Get a big blanket and an even bigger bucket of popcorn, and watch these.
If you’ve been a Wake-Up Call reader from the beginning, you know I often tell you what I’m obsessed with. This week, we’re heading deep into the belly of Hollywood, and reviewing all the movies I loved and wanted to recommend this year. What were your entertainment favorites of 2022? Write to me at email@example.com and let me know!
I have to be honest, 2022 was really the year of the small screen for me — there were so many shows I adored. (In fact, I made a list of my favorites last week, to show you all the binge-watching work I did this year.) That said, there were some pretty spectacular movies released in 2022, and I’d never want to ignore them. Here are my top eight favorite films from this year, from bombastic action flicks to quiet indies to documentaries that everyone should see:
If you haven’t read Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey’s book She Said, about breaking the Harvey Weinstein story, then put it at the top of your list for 2023, and then watch this movie based on the book. Jodi and Megan are the intrepid reporters who revealed the systemic sexism in Hollywood and galvanized the #MeToo movement. I interviewed the duo for my podcast earlier this year about seeing their story on the big screen. I cannot recommend both the book and the movie enough!
The Janes and Call Jane
Like many people in America, I spent a lot of 2022 enraged by and reporting on the restrictions on women’s reproductive rights. Our team did a six-part podcast series on the topic, and for one of the episodes, I interviewed Emma Pildes and Tia Lessin, the directors of The Janes. Their documentary focuses on a group of women on the south side of Chicago who, in the early 1970s, built an underground service for women seeking safe, affordable, illegal abortions, pre-Roe. (They all called themselves “Jane,” to maintain anonymity.) Later in the year, I interviewed Elizabeth Banks about her role as Joy — a married woman who’s seeking an abortion — in Call Jane, a fictional story about the same group. Both films are both incredibly well-done and unfortunately, very relevant.
Top Gun: Maverick
I don’t think I could do a 2022 roundup without including the Top Gun sequel. I can’t think of the last film that drew people to theaters in droves like this did, but I think watching it on the big screen was an essential part of the experience. Molner and I saw it together and both loved it: This gets two thumbs up from our household!
No Ordinary Campaign
One of the best things to happen to me in 2022 was meeting Brian Wallach and Sandra Abrevaya. Brian was diagnosed with ALS five years ago, when he was just 37. Since then, the two have dedicated their lives to raising awareness, testifying on Capitol Hill, raising millions of dollars for research, and pushing for the FDA authorization of AMX0035, the third drug ever available to ALS patients. No Ordinary Campaign follows their journey and really is a love story. This couple is incredible and while this doc isn’t available to the public quite yet, I’m so excited for you all to see it! (To get updates on when it’ll be available, follow Brian on Twitter.)
Based on the 2019 novel by Miriam Towes, this film is centered around a group of women in a Mennonite colony in Bolivia who realize that they’ve been repeatedly drugged and raped by some of the men in their colony. It’s an A-List cast — Claire Foy, Rooney Mara, with an appearance by Frances McDormand — and they’re more than capable of who handling such a heavy topic. I won’t tell you much more… just go see it as soon as you can.
Here’s another Oscar shortlist contender that would absolutely deserve the accolade. The man at the heart of this documentary, Alexei Navalny, was flown to Germany to receive medical treatment after being poisoned in Russia; a 28 year-old filmmaker, Daniel Roher, followed him for months as he became the subject of his own investigation. This was SO gripping, and I also watched it with Molner — I think it might have been his favorite of the year.
Everything, Everywhere, All at Once
Michelle Yeoh, who was just named TIME’s Icon of the Year, does an unbelievable job in his film as Evelyn Wang, a Chinese immigrant who runs a laundromat with her husband. Her life is lackluster until she’s tapped to save the world from an all-powerful villain in another universe. This one was a visually stunning mind-bender that requires (and deserves) your full attention. It’s funny, emotional, and complex. In a nutshell: The grass isn’t always greener on the other side!