What Films, TV Shows, Books & Music Did You Overlook in 2022?
Author: Dan Heching
(CNN) — This was a doozy of a year, admittedly made even more overwhelming by the ever-expanding glut of content you know you want to consume.
We seem to constantly be barraged by recommendations that have been enthusiastically served up by friends and loved ones — only for most of them to remain on our “to watch” (or read, or listen to) list for months, never to budge. In this upcoming last weekend of 2022, we encourage you to catch up on a few of these overlooked titles that for whatever reason got lost in the crazy shuffle.
Here’s what we’d recommend:
This Chinonye Chukwu-directed film is a recounting of the infamous 1955 lynching murder of teenager Emmet Till and the aftermath, especially his mother’s (the astonishing Danielle Deadwyler) quest for recognition and justice. It is not an easy watch, but it’s an essential testimonial of a horrendous symptom of racism that tragically still plagues this country.
This “Predator” prequel was a tall order — setting the action within the Native American Comanche Nation 300 years ago — but manages to pull it off thanks to great suspense, a spirited performance from Amber Midthunder (of “Legion” fame) and a no-frills storyline that, like the title evokes, is simply about who’s hunting who.
As the great David Bowie did unfailingly throughout his life, this documentary defies convention in its feverish and hypnotic look at the late legend’s career during the early- and mid-’70s. It is a visual and audio feast for those who love Bowie, as well as those seeking a bit more material on the revolutionary performer.
“Mr. Harrigan’s Phone”
From the mind of Stephen King, this overlooked treat featured interesting performances from two standout actors from the horror genre — Jaeden Martell (“It,” also from a Stephen King book) and the legendary Donald Sutherland. The story revolves around the intriguing concept of a connection between a lonely teen and an old man that seems to traverse even death.
“Emily the Criminal”
Aubrey Plaza (also from “Legion”) has had a banner year thanks to “The White Lotus,” but her crime drama “Emily the Criminal” — which she co-produced and starred in — was unjustly brushed aside this summer. A taut thriller about a woman saddled with student debt who gets involved in the criminal underworld of Los Angeles, the film has the potential to register with younger and older viewers alike, thanks in no small part to Plaza’s versatility as an actress.
Joyfully melding the awkwardness of being a teen with the urgent need to be yourself, this British coming-of-age series on Netflix deserved more widespread love than the enthusiasm it’s garnered within queer circles. While it could be classified simply as YA or LGBTQ+, “Heartstopper” ultimately transcends both to be an inclusive and on-the-nose portrait of growing up and taking on the start of adulthood in the here and now. Listen for the sticky-fun bubblegum pop soundtrack, too.
A heady and atmospheric portrait of late-’60s Hollywood and the inception of “The Godfather,” this Paramount+ series stars Miles Teller and had all the makings of an acclaimed series — except for the audience. Look for a head-turning performance (as usual) from “Ted Lasso” star Juno Temple.
Julia Roberts and Sean Penn shine as whistleblower Martha Mitchell and former US Attorney General John Mitchell, respectively, in this Starz political thriller. The period show revisits the liars and truthtellers of the Watergate era through eight riveting and, at times, humorous episodes that offer perspective on — and maybe some hope for — our modern political messes.
Led by an enthralling Bridget Everett, this sensitive “down home” series on HBO Max is reflective, stirring and engaging, tackling the themes of loss, fitting in and the joys of letting go. The musical interludes are especially delicious to watch, as is Murray Hill’s supporting turn as a snarky choir director.
An eye-popping ‘neon noir’ snapshot of the slick urban underbelly of Japan’s capital, “Tokyo Vice” scores high marks for ambiance as well as story with Ansel Elgort’s investigative reporter digging himself ever deeper alongside an always impressive Ken Watanabe. Look for a glossy turn from Rachel Keller, also of “Legion” fame.
Supporters of this HBO show — which premiered last December but ended in January of 2022 — are staunch in their love for it and with good reason. A moving and special account of a post-apocalyptic, pandemic-ridden world that still has room for beauty, hope and art, “Station Eleven” features phenomenal performances all around, along with gorgeous imagery and an incredible score.
A late-in-the-year entry to 2022’s fantasy television boom, this Disney+ series re-entered the world of an oft overlooked 1980s film starring veteran actor Warwick Davis, who reprises the titular role. The series is a breath of fresh air from a visual standpoint, and happily breaks the arbitrary rule that all denizens of fantasy realms must only intone in British-speak. Look for a dashing Amar Chadha-Patel as the irreverent and bold warrior Boorman.
(“Somebody, Somewhere,” “Tokyo Vice,” “Station Eleven” are on HBO Max. CNN and HBO Max are both part of the same parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery.)
Orville Peck – “Bronco”
If you didn’t know gay country was a thing, Orville Peck is here to tell you you’re late to the party. Similar to Lil Nas X, Peck transcends genres and breaks with convention — he chose to forgo singles and release this year’s critically acclaimed album “Bronco” in three ‘chapters’. Also, in the grand tradition of Sia and Marshmello, Peck prefers not to lend his actual visage to his public persona, adding to his particular mystery.
Rina Sawayama – “Hold the Girl”
Edgy, poppy, sweeping and fun. Japanese-British singer-songwriter Rina Sawayama is all that and so much more. Just listen to her 2022 album “Hold the Girl” for proof.
Angel Olsen – “Big Time”
This beautiful album from underrated indie/alternative singer-songwriter Angel Olsen is actually her sixth studio effort. With an earnest and gorgeously melancholic voice, Olsen is difficult to neatly categorize, which is precisely why we love her. Also worth checking out: her EP of ’80s covers from last year, titled “Aisles.”
Sudan Archives – “Natural Brown Prom Queen”
This singer and violinist is an innovative and talented artist, melding hip hop, R&B, soul and more for her galvanizing second album “Natural Brown Prom Queen” this year. Fabulous standout tracks include “Selfish Soul” and “NBPQ (Topless)”.
“Notes on an Execution”
By Danya Kukafka
From the author of 2017’s “Girl in Snow, this book is a chilling portrait of women who crossed paths with a serial killer. It is harrowing, but anything but typical.
“Our Wives Under the Sea”
By Julia Armfield
An absorbing work about the relationship between a woman and her wife, this novel is rife with mystery and darkness, much like the ocean floor where one character finds herself submerged.
Perhaps more favored by journalists and those interested in media coverage, this podcast is a fascinating look at controversial stories that news outlets spiked, and the various reasons why.
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Related: 25 LGBTQ+ Books That Are Banned In Schools in 2022
Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Dan Heching