywhere at once
On its surface, Everything everywhere at once seems like a wacky comedy about a trip through the multiverse. Like its plot though, the film is extremely layered and takes you through a story rich in what it means to be a family as Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) gets to experience all the different lives she could have lived. Filled with an incredible cast and with some surprisingly emotional moments from a film of its nature, it’s no surprise that Everything everywhere at once has already become A24’s most successful film.
Whenever a video game or piece of entertainment has extreme build-up, it’s usually hard for the product to live up to its own hype. Fire Ring bucked this trend but delivered something that will stand the test of time as one of the best games ever made. Taking battle cues from titles like Blood borne and Dark souls and merge it with the freedom of a game that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Fire Ring was an instant hit, with its demanding combat and enticing world that lends itself perfectly to losing yourself in the game. Add to that the cultural phenomenon that the game became, and you have the perfect ingredients for the best game of 2022.
I think one of the best things a movie can do for someone is leave you thinking about it long after you’ve seen it and Tar do just that. Todd Field’s (Little children, In the bedroom) first film in more than a decade is easily his best, telling the story of Lydia Tár (played perfectly by Cate Blanchett), a composer-conductor and EGOT whose life and career begin to crumble around her. From an acting standpoint, Blanchett is so good that it often feels like you’re just watching the real story of Lyda Tár unfold. From a filmmaking standpoint, Field manages to turn a dialogue-heavy film into a fast-paced, impeccably detailed and at times surprisingly terrifying project that has every right to be called a masterpiece.
The White Lotus season 2
The first season of HBO’s The white lotus introduced us to the fictional hotel chain, as well as an incredibly chaotic story about the many vacationers who live there. While season 1 of the series was a satirical takedown of the wealthy and their many indulgences, season 2 takes that premise and expands on it even further, with a cast that somehow manages to top the incredible performances of the first season. Delving deeper into themes of class, sex, money, love and more, creator Mike White has once again managed to wrap a murder mystery into something so much more.
The worst person in the world
Technically, The worst person in the world could count as a 2021 release, even though its US theatrical release didn’t come until February, I’ll count it here. Joachim Trier’s fifth film (and the third entry in his “Oslo Trilogy”) is a brilliant look at longing, mortality, what it means to be unfulfilled and to search for one’s place in the world. Tells the story of Julie (played by Norwegian actress Renate Reinsve), a woman on the verge of 30 and struggling to figure out her place in life. Reinsve delivers an incredible performance that perfectly encapsulates the many pitfalls and uncertainties that come with growing up.
God of War: Ragnarök
God of War: Ragnarök had a big image to live up to. The 2018s god of war not only reinvented the series as a whole, but delivered an incredible story about a father struggling to connect with his son. Somehow, Ragnarök manages to deliver a great sequel that does just enough to make a name for itself. Unlike the first game, Ragnarök is much more action-oriented and focuses on a narrative that deals with a team of people trying to prevent the end of the world. At its core though, the game is still very much about the father/son dynamic, now with more fathers dealing with the sins of the past and not letting it affect their future. Combined with the tight and distinctly brutal fight of god of warSony’s Santa Monica Studio has once again delivered a game you must experience.
Apple TV+ is perhaps best known for the popular comedy series Ted Lassobut lost in the shuffle of 2022 was one of the best debut seasons of television in any year, in the form of Resignation. Tells the story of a group of employees who willingly decide to work in a shady company, Resignation fast-paced in a gripping thriller, complete with tense pacing, an incredibly unique style and outstanding performances from a star-studded cast. The first season finale in particular was a masterclass in building tension to a shocking conclusion and left me wanting more the second the credits started rolling.
Cult of the Lamb
In what is possibly the cutest game about running a demonic cult, Cult of the Lamb casts the player as a lamb brought back from the dead after a ritual murder. From there you are tasked with building a cult, taking care of them and also managing how they go about their daily lives. Although it may not sound like the most fun, Cult of the Lamb‘s combination of roguelit dungeon crawling and management sim just works, all while featuring a cast of characters that ooze personality thanks to the game’s lovable art style.
Perhaps the most underrated show on this list, The bear didn’t make many waves when it originally premiered on FX on Hulu in the middle of the year. Since then, however, the series has become a breakout hit, and for good reason. The bear tells the story of Carmy Berzatto, a classically trained chef who returns to Chicago after the death of his brother to take over the family-owned Italian steak sandwich shop. What follows is a surprisingly emotional tale of family, trauma, addiction and grief, as well as the chaotic and at times downright dangerous nature of working in the food industry.
Decision to leave
Park Chan-wook is a legendary filmmaker, so it should come as no surprise that his latest film, Decision to leave, is another outstanding film of the year. Unlike other movies like Old boy or The maidHowever Decision to leave is a much more subdued film that simply tells the story of Detective Jang Hae-joon (Park Hae-il) as he investigates Song Seo-rae (Tang Wei), the wife of a recently deceased man.
As the film unfolds, what starts as a simple investigation eventually turns into a tale of romantic obsession between the two, with both Park Hae-il and Tang Wei delivering all-time performances (Wei should specifically be included in more award conversations than she is). From a filmmaking standpoint, Park Chan-wook is once again a master of the craft as every shot in this film feels expertly placed and makes you want to go back and watch again to see what you might have missed. It may not be what his fans expect, but it’s another excellent entry in an already impressive resume.