The Five Worst Movies of 2022

I’ve watched more than 75 movies, and counting, released in 2022. Many have been good, several have been bad, and then there’s these. The bottom of the barrel. They all have some redeeming traits — I like to think every movie does — but these were the ones that most made me sad, angry, and — above all else — bored.

Note: I’ve decided to exclude cheap streaming fodder, hate propaganda, and short films from this list. You can see my complete ranking of 2022 films on my Year in Film page.

Panned releases I missed: The 355, Morbius, Jurassic World Dominion, Firestarter.

5. Amsterdam – dir. David O. Russell

Amsterdam is a handsome film: The legendary Emmanuel Lubezki provides lovely cinematography. But the movie that it’s in service of is anti-fun. It’s Aspartame Coen brothers knockoff, witless and grueling. (If Russell can’t even get me to laugh with the surefire gag of Taylor Swift getting hit by a car, you know he’s doomed.) It tries to end with a clever twist, but it sags the movie down even more. Given the talent, the acting is underwhelming, minus Christian Bale’s strong turn in the lead.  (There were other movies in 2022 that were strictly worse than this, but none wasted more potential, so it gets the honor.)

(Full review here)

4. Moonfall – dir. Roland Emmerich

Somehow Moonfall earned a reputation as a cheesy fun time, the good-kind-of-dumb. I wish I could see what those people do. Perhaps there’s some nostalgia for the 1990’s version of a blockbuster: vapid and huge and full of mayhem, but not a piece of “content” on a franchise treadmill. But just because we miss something doesn’t mean that something is good, and in the case of Moonfall, it’s downright bad, a rip-off Independence Day (with a few whiffs of Contact) but one that has Patrick Wilson in the lead instead of Will Smith. Talk about charisma downgrades.

3. Luck – dir. Peggy Holmes

I was mildly excited about Luck, the debut feature from the newest big-budget American studio, Skydance Animation. Skydance has been a buzzy upstart after snagging some splashy talent, including the controversial hire of John Lasseter as head honcho, and the promise of a new Brad Bird IP in a few years. But their first feature is not just bad, it’s broken: The camera is sleepy and still, background actors are frozen as if the rigging team ran out of time, and faces are waxy, expressionless models. The first act shows some promise, but it devolves into a noisy, watered-down Pete Doctor wannabe-postmodern-universe with no appeal whatsoever. Deeply, deeply boring.

(Full review here)

2. The Bubble – dir. Judd Apatow

What the hell, Judd? You’ve directed or produced some of my favorite comedies ever, and you clearly have the connections and budget to pull in an A-list cast and crew. How is this possibly what you ended up with? An incoherent and dreary comedy that’s almost completely absent jokes. The tone is an out-of-touch catastrophe, perfectly representing the very thing it intends to mock (celebrity privilege during disasters, especially COVD). Only Pedro Pascal’s detached horniness got real laughs out of me: 2 minutes across an excruciating 127.

(Full review here)

1. Pinocchio – dir. Robert Zemeckis

I love Tom Hanks. I admire Robert Zemeckis. Their respective filmographies make up two of my cinematic deep dives of recent years. How I desperately wish I could defend Pinocchio as secretly good. But it’s trash. It starts out well enough with a focus on Geppetto (Hanks) as a lonely old man who fills the void in his life with his woodworking. Then as the story proper emerges, the film breaks down. Each minute is lazier than the last, with horrible poop and anachronism jokes, and the finale abruptly ends before Pinocchio becomes a real boy. Seriously. Ugly, dumb, insulting — Pinocchio is the worst mainstream movie of 2022.

(Full review here)

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5 replies on “The Five Worst Movies of 2022”

Yeah, Moonfall’s alright, but it’s no hill I’m dying on. Nevertheless, Patrick Wilson is. He is too charismatic! Not terribly so in this film.

I’m happy to say this is the only one of these I’ve even watched. Sorta happy: I may give Amsterdam a chance though it’s not a high priority, and though I’ve sworn off Disney remakes, the idea of not sticking with Zemeckis even in this painful time continues to make me feel guilty.

In what movies do you think Patrick Wilson is charismatic? It’s possible they exist! I’m just dubious!

Well, you know, in his faux-schlub manner. He does extraordinary “hottest, most compelling possible version of boring and usually sad middle-aged man,” so Watchmen, Angels In America, Bone Tomahawk, Aquaman, Space Station 76, Stretch (not really a good movie, unfortunately), and, of course, all Conjurings (where he’s not even unhappy, just beset with demons).

Oh yeah, and Hard Candy. Darkly compelling as the deserving victim of a somewhat-fiendish child. Maybe charisma isn’t the right word in all these examples. He’s got mad screen presence, though.

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