A cow wearing a crown is saying the words "good movie" and a banner above says All-Beefies

The 2022 Alleged Beef Awards



Introducing the All-Beefies

We’re taking a different approach to our annual recap. 2022 marks the inaugural edition of the Alleged Beef Awards, or the All-Beefies. In the spirit of completionism, I’ll be awarding All-Beefies backward through time over the next few months. I have outlines for each year through 2012.

The All-Beefies awards ceremony were hosted* next to the dumpster in front of the mural by 202 Hometown Tacos in sunny Bellevue, Pennsylvania at midnight on November 31, 2022. Attendance was quite high, especially among the A-Listers*, but there was a miscommunication and no photos were taken. The photographer was double booked, so they did photos for a WPIAL football game between Aliquippa and St. Joseph’s Prep rather than our event. You can’t fault them for that. This is Western PA, after all.


Favorite Performances

Waymond looks at his wife with concern in his eyes


Amber Midthunder as Naru, Prey

This Predator sequel should have a wider recognition. It is frustrating to see fun movies like this get lost in the neverending release schedule of streaming services, and it is even more frustrating when such a movie is within the confines of a company that will almost surely never release it on video or let it be available on any rental service. So should you have a Disney + / Hulu account and enjoy action-horror, please watch Prey.

Amber Midthunder is great as Naru, the younger sibling who gets relegated to an expected healer role despite her desire and skills at being a hunter and tracker. Midthunder is deft at showing Naru’s frustration and equally deft at the many action scenes of the film. I look forward to whatever her next projects are.


Sean Harris as Henry Teague, The Stranger

Another film that came and went without much buzz (in this case, lost in the algorithms of Netflix unless you happen to watch a lot of thrillers or true crime) is this Australian true crime film about the disapperance of a boy in 2003. The prestige crime thriller has been home to countless iconic performances over the decades. The Stranger is not as good as the best films of the genre (such as Zodiac, Cure, High and Low, and Silence of the Lambs) but is very good. The editing and sound design are a huge part of this, imbuing the silence with menace and adding jump cuts that you start to dread. But just as important are the twin leads of Joel Edgerton and Sean Harris. And Harris gets the All-Beefies nom (we still love you, Joel).

Harris has maybe the most distinctlive voice in movies, but he uses it minimally here, instead using body language and facial expressions to speak volumes. His Henry Teague is a haunted character, and the movie is coy in teasing out why that is. Great performance.


Ke Huy Quan as Waymond Wang, Everything Everywhere All At Once

I don’t gamble, but Quan winning the Best Supporting Actor Oscar feels like the safest bet in a long, long time. The narrative is there: beloved child actor (in this case, Data in The Goonies (1985) and Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)) whose fame fades as they get older has a comeback performance that dazzles everyone. Ignoring the narrative, Quan is wonderful as Waymond, the nervous husband of the steel-willed Evelyn. I do not believe that this movie functions without him as the emotional anchor of the story. And he does that while also portraying several alternate universe Waymonds including a great Tony Leung impression. You know that I’m always here for that.


Michelle Yeoh as Evelyn Wang, Everything Everywhere All At Once

Another performance that should clean up in the awards season. Evelyn is one of those transformational roles that recontextualizes the performer. Yeoh has been known as this incredibly beautiful action star since her first film with Cynthia Rothrock in 1985, with only a few non-action roles that stand out (such as in Crazy Rich Asians). So it was a joy to see her as Evelyn, a role that required a bit of everything. It turns out that her comic timing is just as precise as her martial arts. Evelyn is a fascinating character, a woman who doesn’t have enough time in her life to balance being a business owner, a mom, a wife, a daughter, and a person. And when you don’t have time for everything, some things fall to the wayside. Evelyn has let her relationship with her daughter and with her husband erode in the name of keeping the business going, and a fateful trip to the IRS for an audit brings her life to the breaking point.


Mike Myers as Ken Scarborough, Anthony Lansdowne, Lord Lordington, Bruce Baldwin, Mishu Ivanov, Shep Gordon, Rex Smith, Jason Eccleston, The Pentaverate

The Pentaverate ended up far more fun than I had expected. The bar has been very low with Mike Myers for… cripes, I guess over 20 years. Maybe now he has found his ideal medium in the form of a streaming miniseries, as The Pentaverate felt quirky and weird but not just a series of hit-or-miss jokes. Not every Myers character worked for me, but I loved enough of them that he gets the nomination here. Ken Scarborough the loveable Canadian newscaster was the standout, a goodhearted and well-meaning guy who is a good audience surrogate as we enter the very weird world of the Pentaverate.


Favorite Animals

Native hunter and dog look out from behind a log

It was a good year for non-human performers too. Some were more emotionally complex than others (<holds back a tear for the space whale> –Ed.), but these were my favorite animals in a movie. The Bengal tiger was entirely computer generated; I have no idea if James Cameron did mo-cap on a whale but I’ll assume that he did because he’s a madman and I love him. The other three were actual animals, and they were all great.


A na'vi teen talks to a tulkun

Payakan the tulkunAvatar: The Way of Water

For everyone else, consider it an honor to be nominated. The rogue space whale in Avatar: The Way of Water wins the award. Payakun has its own character arc. What an extraordinary creation by the effects team for this movie, and this movie highlights the tulkun in so many powerful ways.


Sarii the dogPrey

This pupper is Naru’s hunting companion, and the two make a fearsome team, taking on French colonialists, macrofauna, and an extraterrestrial big game hunter over the course of the film. The dog was reportedly very difficult to film as it had boundless energy and wanted to play with everyone on the cast and crew. So it is a testament to the filmmakers that they cobbled together a very good performance out of so much manic energy.


Bengal tiger, RRR

One of the lasting images from this movie is of Komaram Bheem and his companions catching a tiger using nothing but ropes and muscles. It is a crazy scene, and doesn’t make any sense in the movie until like an hour later in an even crazier scene. I find it incredible that the animals in this movie were all CGI, because the tiger looks awesome.


Jenny the donkeyThe Banshees of Inisherin

I’m pretty sure that I’m legally obligated to mention all donkeys, ponies, and miniature horses. It is called the Little Sebastian Law. Look it up. Anyway, this is a charming and sad movie and Jenny steals the show as the best animal companion one could ever want (other than the occasional shitting indoors).

(We didn’t mention the donkey Eo in the film Eo, but that looks like some sad, sad shit, so forgive us. –Ed.)


Mignon (#3) the dog, Confess, Fletch

Everyone’s favorite nervous pisser, Mignon is memorable mostly because Annie Mumolo is so damned funny in this movie. She and the dog steal the show for a scene, and all Fletch can do is stand back and nervously watch.


Favorite [___]…


Detectives Stalker and Stoppard look confused while interviewing a suspect

Detective-in training: Saoirse Ronan as Constable Stalker in See How They Run

Winking homages to Agatha Christie are a dime a dozen. It is rare, though, to see a winking homage to Agatha Christie which also includes Agatha Christie as a character, and even rarer for it to include her poisoning someone.

Saoirse Ronan is very charming as the understudy to frumpy Inspector Stoppard. Her character is intelligent, enthusiastic, and inexperienced, all of which come together in unexpected ways throughout the movie. She is quick to leap to conclusions and it is just as likely that the conclusions will be incorrect. However, she has the makings of a fine detective, and Ronan and costar Sam Rockwell have great chemistry as the leads of this cozy mystery.

I’d take a single future Constable Stalker movie over a dozen of Branagh’s Poirot adaptations.



Two characters compete in a dance contest

Beefy Bois: Rama Rao and Ram Charan, RRR

Two of the three titular Rs (with director Rajamouli represented by the third R) get this award. These two handsome guys are extremely famous in India and elsewhere in the world and I hope that RRR raises their profile here in the United States. The movie gives them endless hero moments together and apart, and multiple dance sequences that will be stuck in your head for days. The combination of charm, dance skills, and superhero physiques make them a shoo-in for this coveted award.


Fletch thinks of a lie to cover his ass

Ham(m): Jon Hamm as Fletch in Confess, Fletch

I was not sure about John Hamm taking on a Fletch adaptation. He’s certainly a funny guy, but there is an amount of guile inherent in Irwin Fletcher that I had not seen him do. Granted, I never watched Mad Men, so my experience is from comedies like 30 Rock and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt where he plays buffoons, or action films like Top Gun: Maverick and Baby Driver where he plays a hardon. But Hamm nails it as Fletch and the film is perfectly constructed to show off Gregory MacDonald’s famous character. Hamm’s Fletch is sarcastic but loveable, a scoundrel but also principled… if he would ever bother telling the truth to anyone.



A middle-aged tailor sews a button on a suit jacket.

Old-School Potboiler: The Outfit

This is a late entry in the list, but I finally got around to the Mark Rylance-led ganger thriller The Outfit, and I sure am glad that I did. Rylance plays a British tailor (“I’m not a tailor, I’m a cutter”) who has relocated to Chicago in the late 1950s because of, as he puts it, “an invasion of blue jeans.” His shop quickly becomes a dropbox for racketeers, and a valuable tape causes local mobsters to lean on the tailor. How will he respond?

The film has all of one location for its entire runtime (the tailor’s shop) and crafts an elegant and taut thriller within those walls. Plus, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing a true craftsman at work. This was writer Graham Moore’s directorial debut, too! I look forward to his next project.



Favorite Films

Evelyn looks at her fingers which have been turned into hot dogs

2022 is one hell of a year for spectacle filmmaking. 2021 had Dune and 2020 had Tenet, but 2022 had half a dozen big movies that I wanted to see. These nominations reflect this, as only two nominees out of five are traditional dramas. What a year. I’m not picking just one film here, as that is impossible. These represent my most enjoyed films of the year, the movies that I’ll return to with relish.


Everything Everywhere All at Once

The movie has already become iconic thanks to the hot dog fingers and the world where everyone is a rock. The movie is a beautiful mess, a pastiche of wuxia and comic book logic and Wong Kar-Wai and The Matrix. But it is also a heartfelt family drama, and painful at times to see how hard it is to make time for loved ones before it is too late.



I deeply regret not seeing this while it was in theaters. The Cinemark chain here in Pittsburgh is pretty good at playing a variety of non-English films, and this one had a ton of movie nerd buzz. But I waited too long and it was gone. Thankfully the movie was available to stream. I’m not sure I have said these words before in this specific order, but thank you, Netflix, for distributing this and many other Tollywood films.

RRR is fun as hell, with two charismatic lead performances, several dazzling dance numbers, insane action sequences, and this moment. I honestly think the only living competition that S.S. Rajamouli has as a director of epic blockbusters is James Cameron. What an incredible echelon in which to be making films.


Avatar: The Way of Water

It is classic James Cameron to make people doubt that he can do it again, especially after a gap of 13 years… and then he goes out and does the damn thing. Avatar 2 is a remarkable motion picture. The world that they created is so engrossing, and the technology that made it so complex, that I lost the ability to discern real-world objects from digitally rendered ones. The underwater scenes in this film have never been rivaled in the history of film. I could have watched an entire film that was just the Sully family exploring various reefs and meeting various sentient wildlife.

The action, when it does come, reminds us why Cameron is the best in the world at this stuff.


The Banshees of Inisherin

How would you react if your best friend, a person who you have shared a table with for years, asks you to stop talking to them? Did you do something wrong? No. You’re just dull, and I don’t want to know you any more. Please leave me alone. This simple, unorthodox request sends ripples through the island community of Inisherin. And it manifests in ways tragic, hilarious, and poignant. Colin Farrell is terrific as the dullard and Brendan Gleeson is wonderful as the former friend. This movie had me cackling and crying at frequent intervals. And despite the script’s best attempts at making Inisherin seem provincial and boring, the cinematography is in contrast. The island looks like an incredible place to live, much like in my beloved Local Hero (1983).


The Stranger

It is weird to be heaping this much praise on this movie. The tragic story has been told in book, television, and true crime podcast forms before. So it is not hard to know what will be happening before you start the movie. But I think that is a testament to filmmaking in general, and to thrillers in particular, that we can still be surprised even when we know the story.

The Stranger is so effective because its lead performances do so much work with so little dialogue. We see how both characters are affected by their relationship with the other. We see how precarious the gamble was by the investigators. We see the banality of evil in a way that constantly reminded me of the best writing of Thomas Harris. This movie and Everything Everywhere had the most emotional effect on me in ways other than sheer joy, and so I feel that The Stranger belongs in this group.


Top Gun: Maverick

This is a late addition to the list, as I didn’t see this until December 29. I did not see it in a theater; this is surely my great (cinematic) shame of the year.

Consider Top Gun: Maverick as a counterpoint or companion piece to Avatar: The Way of Water. Both showcase very different heights that spectacle filmmaking can achieve. Where James Cameron stretched the limits of what computer effects can do, Tom Cruise and director Joseph Kosinski showed how thrilling it is too see the feats that are possible within the actual world. The in-cockpit scenes of Maverick are exhilerating. The mountainous vistas and speed on display make this a must-see even if you find the story a little mawkish (and hawkish!).

The great innovation of the screenplay was make what is essentially a heist film and then fill in the corners of the story with personal drama. The structure (this is the assignment; this is the team; these are the challenges; this is how they train; this is the setback; this is the heist) is a textbook example of the format and… hell, it is just so refreshing to see an entertainment treated like an entertainment. Yeah, there are a couple moments where the nostalgia is a little thick, but that is more than offset by the thrills of the action scenes.


Crimes of the Future

I was dismissive of this for a while, but then I couldn’t stop thinking about it. After a few weeks, I still couldn’t stop thinking about it. And at this point, I’m inclined to list it as one of Cronenberg’s finest achievements. Maybe it is in a minor key compared to his heights (Eastern Promises; The Fly; A History of Violence; Videodrome; Naked Lunch), but this is a remarkable and remarkably weird movie.

The cast is tremendous, especially the visual artist oddness of Viggo’s Saul Tenser and Léa Seydoux’s Caprice. And I’ll never forget the purple plastic bars for as long as I live. This one is a very strong recommend from me.


* allegedly