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Scene has voted. Here are the top 15 films of 2022, carefully selected and compiled by The Observer’s entertainment and culture section.

15. “Fire of Love” directed by Sara Dosa

Sara Dosa’s sizzling documentary chronicles the daring adventures (and untimely end) of two volcanologists in love. Katia and Maurice Krafft were French scientists who specialized in the study of volcanoes, making a name for themselves throughout the 1970s and 1980s with books, television appearances, speaking tours and travel films. Composed of Krafft’s own archival footage (restored in stunning high-definition) and finished off with a wistful narration by raspy filmmaker, Miranda July, “Fire of Love” is less a documentary than an elegy. Poetry is written in lava. — Aidan O’Malley, Managing Editor 


Read the full review here.

14. “The Northman” directed by Robert Eggers

Robert Eggers takes us back to the Viking Age as we follow a young Viking prince on his quest to reclaim his kingdom, kill his murderous uncle, avenge his father’s death and save his mother. If this sounds at all familiar, that’s because it’s basically “Hamlet” (well, actually it’s closer to “The Lion King”) but with Vikings. Interestingly, the plot of the film is based on an Icelandic saga that inspired Shakespeare to write “Hamlet,” so we’re actually watching one of the earliest versions of the classic royal revenge tale. That’s basically all you need to know about the plot. — Justin George (Notre Dame ’22), Scene Writer


Read the full review here.

13. “The Menu” directed by Mark Mylod

Have you ever watched “Hell’s Kitchen” and thought it could be even more intense?

If you answered yes, you’re insane and I hope you enjoy tonight’s “The Menu.” It-girl Anya Taylor-Joy plays Margot Mills, who is invited on an expensive dinner date that she cannot escape. The chef, Julian Slowik (Ralph Fiennes), runs his kitchen with a vicious precision that would put even Gordon Ramsey to shame. But as the night goes on, it seems like Margot might be on the menu. 

“The Menu” is what every food service employee daydreams about, and it’s every Instagram foodie’s worst nightmare. But even with its unpredictable twists and turns, surprisingly, this black comedy horror film might have you leaving the theater thinking: “Hey, that was a lot like ‘Ratatouille.’” — Claire Lyons, Associate Scene Editor


12. “Morbius” directed by Daniel Espinosa

“Morbius” holds a special place in my heart. It was one of the last films me and my friends saw together during our senior year of high school. When my last birthday came, one of my friends gave me a Morbius poster. The film holds a lot of sentimental value to me. Is it good? Not really. I don’t know if it’s the fact that it is hard to buy Jared Leto’s Michael Morbius as threatening or morally ambiguous, or the absolutely hammy performance of Matt Smith as his adopted brother and the film’s villain, Milo. That’s not his name actually. Morbius calls him that because he had a friend named Milo who no longer lived near him, so he calls all his friends Milo. And everyone else calls Matt Smith’s character Milo too. No wonder he’s a villain. You can watch it on Netflix, but I don’t advise it. — Andy Ottone, Scene Writer


11. “Licorice Pizza” directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

Set in 1973, in Paul Thomas Anderson’s beloved San Fernando Valley, “Licorice Pizza,” takes the viewer to summer under the shadow of Hollywood and the weight of national tumult. On its face, “Licorice Pizza” is the tale of two complicated people, 15-year-old Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman) — based on the teenage exploits of real-life producer and former child actor Gary Goetzman — and 25-year-old Alana Kane (Alana Haim), Gary’s down-to-earth friend who struggles with her direction. Hoffman and Haim, both in debut roles, are marvelous. With a laid-back story told over the course of two hours — from a water mattress installation gone wrong to a particularly memorable client seeking Gary’s advertising services, with characters based on Hollywood icons big and small — PTA’s ninth movie succeeds, much like Joan Didion’s “The White Album,” in comprehensively capturing the pervasive tones and dreams, the colors and confusion, of California (and adolescence) in the 70s.— Isa Sheikh, Associate News Editor


Read the full review here.

10. “All Quiet on the Western Front” directed by Edward Berger

“All Quiet on the Western Front” is Netflix’s best shot for the Oscars this year. Adapted from the book of a German WWI survivor, Erich Maria Remarque, this depiction of war finally answers the question “can one truly make an anti-war film?” The answer is a terrifying yes. The muddy trenches of the western front put the phrase “war is hell” to shame, as even hell itself is a spa resort compared to the corpse-riddled craters and barbed wire that coats this French countryside. No lives can be saved, and no innocents are spared. As a film, the cinematography is gorgeous with gruesome editing and a violent score; but as a depiction of war, it’s the closest we get without staining our hands. Please watch the German language version as its creators intended to tell this story in its true language. It is a creative freedom only Netflix would produce. — JP Spoonmore, Scene Writer


Read the full review here.

9. “Don’t Worry Darling” directed by Olivia Wilde

If you want serious social commentary with a virtual reality plot twist, you probably should’ve watched “The Matrix” or read “More Than This” instead of traipsing into the South Bend AMC to see “Don’t Worry Darling.” Scene knows what you’re here for, but even the combined star power of Florence Pugh and Harry Styles couldn’t save this movie from its strange directorial decisions and poorly-written screenplay. “Don’t Worry Darling” was the talk of movie fanatics everywhere, and not in a good way. It’s a plane crash nobody can look away from, and the behind-the-scenes carnage is even messier. — Claire Lyons, Associate Scene Editor


Read the full review here.

8. “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” directed by Rian Johnson

“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” is a bizarre sequel to its surprise-hit predecessor, in that it wants nothing to do with that first film. Rian Johnson proves once again that his talent shines brightest when working alone to dissect the most delicious parodies put to screen. Moving on from the “Clue”-board shenanigans of “Knives Out,” Benoit Blanc takes an exotic vacation into political satire —where backstabbing is a cheap investment rather than an act of wit. The cast of rich friends he follows is much more memorable than the family in “Knives Out,” since every single one is characterized by unique backstories and running jokes. The colorful collection of new characters is always fun, but Benoit Blanc, Daniel Craig’s best character, once again steals the show. Filled with break-neck twists, perfectly timed reveals, and endless laughs, the adventures of Benoit Blanc might become the best original mystery series in cinema. — JP Spoonmore, Scene Writer


7. “Nope” directed by Jordan Peele

The third directorial work of Jordan Peele takes a new spin on the alien invasion movie, tying it to themes of spectacle, an appropriate theme for a horror blockbuster film to take. The film asks the question “How far would you go for the perfect entertainment?” with commentary on the exploitation of actors and animals within the film industry. Starring Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer, portraying siblings within the film, and when an unnatural natural disaster heads their way, they try to take advantage of it in any way they can. For a thought-provoking, visually-stunning take on the “invasion” horror movie, you can’t go wrong with Jordan Peele’s “Nope.” — Andy Ottone, Scene Writer


6. “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” directed by Dean Fleischer-Camp

A small, dainty shell with one googly eye who sports tiny pink sneakers.

Fleischer-Camp’s simplistic and unique stop-motion mockumentary has stolen the hearts of millions. Based on the director’s YouTube shorts with Jenny Slate of the same name, Marcel is now a household name. The film is a wholesome tale of life, community and the meaning of family. This film explores ordinary life through a magical lens, revealing the wonders and beauty of even the smallest things in life. “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” is a film where you’ll find yourself laughing, crying and cheering for the pure love and innocence of a small fashionable shell. — Willoughby Thom, Scene Editor


Read the full review here.

5. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” directed by Ryan Coogler

Set six years after the first film and one year after T’Challa’s death, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” focuses on T’Challa’s sister Shuri as she tries to take on the mantle of the Black Panther while also having to combat a new foe and protect Wakanda. Better than its predecessor, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is a massive blockbuster that is even bigger in its world-building, character development and impressive plot. The raw emotion is clearly shown in the film and is accompanied beautifully at the end credits with Rihanna’s “Lift Me Up.” The action in the film is also beautifully choreographed and very fast-paced. Shuri truly is the next Black Panther. — Nicole Bilyak, Scene Writer


Read the full review here.

4. “Elvis” directed by Baz Luhrmann

The moody, smoky world of “Elvis” is a dream of decay and a parable of the peculiar parasitic relationships we have with our celebrities. Austin Butler’s superlative performance as the King of Rock has no false notes while still maintaining a necessary distance from the audience for most of the movie, always suggesting emotional depths beyond sight. But it is Tom Hanks who serves as the anchor of the film, the repulsive Colonel Tom Parker, who is Elvis’ exploitative manager. The twisted affection the Colonel has for his host is reflective of how we all make celebrities the vessels for our aspirations, and how that inhuman pressure is destined to break a person. “Elvis” is the tragedy of a musician’s pure love for his craft and audience being poisoned by the pressures and base cravings of music celebrity, incarnated in his manager. — Ayden Kowalski, Scene Writer


Read the full review here.

3. “The Batman” directed by Matt Reeve

As someone who is not well-versed in the world of superheroes, I am surprised to say Matt Reeve’s “The Batman” was one of my favorite films this year. It was a refreshing take on a classic character whose story has been through countless iterations since 1939. Of course, the most well-known version of the caped crusader was envisioned by Christopher Nolan, but Reeve’s film breathed new life into Batman and the characters who populate Gotham: Catwoman, the Riddler, James Gordon, the Penguin, among others. This nearly three-hour film was almost completely enshrouded in darkness, sometimes completely hiding the action before launching you into the chaos. Robert Pattinson was the angsty protagonist the world needed, and he played the classic hero with grace and power. The director’s attention to detail was also remarkable, especially with the smearing of Batman’s eye makeup leading to the birth of “emo Batman.”Willoughby Thom, Scene Editor


Read the full review here.

2. “Top Gun: Maverick” directed by Joseph Kosinski

“Maverick” is a masterfully constructed movie, inspiring and exhilarating for all the right reasons. The flight sequences are seamless, and the audience believes — and more importantly, feels — each move of the planes. But the movie is smart enough to know that it is our pilots who make us care, and so it invests even more in constructing these characters. Maverick and Rooster’s relationship is the engine of this film, and it is the highlight as we understand, admonish and root for both characters. This makes their success and survival in the final mission paramount — they need to accomplish it and outlast it because we need them to heal their relationship. It isn’t that complicated. In the end, this is a cast and crew that makes us care, and once our hearts are secured, takes us for a ride. And that ride is Scene’s second-best film of the year. — Ayden Kowalski, Scene Writer


1. “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once” directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert

“Get Sucked Into The Bagel …”

I can say with no embarrassment that this film made me cry like a newborn baby. I didn’t think a mom traveling between dimensions to fight a multi-dimensional entity would be such a funny and emotional rollercoaster. A Chinese-American immigrant (played by the amazing Michelle Yeoh) discovers that she must connect with versions of herself from infinite universes to prevent someone from destroying the multiverse. This film takes every “rule” of cinema and flips it upside down. From parodies of “Ratatouille” to the deepest conversation on what life really is being talked about between two rocks, this movie will catch you off guard for its entire runtime. If you have any kind of heart, this film will make you emotional, it’s just that beautiful. I hope that anyone who watched this will someday find the person they would love to do laundry and taxes with. — Gabriel Zarazua, Scene Writer


Read the reviews by Associate Scene Editor Claire Lyons and Scene Writer JP Spoonmore.

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About Aidan O'Malley

Aidan was the Managing Editor of The Observer. He previously served as Scene Editor and will forever be biased toward that section. You can reach him by email at [email protected], on Twitter @_aomalley or by loudly yelling his name on DeBart Quad.

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About Justin George

Video Unit Leader. Scene's Resident Spooky Boi. My taste is better than yours: https://letterboxd.com/JWG5150/

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About Claire Lyons

Claire is the current Viewpoint Editor for The Observer. She is a senior from Fort Worth, TX with majors in Honors English and political science. She is interested in fostering free speech on campus, the latest non-fiction essay collections and Sufjan Stevens.

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About Isa Sheikh

Isa Sheikh is a junior currently abroad at Trinity College Dublin. In the few minutes each week that he's not writing, he enjoys pretending to read on the disgusting bean bags in the DeBart Lounge, "u know what" at the Windsor Heights Dairy Queen and trying to bring up Joan Didion in each and every conversation. He can be reached at [email protected].

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About JP Spoonmore

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About Willoughby Thom

i am the scene editor! if you didn't know already, my favorite band is Oingo Boingo.

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About Nicole Bilyak

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About Ayden Kowalski

Ayden is a junior from Dallas, TX majoring in FTT.

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About Andy Ottone

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About Gabriel Zarazua

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