TV and Films 2022
Merry Christmas Everybody.
As many of us start to have some time off and do the usual Christmas things. I thought I’d share my favourite TV and films of the year! There have been so many great pieces that I thought I’d collate my favourites in hope that if you missed one or two yourself this would help you find them again or discover something new.
Art is a product of the times we live in, so there are a lot of tough topics tackled; grief, depression, societal problems, sex and sexuality, masculinity, homophobia, fascism, and racism… you get the idea. But there’s also a lot of hope, love and laughter in here too. We shouldn’t be afraid of facing ‘ugly’ topics and thinking about our responses to them. Without doing so, progress to a better world would not happen. For me Film and TV are uniquely powerful ways to do this, the combination of so many artists, talents, crafts and technologies to entertain, emote and communicate is why a nice cinema (or snuggled on a couch with family) is one of my favourite places to be.
This is not a family-friendly list at all, so 15+, not for the kids.
I recommend seeing these blind, without watching the trailers (especially the films) as that’s how I saw many of these myself, with the discovery and surprise only adding to the experience. But I have included them below if you’re interested, if you’re watching with someone maybe one watch the trailer and the other not? Some on the list might be from not 2022 but I saw them this year or they are on my mind and it’s my list, so that’s how it works.
I recommend watching previous seasons to catch up on any of these that are a season or two deep already, but most of them are season 1 anyway. I’ve also linked a lot of related suggestions, mainly other films of an actor/director which I have liked, so consider these sneaky bonus recommendations.
I’ve linked to where you can find each piece, films that aren’t on streaming services I recommend renting. For £3.50-£5 from wherever is easiest for you and all of these are well worth it. Use https://www.justwatch.com/uk/ to find the best prices or if it’s on a streaming service. I suppose there are other ways of obtaining things too 😉 .
So in no particular order…
Undone (Season 2, Amazon Prime)
The continuation of an amazing time and space-bending tale presented in engaging rotoscoped semi-animated style. The fantastical visuals weave a narrative that explores generational grief and family ties across cultures. Lead by Bob Odenkirk (Breaking Bad, Better call Saul) and Rosa Salazar (Brand New Cherry Flavour)
The Baby (Season 1, Now/Sky)
British Comedy Drama at it’s best. Utopia vibes, probably the best baby acting in a long time. I’d recommend sticking to this, after a slow start there’s quite a twist 3-4 episodes in that takes it to another level. Very funny and thought-provoking takes on societal pressure on mothers, motherhood, childlessness and parenting of all types.
Severance (Season 1, Apple TV)
A simple sci-fi premise perfectly executed. What if work you and private you could be separated? You turn up at work and the next thing you remember is leaving work? Great! But what about the you that only remembers starting work, working all day long then leaving to blink straight to the start of another work day? A black mirror-ish dystopian idea played out to perfection with probably the best love story on TV this year.
This is going to Hurt (BBC)
Based on the excellent book (which I also recommend), an emotional rollercoaster about life in the NHS. Important, Funny, Life Affirming, Soul Destroying. Should be shown before every election.
No Force, no Jedi, no Sith, no Lightsabers. Great storytelling about the issues of today set in the Star Wars universe. Some of the best writing, acting and cinematography not just in a Star Wars show but on TV this year.
Atlanta (Season 3, Disney+)
I feel like this is the most subversive American comedy has been in years. Satire and social commentary on another level. The world of the rich and famous, and the people they attract are juxtaposed by everyman hustler Earl. Sublime.
A League of Their Own (Amazon Prime)
Adapted from the 1992 film it’s a period sports comedy-drama about the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League formation in 1943. It diverges from the original with a greater focus on race and LGBTQ+ issues. Created by and starring Abbi Jacobson (Broad City).
Outer Range (Amazon Prime)
Ranch life interrupted by a big spooky hole? Really hard to say anything about this without too many spoilers. A cinematic, slow burner that builds to a mysterious and tense finale. Close Encounters, Twin Peaks, and Twilight Zone are all drawn to tell this bizarre and intriguing story.
Night Sky (Amazon Prime)
Grandparents that have a portal to another world in the shed at the bottom of their garden. JK Simmons (Whiplash) and Sissy Spacek (Carrie) much like Outer Range above, a slow-burning sci-fi mystery about family, ageing and relationships.
Back to Life (Season 2, BBC)
Very British Comedy Drama about a woman returning from an 18-year prison sentence to small-town England. Trying to move on with her life, debt to society paid… but society still extracting a price. Does all those great things shows like Fleabag, Killing Eve or After Life do. Dark Comedy that’s both tragic and heartwarming in the way it deals with trauma’s wider impacts on individuals, families and communities.
Triangle of Sadness (Cinema, Rent online soon)
Probably my favourite film of the year. I’ve purposely not included the trailer as I saw it blind and it added so much to the experience. Looking at the trailers in hindsight, they certainly would have spoilt so much. Carnivalesque (thanks Ruth x) is the perfect word for exploration of how society is structured and how it can so easily and obviously go to shit. Late-stage capitalism defined.
Fire of Love (Disney+)
Probably the best volcanologist love story ever. Certainly in my top 10! Miranda July (You me and Everyone We know, Kajillionaire) narrates the story of Katia and Maurice Krafft, husband and wife who died documenting their joint obsession, Volcanos. Think Jacques Cousteau (or Steve Zissou) style documentary makers, going to dangerous lengths from the ’70s onwards to capture incredible images for science, incredible adventure but also a beautiful love story.
The Banshees of Inisherin (Cinema, Disney+ Soon)
Martin McDonagh’s (In Bruges, Three Billboards, Seven Psychopaths) latest doesn’t disappoint. Beautifully set in 1920s Ireland a wonderful bleak dark comedy about friendship, stubborness and masculinity.
Good Luck to You, Leo Grande (Rent Online)
Just a damn good example of why films are excellent. Takes a tricky, taboo subject of sex, sex work and the ageing body, then humanises it through great writing and acting. An awkward, sad and cringe start, thaws into a liberating, happy, uplifting story.
Nope (Rent Online)
My favourite Jordan Peele film and that’s saying something after Get Out and Us. Go in blind if possible as the direction and mystery meander, keeping you guessing all the way to the climax with perfect pacing. Daniel Kaluuya (Queen & Slim, Black Mirror) in top form.
Men (No great option but: See here)
Three Thousand Years of Longing (Rent Online)
George Miller (Mad Max, Babe, Happy Feet) tells the Genie in a bottle story you think you’re so familiar with in a new way. With Tilda Swinton (The French Dispatch, We Need to Talk About Kevin, The Human Voice) and Idris Elba (Sonic the Hedgehog 2) front and centre, what else do you need?
Everything Everywhere All At Once (Amazon Prime + Rent)
A masterpiece from the Daniels. Multiverses have been all the rage recently but the idea hasn’t been explored as clearly and imaginatively as this. Sci-fi, kung-fu, fantasy, and black comedy about family, mundanity and connections.
Bones and All (Cinema)
Cannibalistic road trip love story? Sure. From Luca Guadagnino (Call Me by Your Name and Suspiria 2018). A coming of age story for outcasts. Taylor Ward (Lost in Space) leads the film with a powerful performance, with Timothée Chalamet (Lady Bird, Little Women) and Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies, BFG) adding to the great cast.
So, what if Predator was set in 1719 North America? Well this. The best Predator film since the original. A great action film.
Moonage Daydream (Cinema + Rent)
Hallucinatory journey through Bowie’s life. Not a documentary, or biography as such, but more immersion into the whole Bowie experience. His life, music and art are presented as a dreamscape of archive footage.
The Velvet Underground (Apple TV)
A fascinating insight into an iconic band, this is a much more traditional music documentary that looks at a very un-traditional band, particularly how and where they formed.
I’d love to hear what you thought if you watched any of these on my recommendation and welcome any recommendations you have for me.
And that’s my lot for now. I’m sure I’ve forgotten even more than I remembered so I might add some later as I remember, so do check back.
Lots of love, Ashley.