2022 highlights: films & tv series
Here’s a new one for me: movies and TV shows. I have never kept track of what I’ve watched until 2022 (which is something I now regret, because I love being able to look back over everything I watched the past year), which means I get to share with y’all my viewing highlights!
And here’s a fun fact for ya: if I’m mentioning it in this post, chances are the movie or series in question is clean—or at least not full of political propaganda, explicit sexual content, or other nasty things. There’s some violence and language in a few of these, but I watched every single item on this list with my parents and younger siblings (the youngest of which is four years old), so you don’t have to worry overmuch (or anymuch, as Crimson says) about the content! If you are interested in one (or more) of the movies/series I mention and want more information on the content, please feel free to ask me!
I got to kick off 2022 with none other than Casablanca, the award-winning classic I’ve heard so much about but never really heard about. Despite the fact that this WWII-era film is a forbidden love romance, it was actually so good and just amazingly well-done. We were all impressed by how the scriptwriters handled the trope in a moral and respectable manner. *applause rings out* Even in historical culture, but especially in today’s, adultery is glorified and romanticized, so it was such a refresher to find something that (1) showed what true sacrificial love looks like and (2) didn’t paint adultery to be a fun and romantic little game, but a weighty sin.
Otherwise, Ingrid Bergman is so gorgeous, Humphrey Bogart is such a classic, I want to memorize all the iconic lines, and I see now why Remington always loved this movie. (Bonus points to anyone who caught that reference.)
One of my other favorite films was, surprisingly, The Last Samurai. If you aren’t bothered by violence and gore, this R-rated movie is actually really clean—and so rich! The visuals and the setting are stunning (19th century Japan, anyone?), Tom Cruise did not look/act like Tom Cruise so I actually liked him, they portrayed Custer/his battles accurately (at least from what I know; I’m just glad they didn’t glorify him), and I did not see this as a “White Savior” movie at all.
Basically, it’s like The Patriot but in Japan (horrible comparison, but also somewhat accurate?), and I loved it. I absolutely loved it.
Lastly, Sense & Sensibility. I am thoroughly ashamed of myself for not having watched this sooner! My mama saw it when she was in high school and loved it, but when I was younger, I tried the first page of S&S and couldn’t bear it, so I just knew I’d dislike the movie...and after I read P&P (and promptly fell in love with Austen), I wanted to wait until after I read S&S.
But I didn’t wait, and I am so glad, because this was so good, and now I wanna read S&S so bad. Also, Colonel Brandon. 😍😍😍 Darcy may have competition...
favorite film series
Signed, Sealed, Delivered.
End of story.
Y’all. This was a series of Hallmark movies, but it was actually good? Phenomenal, in fact? Like, how???
I don’t know. All in know is that the combination of postal mysteries, quirky side characters, slow-burn romance, and OLIVER O’TOOLE is perfection.
I loved this so much I created a Pinterest board for Oliver and changed my ringtone to “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours” by Stevie Wonder (such a good song, by the way).
favorite tv series
LOIS & CLARK.
Did I fall in love with this even more than SSD?
Did that have anything do to with young Dean Cain?
Did I accidentally spell Dead Cain instead of Dean Cain?
Case in point, this show made me a Superman fan (which is...shocking, to say the least), and it is pure underrated 90s gold. Forget Friends. Watch Lois & Clark. Sure, it’s got those suspend-belief, comic-book-cheesy moments, and Supe’s flying is about as cringey as the 90s gets, and the first season is a little sketchy with Cat in it...but y’all. I adore this show so much I could cry just thinking about it. It’s absolutely everything I ever wanted in a TV series: action, adventure, comedy, beautiful, beautiful romance, a superhero, and a heroine I love.
I already want to rewatch it.
favorite new releases
Persuasion, Bad Guys, The Santa Clauses, The Book of Boba Fett, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and National Treasure: Edge of History are basically the only new releases I watched this year. Okay, we also saw Jurassic World: Dominion, Spiderman: No Way Home, Uncharted, and Minions: The Rise of Gru...but they weren’t favorites, so I technically shouldn’t even be mentioning them.
Persuasion was...not what I wanted but better than I expected? I just...I have thoughts. And I meant to write them down and post them back in August, but time got away from me, so…
Bad Guys was good as far as animated children’s movies go, but I personally liked the nostalgic lack of propaganda and inspiration messages.
The Santa Clauses was Tim Allen as Santa. The end. Okay, technically, it was terrible and I’m so sad that they didn’t do something better for my favorite Santa and his beautiful family...but it could’ve been much worse. And I’m grateful they did do something to bring him back. The execution wasn’t great, but obviously it wasn’t awful enough to be excluded from the list.
(Also, if anyone wants a history/mythology essay inspired by the show, please let me know.)
The Book of Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi. I enjoyed Fett’s show (including the ability to make fun of the weird lizard-up-the-nose thing), but Kenobi’s fell flat. Why do I keep complaining about my so-called “favorites”? Because they’re new, and therefore they require critique.
I loved be able to see Hayden as Anakin again; I just felt like they were grasping at straws. They didn’t need Kenobi to fill a hole, and since Kenobi didn’t depart from the main storyline (like Mando and Fett), there was really no purpose for it except to give the fans something to play with. (Kinda like with The Santa Clauses.)
National Treasure: Edge of History. Okay, now this is how you do a new series. You don’t reboot or rewrite the original and you don’t try to add new things to what already existed...you just *gasp* spin off of the original with new characters and plots while weaving the characters of the original in to create a beautiful tapestry. I will admit, there are some elements of Edge I’m not a fan of, but (1) Riley Poole, (2) the anticipation of Ben Gates in Season 2, and (3) a wonderful heroine I actually like totally trumps all those little pesky things. Y’all remind me to write a post on Jess Valenzuela, will you?
favorite childhood classics
I actually rewatched a lot of movies/series from my childhood. By childhood, I mean from before I turned 12, although technically everything qualifies as childhood since I’m still a child? I guess?
Anyway, here we go…
Beakman’s World. This, y’all. This is the most underrated but AH-MAY-ZING educational children’s program ever. I will never not love Beakman, all of his fun assistants, Lester the rat, the penguins...everything. If you haven’t seen at least one episode of this zany, eclectic, and outrageous show, you are missing out on one of the 90s finest things.
(Yes, I am a 90s kid...just from the 2000s.)
Totally Spies. Another children’s show, but this one is well and thoroughly early 2000s. The clothes, the colors, the Americanized anime style...all of it is cringey perfection that I just love. I mean, how can you not love a show about teenage girls who become spies?
The Santa Clause movies. I don’t even have to explain why.
Despicable Me (1 &2). Every time I watch these, I’m surprised by how good these movies are. Like, how??? But the redemptive messages and themes of family are so precious, and I wish we could make more movies like this.
Cue a huge influx of Christmas movies…
Homeless for the Holidays. I hate and love this movie. It’s cheesy and cringey, but in the most wholesome way.
It’s a Wonderful Life. The movie that requires no introduction or explanation. It’s just plain wonderful.
Rocky (all but Rocky V, for obvious reasons). I just...I adore these movies, Rocky, Adrian, everything about this. It’s just so perfect and wonderful. (Yes, I have a secret affinity for boxing movies.) (Also yes, I am a huge Sylvester Stallone fan.)
National Treasure (1 & 2). We rewatched these in honor of the new series, and I think they get better every time? I love watching Ben and Riley’s minds work, I love the creativity (and the cliches too) of the movies, and I love the American history. (Well, in the first one. The second one, not so much. Y’all know I have opinions about the Civil War.)
How the Grinch Stole Christmas. You really can’t beat Jim Carrey as the Grinch. *sticks out tongue at Benedict Cumberbatch*
Carmen Sandiego—the new Netflix one! I’m sure there’s probably some sort of something wrong with this show (it’s made by Netflix, after all), but I didn’t notice anything wrong, and I simply adored this show. It’s fun, action-packed, unique, adventurous, educational, funny, intense—all of it. I love the characters and dynamics and the s h i p. #gramenforlife
Also, Carmen is another heroine who is perfect. Just perfect.
series that surprised me
Kickin’ It. Yes, that older Disney Channel show about kids who do karate. I’ve enjoyed Lab Rats and K.C. Undercover (a lot), but I honestly didn’t see this dumb little show being even half as good as those two. And it wouldn’t have been if it weren’t for Jack. *wags eyebrows*
The A-Team. It’s boring and repetitive, yes, but it also has some amazing characters—okay, one amazing character. Howling Mad Murdock. Also known as literal perfection. He is pure hilarity (and relatability?) and just awesomeness.
Zero Chill. This is a YA Netflix drama that was actually good and clean and had values. Hard to believe, I know, but somehow true! Plus, it has to do with ice skating, which is an automatic yes from me. 😉
Lois & Clark (again). So, I’d wanted to watch Smallville for literally my entire life (that is no exaggeration), but after a few episodes, I was bored, and Mama had somehow gotten me hyped up for L&C, a show I’d once thought sounded cheesy and old and dinky. (And Dean Cain as Superman? Really?)
But I decided to give it a shot, and man, was it fantastic! I even think my siblings kinda sorta liked it, which is probably the biggest surprise. 😂
films that surprised me
Journey to the Center of Earth and Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. These family-friendly adaptions of the popular Jules Verne novels may not have been entirely accurate, but they were surprisingly very good and clean!
The Mask of Zorro and The Legend of Zorro. There were a few iffy moments in the content department with these two, but for me personally, I just couldn’t not love the fast-paced action/adventure, the romance, all the swordfighting (my ultimate weakness)...all of it.
Puss in Boots. Zorro as a cute, fluffy cat. Nuff said.
The Amazing Spiderman (1 & 2). I just knew I would hate these movies. After all, Andrew Garfield is just...not Peter Parker. However, he did make an exceptional Spiderman (yes, there is a difference), and I actually kinda enjoyed these. Just...not Harry. Harry was an outrage. There was so much about the plot that needed help, but as far as, you know, Pete/Spidey goes, it was not as bad as I’d expected.
Home Alone 3. I honestly didn’t think it was possible to be 1% as good as the original Home Alone movies (I mean, if Kevin McAllister isn’t involved, I want nothing to do with it), but this one was surprisingly good!
honorable mention goes to…
Here Comes to Boom
Letters to Juliet
Snowy River: The McGregor Saga
Emma (with Gwyneth Paltrow)
Rescued by Ruby
The Parent Trap (original)
The Parent Trap (remake)
Freaky Friday (2003)
Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken (if anyone is interested in a fun fact about this film/true story, comment "fun fact" below!)
Over the Top
Sabina: The Nazi Years
The Father of the Bride
The Father of the Bride 2
These movies/series were all well and thoroughly enjoyed—they just didn’t fit into the above categories!
Your turn! Share which of these movies/shows you’ve seen or what your 2022 viewing favorites were! Do you have any recommendations based on my favorites? Do any of these sound good to you?
I’d love read all about it in the comments below! Here's to another year of action-packed, romantic, hilarious movies and TV shows!