A Look at The First Six Months of 2022

 Because of Covid-19, the studio system is still recovering from shuttered theatres and delayed production. This is far from a normal year at the theatres and on streamers, but so far it is proving to be packed full of quality offerings. When the year began, I was doubtful about what it would be like, but there have been some incredible surprises as well as discovering movies I had never heard of. If the second half of 2022 is as good, then this will be one heck of a year.

At the time of writing this, I have seen eighty five films as well as seven docuseries. Out of that total of ninety two movies and docuseries, I have handed out four 4 star ratings, as well as twenty 3.5 stars. Fifty eight percent of what I have seen has been good enough to recommend, and I always love when the good outweighs the bad.

The downside is that fifteen ratings of one star or lower have been handed out. It may not sound like much, but when sixteen percent of what you watch is a painful experience, it is not a good thing.  Only one zero star rating has been handed out, so at least I can take comfort in that. Honestly, if I could have given Marmaduke a score of lower than zero I would have.

When I saw Everything Everywhere All at Once, it was instantly the best film of the year, and I declared that if another movie was able to knock it from top spot, it would be one of the best years since we started with The Movie Breakdown podcast. That movie was brilliant in so many ways, a work of art that had numerous angles, from martial arts to humour to the absurd to being philosophical. Incredibly, not one of these elements was a weak point and they were all utilized perfectly. This, easily, was one of the best movies I had seen in years, and maybe one of my favourites of all time.

And then came along a movie that I had initially had no desire to see.  It was a sequel to a film in the late 1980s, and felt like a cash grab when I first heard about it.  Yet a few weeks out from release, I began having an unimaginable acticipation for Top Gun: Maverick.  Suddenly it became my most anticipated film of the summer, and I knew deep in my soul it was going to be something special, at least from a technical perspective.  I was not expecting a well told story with deep characters.  Pete 'Maverick' Mitchell was fleshed out in a way that he hadn't been in the original film.  There was a lot of heart in the script, and the performances were outstanding.

This brings about a difficult situation... which one did I enjoy more?  As mentioned, one of them is considered by me to be one of the best of the past five years or so.  Does that mean it couldn't be beaten by a thrilling popcorn muncher?  There is so much to how a film impacts the viewer that it is sometimes impossible to fully communicate or understand.  Should a movie with a lot to say automatically be 'better' than a film that aims to entertain and get the blood rushing through the veins?  

Should I have chosen a thoughtful and complex movie like The Favourite to be my number one film of 2018 over the much more simple Paddington 2?  I am sure there are many that would say yes.  I also believe that there are people out there who would think me less of a critic because I chose that cozy little film to be my number one pick.  Should my number one movie last year been something like Pig over The Mitchells vs The Machines?

The answer is no.  No matter how other people interpret things, you have to be honest about the movie experience that you had.  Also, you cannot compare a family film right up against a dramatic heavy weight.  All films are made with their own intentions, and that is how a movie should be rated.  Just because Paddington 2 wasn't Oscar bait doesn't change the fact that it was made to make the viewer smile, and I smiled from opening credits to closing credits.  It best achieved its goal over any other film I saw that year.

All of this is to say, I have no clue right now what my number one film of the first half of 2022 will be. Everything Everywhere All at Once is a vastly different type of film from Top Gun: Maverick, meaning this is an apples to oranges comparison.  I believe that each of these films exceeded in delivering the experience they wanted to, and all I'm left with is trying to accomplish the Herculean task of picking which one was, from my perspective, better.  I may just have to watch them both again.  Oh darn, that sucks.