As we put a tidy bow on another nutty year here at Mutant Reviewers, I face an impossible task: To take all of the movies I’ve watched for the first time and whittle them down to a list of my 15 favorite “discoveries” that I made in 2022. My first draft was 38 titles, which is an indication of how much fun I had this year.
But I managed to get down to 15, and I’m excited to share them with you today. As a side note, I’m not including any actually brand-new flicks, although I’ll give honorable mentions to 2022’s The Batman, Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, and Top Gun: Maverick as some pretty fun watches.
Let’s get this cult party started!
I don’t have a lot of horror on this list, but I certainly couldn’t ignore the blast I had with 1993’s Ticks. This creature feature is full-blooded icky practical effects, amusing casting (Seth Green and Fresh Prince’s Carlton), some good laughs, and some genuinely creepy moments.
I was personally delighted to realize that there are still some great indie Gen X movies lurking out there. I found one with Parker Posey’s Party Girl, a kooky movie about a wild spirit who is gradually tamed by… a library? Lots of great music, fashion, and quotes with this one.
I went into Freaks pretty much blind and on the recommendation that it was best experienced that way. After being impressed by this imaginative-yet-flawed film, I concur. It’s a handful of pretty good ideas and special effects, and I wouldn’t mind seeing a sequel at some point.
Every actor has “that” film that is so embarrassing that they hope nobody brings it up on press tours. I’m sure that this is true for Denise Richards, who once co-starred with a robotic dinosaur that housed the brain of her boyfriend. This movie’s full of laughably dumb moments that clearly try to one-up each other, and I was on board with the silliness right to the end credits.
Tales from the Far Side I and II
I still can’t believe that nobody told me sooner that there were TWO Far Side Halloween specials made in the ’90s. Now that I’ve seen both, I’m still reveling in how weird they are in trying to adapt a one-panel strip into a mostly dialogue-free collection of horror and comedy. It’s great stuff.
I spend a chunk of 2022 catching up on some of the excellent indie scifi that’s come out over the past decade, and Prospect made a strong impression as a result. Rival prospectors band together to survive a deadly alien planet, get the goods, and make it back to a spaceship before it departs orbit. It’s got a nice homebrew look about it that I adored.
Captain Ron is one of those slightly demented ’90s comedies where you can tell everybody is having an absolute blast. And none so much as Kurt Russell, who lets his hair down (literally) as a Jimmy Buffet-style Caribbean sailor who may be the perfect person to help a family to bond. Lots of great laughs and a new instant classic in my book.
Nostalgia is looking back on an era with longing and regret — a mixture of happiness and pain. I certainly didn’t expect Kicking and Screaming to gut-punch me as much as it did with its tale of Gen Xers who are trying desperately to hold on to their college years even as they’ve got to move on and become adults. And it’s pretty quotable to boot!
I made it a side quest this year to catch up on Joe Dante movies that I’d missed out on. This film emerged from that quest as an underrated throwback to classic ’80s Dante. The Hole has kids finding a mysterious trap door in their basement that has nothing good inside of it — and they open it anyway. Kind of Pandora’s Box for a new generation, I guess!
One of the so-bad-it’s-amazing legends of cinema, Uninvited is pure weirdness from start to finish. I mean, what else did you expect about a semi-horror flick concerning a cat who lives inside another cat and pukes poison instead of hairballs. It’s also a terribly made movie, which adds to its charm.
And speaking of bad cat movies turned guilty pleasures, let’s give it up for the Stephen King-penned Sleepwalkers. This one is so nonsensical with its largely unexplained villains, bizarre incestual subplot, random horror movie director cameos (plus Mark Hamill!), groan-worthy one liners, a love of morphing technology, and over-the-top kills. It’s entertaining in all of the wrong ways, let’s just say.
Sometimes I need an injection of pure ’80s — and I got that aplenty with Rad. This BMX movie is every ’80s sports coming-of-age flick coupled with an astoundingly good soundtrack. It’s also a really fun movie with likable characters and some incredibly strange sequences.
The Ghoulies series may be a cheap Gremlins knock-off, but it doesn’t make it worthless because of that. In fact, the second movie jumped up onto my favorites list simply due to the well-executed premise of terrifying critters getting loose at a traveling carnival. If you like haunted houses and ultra-cheesy quotes, this one’s for you!
I don’t often label horror movies as “brilliant,” but I have to apply that to The Stuff. It’s a movie that tackles a trivial message — ignorant consumption of junk food — in such a clever way by having the world become addicted to a whipped dessert item that came from outer space. The fact that this hollows you out and creates a monster that’ll leap out of you is a bonus, as is the movie’s cast of eccentric world-saviors.
James Bond Jr. That’s pretty much what this film is, and it is glorious for going overboard in all sorts of ways. You’ve got George Lazenby being killed off, his gymnast son John Stamos taking over as a spy-in-training, Gene Simmons turning a villainous performance for the ages, a Grammy-worthy theme song, mutant goldfish, and a seduction scene that somehow involves a garden hose. It may be the best thing ever filmed.