by Rosalie Lewis
Like last year, my viewing skewed heavily in a non-current direction so I’m also going to share my discoveries list. Like every year, there are still blind spots (I didn’t get to RRR, Babylon, Tar, The Menu, Women Talking, Aftersun, or The Woman King yet but they are all on my list to see.) Let’s get into it!
Let’s call this a five-way tie for 11th place in honor of Erika. I loved all of these movies and think all are worth seeing but they didn’t quite fit into my top ten:
Girl Picture directed by Alli Haapsalo (online rental)
This Finnish coming of age movie brings us into the lives of three vibrant young women who want what anyone wants in life: good sex, the kind of love that makes you want to devour each other, and the perfect balance of parental attention and acknowledgement of their independence. Funny and big hearted with a KILLER soundtrack.
Turning Red directed by Domee Shi (Disney+)
A winning fable about puberty and femme adolescence that made me cry and laugh and rewind to hear the songs from fictitious turn of the millennium boy band 4*Town again and again. So much fun.
The Fabelmans directed by Steven Spielberg (online purchase)
A Rosetta Stone for understanding Spielberg’s entire filmography, this movie lightly fictionalizes his childhood obsession with movies and idolization of his parents. The Judd Hirsch monologue about the conflict between art and family makes this worth the price of admission, and everything else makes it a movie I know I’ll return to again and again. I never thought a Seth Rogen behind the scenes featurette would make me cry but here we are.
Bones and All directed by Luca Guadagnino (online purchase)
Cannibal love story might be the elevator pitch, but the truth is this feels like an emancipation and affirmation for anyone who didn’t turn out the way their parents hoped they would. The blood and guts is just window dressing. For anyone who ever broke the rules and felt exhilaration instead of guilt, and then felt guilty for not feeling guilty. It’s about learning to survive and navigate the world on your own terms, and the absolute gift of finding someone else who accepts you, bones and all.
Avatar: The Way of Water directed by James Cameron (theaters)
This is basically in my top ten, but I know that other people on the site are going to give it lots of love so I’m making room for some other choices that may be undersung. I don’t love the original Avatar the way that Patrick does, but I admire the creativity of James Cameron and his absolute audacious commitment to his vision. Way of Water immerses (pun kind of intended) us in that vision in a super compelling way, with gorgeous visuals and emotional stakes and memorable action scenes and characters/creatures I want to spend more time with. I would happily spend three hours watching a documentary style story about the undersea creatures and organisms, no need for any more story than that.
10. Do Revenge directed by Jennifer Kaytin Robinson (Netflix)
9. Barbarian directed by Zach Cregger (HBO Max)
8. Fire Island directed by Andrew Ahn (Hulu)
7. Moonage Daydream directed by Brett Morgen (online rental)
6. The Wonder directed by Sebastian Lelio (Netflix)
5. Emily the Criminal directed by John Patton Ford (Netflix)
4. Decision to Leave directed by Park Chan-Wook (Mubi)
3. Badhaai Do directed by Harshavardhan Kulkarni (Netflix)
2. The Lost City directed by Aaron and Adam Nee (Paramount+/online rental)
1. Ambulance directed by Michael Bay (Amazon Prime)
Top 10 Discoveries:
10. Bingo (1991, directed by Matthew Robbins, Tubi)
9. Liquid Sky (1982, directed by Slava Tsukerman, YouTube)
8. The Impostors (1998, directed by Stanley Tucci, online rental)
7. Thirst (2009, directed by Park Chan-Wook, online rental)
6. Lone Star (1996, directed by John Sayles, online rental)
5. Crimson Tide (1995, directed by Tony Scott, online rental)
4. Appropriate Behavior (2014, directed by Desiree Akhavan, Amazon Prime & Tubi)
3. Clearcut (1991, directed by Ryszard Bugajski, Kanopy)
2. Nine Queens (2000, directed by Fabian Bielinsky, Amazon Prime)
1. Chilly Scenes of Winter (1979, directed by Joan Micklin Silver, coming to Criterion Blu-ray in March 2023)