Sparks’ madcap trajectory resembles that of a rollercoaster (apt, given their participation in 1977’s Rollercoaster), and Wright’s film is a celebration of the enduring vitality of their unique art. The sound of chopping wood and cocking pistol hammers are incessant in The Killing of Two Lovers–jarring and ominous sonic punctuations that do much to fortify the roiling suspense of writer/director/editor Robert Machoian’s tormented domestic drama. Opening with the sight of David pointing a gun at his wife and her lover in bed, the film proceeds to detail its protagonist’s efforts to mend his marriage while coping with the barely suppressed killing rage ignited by his circumstances. Maggie Gyllenhaal has become a canny chronicler of parental dissatisfaction, and following formidable turns in Sherrybaby, The Kindergarten Teacher and HBO’s The Deuce, she again tackles that topic with her directorial debut The Lost Daughter, an adaptation of Elene Ferrante’s novel of the same name.

That’s the set-up for this adaptation of a Stephen King short story that, despite the author’s reputation, is not really all that interested in the dead body part. The strength of Stand By Me is in the characters, their friendship, and the slow-motion realization that they are losing their innocence the closer they get to the missing boy by the side of the railroad tracks. It’s a moving tribute to being a kid that you can appreciate no matter how far removed from it you are. John Hughes pretty much defined the teen comedy in ’80s movies like Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club, but Ferris Bueller stands out for being—much like its lead character—a true original. A high school comedy that barely spends any time in high school (it’s kind of the point of the movie, after all), it’s witty and carefree and incredibly well-structured. The ending race home, for example, is a masterful use of editing, music, and physical comedy.

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A woman who loses everything during the Great Recession (Frances McDormand) embarks on a nomadic existence across the United States and meets a host of colorful and tragic characters. Director Chloe Zhao populates the movie with real-life transients rather than actors, but it’s McDormand who is the anchor for the whole experience. A lonely high school English teacher (Robin Williams) with dashed hopes of becoming a novelist struggles with his job and single-parenting his obnoxious, sleazeball teenage son.

The two best meta-movies of the year, Jordan Peele’s “Nope” and Jafar Panahi’s “No Bears,” accentuate the negative in their titles, and take tough, contrarian stands against gauzy clichés about the magic of movies and the power of imagination. They remind us that magic is always the product of hard, unglamorous work, and that power is never innocent. I don’t think Canby and Godard were entirely right (feel free to discuss among yourselves), but after nearly four decades and innumerable interchangeable franchise sequels, it’s clear they weren’t entirely wrong. Yet, all these years later — and even as the industry struggles through yet another of its interminable crises — I am again heartened by all of the good and great movies that continue to be released. I have, many of them, this and every year, but if I can’t tempt you with one of my favorites of 2022, I suggest you watch a film or two by Godard. OK, it almost hurts to admit that this movie over-delivered on what most people expected from it.

  • Bob Odenkirk takes one hell of a beating in Nobody–and, per a joke made by his Hutch Mansell, you should see the other guys.
  • Though it was made just two years after Star Wars, Alien couldn’t be any more different.
  • In her directorial debut, Wright employs compositions that call understated attention to the alienated anguish of her protagonist, whom she embodies as a fragmented (and potentially suicidal) woman with a sorrow as deep and cold as the vast wilderness.
  • And the song “Whatever It Is, I’m Against It” seems to have predicted current political discourse.
  • The first director — and the other inspiration for Canby’s disquiet — was Jean-Luc Godard, who described Wenders’s project as an inquest on the future of films.
  • You see Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays its tormented villain, and in his strut you also see John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Clint Eastwood.

Zombie movies and TV shows are everywhere now, but that wasn’t the case in 1968 when Night of the Living Dead dropped into theaters (and dropped jaws everywhere). FIlmed in stark black and white, it’s an intense thriller with more on its mind than just bloodshed. Once the terror starts, which is shockingly immediate (like, seconds in), it does not relent.

A crime thriller that moves at the glacial pace of a long, drawn-out Minnesota accent, Fargo has at its heart (in every sense of the term) the unforgettable character of Marge Gunderson. Brought to life by Frances McDormand, Marge, the ultimate feminist hero, is sweet and honest (and heavily pregnant), but also a hell of a great cop. Her adventure moves at her own speed, and along the way, there are thrills and laughs. A tale of mistaken identity, North by Northwest is about an advertising executive pursued across the United States by a mysterious organization who believes he is trying to thwart their sinister plans. The adventure unfolds with style, a mix of suspense and wry humor, all of which star Cary Grant delivers flawlessly. It’s known for the iconic “crop duster” chase scene, but the movie is a blast from start to finish—one of director Alfred Hitchcock’s finest.

With standout performances by Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, and Chiwetel Ejiofor, this story of a man tasked with escorting the last (possibly) fertile woman in a world that has been reproductively barren for years to a vague safe haven is harrowing, but uttering gripping. Part of director Edgar Wright’s “Cornetto Trilogy” (named after a popular UK brand of ice cream that makes an appearance in all three movies), Hot Fuzz is about an urban supercop (Simon Pegg) who is forced to relocate to a sleepy country village. He’s an abrasive fish out of water until he uncovers a possible murder plot. Hilariously spoofing cop and action movie cliches, Hot Fuzz has endlessly quotable lines and some of the best sight gags and physical comic timing you’ve ever seen. It’s also packed with great British character actors clearly having the times of their lives—most notably, former James Bond Timothy Dalton, who steals the movie as the village’s wealthiest (and shadiest) man.

The Big Lebowski is about an aging stoner named Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski who is confused for a millionaire also named Jeffrey Lebowski by thugs looking to collect debts. When The Dude confronts the “Big” Lebowski, he sparks off a comedy of errors that involves kidnapping, German anarchists, porn, and bowling. The whole thing kind of feels like a traditional film noir detective movie, except the guy who is supposed to be the detective is just a befuddled guy off the street. A movie absolutely loaded with quotable lines and hilarious characters, it’s no wonder it inspires intense devotion among its many fans. The tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight has always been open to interpretation, and few have taken those threads and woven such a dreamlike and challenging spectacle.

But some movies deserve a spot simply for being so boldly (borderline insanely) unlike anything else ever made before or since, that you just have to throw up your hands and accept them as vital and important. The Rocky Horror Picture Show is chaotic, amateurish, and nonsensical, but also has great songs and the kind of go-for-broke performances (especially from Tim Curry as the legendary Frank N. Furter) that you just have to stand up and applaud. A musical tribute to classic horror and sci-fi, it’s raunchy and strange and just really has to be seen to be believed.

But we tried to stay true to our love of movies, these movies, and others that didn’t make the cut. (Remember, it’s only 50!) The final list is a reflection of that love, but also of a system that favors certain stories and storytellers at the expense of others. If the list is not a model of representational balance, call us out — we can take it — but also continue to call out an industry that hasn’t given us a more diverse landscape of voices to love, hate and argue over. The Social Network tells a fictional account of how Mark Zuckerberg, a Harvard college student, and his friends created the most important social networking site of the early 2000s, and all the drama and millions that followed.

This scary movie isn’t for the squeamish, but the mix of paranoia and claustrophobia create almost unbearable tension…and the “who has it/who doesn’t” part resonates even more these days. Set in the early 1900s, Daughters of the Dust is about the Gullah—a community of African-Americans who lived on the sea islands off the coast of Georgia and South Carolina—and tells a multi-generational tale that carries some heavy themes. Director Julie Dash chooses to tell the story with a novel-like feel—you get absorbed in the visuals and the haunting tone and the story just seems to flow from event to event as you come along for the ride. A bandit attacks a young bride and her samurai husband, and the recap of the event is told and retold from different perspectives throughout the movie. I created an important storytelling innovation and one that would inspire the term “Rashomon-like” for any of the hundreds of movies after it that borrowed the same technique.