My Top Ten Favorite Movies of 2022

These are my personal favorite movies released in the U.S. in 2022. They are not meant to reflect the box office or award-winners for the year. I suggest that if you like four or five of the movies on the list, you might share my taste and sensibilities, and it might give some credence to you checking out the other films on the list.  Or not, because it might just be a coincidence.

Vengeance



Ben Manalowitz (B.J. Novak), a podcaster living in New York City, receives a phone call late one night from Ty Shaw (Boyd Holbrook) informing him that his "girlfriend" Abby Shaw (Lio Tipton) (in actuality just someone Ben hooked up with), has died of a drug overdose. On Ty's request, Ben flies to Texas to attend the funeral, meets brother Ty, mother Sharon (J. Smith-Cameron), sisters Paris (Isabella Amari) and Kansas City (Dove Cameron), young brother known as "El Stupido" (Eli Bickel) -- it's okay, he doesn't speak Spanish, and Granny Carole (Louanne Stephens). Ty informs Ben he suspects Abby was actually murdered, adamantly maintaining that she never took drugs, and asks Ben to accompany him to find the truth and avenge her.

Ben: Like, everybody's different. Some people don't eat certain foods. I don't avenge deaths.

This is a classic, but creative fish-out-of-water tale. Ben finds out quickly what it feels like to be the object of lampooning rather than the lampooner.  He thinks the simple, quaint Texas folk he encounters would make an excellent subject for his podcast. He believes they will be exemples of what is dividing America.  His adventure will prove him correct, but not in the way he expects.

In fact, one of the best things about this movie is how many expectations, both Ben's and the viewers', turn out to be awry. All characters with any impact on the story seem to be stereotypic cutouts end up being unique human beings with often surprising reasons for their behavior.

Ben: (pitching his podcast idea to his editor played by Issa Rae): This is an existential crime story. This is In Cold Blood, but there are no killers. This is about a new American reality that people can't accept.  So instead, they invent these myths and conspiracies.

Novak gets good mileage out of juxtaposing his main character's New York sensibilities with his preconceptions about rural Texas.

Ty: This is the most, uh, wretched, godforsaken stretch of land on the face of the earth. And I'd never leave. You know what I mean?
Ben: Yeah. That's how I feel about Twitter.

The one thing that surprised me most in this movie is Ashton Kutcher's tremendous performance as Quentin Sellers,  owner of the Quentin Sellers Music Factory, "making dreams come true since 2018." In my opinion, it could have been nominated for a supporting actor award.
 
Sellers: You're a playlist guy.
Ben: What does that mean?
Sellers: When some computer recommends you a bunch of songs based on your favorites, and a bunch more -based on your favorites of those.
Ben: Right
Sellers: So you're listening to a bunch of music that, -I mean, you genuinely like...
Ben: Yeah.
Sellers:: ...but you have no idea who sings it. Now, these playlists, it's like the dating app for music. You're not hearing other people's voices. You're just hearing your voice get played back at you. How are you supposed to fall in love?

Kutcher's Quentin Sellers is a marvel.  He is brilliant and even surprises Ben with incisive and unexpected  insights into everything from music to rural Texas to the meaning of modern America in the technological age. Until, Kutcher shows sincerely that Sellers has no soul, all his brilliance and insights into the current human comdition have done nothing to make him a better human being.

Sellers: Until your story proves the defining truth of our time.
Ben: Which is what?
Sellers: Everything means everything so nothing means anything.

Sharon: (driving Ben to the airport): It's all regrets. You run as fast as you can from the last regret and, of course, you are just running straight into the next one. That's life. It's all regrets. That's what they should say. No other way to be alive. It's all regrets. Make 'em count.

Where the Crawdads Sing



Abandoned as a girl, Kya raised herself in the dangerous marshlands of North Carolina. For years, rumors of the marsh girl haunted Barkley Cove, isolating the sharp and resilient Kya from her community. Drawn to two young men from town, she opens herself to a new and startling world. However, when one of them is found dead, Kya immediately becomes the main suspect. As the case unfolds, the verdict as to what happened becomes increasingly unclear, threatening to reveal many secrets.

I tried my best to judge this movie based on the movie itself and not on how it compared to the book which I thought was one of the best books I'd read in years.  That was both easy and very hard. It was easy because I had solid sense of the underpinnings of the story, but hadn't read the book in long awhile so I needed to watch closely for the fine details.  The harder part was knowing much of what had to be left out and letting that inform my perception of the movie. I equate it to another of my favorite books, To Kill a Mockingbird, and the movie which rightly won Gregory Peck an Oscar. Both are nearly perfect for their forms, but not identical because of the difference inherent in the different mediums. In both cases, the stories are compelling enough to  prosper in any medium.

I can definitely see where the novel was different, maybe better at some things, but I can also see where the movie presented some things in a way that emphasized suspense or mystery better while the novel did a better job of showing how Kya became who she became and how she is feeling about what's happening to her.  The movie asks the viewer to apply those aspects from watching what happens to her and how she responds.  Often, in movies, actions define the character and how the actress, in this case, Daisy Edgar Jones -- as close to perfect as possible in this role, can convey the feelings and motivations behind those actions.

Beyond even Edgar-Jones perfection in the role of the adult Kya, the movie also does some of the supporting characters as good or better than the novel. Michael Hyatt has always been an undersung and under-employed actress of  abundant talent and capacity. She is again impressive here as Mabel, the wife of Jumpin' (Sterling Macer, Jr.) who owns the bait shop and grocery where Kya comes to trade and keep herself alive.  They would like to help more, but are aware of the limitations of customs and interferring.

David Strathairn, one of the great characters of our time, is a more human defense lawyer in the flesh than on the page.

Tom Milton (Strathairn): Listen. I know you have a world of reasons to hate these people...
Kya: No, I never hated them. They hated me. They laughed at me. They left me. They harassed me. They attacked me. You want me to beg for my life? I don't have it in me. I won't. I will not offer myself up. They can make their decision. But they're not deciding anything about me. It's them. They're judging themselves.

Harris Dickinson brings to life in quietly revolting way the troubled teen suffering too much entitlement badly.. And Taylor John Smith somehow makes the character of her life-long companion who abandoned her for his college years into a sympathetic one.

Kya: I am in the marsh now. I am the feather of an egret. I am every shell washed upon the shore. I am a firefly. You'll see hundreds beckoning far into the dark reaches of the marsh. And that's where you will always find me, where the crawdads sing.

 

Causeway

 



Lynsey (Jennifer Lawrence), an Army Corps engineer who returns to the United States from Afghanistan after suffering a debilitating brain injury during an IED explosion. Lynsey returns to New Orleans, her hometown where she feels desperately alone until she meets James (Bryan Tyree Henry), a car mechanic also wrestling with the heavy burden of past traumas.

Jane Houdyshell is excellent in  a small role as Sharon, Lynsey's support nurse getting her ready for returning home.

Lynsey: Um, I haven't really been home in a while, and it's not like I'm staying for long. So --
Sharon: It can help to be with people.
Lynsey: I'm good on my won.
Sharon: The rehab's not over. You're gonna have to work hard every day to do all the things you used to do.
Lynsey: Yep. I'm gonna be fine

Lynsey gets a job as a pool cleaner until she can re-enlist, but her mother's truck has mechanical problems. She is helped out by a mechanic who lost part of his leg in a car accident out on the causeway. Thus the title.
 

James: Antoine, my nephew. He was sitting next to me. He was in the passenger seat. Kept saying he wanted to sit next to me in the front seat, so…and Jess said no, that he was too small and that he needed to be in the child seat, and I said yes. I said yes. I thought I was supposed to say yes to shit like that. Give him what he asks for. Spoil him. You see..

One of the reasons I was so eager to see this movie was that Linda Emond was in it. I saw that she played Lynsey's mother who means well, but just isn't very good at it. One of the reasons Lynsey doesn't want to stay with her for long.


James: How you treat your friends, your family. Everybody there, just to be escaped from. Just to be left behind. Like they let you down instead of the other way around.
Stephen McKinley Henderson is good as always as the doctor who is skeptical of signing the waiver to allow Lynsey to re-up in the service. He's always so good at being tough but showing he cares.
 
Lynsey: I used to practice holding my breath as a kid.
James: What's the longest you've ever held it?
Lynsey: 26 years.
James: Ah, I got you by 4 years.

Russell Harvard who was so good in a couple seasons of "Fargo" plays Lynsey's deaf-mute brother.


James: So what are you doing here?
Lynsey: I'm trying to make a friend

 

A Man Called Otto

 



A Man Called Ove," A Man Called Otto tells the story of Otto Anderson (Tom Hanks), a grump who no longer sees purpose in his life following the loss of his wife. Otto is ready to end it all, but his plans are interrupted when a lively young family moves in next door, and he meets his match in quick-witted Marisol. She challenges him to see life differently, leading to an unlikely friendship that turns his world around. A heartwarming and funny story about love, loss, and life, A Man Called Otto shows that family can sometimes be found in the most unexpected places.

This movie is another example of the kind of story that can support many different renditions. It is a foreign book, a foreign movie, and an Americanized movie with no deterioration of the story. They are all excellent, all singular different in their own way, and all wonderful.  I recommend all of the them with highest regard.

I can never think of this movie without thinking of:

Abbie: Abuelo Otto hit the clown.

Tom Hanks is always a delight to watch in drama or comedy, but I was quite impressed with Mariano Trevino as Marisol who embodied the confusion an intelligent competent woman can face venturing outside her areas of experience and expertise.  


Otto: [to Marisol] You have given birth to two children. Soon it will be three. You have come here from a country very far away. You learned a new language, you got yourself an education and a nitwit husband and you are holding that family together. You will have no problem learning how to drive. My god, the world is full of complete idiots who have managed to figure it out, and you are not a complete idiot. So, cluch, shift, gas, drive.

Manuel Garcia-Rulfo is one of those actors who I look up on imdb after seeing him because he's the most memorable or impressive thing in just about anything he's ever in. I had him pegged as a really scary bad dude or an action guy, but here he is fantastic as a loving, well-intentioned husband who believes he can accomplish any task for his family from parking a trailer to changing second-story storm windows.  His success is commensurate with his lack of skills.  Garcia-Rulfo plays his foibles with so earnestly thtat it is Hanks's exasperation that yields the humor.

Shari: A commuter recorded what happened on their phone and posted it online. Someone in the comments recognised you. That’s how I tracked you down. It’s gotten over a million views.
Otto: A million? A million. Why can’t people mind their own business?
Shari: Because stories like yours are inspiring.

Cameron Britton who usually plays serial killers to other imposing characters is wonderful against type here and Mike Birbiglia is shockingly good against type as an unethical real estate agent.

Real Estate Agent
:Take it easy, Otto. Look, I’m not trying to upset you, but you really shouldn’t be living alone. I mean, we know more about you than you probably realise, so…Just look after that heart of yours, okay?
Otto: What do you know about my heart? Hey, what do you know about my heart?!

Anita:The realty people, they’ve been telling us…Reuben and I have to move out.
Otto: No, that’s a load of crap. They don’t own this house. You do.

Otto:I need to see everything you ever got from Dye & Merika. Notices, letters. Do you have a copy of the power of attorney? How do you know about that? Do you have it? Get it. And any records of Reuben’s condition and yours. I’ve been an idiot. I got so wrapped up in my own troubles, I stopped thinking of anyone else. And I figured they weren’t thinking about me. [inhales deeply] Friends shouldn’t do that. So… This isn’t easy to say after all this time. But I’m sorry. And I will sort all this out. 

Because Otto begins to see he is and always was part of a bigger family, he gets busy and stops thinking about killing himself to join his deceased wife Sonya (Rachel Keller).

Cardiologist: It’s called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Basically, his heart is too big.
Marisol:Too big? Oh, okay. Oh. (laughs) No, sorry. It’s okay. (To Otto) You're really bad at dying, you know that?

[in his post-mortem letter] Marisol, If you're reading this, don't worry. I haven't done anything stupid. It turns out having a big heart isn't as nice as it sounds. The doctors warned me it would get me in the end.

Bullet Train

 



Brad Pitt stars as Ladybug, an unlucky assassin determined to do his job peacefully after one too many gigs gone off the rails. Fate, however, may have other plans, as Ladybug's latest mission puts him on a collision course with lethal adversaries from around the globe – all with connected, yet conflicting, objectives – on the world's fastest train...and he's got to figure out how to get off. From the director of Deadpool 2, David Leitch, the end of the line is only the beginning in a wild, non-stop thrill ride through modern-day Japan. Five assassins board a Japanese bullet train bound for Kyoto and find their missions might be linked. Luck, fate, and karma will all have everything or nothing to do with the outcome.


To suggest that this movie is over the top would be ridiculous.  This movie is so far over the top, you can't even see the top. That said, within that universe, it maintains a firm grasp on its own reality and rolls out a story that is cool, creative, and abundantly clever.


Lemon: Everything I learned about people I learned from Thomas the Tank Engine. Take Tangerine here. He’s a Gordon, this blue one. And Gordon is the strongest, the most important, but he doesn’t always listen to others. I mean, some people are Edwards; Wise, kind. Some are Henrys; Hardworking, strong. Some people are Diesels. Those are trouble.

Brad Pitt's reluctant protagonist who thinks he's just on the train to steal a briefcase may be the movie's most prevelant protagonist, it is the brothers from different mothers, Lemon (Brian Tyree Henry -- in a second of my Top Ten movies for year) and Tangerine (Aaron Taylor Johnson) are the more memorable drivers of the plot.  They obviously are not brothers even though they are referred to as "The Twins" by all who know them.  They scrap like brothers, but ultimately it is their lifelong bond that offers the film some unexpected emotion.

Tangerine: If you mention Thomas the tank engine one more time, I’m gonna shoot you in the fucking face.

I still don't know how they got Joey King's eyes to look as big as anime exaggerations. She is the perfect actress to play the all grown up little girl always pretending to be at the mercy of some degenerate man to get something she wants from an unsuspecting passerby.

The Prince: The innocent young girl act doesn’t really get you very far if you’re holding a loaded gun.

Tangerine finds Lemon near death laying atop the Florist's son who he also believes has been shot and killed.

Tangerine: See, lemon… god rest his soul, was the Don, and he could read people. See them for who they really are.
The Prince: What?
Tangerine: He was right. There’s been a diesel running up and down this train, causing all sorts of fucking havoc. And it was you the whole fucking time, you dirty little diesel! You made lemon bleed. And lemon never bleeds.
The Prince: Oh, my god, mister! Please help me! Ladybug.
Ladybug: No one’s gonna hurt you. It’s okay.

It is always a joy to see the great Hiroyuki Sanada in an English language film so I can enjoy his powerful acting. Here, he plays a peaceful florist, a grandfather and father, who was once something much more violent.

Ladybug: Man, fate for me is just another word for bad luck. And that, that follows me around like... I don't know, something witty. My handler calls me ladybug. She’s witty.

Kimura, the Florist: Do you know what they call a ladybug in Japan? Tentoumushi. As a boy, I was told there is a spot on its back for each of the seven sorrows of the world. You see, Tentoumushi is not lucky. It holds all the bad luck so that others may live in peace. 
Ladybug: I-I don’t want to hold the seven sorrows.
Kimura, the Florist: Everything that’s ever happened to you has led you here. Fate.
Ladybug: Well, that’s a shit deal.

The movie goes off the rails towards the end, both literally and figuratively. I believe it would have benefitted from sticking to the original script, but the more over the top ending adds a few smiles. Not the least of which involves a tangerine truck.

Catherine Called Birdy

 



Lady Catherine (known as Birdy) is independent, clever and adventurous – and ready to put off any suitor that comes her way. With her family desperate for the financial arrangement in marrying her off, Birdy’s imagination, defiance, and modern spirit put her on a collision course with the rest of her life. Relationships are put to the test when the most vile suitor of all arrives to claim her hand.

Birdy: [narrating] *Christ's day!* When I was young, Father had a golden Jesus that pissed wine, now we just cut the brown parts from the carrots.

Andrew Scott as Birdy's father, the inept money-managing Lord Rollo is an actor I have noticed in the recent past.  Here he proves as adept at comedy as I'd seen in his dramatic roles. In both genres, he maintains a healthy combination of both.  I will be watching for him in future roles.
 

Lord Rollo: I have to keep this family from descending into utter poverty! And Birdy is our only currency, so we're in real trouble.
Lesley Sharp as Birdy's teacher and wrangler Morwenna is a grounding force with enough no-nonsense but sincere compassion to assist her charge in making it to womanhood.

Birdy: I have made a bargain with my mother. I may forgo spinning, my greatest agitation of all, as long as I write this account of my days for my brother, Edward the Monk. In his letters, he tells me he believes it will help me grow less  childish and more learned. So what follows will be my book, the book of Catherine, called Little Bird or Birdy.

Lady Aislynn (Billie Piper) is at the heart of the story.  After bearing two sons, she had Birdy, a daughter who wants to be as free as any son.  She is proud of her daughter's willful spirit, but knows what will be expected of her.


Lady Aislynn: When you try to bend the ways of the world, I will cheer for you, Birdy, but I fear for you. To see you hurt, I could not sustain that. I would rather see you settle than seared.

The suitors begin to arrive.  Many are turned away by Birdy's cunning, but her father has no choice for his wife and family except to entertain them.

Birdy: We must run far away and never come back.
Perkin: That is always your answer to everything, Birdy. Do you not see? You would like to ride into the Crusades, but you are a lady. I would like to be a great scholar, yet I cannot even read. We do not get to choose what we do. Life does not care about us. We are given our stations until death.

Birdy is convinced by her mother's bravery and inner strength while giving birth to twin sisters who live. She realizes that her life is defined by everyone she touches. She decides to marry the old suitor who has the most to offer her family. She does so in part to help her brother make a big enough offer to make a match for himself he has always wanted. Finally, it is her father who rescues her in his own maximum effort-limited skill way.


Let's party like it's 1299! Yay!

Slumberland


A young girl discovers a secret map to the dreamworld of Slumberland, and with the help of an eccentric outlaw, she traverses dreams and flees nightmares, with the hope that she will be able to see her late father again.


Francis Lawrence is one of my favorite directors. I've seen every feature film he's directed and like them except perhaps the final Hunger Games films.

Peter (Nemo's father): Now, one day ol' Flippy comes up to me, and he says, "Guess what I've heard." [takes a deep breath] He's heardabout these Pearls. Magic Pearls.You get one of these Pearls, and you can wish for whatever you want.

Peter, the lighthouse keeper, must head off to attempt a rescue of a vessel in distress.  He doesn''t come back.

Carla: Your dad left instructions. If anything ever happened to him...he wanted you to go and stay with your uncle in the city.

In her dreams, Nemo meets Flip (Jason Momoa), a cross between a pirate and some kind of fantasy beast with horns and sharp teeth.

Flip: Well, your dad and I were partners a long time ago, before he went straight and had a kid. Big mistake, in my opinion. Mad, bad, and dangerous to know. Named Flip.
Nemo: You're Flip?
Flip: Yeah
Nemo: I thought you were something my dad made up.

If the movie has one flaw it might be that the young actress Marlow Barkley is sympathetic, but rather unremarkable. It is perhaps fine because she is the viewers' conduit into and out of the dream world. Like her magical stuffed animal Pig, she is who we follow.  Her uncle does make her go to school during those pesky daytime hours when she is awake.  It is difficult because she had been homeschooled by her father who had also been her only friend.  It does not help her relationship with her Uncle Philip who is overwhelmed by the new responsibility of caring for her.


Uncle Philip: I know you wanna sleep all the time because you're sad. I know that feeling. But life is what happens when you're awake.
Nemo: Not Mine.

Flip finds her in her dreams because he has a plan. He suspects she knows where her father hid the map to the magic pearls that will grant the finder one wish.

Flip: Oh, yeah, you can see your dad again. Right here, every night. But I'm gonna need that map, kid.

But when she insists on coming along, he isn't so sure.


Flip: This isn't some Girl Scout trip to Lollipop Land, Okay? We're gonna have to travel through people's dreams to get to that treasure. So you get killed, it's on you.
Nemo: You said you can't die in a dream.
Flip: I said you can't die in your dream. You die in your dream, you wake up. You die in someone else's dream, you don't wake up. Ever!
Flip: Greatest treasure in the world. The sticky part is those dream cops at the Bureau don't want us to know they even exist. Because you get your hands on one of those bad boys, and you can wish for whatever you want here in  Slumberland. And it's out of their control.
Nemo: I could see my dad again?
Flip: If you don't die. Which you probably will.

Dream cops are like all cops with a job to do. Some do it well, some do not. That job looks different depending on who they are after and why.

Nemo:  I'm not afraid of anything.
Agent Green: Being brave isn't about not being scared. It's about doing what you have to do, even when you are.

Flip: When you stay in Slumberland too long, you forget everything. I just thought if I got that Pearl, I could remember who I am.

It shouldn't have been hard to figure out what Nemo will do when she finds a pearl, but the movie does it very well with some suspense and thrilling action.

Nemo: I didn't think I could go on without you.
Nemo's father: You traveled to the Sea of Nightmares and came back home safe again. After that, I don't think the Waking World's gonna be too difficult. But that's up to you. Life is waiting for you, Nemo. It would be a shame to miss that.
Nemo: [crying] I have to go back.
Dad:  That's my girl. [takes a deep breath] And you never forget...how very proud I am of you. And keep an eye on that brother of mine. He seems normal, but he's not. Deep down, he's a wild man.

The Woman King


Inspired by true events, this is the remarkable story about an all-female unit of warriors who protected the African Kingdom of Dahomey with skills and a fierceness unlike anything the world had ever seen. General Nanisca (Viola Davis) trains the next generation of recruits and readies them for battle against an enemy determined to destroy their way of life. Even as she prepares her nation's defenders, Nanisca tries to convince the new King Ghezo (John Boyega) to increase the production of palm oil and the mining of gold so they can end their involvement in the slave trade which have given their rival nations and the white man more power over them.

Nawi's father: I wish to give my daughter to the king. No husband will have her.

Thuso Mbedu is fierce enough and smart enough as the obstinate Nawi, but even though they call her Tsetse Fly, she is so tiny and waifish that her fighting abilities lack credibility. Not a major flaw when she's fighting other novices, but against the enemies best, she's at an obvious disadvantage.

Nanisca: Many obstinate daughters are dumped at the palace. They usually fail.
Nawi: All our lives, they… they tell us stories about the Agojie. That you have magic. You look like a regular old woman to me.
Nanisca: Fighting is not magic. It is a skill. We'll see if you have any.
Nawi clings to her human principles of generosity and compassion and has trouble complying with the ruthless rules of the Agojie.

Izogie: Why did you return to help Fumbe? You could have lost.
Nawi: Fumbe is my friend. I want her to stay. To stay, she must pass the test.
Nanisca: To be useful, she must stand on her own.
Nawi::You would not help your friend, Miganon?
Nanisca: Amenza? I would step on her head to win a footrace.

However, she is also cunning and ingenious, even when playing pranks with gunpowder.

Nanisca: How do you make this explosion?
Nawi: You do not need guns to use gunpowder. We just need a spark.

As with many great movies, the B story turns out to be more important than just subtext for the A story.

Amenza: Why do you ask these questions after all this time? Because Nawi is an orphan? You couldn’t possibly think that she…
Nanisca: Of course not. 
Amenza: No. The gods are not that cruel.

Nawi meets a mixed-blood man, Malik who is travelling with the Portuguese slave traders.

Nawi: One of the men that came to the palace, Malik, he says the Oyo general is growing his army with other tribes. They will march on Dahomey. The Oyo have given them courage.
Miganon: Where were you speaking with this Malik?
Nawi: He spoke to me through the palm line.
Miganon: On the night you swear loyalty to your sisters, you speak in secret with a slaver?
Nawi: He’s not a slaver. His mother was Dahomey.

Lashana Lynch is the heart of this movie as the drill sergeant often is in war pictures. Tough as nails, but with a soft spot for the underdog, a loyalty and love for the good general, and taste for the finer things like the white man's whiskey.

Nanisca: They are a day’s journey from our plateau. They will set up camp there. They expect us to defend ourselves from behind our walls. We are greatly outnumbered. Their size makes them arrogant and slow, like their guns. But you don’t need a gun to use gunpowder. You just need a spark. Sometimes a termite can take down an elephant. We will bring the war to them.

Adam Project


After accidentally crash-landing in 2022, time-traveling fighter pilot Adam Reed teams up with his 12-year-old self on a mission to save the future.


This may not be a great movie overall, but many of its parts are so much fun and nearly perfect. Ryan Reynolds is cast essentially as Ryan Reynolds-type.  Walker Scobell does not play his role trying to act like a young Ryan Reynolds. Instead, playing it unsure how he'll ever turn into Ryan Reynolds' fighter pilot. Mark Ruffalo is turning in performance after performance of subtle honesty. Jennifer Garner is very good here if a bit underused. And Catherine Keener is so good it was hard to believe her character could be that ruthlessly manipulative.

The soundtrack is filled with perfect song choices like "Gimme Some Lovin'" by the Spencer Davis Group. There's great allusions to different cultural touchstones.

Mrs. Ellie Reed: It’s the third time you’ve been suspended for fighting.
Young Adam: You’d think I’d be better at it by now.
Mrs. Reed: This goes on your permanent record. Get that? Care about your future? Do you? Son, you’d better start caring, because the future is coming, sooner than you think.

Big Adam: How long ago was Dad’s accident?
Young Adam: About a year and a half ago.
Big Adam: She still hasn’t cleaned out his closet?
Young Adam:She’s not much of a housekeeper.
Big Adam: Hey. You have her to take care of you. She has no one. You understand? Do you understand? She wakes up every morning with a broken heart and a closet full of his clothes and gets nothing from you but a fistful of crap, and not even, like, ten seconds of genuine empathy.
Young Adam:: I’m you, you know. Tell me about it.
Big Adam:You know, 30 years, you still get sick to your stomach every time you remember how you treated her now.

Young Adam: Everything you’re doing right now just to rescue one person. You’re changing the future. That’s gotta be against the rules.
Big Adam: You’ll feel differently when you meet her. And when you lose her.

Young Adam: You MADE yourself hate him... 'cause it was easier than missing him.

Young Adam: I think... I think it's easier to be angry than it is to be sad. And I guess, when I get older, I forget that there's a difference.
Big Adam: How'd you get to be so smart?
Young Adam: How'd you get to be so dumb?

Laura: The Adam Project, had just gone online. 
Big Adam: That was the first step toward practical time travel. Sorian must’ve come back to 2018 and given her younger self some kind of future intel.
Laura: What for?
Big Adam: My guess is enough future stock tips to amass her fortune and get rid of whatever political obstacles were keeping her from gaining control of the time program.

But the movie also has all thoss time travel paradoxes and the finale is nuclear reactor light show confusion wants to make my head explode, but that's what happens.

[computer] Core breached.
Reactor stability compromised.
Commence evacuation.
Lockdown in two minutes.


Big Adam: [to his younger self] I spent thirty years trying to get away from the me that was you and, I'll tell you what, kid, I hate to say it, but you were the best part all along.
 

The Outfit

 



An English tailor who used to craft suits on London's world-famous Savile Row. After a personal tragedy, he's ended up in Chicago.  After a personal tragedy, he finds himself in Chicago, operating a small tailor shop where he makes beautiful clothes for the only people around who can afford them: a mobster family with a vicious reputation. Their demands have Leonard stitching up more than just their wardrobes.

I'm beginning to suspect that henceforth my top ten will always include a Mark Rylance movie.

first lines
Leonard: [narrating] To the naked eye, a suit appears to consist of two parts, a jacket and trousers. But those two seemingly solid parts are composed of four different fabrics. Cotton, silk, mohair, and wool. And those fabrics are cut into 38 separate pieces. The process of sizing, forming, conjoining those pieces, requires no fewer than 228 steps.[puts his kettle on to boil] I'm not a tailor; I'm a cutter.

The old cutter narrates his vocation as if it were an instruction tape for someone learning the craft.  That tape will turn out to be a nice twist at the end. But before you get there, there are complications

Leonard: Maybe You could explain what happened.
Francis: To God almighty?
Leonard: No, to Mr. Boyle.
Francis: There's a difference?
Leonard: When a mistake's been made, I've always found it best to simply be up-front about it.
Francis: English, I didn't cut the boss' pants too short, I shot his son in the face.

Johnny Flynn plays Francis very low-key but with a lot of calculating going on inside his head, but enough hints that he is a dangerous man. Dylan O'Brien is fine as the gangster Roy Boyle's son who is always trying to prove himself and his worthiness to the throne. Simon Russell Beale is such a smooth actor he almost seems out of place but it works to his favor as he pretends to be the kind-hearted gangster who bolsters the neighborhood, but is still very much a gangster.

Leonard: I understand how you feel.
Roy Boyle: You understand?
Leonard: I had a daughter. I didn't come to Chicago because of blue jeans. There was a fire in my shop. I didn't even notice it at first. I was so busy working. The fabrics lit up. Everything burned so fast. My wife and my little girl, they lived upstairs. I heard them. The shears were a gift from my wife. So, you understand.

It takes a talented actress to be as memorable as Mark Rylance, and perhaps even a bit moreso as in Zoey Deutch in this movie. She is the catalyst for all the action both on the surface and under it.

Mable: Come with me. You can show me things you've already seen.
Leonard: You will not spend your best years taking care of my remaining few.
Mable: I was taking care of myself just fine, you know..
Leonard: Oh Yes. Knowing you, I'm quite confident you'd have seen to the burials of each and everyone of those murders. But then .. you'd no longer be pretending to be one. Would you?

The Outfit makes my top ten just barely.  It is a meticulous claustrophobic thriller, but it is also sloppy with plotholes, thinly explained elements, and ultimately isn't really about anything. What it does do, it does well, and that puts it above many, many movies I saw in 2022.

last lines:

Leonard: It's not perfect. You have to make your peace with that (leaving his shop)  How? Well, you sit at your board, you lay out your tools, and you start again.

Honorable Mention:

See How They Run

Jerry & Marge Go Large

Avatar: The Way of Water

Top Gun: Maverick