2022's best movies: raunchy comedies, epics with a message

Dolly De Leon (L) and Charlbi Dean star in "Triangle of Sadness." Photo courtesy of Neon
1 of 5 | Dolly De Leon (L) and Charlbi Dean star in "Triangle of Sadness." Photo courtesy of Neon

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- The best movies of the year include theatrical and streaming releases, comedies and dramas, Sundance indie picks and Hollywood blockbusters. There are raunchy comedies and epic tales that carry a message.

With all there is to watch, it's easy to miss some worthy contributions. But here are 10 that deserve the attention.


10. Emily the Criminal -- This thriller updates the heist movie to modern-day credit card-big box store scams, while also addressing the updated workplace that drives people to a life of crime. Aubrey Plaza commands the narrative as an everywoman trying to get by, though perhaps one with a bit more scrappy survival instincts than most.

9. Cha Cha Real Smooth -- The best movie from this year's Sundance Film Festival may not be a CODA-type Oscar contender, but it's still a sweet, quirky indie comedy. Writer-director-star Cooper Raiff makes a strong case for himself as a leading man, gives Dakota Johnson a layered, vulnerable role and captures the fun and heartbreak of small-town communities.


8. Babylon -- Writer/director Damien Chazelle channels the musical passion of Whiplash and La La Land into an intense epic of Hollywood debauchery and creativity. It's Chazelle's Singing in the Rain, but also a Hollywood Caligula. A full review is coming Friday.

7. Everything Everywhere All At Once -- This wild, inventive multiverse tale really lives up to its title. It manages to make the world feel infinite through simple differences between characters and locations, and tugs at heartstrings with rocks and hot dog fingers.

6. Top Gun: Maverick -- Crowd-pleasing blockbuster movies don't get any better than this. Prey also brought an inspired new take on its franchise, but here Tom Cruise delivers a homage to his star-making film. He applied his decades of action hero experience to engineering a thrill machine. This mission builds to the final flight like the 1986 film never did and executes aerial action like no film before.

5. RRR -- The hype is real. This Tollywood film took the American box office by storm, and it is indicative of the kind of movie one wishes they'd make in Hollywood. Loosely inspired by legendary historical figures, RRR commits to outrageous action scenes with nary a worry about plausibility, epic dance-offs, intense drama and goofy comedy. Cinema can be all things, and RRR is all of them simultaneously. Jennifer Beals spoke about her passion for it.


4. Women Talking -- Hopefully, Women Talking will make people listen. This is exactly the kind of conversation society should be having about all major issues. It's a compelling philosophical debate that constantly energizes the discourse with provocative new ideas, shattering any simplistic binary.

3. The Menu -- Calling this a biting satire is too easy a pun. Ralph Fiennes' chef skewers foodie culture for an appetizer, but his main course is a treatise against moral and social injustice. It's a deliciously good time watching privileged folk squirm under this macabre buffet.

2. Beavis and Butthead Do the Universe -- It would have been enough if Beavis and Butthead returned with the same endearingly immature humor as before. They did, but siccing them on modern society and culture took them to the next level. And no other comedy was this funny. Perhaps Jackass Forever was the closest contender, but it's been a lean year for comedies.

1.Triangle of Sadness -- This satire manages to be more highbrow and even lower brow than Beavis and Butt-Head at different points. Its observations about the privileged condescending to the working class are astute, but the observations about a worker rising to power in a crisis are profound.


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