The Oscar Project
Happy New Year’s Eve Eve. We’ve made it to my top film of the year, but before I get to that, I do have to give a few honorable mentions that didn’t quite make the top ten. In no particular order they are:
#1 – Everything Everywhere All at Once
This movie truly is everything. I joined in the party a little later than most, but had to check it out after hearing the buzz online and through various podcasts and YouTube channels over the summer. It’s rare that there is so much buzz about a movie and it lives up to the expectations when you finally see it, but Everything Everywhere All at Once is one of those that does.
There were early comparisons of the film to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in that they both deal with universe jumping heroes and we get to see multiple versions of many of the characters. Both have an interesting take on how these universes interact with one another and how the butterfly effect can create drastically different situations for characters that are at the core the same people. But where I had to elevate Everything Everywhere above Doctor Strange is in the characters themselves.
I wrote a few weeks back about my love for Ke Huy Quan as Waymond in this movie, but I really could have picked just about any of the actors. Michelle Yeoh is similarly wonderful as Evelyn and does an excellent job of carrying the film. She gets the opportunity to play a variety of characters across the many universes, something that must be so rewarding for an actor. The inclusion of Jamie Lee Curtis as the Wang’s IRS case agent Deirdre is hilarious and relative newcomer Stephanie Hsu as Waymond and Evelyn’s daughter Joy is a breath of fresh air who I hope to see in more prominent roles going forward.
Certain elements of this film are so absurd and hilarious that you can’t help but just laugh and be amazed at how someone could come up with such things. Scenes like Evelyne and Deirdre being in a romantic relationship, but also having hot dogs for fingers and the “everything bagel” that is threatening to destroy all existence are just a few examples. But my favorite sequence is the universe where Evelyne and Joy are just rocks. It is honestly one of my favorite movies scenes of the year, and shows how you can create amazing story moments on film without complex visual and audio effects. When you have a good story to tell, the presentation doesn’t have to be flashy.
It's interesting to me that we see trends in film over time. I recently listened to a podcast recapping James Cameron’s career ahead of the release of Avatar: The Way of Water and the hosts talked about trends in cinema from the late 1970s when Cameron was first breaking into the film industry. The late 70s were populated by sci-fi films like Star Wars, Blade Runner, and Alien. The 80s had several trends depending on if you’re looking at comedy or action. In the late 90s, we saw the rise of the disaster film, we’ve seen the rise of the superhero films and the extreme sequelization of Hollywood, and I think that we’re hitting a period where people are more open to independent movies with fresh viewpoints that can reach the masses through streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and others.
Similarly, Everything Everywhere All at Once arrived less than two months before Multiverse of Madness, and directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinart worried that other multiversal films like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse would detract from this film. Fortunately, their work stands on its own and stands out from the crowd, even as we move into what may ultimately be dubbed the decade of multiversal movies.
We have had some incredible movies this year, and I’m fortunate to have seen so many of them. I’ve mentioned a few times in recent weeks that I’ve seen more movies this year than I have in my life. It’s a bit exhausting at times to try and keep up with the amount of films coming out, between theatrical releases and streaming services, movies that have release date changes or are added to the release calendar at the last minute. Watching movies in 2022 has been an adventure in itself and I love being able to share my thoughts with you.
I want to wish you a very happy new year and look forward to bringing you new movie content in 2023 and beyond. I hope to see you at the movies soon!
I'm just a film buff who wants to watch great movies. Where else to find the best, than the list of those nominated by the Academy each year?