The year's best movies, so far: 'Top Gun,' 'RRR,' 'Jackass' and more

Taking stock of the year's best movies and where to watch them at 2022's halfway point.

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

We've reached 2022's halfway point — OK, we're two weeks shy, but who are you, the calendar police? — and at the movies it's shaping up to be a pretty special year, with new and veteran voices chiming in with films worthy of celebration. 

Hollywood is rebuilding after two years that were harshly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, but judging by the healthy box office receipts for "Top Gun: Maverick," things are once again trending in the right direction.

The "Top Gun" sequel is a reminder of everything the movies do right when they're firing on all cylinders, and it leads the list of the year's best movies so far.  

Here's a look at the rest of 2022's best and brightest to date, and where to catch up with them before awards season rolls in and flips everything upside down. 

10. 'Jackass Forever'

Johnny Knoxville in "Jackass Forever."

The boys are back: a little older, a little grayer, but just as crazy as they ever were. Watching Johnny Knoxville, Steve O and the rest of the gang punish themselves for our entertainment is still gratifying after all these years, and the fourth big screen "Jackass" cinematic experience provided the cathartic laughs we needed after being couped up for two long years. Sure, it's the stunts that bring them together, but it's the camaraderie and brotherhood between them that lasts long after the bruises heal. (on Paramount+)

Review:'Jackass Forever' has hard pain, harder laughs

9. 'Good Luck to You, Leo Grande'

Daryl McCormack and Emma Thompson in "Good Luck, Leo Grande."

This sex positive comedy is anchored by a magnificent, brave performance by Emma Thompson, who plays a widow who hires a sex worker (Irish actor Daryl McCormack) to help her experience the sexual gratification she never had during her long marriage. What follows is not a kinky sexual romp, but an exploration of boundaries, pleasure and an unlikely connection between two people. (on Hulu) 

Review:'Good Luck to You, Leo Grande' a sex positive comedy scores

8. 'Watcher'

Maika Monroe in "Watcher."

Maika Monroe ("It Follows") stars as an American woman who moves to Bucharest with her husband but doesn't know anyone, or the language, or what to do with herself once she's there. That's enough to make her feel uneasy and displaced, but all her fears are heightened by the mysterious man who is always peering at her from the window across the street and the news reports that there's a serial killer on the loose. Director Chloe Okuno keeps the tension high and the mood tense in this gripping thriller. (in theaters) 

7. 'The Northman'

Alexander Skarsgård in a scene from "The Northman."

Vanquish thy enemy! Director Robert Eggers ("The Witch," "The Lighthouse") stages a 10th century Icelandic "Hamlet" with a carved-out-of-wood Alexander Skarsgård in the lead role as a man out to avenge the death of his father at the hands of his treacherous uncle. Ethan Hawke, Anya Taylor-Joy and Björk costar, and Nicole Kidman lends herself to the year's most bracingly uncomfortable scene. It's a Viking riot. (on Peacock) 

'The Northman' Review:Vanquish thy enemy, and pass the popcorn

6. 'X'

This image released by A24 shows Mia Goth in a scene from "X."

Mia Goth. Mia Goth! The 28-year-old (2018's "Suspiria") is the revelation of writer-director Ti West's homage to '70s horror classics, playing a dual role as an aspiring porn queen and the elderly woman who terrorizes the crew on the set of the porno flick they're filming in a cabin on her property. Goth will star in the follow-up prequel, "Pearl," that West already has in the can. We can't wait. (on VOD) 

'X' review:Crew sets out to make porn film. What could go wrong?

5. 'Everything Everywhere All at Once'

Michelle Yeoh in "Everything Everywhere All at Once."

This surprise hit — it has earned more than $60 million at the box office, a record for distributor A24 — was all the more welcome since it was in support of a completely boffo original property, a genre melting pot that was part "Matrix," part Looney Tunes and just about everything in between. Michelle Yeoh stars as a woman whose world is turned inside out when she discovers the properties of the multiverse, and the insanity that follows is all part of the wild ride. (on VOD) 

Review:'Everything Everywhere All at Once' is a multiverse of madness

4. 'RRR'

Ram Charan and N. T. Rama Rao Jr. in "RRR."

Crazed action? Check. Dance battles? Check. Tigers, explosions, betrayal and bromance? Check 'em all, and keep 'em coming. Director S.S. Rajamouli throws everything and more into this riotous historical adventure about two Indian revolutionaries (N.T. Rama Rao Jr. and Ram Charan, both awesome) who team up to defeat British colonialists in the 1920s. Yes, it's three-plus hours, but when it's this much fun, the time flies by. (on Netflix) 

Review:Explosions, tigers and bromance, 'RRR' is the action epic you must see

3. 'The Fallout'

Jenna Ortega in "The Fallout."

Jenna Ortega — she's one of the year's breakout stars, having also appeared in "X" and January's "Scream" requel/reboot — is outstanding as a student reeling in the wake of a shooting at her high school in this tough drama, which is relatable to far too many. Writer-director Megan Park finds the right tone in this modern coming of age story where tragedy is just as regular as getting your driver's license or having your first kiss. (on HBO Max) 

'The Fallout' review:Teen's life rocked in wake of school shooting

2. 'jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy'

Kanye 'Ye' West in 'jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy.'

Miss the old Kanye? Apparently a lot of people do. Interest in this absorbing three-part documentary shot sales of Kanye West's debut album "The College Dropout" racing back up the charts, where it hit No. 8 earlier this year. That's because it shows the hustle, the attitude and the inimitable style of this generational talent, and directors Coodie Simmons and Chike Ozah plunge viewers back into his world, before the fame, when his message was his music and nothing else. It's a breathtaking portrait of a superstar in the making — and, eventually, the undoing. (on Netflix) 

'jeen-yuhs' review:An essential portrait of Kanye West's rise

1. 'Top Gun: Maverick'

Tom Cruise in "Top Gun: Maverick."

Is it too early to start talking Oscar for this mega-blockbuster, which has become the highest grossing film of Tom Cruise's career? Not by a longshot. This is old-school blockbuster filmmaking, a throwback to when summer movies could be high-flying, high-fiving, good time roller coasters, before the Marvel Cinematic Universe made the movies a playground for whooshes of digital effects and caped superheroes. The rest of the year will determine if "Top Gun" has the goods to be considered awards worthy. But as the Oscars continue to play to a dwindling audience, a monster success like "Maverick" is a reminder of how fun movies can be, and the kind of audience favorite the Best Picture race could really use as its wingman. (in theaters) 

'Top Gun: Maverick' review:Old-school blockbuster flies high

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