What. A Year. The wave of content coming from seemingly every nook and cranny is as ominous and amazing as a body in a floral dress floating off the coast of a Sicilian shore. It is impossible as it ever has been to keep up with the sheer amount of films, shows and music coming at us from every direction, and good luck to ya if you listen to podcasts, read, enjoy time outside or ya know, have other things you spend time doing. Sure selecting what to watch or listen to can be a quick decision, but it is also one that can be so overwhelming that you find yourself ignoring all new options and instead choosing to watch reruns of The Office and listing to feel good ‘Best of [Insert Decade]’ playlists. Escapism is important from this at times depressing world we love so much to destroy, but having to make choice after choice on how to spend your time is hard. What’s even harder is determining what, and often when, to renew subscriptions to Netflix, Apple+, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Disney+ and so on and so on. At least Spotify is an easy choice for music and podcasts, unless of course iTunes or Tidal or records or crap, again so many options. Ugh.
So, perhaps the question is how does one choose? Is it based on recommendations of friends, family or coworkers? Or is it random discovery, trending top tens recommendations from various platforms, the pop culture zeitgeist that tells you what is the new it show is (hello House of the Dragon, bye Squid Game) or or or or or….decision paralysis is a real thing. No complaining on my end as I know it’s a great problem to have, but for those who don’t want to miss out and have limited time to to make the best selection, choosing wisely is imperative. Cue hopefully this helpful best of pop culture list of lists (which features the 10 best movies, 10 best tv shows, 10 best albums and 10 best songs) to aid on your entertainment journey (unless of course you want podcast tips as this is not the place, sorrrrrry).
Through deliberate and meticulous time spent in all things pop culture, below is my list of the best of what the year 2022 had to offer in film, television and music. Simply put, if I found it to be great and worthy of recommending to you, it belongs here on the best of 2022. And speaking of great, greatness was again large supply this past year. From tremendous literature adaptations (Conversations With Friends, House of the Dragon…) to increased diversity and representation (Reservation Dogs, Our Flag Means Death…) to infectious music from talented artists from all over the world (La Femme, Bad Bunny…), there is bound to be something on this list to satisfy your pop culture cravings.
As always, time is a currency so don’t empty your coffers, let this list help you choose wisely with what the best of pop culture that 2022 had to offer! Please enjoy!
The 10 Best Movies of 2022
FIRE ISLAND, DON’T WORRY DARLING, FRESH, ANTLERS, CENTAURO, YOU WON’T BE ALONE, THE BATMAN, SCREAM, WOLF, THE BLACK PHONE, WATCHER, MEN, VENGEANCE, PREY, FALL, I WANT YOU BACK, X
10. MY BEST FRIEND’S EXORCISM
Horror camp in the mold of the tragically underrated 2009 movie JENNIFER’S BODY? Um, yes please!
9. THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT
Nic Cage as Nic Cage is the best Nic Cage of all the Nic Cages. What a riot of a movie!
8. 3000 YEARS OF LONGING
Tilda Swinton. That should be enough to intrigue. Throw in Idris Elba as a djinn and you have the ingredients for movie magic.
Jordan’s Peele’s latest is less horror and more big budget fun, and it fun it certainly is. Say yep to NOPE.
6. CRIMES OF THE FUTURE
A chilling look at a future where pain is literally a thing of the past, yielding a horrific and wholly captivating new world.
5. THE INNOCENTS
A movie that will that is as unsettling as it is intriguing. This must see foreign film has a searing ending that sticks with you.
4. THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN
This bleak and brutal dark comedy from IN BRUGES director Marin McDonagh is simple in its complexity. And no, it isn’t dull.
Not just the best horror movie of the year, but also a tremendously fun and surprising movie that deserves your full attention.
2. DECISION TO LEAVE
Few directors can reimagine a film classic like VERTIGO in such a beautiful and original way, but Park Chan-wook is no ordinary director.
1. TRIANGLE OF SADNESS
Ruben Östlund is the best director you’ve likely never heard of that delivers easily the best film of the year, which can lightly be described as THE WHITE LOTUS meets LORD OF THE FLIES.
The 10 Best TV Shows of 2022
ANDOR, (Disney+), PEACEMAKER (HBO Max), THE DROPOUT (FX on Hulu), OUR FLAG MEANS DEATH (HBO Max), HOUSE OF THE DRAGON (HBO Max), REACHER (Amazon Prime), GHOSTS (CBS), BARRY (HBO Max), MODERN LOVE (HBO Max), PEAKY BLINDERS (Netflix), CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS (Hulu), HACKS (HBO Max), BLACK BIRD (Apple TV+), EUPHORIA (HBO Max), THE AFTERPARTY, (HBO); THE ENGLISH (Amazon Prime)
10. THE BOYS (Amazon Prime)
Watching superheroes (supes!) not acting super (and how) is escapism at its finest. Even when it goes too far, it dares to go further. I dare you not to enjoy!
9. SEARCH PARTY (HBO Max)
It should be difficult to root for any of these truly loathsome characters in what was an absolutely bonkers final season, but watch you should and root you must. At least I think so.
8. SEVERANCE (Apple TV+)
Terrific world-building with a spot on cast that starts as a slow burn and crescendos with an awakened and sensational bang. What will season 2 bring???
7. WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS (FX on Hulu)
A hilarious, no-holds-barred riot of a great time that gets better and better with each season. And baby/kid/teenage/adult Colin is pure comedic excellence.
6. RAISED BY WOLVES (HBO Max)
If Ridley Scott’s show truly is over one season too soon, that’d be depressing. But if it is, it went out guns blazing. Bye, Mother!
5. RESERVATION DOGS (FX on Hulu)
Somehow the second season of a show that highlights the Indigenous community throughout intimate storytelling, deep care and a terrific cast was even richer than the first. Wow.
4. GOMORRAH (HBO Max)
The final season of this engrossing Italian-language crime drama is simply extraordinary. And that final scene, superb.
3. BETTER CALL SAUL (AMC)
A pitch perfect final season that is one of the greatest prequels ever made. Simply prestige tv at its absolute peak. Farewell Kim and Jimmy.
2. THE WHITE LOTUS (HBO Max)
The simple conceit of the wealthy behaving badly, reeeaallly badly, while on epic vacations shouldn’t be this good. Kudos to the fantastic Mike White. Can’t wait for season 3!
1. ATLANTA (FX on Hulu)
Not only was Atlanta the best show this year, it is one of the best of all time. Donald Glover’s rule-breaking, nontraditional comedy is masterpiece unlike any show ever made, and that’s a great thing. No goofing.
The 10 Best Albums of 2022
ESQUEMAS, Becky G; All You Need Is Time, Daisy the Great; Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You, Big Thief; Bronco, Orville Peck; Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, Kendrick Lamar; My Boy, Marlon Williams; Multitude, Stromae; Laurel Hell, Mitski; It’s Almost Dry, Pusha T; Zeal & Ardor, Zeal & Ardor; moMINTS, Tobe Nwigwe; Spirituals, Santigold; RAMONA PARK BROKE MY HEART, Vince Staples; Country Coming Down, Paul Cauthen; Phases, Moonchild Sanelly
10. CRASH, Charli XCX
Apologies to the honorable mentions above, but Charli XCX is musical royalty who can’t stop delivering bangers. Yuck!
Standout Tracks: “Good Ones,” “Used To Know Me,” “Beg For You,” “Yuck,” “Baby”
9. Teatro Lúcido, La Femme
This uber-talented Parisian group had my favorite album last year, and this year drop a surprise Spanish album to great effect.
Standout Tracks: “Y tu te vas,” “Sacatela,” “No pasa nada,” “Contaminado, “Teatro Lúcido”
8. Un Verano Sin Ti, Bad Bunny
How is Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, a.k.a Bad Bunny getting better? The Puerto Rica sensation has no ceiling.
Standout Tracks: “Tití Me Preguntó,” “Me Porto Bonito,” “Ojitos Lindos,” “Después De La Playa”
7. IN DIMES WE TRUST, Mike Dimes
H-Town is fast becoming a hotbed for rap, with artists like Dimes exploding onto the scene with intoxicating bravado. Wiss!
Standout Tracks: “WISS,” “NO TRENDS,” “BACKROOM,” “HOME (Remix)”
6. If My Wife New I’d Be Dead, CMAT
A deeply self-deprecating artist with a huge voice and a knack for biting wordplay, CMAT is your next obsession.
Standout Tracks: “Nashville” “I Don’t Really Care For You,” “Every Bottle (Is My Boyfriend),” “Communion”
5. PRE PLEASURE, Julia Jacklin
Jacklin is a poet with a velvet voice who tuns personal trauma and life experience into artistic beauty unlike anyone else.
Standout Tracks: “I Was Neon,” “Lydia Wears A Cross” “Moviegoer,” “Ignore Tenderness, ” “Too In Love To Die”
4. The Forever Story, JID
Reppin’ The A with aplomb, JID is one of the greatest artists alive, not just in Atlanta but the world. What a talent.
Standout Tracks: “Dance Now,” “Surround Sound,” “Sistanem,” “Kody Blu 31,” “Raydar,” “Lauder Too”
3. MOTOMAMI +, Rosalía
A fiery transformation from an artist not content with staying in any lane, Rosalía is an artist somehow still on the ascendancy!
Standout Tracks: “CANDY-Remix,” “COMBI VERACE,” “LA FAMA,” “DESPECHA,” “SAOKO”
2. And I Have Been, Benjamin Clementine
Perhaps the most interesting musician with the most unique and captivating voice since Serj Tankian, Clementine is not of this world.
Standout Tracks: “Delighted,” “Genesis,” “Lovelustreman,” “Recommence,” “Copening,” “Difference”
1. Wet Leg, Wet Leg
This cheeky, joyously absurd duo from the Isle of Wight are pure joy to spend time with. What a spectacular debut.
Standout Tracks: “Ur Mum,” “Chaise Longue,” “Wet Dream,” “Too Late Now,” “Angelica,” “Being In Love”
The 10 Best Songs of 2022
“I Was Neon” Julia Jacklin; “N95,” Kendrick Lamar; “As It Was,” Harry Styles; “ROSE STREET,” Vince Staples; “Munch (Feelin’ U),” Ice Spice; “The Shore,” TR/ST; “Simulation Swarm,” Big Thief; “Diet Coke,” Pusha T; “Mamii,” Karol G, Becky G; “Years,” Sierra Ferrell; “Tastes Like Pain,” Weezer; “The Curse of the Blackened Eye,” Orville Peck; “Mon amour,” Stromae, Camila Cabello; “Country as Fuck,” Paul Cauthen; “New Wife,” Typhoon; “Stay Soft,” Mitski; “Death to the Holy,” Zeal & Ardor; “How It Ends,” Mama’s Broke; “The Sound of Being Alone,” Tenille Townes; “Dance Now,” JID, Kenny Mason, “New Gold,” Gorillaz, Tame Impala; “Delighted,’ Benjamin Clementine; “Jungle,” Fred again
10. “Unholy,” Sam Smith, Kim Petras
Where did this song even come from? Just a full on instant hit from a surprisingly perfect pairing of artists. Astounding.
Standout Lyric: “And he, he get me Prada, get me Miu Miu like Rihanna (ah)“
9. “LORD FORGIVE ME,” Tobe Nwigwe ft. Pharrell Williams, Fat Nwigwe & EARTHGANG
No artist exploded exploded onto the scene as fiercely as Nwigwe this year. Love at first listen to this and many other tracks.
Standout Lyric: “When you think What I done wrong, I done right, it’s my darkness in your sunshine.”
8. “Glitter,” Daisy the Great
Daisy the Great, a why not name for a band if I’ve ever heard one, but these TikTok breakouts can make seriously good music.
Standout Lyric:“I’m just rotten to the core such a bore such a wannabe. Dressing for the thrill like a pill, it’s an armor“
7. “Poland,” Lil Yachty
1:23 minutes of pure bliss from none other than Mr. Broccoli a.k.a. Lil Yachty. Simple, sublime.
Standout Lyric: “‘I took a waaaaaaaaallkk to Polaaaaand.”
6. “Tití Me Preguntó,” Bad Bunny
A worldwide megahit that features Bad Bunny at his peak, if he has one. Hey auntie, how good is this song?
Standout Lyric: “Tití me preguntó. Si tengo muchas novia’. Je, muchas novia’ Hoy tengo a una, mañana otra.”
5. “Ur Mum,” Wet Leg
Biting and funny as hell, Wet Leg’s stellar debut is on full display on the best track off the best album of the year.
Standout Lyric: “When I think about what you’ve become I feel sorry for your mum.”
4. “Hotel Lobby” Quavo, Takeoff
From the opening beat, uncle and nephew just get after it which, with the tragic loss of Offset, serves as a path forward for the remaining members of Migos. RIP Offset.
Standout Lyric: “Diamonds be dancin’ like Bobby (they dancin’).“
3. “LA COMBI VERSACE,” Rosalía ft. Tokischa
The power and fragility that Rosalía brings is perfection, but on this track she is exploding with swagger. Bish.
Standout Lyric: “Y si hoy llevo la ropa fake, Es porque soy la más real.”
2. “Nashville,” CMAT
A standout track from a terrific artist that sums up the essence of whole album. Equal parts heartbreaking and beautiful. CMAT with a knockout.
Standout Lyric: “I’m gonna tell everybody I know that I’m moving to Nashville.“
1. “HOME (Remix),” Mike Dimes ft. JID
The best song of 2022 comes in the form of a Mike Dimes remix that features (he is legend) JID. Both artists are dripping with well deserved confidence on this absolute stunner.
Standout Lyric: “This young boy from Texas so excuse my grammar.”