Film and TV

The Best Moments in Texas Film This Past Year

From left, Jamie Foxx, Dave Franco and director J.J. Perry talked vampires at the Dallas premiere of Day Shift.
From left, Jamie Foxx, Dave Franco and director J.J. Perry talked vampires at the Dallas premiere of Day Shift. Vera "Velma" Hernandez
It was a complex year for the film industry in 2022. Although the pandemic certainly caused a lot of major shifts in moviegoing habits, many of the film industry's problems had been building up for a good while. What even is a movie anymore, really? With television shows getting increasingly expensive (and even longer), it’s hard to tell the difference. While independent movies often keep under a budget of $10–$15 million, television shows such as The Mandalorian, Stranger Things, The Crown, House of the Dragon and The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power routinely cost well beyond that.

This was a year of tremendous successes and massive disappointments at the box office. Even though we had a summer stacked with exciting new movies, many of the films that were highly anticipated fell short of expectations. Jurassic World Dominion and Thor: Love and Thunder made back their money, but derisive reviews deprived them of staying power. Films like Morbius, Moonfall and Strange World became legendary disasters.

This was also a year when streaming services continued to dominate. Disney+, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and HBO Max released original films that sometimes didn’t even hit theaters. It’s sad to see this when so many critically acclaimed films have had disappointing box office results. While The Fabelmans, Tar, The Banshees of Inisherin, Armageddon Time, She Said and Bones and All are among the best of the year, they found success only in smaller arthouse circles.

However, Dallas continued to be a great hub for Texas movie fans to gather. Between two installments of the Dallas Film Festival, the popularity of the Angelika Theaters’ new rewards program and the development of new theaters, Dallas offered movie fans a chance to celebrate their passion. We looked back at some of the standout Texas performers and artists who impressed us this year.

Glen Powell Pulled At Our Heartstrings in Top Gun: Maverick

One thing we all had in common this year is that everyone saw Top Gun: Maverick. With a record-breaking box office run and critical adoration, Maverick was a sequel that truly surpassed expectations. Among the standout new characters is the smirking ace pilot Hangman, played by Austin native Glen Powell. The actor even celebrated his success this year by showing up in some Dallas theaters for screenings of his film Devotion.

Scoot McNairy Got Caught Up in the Madness of Blonde

Top Gun: Maverick was easily the year’s most popular film, but Blonde was its most controversial. The Marilyn Monroe biopic, based on the divisive novel of the same name, generated controversy for its depiction of sexual trauma and its NC-17 rating. You can’t fault the performances, as the film features some truly talented stars who do their best with the inflammatory material. Dallas actor Scoot McNairy is particularly memorable as the actor Tom Ewell.

David Lowery Returned to the World of The Green Knight With The Oak Thorn & The Old Rose of Love

Even though we’re only a few years into this decade, we imagine that Dallas director David Lowery’s The Green Knight will end up ranking highly on many “best of the 2020s” movie list. Lowery may be dipping his shoes in the Disney well again with next year’s Peter Pan & Wendy, but he’s also set to begin production on a continuation of his Arthurian epic. Lowery gave us a taste of what’s to come with his short film The Oak Thorn & the Old Rose of Love.

Cooper Raiff Proved He Wasn’t a One-Hit Wonder With Cha Cha Real Smooth

Dallas teenager Cooper Raiff announced himself as a rising megastar with the 2020 semi-autobiographical comedy Shithouse, which he directed, wrote, produced and starred in. This year, Raiff proved it wasn’t a lucky anomaly; his second film as a director, writer and star, Cha Cha Real Smooth, took home the Audience Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The film’s sensitivity dealing with autism earned it critical praise.

Jesse Plemons Got Into the Tech World Satire With Windfall
Dallas’ favorite character actor certainly had an exciting year. Jesse Plemons continued production on Martin Scorsese’s ambitious crime epic Killers of the Flower Moon and received his first Academy Award nomination for The Power of the Dog. Plemons also impressed us earlier this year with his portrayal of an Elon Musk-esque tech giant in the underrated Netflix thriller Windfall.

Robocop Celebrated Its 35th Anniversary in Style

Robocop may take place in Detroit, but it was filmed in many well-known Dallas locations. The satirical action classic celebrated a big anniversary this year with several special screenings at Texas Alamo Drafthouse locations.

Jamie Foxx Slayed Zombies in Day Shift
Terrell native Jamie Foxx granted Dallas a special red carpet screening of his new action-horror-comedy Day Shift alongside costar Dave Franco. If you’ve ever wanted to see Dawn of the Dead meets Training Day, this is the gory movie for you.

Richard Linklater Gave Us Some Texas Nostalgia With Apollo 10 ½
Houston’s legendary indie filmmaker Richard Linklater brought it home to the Lone Star State with his nostalgic animated comedy Apollo 10 ½. Inspired by his childhood, Linklater revisited memories of the summer before the moon landing.

Mckenna Grace Is in the Most Anticipated 2022 Movie That No One Has Seen

In one of the most shocking movie moments of the year, the new Warner Brothers Discovery CEO David Zazlav made several cuts to the release calendar and canceled several projects. Even though the animated film Scoob!: Holiday Haunt was completed, HBO Max decided to cancel the film’s release and put it in the archives. It’s disappointing, as we were looking forward to seeing what Grapevine actress Mckenna Grace would bring to the role of Daphne.

The Old 97's Popped Up In The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

Marvel may have had a weak year, but we absolutely loved the Christmas installment The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. Any Guardians of the Galaxy project is bound to have great music, but this special allowed the Dallas band The Old 97's to pop up as a festive alien band.
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Liam Gaughan has been covering film and television since before he had a driver's license, and in addition to the Observer has been published in, Schmoes Know, Taste of Cinema and The Dallas Morning News. He enjoys checking classic films off of his watchlist and working on spec scripts.

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