The Best Films and Series I Watched in 2022
Movies, Series, K-Drama, and anime recommendations.
2022 is coming to a wrap, people! Congratulations on making it through another year. Pat yourself on the back for making a little progress, starting new things, letting go of what didn’t work, falling in love, falling out of it, cutting yourself some slack, and fighting for what you believe in.
Now, take a moment with me to thank the films and shows that got us through the good times and the bad. Here’s a list of films and shows I enjoyed this year. Feel free to share yours in the comments at the end!
For horror and anime recommendations, read: Halloween Recommendations and List of Anime with Non-Sexualised Female Characters
1. Nope (Amazon Prime)
Two siblings running a horse ranch in the remote midwestern parts of California discover something sinister in the skies above. What is its motive? Is it trying to abduct them? Where would they go when the ranch is their only family legacy and source of livelihood? (Read more here: Halloween Recommendations)
Rocky is a 2021 Tamil neo-noir action drama directed by Arun Matheshwaran.
Rocky, a gangster released after 17 years in prison goes in search of his missing sister while enemies from his violent past are out to get him.
Set in the backdrop of the struggles of Sri Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu, combined with cinematography that makes the real, ordinary world look like a stunning sci-fi dystopia, a screenplay that moves like poetry, scenes that make you laugh even amidst all its violent killings, and action sequences backed up by tension and wit, Rocky is one of the greatest pieces of cinema of all time.
3. Everything Everywhere All at Once
Evelyn, a Chinese immigrant whose life is in shambles, gets sucked into an adventure where she must tap into her multiversal personas to defeat the enemy trying to destroy everything in existence.
The film that finally gave Michelle Yeoh the world-wide recognition and praise she needed and deserved, Everything Everywhere All at Once is a brilliantly humorous, artistically intense tear-jerker. (Read: Michelle Yeoh: An Example of How Brilliant Women are Overlooked)
4. The Power of the Dog (Netflix)
With 12 Oscar nominations this year, Jane Campion's The Power of the Dog is a subversive tale that breathtakingly delves into the psyche of a man. (Read my review for the film here: The Power of the Dog: A Candid Work of Subversion)
5. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (In Theatres)
The story revolves around Shuri as she grieves the death of her brother, King T'Challa, while the nation of Wakanda faces a new threat from a secret underwater clan.
Boasting a complex, impressive and formidable villain, heartfelt storytelling, powerful screenplay and none of the vapid Marvel humour, Wakanda Forever takes its place as one of the best, most sincere pieces of Marvel/superhero films of all time.
6. Turning Red (Disney+)
Mei Ling is an adolescent stuck between wanting to stay the perfect little girl for her mother and exploring the kind of girl she wants to be, when an ancient family curse turns her into a giant red panda. How does she navigate through this messy situation?
Turning Red is the first ever Pixar film directed by a woman director, Domee Shi. Filled with vibrant art, relatable scenarios, and an exciting screenplay, Turning Red shows how brilliantly funny, endearing, and memorable a story about girlhood can be when it is told by a woman. (Read: Turning Red was the Second Home My Childhood Needed)
7. Don't Look Up (Netflix)
Two scientists discover a giant planet-destroying asteroid heading towards earth and try to take the news to the president of the United States who dismisses the whole thing. On one side, the scientists and the rational-minded people point to the asteroid with a giant streak in the sky chanting “Look Up”, while the politicians and brain-washed supporters chant, “Don’t Look Up.” What’ll happen?
Don't Look Up represents the prejudice, ignorance, and insensitivity that has corrupted the minds of the privileged in our society today. And sure, coming from rich, privileged, white people, it might seem a little ironic. But the message is clear. (Read: Don't Look Up: An Accurate Portrayal of Our Reality That People Cannot Digest)
1. The Sandman (Netflix)
Neil Gaiman's works never fail when it comes to adaptation to the screen. Be it the haunting stop-motion animation, Coraline, or the entertainingly spectacular series, Good Omens, or the latest Netflix sci-fi adaptation, The Sandman.
Morpheus, the king of Dreams, is captured by humans imprisoned for a century. Upon escaping, he must embark on a journey to fix the chaos his absence has caused.
Hands down, one of the best sci-fi shows on the planet, The Sandman takes you on a journey with fascinating characters, engrossing scenarios, and stunning visuals.
2. House of the Dragon (Disney+ Hotstar)
Based on George R. R. Martin's book Fire & Blood, House of the Dragon tells the story of the Dance of Dragons and the events leading up to the brutal civil war. King Viserys I Targaryen rules over an unprecedented time of peace, but questions about his succession threaten to send the realm into chaos.
Moving away from the original Game of Thrones with its violent sexual assault scenes, too much female nudity, and female characters who only become powerful after enduring sexual assault, House of the Dragon is refreshingly caught up with the times, whilst paying homage to the original show's intense setting, calculated storylines and grand visuals.
The show successfully manages to erase the disappointment we all felt with GOT's underwhelming finale.
3. The White Lotus S1 and S2 (Disney+ Hotstar)
The White Lotus is an extravagant vacation stay with locations around the world. It's a place where the ultra rich go to unwind and the working class go to slave for the rich or, if super unlucky, tag along with them to experience their privileged ignorance first-hand. The result is an ordeal filled with annoyance, anger, aggression, all ending in a murder.
4. Half Bad: The Bastard Son and the Devil Himself (Netflix)
If you're searching for a good Young Adult fantasy story, look no further.
The Bastard Son and the Devil Himself revolves around Nathan Byrne, the illegitimate son of a notorious witch responsible for a huge massacre. Stuck between clans fighting each other over how superpowers should be used and what powers should be allowed to exist, Nathan must survive to fulfil a prophecy as people discover he has inherited the powers of his murderous father.
Woven with sick music, jaw-dropping superpowers, and intense storylines, The Bastard Son and the Devil Himself is an entertaining show you cannot miss. However, I regret to inform you that despite raving reviews and love from fans all over, Netflix, in all its might, has decided to cancel the show's next season. But go ahead and devour the first.
5. Barry S3 (Disney+ Hotstar)
Barry is a hitman on the move to take down his next target when he discovers his passion for acting and joins an improv class in hopes of changing his life. But his misfortunes catch up with him in the most frustrating and hilarious of ways.
Bill Hader is a gift to comedy. When I first watched Barry, I fell in love with how perfect the show was with its themes, comedy, dialogues, music, tension, twists and turns, and the unforgettable action. Season 3 just built up on it all even more, but it's sad that there's only going to be 4 seasons.
6. Derry Girls S3 (Netflix)
The series revolves around a groups of awkward, teenage girls and one British boy in war-ridden Derry where things go on as usual as the group attend a Catholic girls' school, and get into all kinds of mischief with the people around them.
Derry Girls is a genius of a show with sharp humour that never fails to make you laugh with every one of its scenes, and also make you cry a little when needed.
I still cannot make peace with the fact that the show is over. But Derry Girls s3 was an emotional end to the comedic brilliance.
7. The Chair (Netflix)
A prestigious university gets its first woman of colour as the Chair. How is she going to help a failing English department and one of its professors facing cancel culture due to his Nazi salute joke in the classroom.
This short but profound comedy delves into the dynamics of cancel culture, refraining from taking any side, and instead just playing out a scenario for us to ponder over and make our own decision.
8. Abbott Elementary (Disney+ Hotstar)
An ongoing sitcom about the lives of dedicated teachers and students caught in the Philadelphia public school system, Abbott Elementary is a promising show amidst the wave of failing sitcoms we've been seeing in recent times.
Created by Quinta Brunson, the show won 3 Emmys including 'Outstanding Writing For A Comedy Series'.
9. Reboot (Disney+ Hotstar)
When a company decides to reboot one of its old successful sitcoms, the writers along with the cast who have unhinged lives must work together to adapt to the changed times and make the reboot a success.
Starring Keegan-Michael Key (of Key & Peele fame) and Rachel Bloom (of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend fame) among other brilliant actors, the show was a welcomed surprise with some good laughs throughout.
(Warning: The following K-Dramas depict healthy, beautiful, romantic relationships that leave single people feeling pathetic and depressed and wanting to ask their therapist to find them a partner. Watch at your own risk.)
1. Extraordinary Attorney Woo (Netflix)
Woo Young-woo is a rookie attorney on the autism spectrum at one of Korea’s most prestigious law firms, Hanbada. Using her encyclopedic memory and creative thought process, she can find unconventional solutions to the toughest cases — but can she succeed while facing discrimination and stigma?
Probably one of the best attorney shows on the planet, Extraordinary Attorney Woo is a brilliant character study of a person with autism and the wonder and challenges that come along with it--all woven into complex mystery episodes that blow your mind every time.
2. When the Camellia Blooms (Netflix)
If you want to feel empowered, like you could kick ass, be on the edge of your seat, hold your breath, sigh in relief, cry your eyes out, fall in love, this k-drama is for you.
When the Camellia Blooms is a murder-mystery/romantic thriller about a single mother, Dongbaek, who opens a bar in a new town while running away from her past and escaping a serial killer. How will she face the misogyny of the townspeople, raise her son, keep her business thriving, find love, and catch the serial killer who's out to get her?
3. Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha (Netflix)
Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha is one of the most feel-good, heartwarming, funny k-dramas set in a small village by the sea.
Yoon Hye Jin, a big city dentist who's out of job for speaking up against the malpractices in the medical community, opens up her first dental clinic in a small seaside village. Will she successfully thrive in a community where she doesn't feel welcome and comfortable in?
4. Racket Boys (Netflix)
A middle-aged father along with his little daughter and teenage son, move to a village where he gets a job to coach a school badminton team that's on the brink of getting sacked.
Playing badminton has never seemed so fantastically awesome and cut-throat. Racket Boys is a beautiful show on friendship, wins and losses, love and togetherness.
5. Mad for Each Other (Netflix)
Two people with their own mental issues, going to the same therapist without realising, become neighbours in an apartment complex. One is a cop with anger issues, the other a woman of mystery with a daisy in her hair and a cute little doggo that'll melt your heart. How will they deal with their mental health issues, work on getting along with each other, and face the challenges of the neighbourhood?
That’s all for now! If I watch anything else I love by the time this year ends, I’ll add them to the list.
For horror and anime recommendations, check out: Halloween Recommendations and List of Anime with Non-Sexualised Female Characters
What were your favourite films and shows this year? Comment below!