Ranking the 25 movies I saw this year from Top Gun: Maverick to Blonde.

CLEVELAND, OH — The movie industry showed signs of recovery this year, but left plenty of room for growth. Box office revenue is up about 50 percent during 2021, but it’s still down 38 percent from pre-pandemic levels. Only 19 films have grossed more than $100 million in North America in 2022, compared to 29 in 2019, according to Box Office Mojo.

Part of the reason is that fewer movies are being released in theaters. Many moviegoers are still reluctant to return to theaters and Hollywood, in turn, has been reluctant to walk away from Marvel’s latest release, a big budget sequel, a critically acclaimed horror flick, or a potential awards season.

The result was a decidedly safe and even mediocre year in movies, one that included such offbeats as an Adam Sandler movie cracking my top 20 and a movie I originally rated “rotten” almost creeping into my top 10. It looks a lot different if you saw potential contenders on Oscars like “The Fablemans,” “TAR,” “The Banshees of Inisherin,” and “The Menu” now.

But until then, here are the 25 movies I watched this year, in order.

Noticeable: This list does not include films released exclusively to streaming outlets such as Disney’s “Fire Island,” “A Christmas Story Christmas,” and Disney’s “Pinocchio.” Features shown at local film festivals were not included either.

Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe in Blonde, and she takes one of the many cues from existing photos of the star.Netflix

25. “Blonde”

Marilyn Monroe’s life has been reduced to stylized shock porn in an exploitative, depressing, and gross film.

• Review: Blonde chooses style and shock over substance and truth in Netflix’s Marilyn Monroe biopic

Tom Holland in Unchartered

Tom Holland appears in a scene from “Unchartered”. (Clay Enos/Columbia Pictures-Sony Pictures via AP)AP

24. “Uncharted”

I’m still waiting for a great movie based on a video game. Instead, we got the “National Treasure” version.

• Review: Tom Holland’s Uncharted video game-inspired adventure is good, I think

marry me

(From left) Kat Valdez (Jennifer Lopez) and Charlie Gilbert (Owen Wilson) in Marry Me, directed by Kat Coiro.

23. “Marry Me”

If not for Julia Roberts and George Clooney later in the year, Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson might have killed the romantic comedy genre with this lackluster film full of cliches devoid of any originality.

• Review: J Lo’s 2022 Marry Me movie, “Marry Me,” isn’t “Notting Hill”

Where the Cordads sing

Kia (Daisy Edgar Jones) at Columbia Pictures where she sings CRAWDADS.Michelle K Short

22. “Where the giraffes sing”

What could have been a masked mystery movie has its aspirations to be a swampy version of Carolina from To Kill a Mockingbird foundered.

• Review: Where the Visitors Sing is a compelling mystery that tries to do a lot

Brad Pitt on the bullet train

Joey King and Brad Pitt star in Sony Pictures’ Bullet Train.Scott Garfield

21. “The Bullet Train”

Need proof that Brad Pitt can make anything watchable? Look no further than this silly action movie.

• Review: Brad Pitt saves the action-packed but problematic ‘Bullet Train’

20. “Hustle”

The Adam Sandler movie bar is so low that regular movies like this basketball drama look better than they probably are.

Persuade

Persuade. Dakota Johnson as Ann Elliott in Persuasion. Commercial Record. Nick Wall / Netflix © 2022Nick Wall/Netflix

19. “Persuasion”

Dakota Johnson and Henry Golding elevate this boring Jane Austen romance with a modern feel.

Thor: Love and Thunder

(LR): Natalie Portman as Mighty Thor and Chris Hemsworth as Thor in Marvel Studios’ THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER. Photo by Jason Boland. © Marvel Studios 2022. All rights reserved.Jason Boland

18. “Thor: Love and Thunder”

A rare miss from director Taika Waititi.

• Review: “Thor: Love and Thunder” is a love story disguised in bizarre superhero movie form

Easter Holiday

(From left) Tito Mane (Joy Gela), Regina (Elena Guatko), Eugene (Eugene Cordero), Joe Valencia (Jo Cui), Tita Teresa (Tia Carrere), Tita Yvonne (Melody Botio) and Suzanne (Lydia Gaston) Easter Bunny, directed by Jay Chandrasekhar.

17. “Easter Sunday”

Call me biased but I found Jo Koy’s love letter to his Filipino roots warm and funny.

• Review: “Easter” is a funny, sad, and overdue celebration of Filipino American culture

Jurassic World Dominion

(From left) Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon) and Kayla Watts (DeWanda Wise) star in Jurassic World Dominion, co-written and directed by Colin Trevorrow.

16. “Jurassic World: Dominion”

The supposed final movie in the Jurassic Park/World franchise is a big, glorious mess…and I enjoyed every minute of it.

• Review: “Jurassic World Supremacy” is oddly satisfying

15. “Ticket to Heaven”

I didn’t want to like him, but no one is immune to the collective charms of George Clooney and Julia Roberts.

Doctor Strange 2

This photo released by Marvel Studios shows, from left, Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez, Benedict Wong as Wong, and Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Stephen Strange in a scene from “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” (Marvel Studios via AP)

14. “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”

The scariest and most visually interesting entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date.

• Review: “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is Marvel’s greatest movie yet

gray man

gray man. Ryan Gosling as Six. Copyright © 2022 Netflix, Inc. All Rights Reserved.Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

13. “The Gray Man”

The Russo Brothers delivers everything you could want from a big-budget action movie.

• Review: “The Gray Man” is an action-packed spy game from Cleveland’s Russo Brothers

Light

HERO’s BEST FRIEND – Lightyear The Movie from Disney and Pixar is an all-new original feature film that introduces the defining origin story of Buzz Lightyear (voice of Chris Evans) – the hero who inspired the game – following the legendary Space Ranger on an intergalactic adventure. © 2022 Disney / Pixar. All rights reserved.Pixar

12. “Light Years”

Funny and inventive but also possibly the saddest Pixar movie since “Up.”

• Review: Fun and full of heart, ‘Lightyear’ is the prequel to ‘Toy Story’ we never knew we needed

Florence Pugh, left, and Harry Styles

This image released by Warner Bros. Entertainment Florence Bowie, left, and Harry Styles in a scene from “Don’t Worry Baby.” (Warner Bros. Entertainment via AP)AP

11. “Don’t Worry Baby”

Come for the mid-century modern setting and behind-the-scenes drama, stay for the shocking twist.

• Review: “Don’t Worry Baby” isn’t the train wreck all the bad publicity has been referring to

Batman and Catwoman

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures Zoe Kravitz, left, and Robert Pattinson in a scene from “Batman.” (Photo by Jonathan Uley/Warner Bros. via AP)AP

10. “Batman”

The movie is so literally so dark you’ll probably fall asleep at some point and miss some Robert Pattinson giving one of the best Batman performances ever.

white noise

Adam Driver as Jack, Greta Gerwig as Babette, and Don Cheadle as Murray in White Noise. This scene was filmed in an abandoned supermarket in Bedford. (Photo: Wilson Webb/Netflix © 2022Wilson Webb / Netflix © 2022

9. “White Noise”

Noah Baumbach’s ambitious adaptation of the rather popular Don DeLillo novel is all over the place. But I’d watch anything with Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig as an ’80s couple.

• Review: White Noise, shot in Cleveland, is an entertaining mystery of a disaster movie

• Related: This is where (almost) White Noise was filmed in Northeast Ohio

Revenge

(L to R) Ashton Kutcher as Quentin Sellers and BJ Novak as Ben Manalowitz in VENGEANCE, written and directed by BJ Novak and released by Focus Features. Credit: Patty Perrett / Focus FeaturesPatty Perrett

8. “Revenge”

No movie surprised me more than BJ Novak’s debut.

• Review: “Revenge” is a smart, edgy, and unlikely love letter to a Texan

Daniel Craig

Daniel Craig as Det. Benoit Blanc in “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.”John Wilson | Netflix

7. “The Glass Onion: Knives Exorcise Mystery”

Rian Johnson’s witty, funny narration doubles as Elon Musk’s gritty takedown you never knew you needed.

The new Black Panther in Wakanda Forever

This image released by Marvel Studios shows a scene from the movie “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” (Marvel Studios via AP)AP

6. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”

I’m not crying, you’re crying!

• Review: Marvel’s “Black Panther” sequel is an emotional journey back to Wakanda

Avatar: Water Road

Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) in 20th Century Studios’ Avatar: Waterway. Image provided by 20th Century Studios. ¬ © 2022 20th Century Studios. All rights reserved.Courtesy of 20th Century Studios

5. “Avatar: Waterway”

James Cameron is at the top of his game, combining stunning visuals, stunning action scenes, and beautifully bad dialogue.

• Review: James Cameron’s ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ is a visual masterpiece that has to be seen to be believed

review nope

This photo released by Universal Pictures, from left, shows Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, and Brandon Perea in a scene from “No.” (Universal Pictures via AP)AP

4. “No”

I’m still peeling the layers of Jordan Peele’s old-school sci-fi thriller Invasion.

• Review: Jordan Peele cements his status as Hollywood’s new master of suspense with ‘No’

Elvis movie

“Elvis” starring Austin Butler (above) hits theaters June 24, 2022. (Warner Bros.)

3. “Elvis”

Austin Butler stars as the King of Rock and Roll in this epic biopic from Baz Luhrmann.

2. “Everything everywhere at once”

The most original movie of the year.

Top Gun: Maverick

Jennifer Connelly plays Benny Benjamin and Tom Cruise plays Captain. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in Best Gun: Maverick from Paramount Pictures, Skydance Films and Jerry Bruckheimer.

1. “Top Gun: Maverick”

Tom Cruise made us feel the need for speed and so much more in this sequel to the 36-year run.

• Review: “Top Gun: Maverick” might take your breath away

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