2022 Top Ten List (For Real)

In the words of a certain animated saber-toothed cat, who’s up for round two?! That’s right, folks – since I’ve barely updated this site in the past year, you’re getting two top ten lists for the price of one. In my last post, I disclosed a few personal reasons why I haven’t been giving Snooty Film Critic much attention lately, so I feel it’s only fair and natural to open this official top ten with one more. As a younger man, I took a perverse delight in seeking out bad movies and systematically dismantling them in long online rants, mostly to annoy people who watch movies for mindless escapism or worse – enjoyment. Movies like Man of Steel, Jurassic World, Venom, and 2016’s Suicide Squad were all targets of my caustic assessments in one form or another over the years, and while taking a Critical Drinker approach to bad movies is certainly fun, there just comes a point in life when it isn’t rewarding anymore. Like the hard-drinking, chain-smoking persona I regrettably spent years enabling, trashing movies for the sake of it just isn’t really me anymore. At this stage in life, I find I’m more interested in praising and appreciating films I like rather than dismembering movies I don’t. Maybe it’s the natural benevolence that sets in after one turns 30; maybe it’s the fact that my time has become more precious as I stare down the barrel of eternity in a post-COVID world; and maybe it’s the fact that I can’t be compelled to sit through anymore bloody comic book movies.

Whatever the case, here’s my real Top Ten for 2022:

10) X

X, the first chapter in Ti West’s soon-to-be complete trilogy of X-traordinarily bloody slasher salutes, intrigued me immediately both for being a traditional slasher movie and having an actual point to it. Taking its cues from Tobe Hooper’s original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and other 1970s exploitation fare, X centers on a group of amateur porn stars and their ambitious crewmembers who choose the wrong rural Texas property as a location for their debut adult film, The Farmer’s Daughters (with a title like that, you can just imagine how intricate the plot is). Mia Goth plays both Maxine, a young, coke-snorting starlet who dreams of making it big in the exploding porn chic era, and Pearl, the addled, decrepit farmwife who yearns to be young and beautiful again – as young and beautiful as Maxine, whom she quickly develops an unhealthy fixation with. X (not to mention its prequel, Pearl – more on that later) represents a bit of a divergence for A24, who have been cultivating a reputation over the past few years for distributing slow, atmospheric horror pieces with a more artistic quality to them – films like The Witch, Hereditary, Midsommar, and Saint Maud that are more tailored for the mature film enthusiast than the casual watcher. X certainly has more in common with something like Friday the 13th than Saint Maud, but it’s also a little smarter than your garden variety slasher movie, conveying a range of relevant themes including a fear of aging, feelings of obsolescence, infatuation with youth and beauty, and the harsh realities faced by the elderly when they’re discarded by society. Plus, it has a man-eating gator in it, so you know you’re in for a treat. Though I’d hardly call it X-ceptional, I was pleased to find it X-ceptable. Whether or not I tune in for the forthcoming third installment, MaXXXine, is another matter altogether…     7/10 

9) The Northman

After delivering a pair of small-scale, intimate little horror tales in the forms of The Witch and The Lighthouse, Robert Eggers goes bigger (but not necessarily better) with his third film, unleashing a sweeping historical epic that critics have been equating to Gladiator (which I hardly think is fair to Eggers…). The Northman stars Alexander Skarsgård as Prince Amleth, the son of a small-time Nordic king (Ethan Hawke) who must flee his homeland after his conniving uncle (Claes Bang) murders his father and claims both his throne and his queen mother (Nicole Kidman) for himself. After backpacking around Rus’ land for a few decades with a band of howling Vikings, Amleth is compelled to return and avenge his long-deceased father by Odin himself, who asserts himself through a variety of soothsayers and ravens. My initial thought upon exiting the theater was that this was a Scandinavian take on Hamlet, but after a quick Google search I learned that the legend of Amleth dates back to about the 12th century, meaning Shakespeare cribbed on this story when he penned the tragedy of everyone’s favourite Prince of Denmark. Modern cinema darling Anya Taylor-Joy co-stars as a self-possessed Slavic sorceress and the great Willem Defoe appears as Heimir the Fool, whose sweaty face is the subject of a protracted series of comically uncomfortable close-ups. While the cinematography is gorgeous (employing low contrasts and even, centered movements that allow the subject matter to speak for itself) and the performances are impressively intense, I admit I was not as taken with The Northman as Eggers’ previous efforts. At almost two hours and twenty minutes, it’s just a trifle too long, and Skarsgård brings a ferocity to the role of Amleth that almost leaves you exhausted by the finale. Still, it’s pretty good if you know what you’re getting into and weren’t hoping for the small scale and simplicity of The Witch (or a glorified sword ‘n sandals feature like Gladiator). What ultimately saved it for me is that it’s just as weird, unsettling, and visually creative as The Lighthouse. In all, I’ve got my fingers crossed for Eggers’ upcoming fourth film – a remake of a certain vampire movie called Nosferatu (eager anticipation squeal).     7/10

8) All Quiet on the Western Front

I’m going to throw up a spoiler warning here, because most of what I have to say about All Quiet on the Western Front, Netflix’s all-German remake of the 1930 classic, involves its deviations from Erich Maria Remarque’s 1929 novel. The story centers on Paul Bäumer, a bright young German enlistee who, along with a group of equally bright young friends, ships out to the Western Front positively brimming with patriotic fervor, eager to put it all on the line for Kaiser and country. Their eagerness and brightness quickly dissipate as the unspeakable horrors of trench warfare become apparent – what follows is nearly two and a half hours of mud, carnage, despair, trauma, and death. First, this film looks amazing (I mean, as amazing as ravaged countryside, mud-caked faces, and body-strewn trenches are capable of looking) and I appreciated that it was shot entirely by a German production team in German. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears clearly went into making all the blood, sweat, and tears as authentic as possible, so it gets serious points for its production design. While I’m all for films that endeavor to undermine ignorant, romanticized notions of war being awesome, my biggest bone of contention with AQOTWF is that all the action is packed into the four days preceding the armistice. See, the novel implies the characters have been in France since shortly after the outbreak of the war, but the remake doesn’t see them dispatched until sometime in 1917. By the time November 7th rolls around, most of them are still alive and relatively psychologically undamaged, which completely undercuts the hellish bloodbath that was the entirety of WWI. According to the logic of the film, the war could have ended on November 6th, 1918 and they all would have been fine. The novel spreads the deaths of Bäumer and his friends out over years and months instead of the final days and hours of the conflict, so that by the time Kat perishes in the summer of 1918, Bäumer is already a broken, hollowed-out shell of a man. Here, Kat dies on the morning of November 11th and Bäumer follows at 10:59 AM the same day, which strikes me as more than a little sensationalist. Still, it’s a story that merited telling and, aside from some key narrative divergences from one of my top ten favourite novels, it was told pretty well, at least from a visual standpoint. Alas, it just doesn’t compare to Remarque’s novel – or even 1917.     7/10

7) Saint Maud

Saint Maud is what happens when fundamentally broken people try to create their own version of an existing faith system and live it out according to a set of rules and standards they invented to justify their detachment from both society and reality. Then again, if you thought you could hear the voice of God speaking to you, I suppose it makes sense that you’d see yourself as distinct from society (I don’t mean God ‘talking’ to you through prayer or divine guidance or something normal – I mean God actually talking to you in Welsh through a cockroach scuttling across your wall). Saint Maud is the directorial debut of Rose Glass, which premiered at Toronto International Film Fest back in 2019 only to get lost for a while in the pandemic shuffle. It stars Swedish actress Morfydd Clark as Maud (real name Katie), a deeply troubled young woman who believes that God has set her apart for something great – saving the immortal soul of Amanda (Jennifer Ehle), a terminally ill choreographer who apparently still has the energy to engage the services of prostitutes. Saint Maud is exactly the sort of film I’ve come to expect from A24 – it’s slow, moody, dour, atmospheric, and not afraid to let you sit in silence for an act or two so you can properly appreciate the ambience. Maud as a character perfectly encapsulates the rapid mental and emotional deterioration that afflicts the already alienated who isolate themselves even further from their communities – the more insular and withdrawn she becomes, the more outlandish her delusions grow. Maud is not a well woman, and the film has little interest in toying with your sense of reality and allowing you to believe otherwise. It’s a thoughtful but morbid little tragedy that has a lot to teach us about mental illness, which is sadly rampant in today’s world. The scariest part about this film is that it’s actually tame compared to what some people actually suffer out there. This critic gives Saint Maud an approving thumbs up, and as for you, Ms. Glass – we’ll be watching your career with great interest.     7.5/10 

6) Prey

My initial lack of interest in Prey actually had nothing to do with the fact that it’s a secret Predator prequel (after 20th Century Fox skinned The Predator alive back in 2019 and made a mockery of its corpse, I wasn’t exactly drooling for a follow-up). Truth be told, it was the complete lack of marketing that made me overlook this film for so long. The folks over at 20th Century and Hulu seem to have opted for a style of advertising that reflects (or rather, doesn’t reflect) the Predator itself, because Prey was practically invisible until it decloaked on Disney+ at the tail-end of the year. This is a damn shame, because it’s surprisingly great and a definite return to form after some lackluster sequels (though in all honesty, the Predator movies seem to be the opposite of the original Star Trek films in that only the odd-numbered ones are any good). Prey takes place in the early 18th century and focuses on a small tribe of Comanche warriors, whose idyllic existence is threatened when Carl Weathers’ Bane descends from the heavens at the start of galactic hunting season to score some trophy skulls. The film tracks his progression as he kills a rattlesnake, then a wolf, and finally a grizzly bear – all of which clearly bore him – before setting his laser sights on more thrilling, more human prey. There’s no Arnold Schwarzenegger this time around to give ol’ mandible face a run for his money, however – only Naru (Amber Midthunder), a resourceful young woman who wants to be a warrior in spite of what all the tattooed tribal bros say – though after a certain point, none of them have very much to say about anything (because they’re dead). In true Predator fashion, we watch Naru to see just how she’s going to outwit this hulking monster from the stars, and the results are pretty damn entertaining. Some janky CGI wildlife aside, Prey is easily the best Predator film since the first, though my confidence in a truly happy ending was quickly dashed by that rather ominous post-credits animation…     8/10

5) Nope

Jordan Peele and Robert Eggers seem to have synched up their release schedules, haven’t they? If Ari Aster had released Beau is Afraid back in 2022 as it was originally announced (back when it was titled Disappointment Blvd.), 2022 would be an echo of 2019, when Peele, Eggers, and Aster all delivered their second films within months of one another. Anyway, Nope is a classification-defying sci-fi film that I can’t even really describe without diving into spoiler territory, so consider yourself forewarned. Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer star as the Haywood siblings, a pair of horse handlers whose familial history with cinema dates back to the 1885 Animal Locomotion images. Palmer’s “Em” Haywood is as bubbly as carbonated water, and Kaluuya’s “OJ” Haywood is subdued to the point of total dissociation. They’re not exactly a dynamic duo, but that’s okay because Em has enough dynamo to cover both of them. Six months after their father (the great Keith David) is killed by a mysterious shower of debris raining down on their ranch, the siblings discover evidence of a UFO stalking the skies above their property and feeding on their prize horses. Their natural reaction is to document the alien entity for profit, which is when Nope starts feeling like an M. Night Shayamalan film (namely Signs). Nope rests somewhere between Get Out and Us on the simple/surreal meter – it’s not as straightforward as Get Out, but nowhere near as convoluted as Us, balancing the oddness of its characters’ behavior and situations with a sense of plausibility (okay, semi-plausibility). Still, it requires you to unpack quite a lot thematically, providing commentary on the exploitation of talent (human and animal) in the film industry, attempts to harness nature for profit and the disastrous results that invariably follow, and the insane lengths cinematographers will go to to capture the ‘perfect’ shot. If I’m being completely honest, it’s probably trying to say a little too much about too many different things, and I’ll readily concede that Peele could have trimmed it by about fifteen or twenty minutes. Even so, it’s a solid two hours of sci-fi weirdness that delivers some pretty chilling moments and images. And yes – the chimpanzee subplot makes sense.     8/10 

4) The Banshees of Inisherin

We’ve all had a friendship go south on us at some point in our lives, haven’t we? It’s one of the ineluctable pains of human relationships – whether romantic or platonic, sometimes they just fail. Sometimes friends have bitter falling-outs and break off communication, refusing to speak to one another for years until time eventually heals the wound. Sometimes they drift apart naturally, separated by the strains of time and distance, until all that remains of one another are old memories. And sometimes one friend decides overnight to simply end the friendship without a word of explanation, only a request to please leave him alone. The latter is exactly what happens to poor Pádraic (Colin Farrell), whose best friend Colm (Brendan Gleeson) abruptly dissolves their friendship for seemingly no reason – at least, no reason that Pádraic can fathom. “I just don’t like you no more,” Colm says wearily over a pint of bitter. “But you liked me yesterday!” cries a despondent Pádraic. Set on a small island off the coast of Ireland during the Irish Civil War, The Banshees of Inisherin is a black comedy that somehow manages to be funny in spite of how sad and hopeless everyone is. Written and directed by Martin McDonagh (the mind behind Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Banshees is something of a spiritual companion to Three Billboards, chronicling the increasingly destructive reverberations resulting from a single action across a small community. It’s the sort of snowball effect that resulted in all the mindless bloodshed in Fargo, except the inciting incident here is an altogether childish lapse of camaraderie between two supposed friends. The sheer stupidity of the rift that forms between Pádraic and Colm and the escalating violence that ensues is clearly meant to symbolize the ongoing civil war and decry the senselessness of countrymen fighting and killing one another for no sensible reason (in fact, it’s heavily implied that the war may be the reason behind Colm’s own despairing attitude over life). Bleakly funny with an ending that just kind of happens, The Banshees of Inisherin is the sort of low-key film that deserves more attention than it’s receiving.     8/10 

3) Barbarian

I don’t know about you, but I’m sure as f*** never staying in an Airbnb ever again (and I was never exactly comfortable in them to begin with). Barbarian opens on a dark, rainy night in one of the rougher areas of Detroit. Georgina Campbell plays Tess, who arrives at her Airbnb only to discover that it was somehow double-booked – a bleary-eyed Bill Skarsgård meets her at the door, at which point Tess must decide what her safest course of action is. It’s too late to grab a hotel (Skarsgård’s Keith informs her they’re all booked anyway due to a conference) and the neighborhood is too sketchy for her to risk sleeping in her car. Slowly, the two fatigued guests come to an understanding – an apprehensive Tess will sleep in the bedroom (with the door locked) and a suspiciously easygoing Keith will rock the couch. Cue the mysterious creaking sounds and stealthy footfalls out in the hallway. Barbarian is a classic example of conceptual horror being the most effective execution of the genre. The scariest stories of all are predicated on concepts or situations you can conceivably see happening to you, regardless of whether or not there’s any supernatural elements involved. The Witch is scary because living in isolation means no one’s coming to help you should the frontier turn hostile on you; Halloween is scary because Michael Myers doesn’t have a motive in targeting Laurie Strode and sometimes psychos just do that; and Barbarian is scary because you don’t know whose house this is or what sorts of atrocities have been committed in those secret tunnels you found in the basement, and you hope to God something doesn’t come crawling out of the darkness and drag you away. In this regard, Barbarian does an excellent job of playing with your expectations – because this is a horror movie involving an Airbnb, you obviously know something’s going on inside the house, the question is what. Granted, the direction the film goes is so ridiculously exaggerated that there’s no way in hell this specific situation could ever happen to anybody, but it hardly matters because something similar might (after all, did anything good ever happen in a tunnel??). Justin Long co-stars in a near show-stealing role that both provides some welcome and surprisingly funny relief from the unrelenting oppression of the house and makes you question whether or not the real monsters are walking freely among us. In all, Barbarian is an exceptionally tense horror that will wreak havoc on your armrests and make you research your vacation rentals very, very carefully.     8/10 

2) The Menu

Black comedies are very tricky to pull off. Finding a balance between a situation that viewers can take seriously and a tone that allows them to laugh in spite of it is a delicate balancing act, like walking a tightrope over a shark tank while woodpeckers go to town on your pole. Push the humour too much and the result is cartoonishness; not enough and viewers are left feeling too confused and uncomfortable to laugh along. The Menu finds that balance perfectly, pitting its ensemble cast of pompous foodies in a situation so inherently ridiculous that they can almost be forgiven for failing to properly grasp the mortal peril they’ve all been invited into. Almost. Anya Taylor-Joy stars opposite Ralph Fiennes, whose inscrutable Chef Slowik is a Gordon Ramsay-esque celebrity chef with a cult of personality that rivals that of Stalin. His exclusive five-star restaurant, Hawthorn, is located on a private island and serves concept food like breadless bread platters that require you to refinance your house just for the privilege of gazing at it. His guests are the sort of people you’d quickly learn to hold in contempt – John Leguizamo plays a washed-up actor who’s as full of shit as he is himself; Janet McTeer is a pretentious food critic who’s more interested in what a dish is saying than how it tastes; and Nicholas Hoult is a AAA meathead whose zeal for Slowik’s craft borders on the fanatical. Only Taylor-Joy’s Margot has a lick of sense out of any of them. She’s a little savvier than her date (Hoult), we quickly come to recognize, and she wakes up to the fact that Slowik has something in store for them that probably isn’t a complimentary mignardise before any of the others. Her individual scenes with Fiennes are the most compelling the film serves up, and the uneasy interactions and begrudging respect they form for one another channels Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs. It’s immensely gratifying when a protagonist is able to worm their way out of a hopeless situation using their wits alone, and without giving anything away, The Menu rewards all the right people while giving all the rest their just desserts. It’s a unique, satisfying film that has something to say without being showy, and will surely prove palatable even to those who don’t normally find horror movies appetizing.     8/10 

1) The Black Phone

Here we go. The Black Phone is exactly the sort of film I spend all year wading through a slough of bombastic comic book movies, pretentious Indie dramas, and however many Pinocchio movies came out last year to find. It’s like this film was made specifically for me – it’s a horror film with a simple premise, a supernatural angle, and one hell of a villain. Our story begins in Denver in the late 1970s, the heyday for serial killers in the U.S. A psychotic murderer known as The Grabber has been abducting children throughout the city and leaving a bunch of black balloons at the kidnapping sites as a calling card (though how many children need to vanish before the authorities enforce a curfew is apparently ‘more than die in the film’). The Grabber is brought to life with gleeful malevolence by Ethan Hawke, who spends most of the film concealed under a black top hat and Japanese-style oni mask with interchangeable pieces that reflect his erratic mood. His latest victim is Finney (cinema newcomer Mason Thames), a resilient preteen with an alcoholic father, a clairvoyant sister, and the sort of sadistic bullies who might have transferred in from Derry High. Hours after being grabbed, Finney awakens in a concrete basement room with a barred window, the sort of mattress that could be classified as a bed bug bordello, and a black rotary phone. Despite the phone not being hooked up, Finney soon begins receiving calls from The Grabber’s previous victims, who give him warnings concerning the serial killer’s methods and clues to aid in his escape. Based on a short story by Joe Hill (son of the legendary Stephen King), The Black Phone is a tight, efficient bit of horror cinema where every narrative element has an appropriate setup and a satisfying payoff. Between The Northman and now The Black Phone, I’ve been highly impressed with Ethan Hawke’s versatility and acting chops this year. The Grabber is a classic horror villain in the making, one whose theatrical mask will surely be as iconic in the years to come as that of Jason Voorhees and Ghostface. Perhaps the best part of The Black Phone is that the story concludes definitively, meaning there aren’t going to be eleven ghastly sequels sullying theaters over the next decade.     9/10

(Dis)honorable Mentions:

The “Franchise Redeemer Award” for 2022 goes to Halloween Ends, which, wouldn’t you know it… was actually pretty good. After swearing off the Halloween franchise (again) following the intelligence-insulting puddle of catchphrase vomit that was Halloween Kills, it took a lot to convince me to tune in for David Gordon Green’s conclusion to this reboot trilogy. No one was more surprised than me by how deliberate, thoughtful, and comparatively smart this movie was, returning to its 1978 roots by examining the nature of evil and whether or not it can embody different hosts. Michael Myers doesn’t even appear until the forty-five minute mark and barely even factors until the final ten minutes, proving he’s the least interesting element of this franchise. Turns out that a cast of actual three-dimensional characters and a story you can invest in is all it takes to keep me engaged in one of these movies. Makes me wish they’d skipped Kills entirely and made this reboot a two-parter.     7/10

Violent Night. I love a good Christmas-themed action movie, and after Mel Gibson’s Fatman bored me to sleep a few years back, the bar for this year’s rendition was set pretty low. David Harbour plays a burned-out Santa Klaus, whose plans for a quiet evening are disrupted when Hans Gruber and his crew of mercenaries storm Nakatomi Plaza on Christmas Eve– erm, I mean, John Leguizamo and his crew of mercenaries storm a posh mansion on Christmas Eve. The scenes with Santa Klaus delivering some whoop-ass on cheer-stealing goons are pretty entertaining – the scenes with the family of hostages (who are about as one-dimensional as most of the characters in Knives Out) bickering, not so much. Still, for the most part, I enjoyed myself. What more can you ask for on Christmas Eve?     7/10

Bodies Bodies Bodies. Movies involving mysterious murders in mansions seem to be making a comeback these days. Truth be told, this movie about a group of superficial, self-absorbed Gen Zedders living out a And Then There Were None scenario during a hurricane mostly annoyed me… until the final three minutes, which retroactively redeemed the entire ninety-minute journey.     7/10

The “Musical Biopic of the Year Award” clearly goes to Weird: The Al Yankovic Story (because who the hell is going to give it to Elvis? Surely not the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences??). My lifelong love for Weird Al’s music aside, I admit this parody of prestigious biographical films wasn’t as funny or clever as I would have liked (otherwise it would be in the Top Ten). It’s more of a conceptual comedy than anything, meaning there aren’t many jokes, per se, only scenarios that are funny because we know they didn’t actually happen (i.e., Weird Al rudely shooting down the opportunity to perform at Live Aid with Queen, Weird Al recording “Eat It” before Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” Weird Al gunning down Pablo Escobar, etc.). Though I definitely laughed semi-regularly, it sadly failed to reach the comedic heights of UHF.     6.5/10

Unpopular opinion, but I didn’t love Everything Everywhere All at Once. While I admire its inventiveness and I’m glad a movie like this even finds mainstream appeal in an era when everyone worships at the altar of established IPs, there isn’t anything in this movie that Rick and Morty wasn’t doing back in season 2.     6/10

Every director has a love letter to themself at some point in their career. While not necessarily bad, these sorts of movies are typically self-indulgent and feel like a vanity project for the director’s signature style rather than a sincere attempt to tell a story. Quentin Tarantino’s was The Hateful Eight. Wes Anderson’s was The Grand Budapest Hotel. Sadly, Steven Spielberg delivered his this year with The Fablemans. This semi-autobiographical tale of a young Jewish boy who dreams of becoming a filmmaker felt like a two-and-a-half hour collection of home movies. Because it’s Spielberg, they were an interesting collection of home movies, but that doesn’t change the fact that there were still two and a half hours of them.     6/10 

The “Best Pinocchio Movie of the Year by Sheer Default Award” goes to Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio. Though it has its moments and the stop-motion animation is masterful, this retelling of the Pinocchio story suffers from muddled themes and a lack of emphasis on the Pinocchio/Jiminy Cricket dynamic. Then again, it was nice to see Mussolini in something.     6/10

Pearl. Ah, Pearl. Pearl is the prequel to Ti West’s X that functions as an origin story for the creepy old lady who keeps sex slaves chained in the cellar. It also explores the parallel between the characters of Pearl and Maxine, which I’m sure will be fleshed out in greater depth when MaXXXine is released. Where X drew upon 1970s slasher movies, Pearl employs an aesthetic more in line with 1930s musical fantasies like The Wizard of Oz (with a whimsical score and flashy titles employed for ironic effect). While X took a standard slasher movie template and elevated it somewhat with some thought-provoking themes, Pearl is a boilerplate origin story that failed to dazzle me despite giving me its all – kind of like poor Pearl herself at that musical audition.     6/10  

The “Nic Cage is Back! (Not That He Went Anywhere) Award” goes to The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. For the record, this is a fun, altogether harmless movie, but it’s poorly structured and comes off as a weird vanity project that capitalized on Cage’s Internet memes and crazy public persona. It reminded me quite a bit of The Interview, only better because watching it was actually tolerable (and before anyone accuses me of Nic Cage hate, I will admit that I unironically love Con Air).     6/10

Day Shift. A movie about a luckless vampire hunter assigned to the damned day shift had a lot of potential. Unfortunately, this Blade wannabe was more interested in fostering a running gag where Dave Franco pees his pants than telling a fun vampire story.     4/10.

Skipped Morbius, Top Gun, Amsterdam, Glass Onion, and Avatar 2. No regrets.

On the television side of things, Andor was the surprise hit of the year, delivering a compelling political, character-oriented drama that kept making me forget we were in the Star Wars universe. It may have retroactively redeemed Rogue One for me. Otherwise, Kenobi was cute; I enjoyed House of the Dragon, despite my best efforts to not like it out of consideration for GoT’s insulting eighth season; I liked Pam and Tommy quite a bit; and I found myself sucked in by a fantastic little science fiction horror series called From (season 2 landing this April!). On the flipside of things, I made it four or five episodes into The Midnight Club before calling it quits – and apparently so did Netlix.  

Thanks for reading. Don’t forget to smash that like button on the way out!

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