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The Most Movie of the Year

Jeremy's Top 10 Films of 2022

Hi! Thanks for clicking. I am a film worker in the Hudson Valley, a frequent supporter of the Story Screen Beacon Theater, and an occasional contributor to the Story Screen website. I have been gracefully asked to share my top 10 favorites of the past twelve months.

What strikes me as unique about the list I’ve procured this year as compared to previous years, is just how many big-budget crowd-pleasing blockbusters made it high into my favorites. While in previous years, I tended to gravitate towards smaller and more innovative genre fare (and still do), it felt as though in 2022, the powers that be of the entertainment industry finally remembered that if you spend a large amount of money on actual big ideas that resonate, and execute them with earnestness and confidence in actually capable hands, you get large returns. It’s a nice change of pace.

As always, here are some honorable acknowledgments of films I really enjoyed but did not quite make the cut of my final top 10.

We’re All Going to the World’s Fair Prey Dragonball Super: Super Hero Terrifier 2 Emily The Criminal Saloum Tár Crimes of the Future

Everything Everywhere All at Once The Northman

The Batman

Now here’s the actual countdown!:

10. Barbarian

When friends and family ask me what films I look forward to in the coming year, I always give the same answer: It’s always the surprises. It’s always the films that come out of nowhere and knock me off my feet and deliver me a rollercoaster of a film I did not know I was going to get going in. Barbarian expertly balances grisly imagery and clever, unexpected humor leading to a memorable theatergoing experience.

9. Jackass Forever/Jackass 4.5

It’s great to catch up with old friends and find comfort in the fact they have not lost their goofy and irresistible charms, just maybe become a little older and a little wiser. Actually, maybe not wiser. While I do not know any of the members of the Jackass crew personally, the films invite you into their antics and make you feel as though you are just as much of a participant in the wild and baffling stunts as they are. You laugh with them, and you feel the excruciating pain they go through. After 20 years, the Jackass veterans haven’t lost an ounce of their comedic and death-defying touches, and the new blood they introduce feels as though they’ve been a part of the crew since the beginning.

8. The Banshees of Inisherin

This is a film that takes place in a very specific (and fictional) place, during a very specific time in history, and many of the characters speak in very specific cultural colloquialisms, yet the film speaks to an entirely universal truth. Sometimes, in life, the person who has been your day one may one day disappear and you will truly have no idea why, and that confusion, that pain, that sense of emptiness is something we have all experienced in one form or another and is reflected beautifully in Martin Mcdonaugh’s tragic and hilarious Irish folk tale of love and grief.

7. Avatar: The Way of Water

Went to a newly opened casino the other week to check it out. Saw a guy make a bet against James Cameron. A whole bunch of mysterious figures swarmed him and violently carried him out of the casino, never to be seen again. He had it coming. In all seriousness, when you spend over a decade, hundreds of millions of dollars, and invent new incredible pieces of filmmaking technology to recreate the world you see when you go to sleep at night, you see every ounce of engineering and creativity put into every second of the project. It is a miracle that it exists and we should be grateful that James Cameron is doing as much as he can to push the medium of digital filmmaking forward, with a gripping and engaging story of parenthood and revenge.

6. Decision to Leave

It is nice to know that it’s not only James Cameron pushing the medium of digital filmmaking forward, but it is also being pushed forward around the world too, such is the case with Park Chan-wook’s latest police procedural romance, exploring identity, trust, and the ways we communicate with each other in modern life. There are shots and sequences in this film that broke my brain and my perception of what can be accomplished visually. POV shots of cell phones, rack focuses changing within reflections, transitions that feel like magic tricks, this has it all! Not to mention a terrific neo-noir romance with one of my favorite endings in years.

5. Top Gun: Maverick

The platonic ideal American blockbuster. This is what we should all be striving for. This should be our standard, not the exception, as exceptional as it is. My younger brother told me that he couldn’t use the armrest because I was gripping it too tightly during the film’s third act. What’s that tell you? As exciting and as spectacular as its aerial sequences are, it never forgets to populate its spectacle with memorable characters with sincerity and heart which makes the aforementioned aerial sequences all the more exciting when its characters you love and care about are in the…danger zone.

4. Ambulance

Speaking of cinematic surprises: I was the most surprised to discover the film that was the most scathing and visceral indictment of our country’s broken medical and police system comes from Michael Bay of all directors? Who would have thought? Not me. Not only is that true, but it is also true that this is Michael Bay’s best film in years, potentially ever, and one of the best, most emotional, and most unforgettable films of the year. Nobody has ever been locked into Michael Bay’s particular brand of chaotic energy quite like Jake Gyllenhaal and Yayha Abdul-Mahteen were. Michael Bay is a man who loves America, but he is also not afraid to drive a stolen ambulance, with fire and blood, into its heart. We don’t stop.

3. The Fabelmans

It is incredible and humbling to see that you could be someone like Stephen Spielberg, a director who has shaped modern pop culture with more films than you can count, be on top of your game over 50 years into your career, and yet still be haunted by your childhood traumas and mistakes. This is not an average film about the magic of movies, it is a film about how art can be used as a tool for therapy, a tool to calm anxiety, and at the same time, how art can be addictive as a drug and can give you an overwhelming sense of grief, regret, and pain if you let it consume you. Incredible to see a director so on top of the world let himself be so vulnerable and human.

2. Nope

As much as I’ve spoken to a majority of the films on my list being big bombastic Hollywood spectacles, Nope comes around and starkly reminds us that these spectacles should not be taken for granted and can come at a cost. Over the past couple of years, I’ve worked under and alongside hundreds of wonderfully talented and hard-working below-the-line people in the film and television industry in the Hudson Valley and beyond, dedicating their whole lives to their craft and not always getting the recognition they properly deserve. Nope is one of the only examples I can think of that pays proper tribute to those kinds of workers. These special people using their unique and specific talents to come together to create an image despite their odds is the true heart of Nope. It also helps that the film contains some of the most frightening sequences and images I’ve ever seen. A true masterwork.

1. RRR

I mean, it has to be RRR. Not only is this my pick for my favorite of the year, but it is also the most movie of the year. Three hours of some of the most special image-making, one jaw-dropping sequence right after the other, that you would be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. It is nearly impossible to sum up what makes RRR so special with just a paragraph, so I urge you to go out and see it (preferably in a theater that may be doing a special screening of it). It must be seen to be believed.

Thank you for reading. I hope you seek out one or all of these films and get as much out of them as I did.


Jeremy Kolodziejski

Jeremy is younger than he looks, and has passionately studied the art and craft of filmmaking for as long as he can remember. He is a film worker in the Hudson Valley. You can follow him on Instagram and Letterboxd.




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