Top 10 Best Movies of The Year So Far
Top 10 Best Movies of The Year So Far

The first half of the year is a good time for resolutions, renewal, and taking stock of life, but it’s often a slow time for new movies. The streaming era has changed that calculus — a novelty-hungry home-viewing audience doesn’t much care about the season, so more release houses are slipping interesting movies onto VOD or even bringing them to theaters during a season when they’ll face less competition.

This chart ranks movies by the amount they earned during 2022. It includes movies released in previous years that earned money during 2022.

Below you’ll find entries are in reverse order of release: The most recent releases are first, so it’ll be easy to see the newest additions to this list. We’ll also be doing the same for the best movies of 2022 so far below.

Top 10 Best Movies of The Year So Far

1. Everything Everywhere All At Once

2. After Yang

3. Good Luck to You, Leo Grande

4. Emergency

5. Top Gun: Maverick

6. Emily the Criminal

7. Turning Red

8. We're All Going to the World's Fair

9. Jackass Forever

10. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

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What Are the Best and Most Watched Movies of The Year 2022

1. Everything Everywhere All At Once

Photo: imdb
Photo: imdb

Directors: Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert

Cast: Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan, Stephanie Hsu, James Hong

People who only know filmmakers Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert from their tongue-in-cheek 2016 indie-movie parody Swiss Army Man — yes, that’s the one where Daniel Radcliffe spends the whole movie as a vomiting, farting corpse — may be surprised at the sheer scope, scale, and ambition of the writer-directors’ new movie Everything Everywhere All At Once, which absolutely lives up to its name. It’s a wild, winning multiverse comedy slash kung-fu epic about a depressed laundromat owner (Michelle Yeoh) who’s called on to save billions of alternate universes from evil, but that only scratches the surface of what the Daniels are out to achieve.

Part metaphorical attempt to reckon with the chaos of the internet age, part life-affirming argument against despair, and part reckless absurdist action movie, it’s simultaneously hilarious and touching, an impressive special-effects experiment and a tremendous mental reboot on the order of The Matrix. This is the only movie you’ll see this year (or probably ever) where one man gets beaten to death with oversized floppy dildos, while another changes the world with the Kurt Vonnegut-derived message “Be kinder to each other.”

2. After Yang

Photo: thereveal
Photo: thereveal

Director: Kogonada

Cast: Colin Farrell, Jodie Turner-Smith, Justin H. Min, Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja

“What’s so great about being human?” a character asks in After Yang, wondering why a clone like her would be deemed second-rate. She’s raising a vital, endlessly human quandary: Why do people assign a higher value to some identities than others? After Yang is a futuristic sci-fi parable that poses big questions on an intimate scale. It is also, more than anything, the story of a family who happen to live in a world where cognizant robots known as techno-sapiens exist alongside everyday mortals. Jake (Colin Farrell) and Kyra (Jodie Turner-Smith) acquired one named Yang so their young Chinese daughter (Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja) could have a sibling, and the pair have become the ultimate companions. When Yang’s system malfunctions, it feels tantamount to a death, sending Jake on a path to restore Yang, or at least better understand his reality. Directed by the Korean filmmaker Kogonada (Columbus), After Yang is an existential drama that manages to be both joyous and heartbreaking.

3. Good Luck to You, Leo Grande

Photo: imdb
Photo: imdb

Director: Sophie Hyde

Cast: Emma Thompson, Daryl McCormack

A talky chamber piece that could easily have been a play, Sophie Hyde’s two-hander (written by Katy Brand) nonetheless feels cinematic. That’s owed in large part to Emma Thompson, who gives a glowing movie-star turn as a widow, Nancy, looking to explore her sexuality with a kind, devastatingly handsome sex worker, Leo (Daryl McCormack). Nancy is trying to make up for lost time, which gives Leo Grande its melancholy lilt. It’s a film as much about age and opportunity as it is about carnal desire. McCormack, an up-and-coming Irish talent, is one to keep an eye on—or, fine, both eyes. He has easy chemistry with Thompson, their chatting and bartering bouncing along as Hyde calmly watches from an intimate distance. Bizarrely, this Hulu film is not getting an Oscar qualifying run in theaters, which would surely set Thompson on the path to awards attention next winter. Oh, well. At least it’s readily available on June 17 for all to enjoy, before everyone goes off to seek pleasure of their own. There is, after all, no time like the present.

4. Emergency

Photo: imdb
Photo: imdb

Director: Carey Williams

Starring: RJ Cyler, Donald Elise Watkins, Sebastian Chacon

Mix one part college buddy movie with one part thriller and stir in a shot of social commentary to give it some bite, and you've got "Emergency." A pair of college seniors plan to be the first Black students to complete a legendary bar crawl on their campus, but their plans are interrupted when they find an unconscious white girl sick with alcohol poisoning in their living room. Certain that calling the authorities will only get them arrested (or worse), they embark on an increasingly complicated quest to drive her to the hospital themselves. A spoonful of stoner comedy helps the medicine go down as "Emergency" highlights the way systemic racism increases the danger and difficulty of life for Black Americans.

5. Top Gun: Maverick

Photo: forbes
Photo: forbes

Director: Joseph Kosinski

Cast: Tom Cruise, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Glen Powell, Jon Hamm, Val Kilmer

Tom Cruise finally returns to the role that made him a superstar in "Top Gun: Maverick," a spectacular sequel that, against all odds, actually ends up being worth the three-decade wait between movies. Despite his boundary-pushing personality constantly getting him in trouble, Pete "Maverick" Mitchell is called back into action to train the next generation of fighter pilots, who are faced with an impending mission that could avert nuclear disaster. Maverick's particular set of skills makes him the perfect person to teach the new class, but when he realizes that one of his students is Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of Maverick's beloved and long-dead former partner, things get a lot more complicated. The stage is set for high drama and even higher flying — and you know Maverick isn't gonna be sitting on the sidelines as a teacher when the real mission kicks off.

Even though director Joseph Kosinski doesn't have the same eye for pure style that original filmmaker Tony Scott had (there is significantly less sweat in this movie, and the color palette isn't nearly as creative overall), he's still able to deliver outstanding aerial action that will get your heart pumping and have you holding your breath in the theater. There's also a surprising emotional core to this movie: If you happen to find yourself wiping away tears and asking yourself, "Wait, did a 'Top Gun' movie just make me cry?", you won't be alone. When all is said and done, this just might be the most crowd-pleasing film of the year.

6. Emily the Criminal

Photo: joblo
Photo: joblo

Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Theo Rossi, Megalyn Echikunwoke

Director: John Patton Ford

"Emily the Criminal" is a crime thriller born of the present moment, as a generation weighed down by debt and denied full-time employment struggles to make ends meet in the "gig economy." Aubrey Plaza stars as Emily, who juggles various menial jobs with combined wages that can't make a dent in her student loans. When presented with the opportunity to make a lot of money fast, Emily becomes a "dummy shopper," maxing out cloned credit cards and reselling the purchases on the black market. The story of a hard-luck outlaw getting in too deep is nothing new, but "Emily the Criminal" has such a modern edge that it can't be denied.

7. Turning Red

Photo: murphysmultiverse
Photo: murphysmultiverse

Director: Domee Shi

Cast: Rosalie Chiang, Sandra Oh, Ava Morse, Hyein Park

Pixar's "Turning Red" is one of the most accurate cinematic depictions of what it was like to be a hormonal teenage girl, and of feeling so much you just might burst. Directed by Domee Shi (who won an Oscar with her first directorial effort, the lovely Pixar short "Bao"), this coming-of-age fantasy comedy makes the coming-of-age part literal in one of the most vibrant, exciting, and joyous animated films to come out of the animation house in years.

"Turning Red" follows the uber-confident Meilin "Mei" Lee (breakout star Rosalie Chiang), a Chinese-Canadian 13-year-old who does what she wants and says what she wants — except in the presence of her parents. Mei was raised in that classic Asian immigrant second-generation way: to revere and respect her parents' wishes, while living a double life to hide her own burgeoning identity and urges. But the precarious balance she holds between her two lives is shattered by that great beast: puberty. In this case, puberty manifests in the form of a giant red panda that Mei turns into when she experiences strong emotion.

8. We're All Going to the World's Fair

Photo: Youtube
Photo: Youtube

Director: Jane Schoenbrun

Cast: Anna Cobb, Michael Rogers

Writer-director Jane Schoenbrun has created something truly special: a coming-of-age horror film for the generation that grew up too online. We’re All Going to the World’s Fair communicates the excitement and fear that accompany creating a new self on the internet, as well as the excitement and fear of encountering others online who think they know you.

Casey, an internet-obsessed lonely teenager (Anna Cobb, in an unforgettable feature film debut), stumbles across The World’s Fair Challenge, a horror-themed online challenge that promises physical changes to those who take part. Casey begins to create videos of her participation in the challenge, opening the door to new experiences (and spectators) in her physical and virtual lives.

With effective use of creepypasta aesthetics (including striking collaborations with real YouTube creators), We’re All Going to the World’s Fair is an unsettling, immersive internet horror experience that is at once new and familiar to those who have visited these remote corners of the internet. Schoenbrun’s feature debut is one to remember, and they’re a filmmaker to keep an eye on as new projects emerge.

9. Jackass Forever

Photo: nytimes
Photo: nytimes

Starring: Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Chris Pontius

Director: Jeff Tremaine

Who would've guessed that the first honest-to-goodness critical darling of 2022 would be "Jackass Forever?" The long-awaited fourth installment of the film series based on the MTV prank show of the same name sees Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, and the gang once again punishing their bodies with elaborate pranks and dares. The twist: This time, they're middle-aged!

The key to this film's critical success (apart from the fact that the film critics of today were the "Jackass" viewers of 20 years ago) is its total sincerity. Despite the increased risk to their health, Knoxville and company carry on performing dangerous, disgusting bits simply because they love making each other laugh, and to them, nothing is funnier. And now, they get to share their legacy with a new generation of comedians who grew up watching them throw rubber balls at each other's genitals and saying, "Someday, that's gonna be me."

10. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Photo: space
Photo: space

Director: Sam Raimi

Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez

For its first half, "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" serves up the Marvel formula: amusing quips, fun actors saying said quips, and energetic enough action to keep you occupied and entertained. The usual. And then the film takes a hard turn for the unusual, and what could've been just another Marvel movie transforms into a Sam Raimi movie.

20 years after he invented the modern blockbuster with the original "Spider-Man" trilogy, Raimi returns to the superhero stomping grounds by ... stomping all over superhero movies. The gleeful, maniacal filmmaker reaches deep into his toolbox and pulls out the skills that he utilized in the "Evil Dead" trilogy, transforming the "Doctor Strange" sequel into a horror show where no one is safe and no camera angle can co un-canted. Once the gloves come off, the film comes to startling life: a chase scene that feels like "Evil Dead 4" actually happened, and it just stars the Scarlet Witch; a bizarre and beautiful duel between powerful magicians where music becomes a literal weapon; a climax that feels like Clark Ashton Smith's greatest heavy metal nightmare. It's a lot!

And more best movies in 2022!

There have been no shortage of other great movies this year, from the brutal action epic "The Northman" to the sleek, family friendly animated heist comedy "The Bad Guys."

Elsewhere, Nicolas Cage riffed on his own celebrity persona in the most surreal way possible in "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent," Steven Soderbergh and Zoë Kravitz teamed up to electric results in the throwback thriller "Kimi'" and Michael Bay delivered some so-bad-it's-good fun with Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in the ridiculous thriller "Ambulance."

While horror fans will enjoy the groovy thrills of Ti West’s "X," the intriguing promise of Mariama Diallo’s directorial debut "Master" and the squicky fun of "Fresh," romance lovers should check out the hidden gem "I Want You Back," starring Charlie Day and Jenny Slate.

Of course, no look at 2022 so far would be complete without mentioning "RRR," the Telugu-language Indian epic action drama that’s become an international crossover sensation since it landed on Netflix. Pair it with the Rwanda-set, Afrofuturist sci-fi musical "Neptune Frost" for a sense of the breadth of what international cinema can do.

Oh, and be on the lookout for "Marcel the Shell with Shoes On" at the end of the month too. It’s a charming, surprisingly heart-wrenching crowdpleaser with one shell of a protagonist.

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