Movies still aren’t full back to pre-pandemic levels, but they’re getting there. It was a good year for the cinema, if not always at the box office. (Black Adam seems to have underperformed enough to score the DCEU a massive makeover.) Indeed, for his annual list of favorite new movies, Barack Obama named three more movies than he did in 2021. And of course two of the movies that got scores of people to leave their homes — the movie theater-saving blockbuster Top Gun: Maverick and the art house crossover hit Everyone Everywhere All at Once — are present and accounted for.
I saw some great movies this year – here are some of my favorites. What did I miss? pic.twitter.com/vsgEmc8cn8
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) December 23, 2022
So what movies did Barry love the most? As usual there’s a lot of art house/independent/foreign fare and documentaries. He loved Tár. He loved Park Chan-wook’s twisty thriller Decision to Leave. He loved A Hero, from two-time Oscar-winning Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi. Same with Petite Maman, from France’s Céline Sciamma, whose A Portrait of a Lady on Fire ranked high on the latest prestigious Sight & Sound poll of greatest films ever made. He flipped for Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy, the other semi-recent film from Drive My Car director Ryusuke Hamaguchi.
The 44th president adored the Iranian road movie Hit the Road, the Scottish vacation memory piece Aftersun, the abortion saga Happening, the Javier Bardem comedy-drama The Good Boss. He enjoyed Emily the Criminal, featuring Aubrey Plaza as a desperate woman going to the dark side. Same with the documentary Descendant, about those whose ancestors came to America on the last slave ship from Africa (and which his company produced).
Lest anyone accuse Obama of snobbery, he had some familiar names on there, too. Till, about the murder of Emmett Till, made the cut, as did the action movie The Woman King. He fell for Steven Spielberg’s mostly autobiographical The Fabelmans. And yes, he couldn’t resist the charms of Top Gun: Maverick either, as well as Everything Everywhere All At Once.
Some notable movies that didn’t make the cut: He either hasn’t or was underwhelmed by Avatar: The Way of Water. Ditto Armageddon Time, the Nan Goldin doc All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, the donkey saga EO. And of course, where was Jackass Forever?
Still, good list. And since Top Gun 2 is on there, maybe even Fox News won’t throw an apoplectic fit that he may have exposed casual moviegoers to some off-the-beaten-path films.