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Josie’s Best of 2022

So, to be totally honest, I decided to do a Best of 2022 list before I really thought about my year. Once I did, and once I checked the list of shows and movies I’d watched, I realized I didn’t watch much this year. I have no excuse. Unless “reading a lot” is an excuse. At the very least, it’s a reason.

Movies

Remember the heady, pre-COVID days when we all went to see Marvel movies and then chatted about it online? It turns out, the sense of participating in a massive cultural event was most of the appeal for me. Without the crowded theaters and online chatter, it’s not the same, especially since I tend to wait until the films are free on Disney+, and all the fun conversations are done by then.

Thor Four: More Thor (Sunbunny came up with that and I’m stealing it) was tedious. The Eternals was slow. The best thing I can say about Venom: Carnage is that it was only 90 minutes. Even the Marvel TV shows didn’t really grab me: Moon Knight was a bit blah, aside from the hippo lady; I’m too old for Ms. Marvel; and I canceled my Disney+ subscription before She-Hulk premiered.

I did rewatch—and review—Bad Times at the El Royale, and was pleased to discover that a few of our readers love the film as much as I do.

Thankfully, Glass Onion (the sequel to Knives Out) premiered on Netflix the day my Best-Of list was due. Maybe it’s recency bias, but I don’t think so: I absolutely loved this movie.

The hype for Knives Out had been so intense that I was disappointed in what was, in retrospect, a really strong film. But Glass Onion’s satire of tech-bro idiots, “disruptors,” and louts chasing clout, all wrapped up in a murder mystery, was fast-paced, funny, and just twisty enough that I felt pleased but not so twisty I felt like I was watching Westworld.

The “oh, no, they didn’t!” ending reminded me (rather oddly) of Sorry to Bother You. It’s also gorgeous to look at, and I don’t just mean the cast.

Television

My TV-watching year was only slightly more productive. The Tourist, which starts off being about an amnesiac Jamie Dornan wandering the Australian outback and turns into much more, is something I’d recommend to anyone. I can’t tell you anything else, because I don’t want to spoil it. (Also, it’s only six episodes.)

Russian Doll, which for some reason I’d never watched, was a surprising delight. I binged both seasons with a rapidity I haven’t experienced in years. Only Murders in the Building, which I started watching this week, also has short, pithy episodes that make a complex plot feel delightfully bite-sized.

The Lord of the Rings show, which I guess is technically called Rings of Power, deserves an honorable mention on this list. I liked it but I’m not obsessed with it... and as I type that I realize it’s probably a healthier way of thinking about television.


Two of my standbys came to an end this year. Peaky Blinders went out with a bang; I loved it and am excited to see what happens in the upcoming film. But we knew that show was ending—Legends of Tomorrow, on the other hand, was unceremoniously canceled as The CW works on rebranding as a much less-cool channel. The past few seasons of Legends haven’t been my favorites, but I will miss that plucky band of misfits and outcasts.

Books

I finally gave Elena Ferrante a try this year, and I annoyed every person I know for weeks afterwards trying to get them to try her Neapolitan Quartet. The ferocious psychological realism, the intense female friendship, the historical sweep of a woman’s life: this series has everything.

Yes, I bought the British version for the cool cover.

In a very different vein, Elaine Chou’s Disorientation is a whimsical, absurdist satire of PhD programs in the humanities. It’s the funniest campus novel I’ve ever read. Another campus novel, R.F. Kuang’s Babel, also makes my list: unlike the silly realism of Chou’s book, Babel is a fantasy novel. It’s set in an alternate version of 1830s England, where magic is created through complex acts of translation. It follows a group of graduate students learning the craft... and what it means for English colonialism.

I also read a whole bunch of David Graeber books. (Any fans here?) I don’t have much to say about them, except: if you read Bullshit Jobs you will have some unpleasant realizations about many aspects of your own career.

Plans for the Future

2023 might have some fun things ahead. I’d hoped to have time to watch The Banshees of Inisherin before watching this list, since I’m a huge fan of In Bruges. I’ll watch it soon; maybe it will make my Best of 2023 list. I hear there’s a donkey.

I'm also planning to review The Peripheral very soon! (I haven't finished it yet.)

And: Oppenheimer. Enough said.



Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)

3 comments:

  1. Aw would've liked to hear your thoughts on Banshees. In Bruges will probably remain my favourite of McDonagh's films but Banshees is a clear and easy 2nd. I ended it thinking it felt incomplete yet it kept floating back up in my head for weeks after which no other film this year has done, not even the brilliant EEAAO. It was really really good. And not actually incomplete at all once I slept on it, turns out I just wanted more lol.

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  2. I didn't watch much this year either. I'd start a show and stop watching after an episode or two. But I finished 90 books. One of which was Babel. I loved it's themes and scope but I thought was a little weak on character development.

    You've convinced me to add Neapolitan Quartet to my never ending TBR but I make no promises about when I'll get to it (It's a mighty long list). I have a long To Be Watched list as well but Banshees is on it as is Tar and The Woman King. I'm hoping 2023 will be a better viewing year.

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  3. Josie, thank you for recommending The Tourist. I tried it a few weeks ago and it's one of the best things I've seen this year.

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