Well then Friends, here we are. We’ve made it through another strange and wonderful year. Cinema, despite cruel setbacks and an ever-uneven landscape, is still with us and, for the first time in a while, projections are good.
So for now, and for the thirteenth time we stand on the edge of a New Year and celebrate and champion everything we’ve loved about the past year in cinema. It is time for the
2022 Truffles – The HeyUGuys Alternative Movie Awards
This year has seen the return of the blockbuster, the continuing saga of cinematic universes and passion projects. It has seen the return of festivals, which happily informed us that movies, multiplex and beyond, are in rude health. It has seen the return of old heroes, the introduction of vibrant new voices, and we have weathered whatever storms we faced together. It has been a pleasure sailing these seas with you this year.
From us to you, a very peaceful and Happy Christmas and a very cinematic New Year.
Cinema Experience of the Year – AKA “I’d forgotten cinema could make me feel this way”
Top Gun: Maverick
From the moment I first saw the trailer on the big screen, I knew I would be seeing this multiple times in the multiplex, and clearly the rest of the world agreed that the cinema was where to see this, as the film roared its way to $1.5bn at the global B.O. The film’s old-fashioned simplicity – character creation, training, stakes, mission – was a huge asset and honestly I cannot remember the last time I was as adrenalised by a film as I was during the 2 to 3 minutes when Maverick shows them all how it’s done. The technical prowess involved in capturing the flight scenes as Cruise et al are thrown around by real g-forces, director John Kosinski apparently eating his way through more captured footage than David Lean did shooting Lawrence of Arabia.
As we know, it doesn’t always add up this way, many a film has proved to be less than the sum of its parts, but this was extraordinary stuff from start to finish. The emotional heft of the scene with Val Kilmer’s Iceman, the jaw-dropping clarity and nerve-shredding qualities of the aerial combat, Tom Cruise’s undiminished star-power and unforgettably strong support work from Jennifer Connelly, Glen Powell and Miles Teller all made this the cinema experience of the year.
The “Okay, whut?” award
The opening scene is like a better, more impactful version of Neo fighting multiple Agents Smith in The Matrix Reloaded. At the mid-point, there is an assault on a fortress using a lorry full of wild animals that wouldn’t be out of place as the finale to a franchise of films, let alone it not even counting as the high point here.
Yes, much of what happens is absurd. Yes, the British characters are needlessly vicious and superficially “boo-hiss” villainous. But goodness me, the staging of the action sequences, the genuine pathos of the burgeoning love and admiration between the two leads, the measured reveals of backstories, the thrill of the dance sequences, the sheer verve and invention on display. Yes, 3 hours is a lot of time to invest, but if even my 16-year old can confirm that the time flies by and he loved it – what’s your excuse? Get it in your eyeballs
The “Actually much better than you think” award
I absolutely loved this. Not every film has to re-invent the medium or change the world. Sometimes you can just execute a neat idea really well, using as much star-power as you can muster and give audiences something that they can enjoy for a couple of hours.
The script was sharp, the characterisation was strong, the fight scenes well-handled and Aaron Taylor-Johnson delivered his lines with such delightful relish that you missed him every time he wasn’t on screen. Not bad at all.
The “Believe the hype” award
Everything Everywhere All At Once
I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen Ke Huy Kuan in anything since The Goonies and Temple of Doom and I didn’t realise how much I’d missed him until this came along. Although Michelle Yeoh is front and centre, Ke is undeniably the beating heart of the film, injecting charm, laughs and genuine emotion into the whole shebang.
As the film delights in the escalating absurdity of the parallel universes through which Yeoh’s baffled and exasperated laundrette owner is propelled, she and Ke anchor the film beautifully, connecting across multiple versions of themselves. EEAAO is brimming with ideas (far more so than Doctor Strange’s jaunt through the multiverse) but directors and writers Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert don’t let overload set in – our hearts and minds remain engaged, as our eyeballs thrill to the kaleidoscope in front of us.
In the end, it comes down to simple things – treasuring your partner, not knowing what to do with or say to your children, but wanting them to happy and wanting them to know that you love them. It is unusual for a film this “busy” to be so quietly affecting too. Don’t believe me, check out the subtitled scene with the two boulders. See?
The ‘Last Duel‘ Truffle for Bafflingly Underwhelming Box Office Returns.
“Bat-shit crazy” is a term far too easily bandied about these days, but it’s a fairly succinct way to generalise the work of director Robert Eggers. His 2015 folk horror The VVitch was a mesmerisingly insidious portrayal of evil, laced with imagery that once seen will stay behind your eyes forever – I for one have certainly never viewed goats in the same way since.
The Lighthouse in 2019 was an astonishingly photographed monochrome depiction of the very worst kind of bad acid trip that your parents warned you might happen if you were silly enough to take LSD when you were a teenager. Eggers’ films, despite restrictive budgets, were unique, unforgettable cinematic events for the indie crowd.
Then came news that Universal had given him $90million to make the kind of Viking epic that hadn’t been attempted since the days of Kirk Douglas in his eye-patch. Surely The Northman was precisely the kind of crowd-pleasing movie to get people back into cinemas to experience in pure astonishment what they’d been missing since they retreated to the safety of their living rooms and flat screen TVs.
Look at that poster! Look at that trailer! Look, Alexander Skarsgård just caught a spear in mid-air and threw it straight back! For crying out loud, there’s a naked swordfight next to a volcano! What more do you want?!
Sadly, for whatever reason, Eggers’s brutally entertaining smorgasbord of action, adventure, and Willem Dafoe performing like a sentient hedge, did not do a ‘Gladiator’ and reanimate a once-dead genre. The crowds did not emerge, and it left the cinema circuit with a mere $34million in its coin purse. A great pity. It deserves a second and better life in Streaming Valhalla. The rebirth of cinema would have to wait a bit longer.
The Golden Selleck Award for Services to Moustaches.
Top Gun: Maverick
Cinema did eventually roar back to life with the unprecedented success of the much-delayed Top Gun sequel. A determinedly analogue endeavour, Maverick did away with the green-screen stuff in favour of vertiginous, real-time in-camera action the likes of which audiences simply haven’t experienced for years. Tom Cruise, sealing his megastar status for good, even eschewed fashionable CGI de-aging technology by miraculously making himself younger than he was fifteen years ago.
Kudos to the team for the genuinely affecting way that Val Kilmer’s Iceman was included in the proceedings. One doesn’t expect to dab tears from one’s eyes watching a Jerry Bruckheimer production – the last time that happened was during Gone In 60 Seconds, but they were shed at the thought of the money I’d just paid to watch it.
Maverick came out in May and has so far taken about one and a half billion dollars, but perhaps its ultimate legacy might end up being more than just a healthy accounts book at Paramount. Just as the first Top Gun saw sales of Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses go up by 2,500% back in 1986, the sequel has encouraged an outbreak of Miles Teller-style moustaches upon the top lips of young men everywhere.
For a time in the 1970s and early ’80s, when half the male population could have passed as a member of Dr Hook, moustaches were everywhere. Suddenly, they were nowhere to be seen. Contemporary hipsterish elaborate beard fashion is one thing, but the plain, good ol’ ‘tache has returned and it’s squarely as a result of Teller’s unironic, Goose-referencing cookie-duster. Such is the influence of cinema. Takes your breath away.
An Apology Truffle. Presented, with humility, to Colin Farrell.
I really didn’t take to Colin Farrell at first. Granted, he was magnificent in Joel Schumacher’s Tigerland in 2001, but for the life of me I couldn’t understand why he had instantly become the first choice for the likes of Spielberg, Oliver Stone, Terrence Malick and Michael Mann, top-lining alongside Al Pacino and Tom Cruise. Hadn’t he just been in Ballykissangel, like three minutes ago?
Perhaps there was a touch of resentment on my part. The dying embers of my barely-existent career as a scriptwriter were cooling rapidly just as Farrell’s ascendency was going interstellar. I even recall taking private delight that S.W.A.T. had tanked at the box office.
Well, more bloody fool me. Having accepted the indisputable fact of his immense talent after the glorious In Bruges, I soon came to actively look forward to seeing him in anything. Even in so-so movies, Farrell could elevate them to greatness – his sleazy comb-overed scumbag was the highlight of Horrible Bosses. He remains, I think it’s fair to say, the only reason to watch Daredevil.
This year, he was the star turn in Matt Reeves’s The Batman, despite being barely recognisable as The Penguin. Then, in Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin, he gave what might be his finest performance to date as Pàdraic, a simple and decent man whose best mate decides to stop being his friend for no discernible reason.
And so, with knee bended and head bowed, I pledge publicly to swear my sword to Colin Farrell, one of the finest and most versatile actors working today, and to apologise ever doubting him. What the hell was I thinking?
Jack Hawkins’ Most Obscene Misuse of a Household Item of the Year Award for 2022
Now, bleach is a must for any sanitary home. The chlorine-based solution has been with us since the late 18th century, revitalising all manner of pipework and porcelain. You need to be careful with the stuff, but only a barbarian would think of ways to misuse it. Then there’s salt, the brilliant culinary mineral. Sodium chloride can enhance both sweet and savoury flavours while suppressing bitterness, empowering aromas and, of course, adding saltiness.
What do these things have in common, you ask? Well, there is a new killer on the horror block, and his name is Art the Clown. True, he’s been around for six years now, but Terrifier 2 will be an introduction for many. The film has a plot but it’s not worth mentioning here. All you need to know is that Art the Clown meets a young woman called Allie.
After slashing Allie’s face and eyeball, the clown scalps her, cuts her back at will, and then breaks her arm at the elbow, tearing the limb off. He also pulls her right hand apart between the middle and ring fingers. Then, with Allie alive but revoltingly brutalised, the clown dashes out the room with his mischievous gait and returns with a bottle of bleach and a box of salt, which he proceeds to douse and rub into the wounds.
Art does this with a cruelty more gleeful than possibly anything I’ve seen in cinema. How must this scene have gone down at the premiere? I can picture it now. Director Damien Leone is sitting in the middle of the auditorium wolfing popcorn by the handful as all the eyes in the house turn slowly towards him, downright frightened by the presence of the man who made this happen.
The “Where the Hell Have You Been?” Award for Much-Missed Horror Franchises Returning Decades Later with a Killer New Instalment
Orphan: First Kill
Former child star Isabelle Fuhrman (now twice the age she was in the original) is a very different kind of magnetic as uncanny murderess Esther; a role that becomes somehow even more unhinged with age. The script totally upends itself half-way in with a delicious new twist, and a much missed Julia Stiles delivers a masterclass in camp villainy, all building out a franchise that’s desperate for more, even giddier follow-ups to come. Orphan 7: Esther in Space, please and thank you.
The “Say Nothing” Award for Biggest Shock & Awe
Barbarian / Speak No Evil / Fresh
All three of these horror movies share one thing in common – the less you know about them going in, the better. So I won’t spoil plot twists, or character names, or even background info on any of them. All I’ll say is that each features (and is driven by) one helluva rug pull moment. Except of course Barbarian, which has about five (there’s a reason we gave it five stars).
Coolest Title Card of the Year
I’m not normally one for chapter titles in films. 99% of the time they’re little more than a pretentious waste; an attempt to elevate something that probably already needs to be a good half-an-hour shorter anyway. Robert Eggers’ blood-and-bearskin barnstormer of a Viking epic The Northman is the ultimate exception, though.
About half-way into the unusual prison-movie vibe of the film’s middle third, a card flashes up which reads “THE NIGHT BLADE FEEDS”. A whole new level of ‘cool’, which Eggers then proceeds to more than deliver on.
The “Final Destination” Award for the Fifth Film in a Franchise That’s Still, Somehow, Unbelievably Good
Scream / V/H/S 99
The new Gen-Z cast are an exciting bunch (in particular, new it-girls Jenna Ortega and Jasmin Savoy Brown) and the script does everything it can to not just tread water as far as the series is concerned. With #6 already on the way, let’s keep everything crossed that that insane batting average continues.
The “Cult of Thorn” Award for Absolutely Baffling Developments in the Halloween Franchise
Halloween as a franchise has always been somewhat nutty. Multiple timelines, ancient pagan runes, Paul Rudd with a baby, and that one about magical robots that doesn’t even have our main man Michael in it.
So David Gordon Green’s curious, if unbalanced eulogy to the very idea of Michael Myers isn’t exactly as unhinged as it might first seem. Calling it Halloween Ends, and promising that it’s going to well and truly put a full stop on forty years of the Myers/Strode legacy though, very much is.
Focussing almost completely on the origins of a brand new killer and the collective grief of Haddonfield as a people, Ends is both fascinating and agonising in the same breath. A spin-off at heart, it longs to be a distant fourth to DGG’s already creaking trilogy, and really doesn’t need to be dragging a nonsensically sewer-dwelling Myers back from the brink as some sort of supernaturally-atuned mentor. Nor does it need several decades worth of finale crammed into its final fifteen minutes, either.
Worth a look? Of course. But satisfying? Not really.
Best ‘Looking up at the cinema screen’ shot
But next year this award looks a good’un, and hard to judge, for Empire of Light and The Fabelmans are contributing effectively to this cliched image. Tune in December 2023 to find out who is taking this prestigious gong home.
Adeel Akhtar in Ali & Ava
There’s not much better than a good old-fashioned dancing sequence. Oscar Isaac in Ex Machina, Armie Hammer in Call Me by Your Name. But this year, the nominations were strong. You have Adeel Akhtar in Ali & Ava, or Paul Mescal in Aftersun, or the girl in the beret living her best life in Matilda thee Musical. But only one of the aforementioned dances happens on top of a car. Congratulations Adeel.
The Best Person in the World – Sponsored by The Worst Person in the World
Ke Huy Quan
This year saw the release of The Worst Person in the World, so to mark this, we’re awarding a Truffle to the Best Person in the World, aka, the nicest character of any film this year, because here at HeyUGuys we’re all about being nice.
It was tough one this year, choosing between the blissfully optimistic Maurice Flitcroft, played by Mark Rylance in The Phantom of the Open, or Ke Huy Quan’s Waymond Wang in Everything Everywhere All at Once. We opted for the latter. The Goonies connections helps.
Charles, from Brian & Charles. Easy.
The Banshees of Inisherin
What a year for Colin Farrell. After Yang, The Batman, Thirteen Lives and The Banshees of Inisherin. Great performances all round, from an actor enjoying a beautiful time in his illustrious career. Hard to choose, but we’ve opted for Banshees.
Movie authentically so bad it’s good
Orphan: First Kill
If the first film was silly, the mere idea of coming back 13 years later to make a prequel and have a now mid-twenties Fuhrman reprise her role is stratospherically dumb. The idiocy is so over the top, the twist involving Julia Stiles’ character so jaw-dropping in its level of gleeful stupidity, that it would be entertaining enough by itself. What makes this an absolute riot though, is the fact that Fuhrman looks EXACTLY as old as she is, and the film’s sole concession to disguising this is to use the most obvious doubles possible when she has to look short standing next to adults. If the movie gave one single extra fuck, it would be exponentially less entertaining.
I hope they come back in another 13 years, make Fuhrman play even younger, and try even less.
Least welcome comeback
Dario Argento: Dark Glasses
If Dario Argento didn’t create Giallo (and he didn’t), he certainly defined it for huge swathes of horror fans. He made films that were as operatically stylish as they were brutally nasty. He also made his last great film in 1987.
It had been 10 years since his last film, Dracula 3D – a film so monumentally awful, so poorly lit, so utterly devoid of style, that it appeared to be directed by someone who had never seen a frame of an Argento film, never mind made Suspiria. Dark Glasses, his first Giallo since… Giallo (2009), is an improvement over Dracula, in the sense that you’d rather have a bad cough than pneumonia, but it still looks like the work of a bored Argento imitator.
With every film, Argento further dilutes his legacy, and if he keeps on making them his best work is going to start to seem downright homeopathic within his filmography. Apparently he did great acting work in Gaspar Noe’s Vortex, maybe he should just let the career rest on that now.
Widest acting range of 2022
Kristine Kujath Thorp in The Burning Sea and Sick of Myself
Earlier in 2021, I saw a Norwegian film called Ninjababy, about an irresponsible woman in her mid twenties who discovers that she’s pregnant when she is already at six months. That was the first time I had seen Kristine Kujath Thorp, and I was blown away by how effortlessly truthful her performance felt, while also being heightened and funny. Having been so impressed, I sought out her two 2022 films purely based on her presence.
I didn’t like the film much, but Kujath-Thorp commits hard to her caustic and extremely dislikeable character. She never asks for sympathy, but achieves empathy for her. For me, she’s far better than the film’s rather shallow screenplay and often obvious direction. On the whole, she’s one of the most exciting talents I’ve seen in the last couple of years. Keep an eye out.
Best physical media release of the year
Thriller: A Cruel Picture 4K Boxset: Vinegar Syndrome
It’s especially striking because earlier in 2022, Synapse Films released a Blu Ray edition of Thriller that appeared to be little more than an upscaled version of the DVD they put out many years ago. Vinegar Syndrome, on the other hand, cleaned up both cut of this exploitation classic and presented them in stunning 4K, in a gorgeous presentation box, with hours upon hours of valuable extras, including nearly 3 hours of interviews with its iconic star, Christina Lindberg. It’s a perfect example of how and why physical media will survive the streaming revolution.
The ‘Matilda’ Truffle Award for Best Child Actor
Fighting off stiff competition from Eden Dambrine for his stunning performance in Close, the ‘Matilda’ Truffle goes to the fantabulous Frankie Corio for her performance in Aftersun. This is essentially a two-hander and she more than holds her own opposite Paul Mescal. She’s funny, irreverent, embarrassed and utterly believable. An outstanding breakthrough performance.
Best Directorial Debut
I’m like a dog with a bone when it comes to this film – or should I say, like a pig with a truffle? – but I have to award this Truffle to Charlotte Wells for Aftersun. You know when you get excited about discovering a new director and can’t wait to see whatever they do next? I felt like this about Céline Sciamma and Lynne Ramsay, to name two contemporary greats. No pressure, Charlotte, but I have high hopes for you.
Hound of the Baskerville Truffle
Best Soundtrack Truffle
David Bowie – Moonage Daydream
The ‘People’s Princess’ Truffle
The 2022 ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ Award
It’s been a rough year, so rather than adding to the negativity, the ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ Truffle goes out to all of you – for being passionate about film, for getting your butts back on cinema seats, for loving every different kind of film, be it Marvel or arthouse, for taking the time to read about them and for engaging with us. Congratulations on a well-deserved award!
The One Without The Trigger Warnings
Luckiest Girl Alive
The One With The Great Plot Twist That You Never Saw Coming
The One Where The Sequel Wasn’t Necessary
Hocus Pocus 2
The original Hocus Pocus is hands down one of the best Halloween films out there. So when they announced a sequel, I was very excited but somehow sceptical, like I’m sure the rest of the world were. I did enjoy this and it felt just like it did when I first watched the original years ago, but unfortunately it just didn’t live up to the OG and I was constantly comparing. Maybe that’s just a me thing?
By the end I was questioning if it was necessary for them to make this one? It was great and fun to see the Sanderson sisters once again together, and I really did love the ending and got very emotional, but ultimately I just think it didn’t live up to the hype. I think it was best if they had just ended the first one and be done with it. I will always watch Hocus Pocus again and again every Halloween, however, the sequel will probably be left on the “watched just the one time shelf”.
The One Where It’s Never As Good As The Book
Death on the Nile
However, I do believe that the book is better. In having just read the book shortly prior to watching the film, it was good to see that some scenes correlated with each other, the characters I pictured were there on the big screen and I was feeling content with it, but if I were to pick one format to consume this story in, I would pick the book over the latest adaptation anytime. That’s not me saying the film was bad in any way, I just think that the book was better. Most of the time they always are.
The Ari Aster Award for Most Overrated Horror
The Tommy Wiseau Award for Worst Performance
2022 made me question if I’d had one too many drinks when I caught Dunkirk at the Prince Charles Cinema. Between his passable work with Christopher Nolan and a thirty-second Marvel cameo, Harry Styles’ acting career didn’t seem a ludicrous prospect. Granted I doubt the ghost of Laurence Olivier could have salvaged the hot mess that was Don’t Worry Darling, but Styles’ follow-up in My Policeman confirmed it.
Some shrewd manager somewhere thought the hottest pop star in the world could also be a Lead Actor and sadly, he can’t. This doesn’t mean his career in film is over, Will Smith managed to turn his stage persona into a thirty-year acting career until recently. But if the former One Direction singer is truly determined, he should stick to less challenging roles.
The Cleopatra Award for Biggest Oscar Controversy
It was a huge shitshow in which no one came out looking good and overshadowed what should have been a great night for deserved winners like Troy Kotsur, Ariana DeBose and the too-long overlooked Jane Campion.
The Lego Movie Award for Improbable Victory
Top Gun Maverick
Let’s pick things up with a little positivity. I’d never been a big fan of the original Top Gun so the prospect of reviving the franchise over thirty-years later seemed ridiculous. Especially with the leading man now in his 60s and the general public being less-inclined to watch a two-hour Navy recruitment advert. Yet to my surprise Top Gun Maverick stands as one of the best films of the year; an adrenaline-fuelled work of airplane porn that invests a stock cast with real humanity and charm. This could actually be the film to net Cruise a Best Actor Nomination.
The big winner of the film however is Miles Teller who post-Fant4stick was looking like acting might not be the career for him. In 2022 though,Film Twitter was been filled with Rooster emoji’s as Teller seemed perpetually overjoyed to have been part of an actually good movie for the first time in years.
The Idris Elba Award for Inevitable Next James Bond
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that every young British actor who manages to slightly impress critics must be in want of the James Bond role. Tom Hiddleston, Richard Madden, Regé-Jean Page, all have been subject to speculation over being the next James Bond. This year the honour goesto Jack Lowden who managed to give strong, but sensitive portrayal as Siegfried Sassoon in Terence Davies’ Benediction. A showcase of the steely resolve and charm that the role demands but also an emotional intelligence that could be what a 21st Century James Bond requires. Lowden seems an absolute shoe-in to play 007 right up until the next slightly impressive young chap comes along.
The Chaplin Award for Most Obvious Awards Snub
The rising actress manages to effortlessly fly between alienated daughter, multiversal supervillain and tragic personification of Gen-Z nihilism. Cutting out a space to shine even opposite the cinema legend that is Yeoh. Hopefully she won’t be completely overlooked this awards season but if so The Truffle is all hers!
The Blowing Up the Zeitgeist Award
Speak No Evil
They were right. This is a visceral descent into a strange and peculiar Hell, with a final sentiment that is like a gut punch with an icy pointed spike. Chilling, brilliant and utterly devastating.
There have been a number of films and TV series that have made use of this notion (that I won’t spoil here), and the more I’ve thought about it – the more it seems to be a sign that our horrors are sometimes, even a little, of our own making.
The Psycho Rug Pull Award
The ‘I’d like to test that theory…’ Award for most welcome return
One of the most likable film stars of the ’90s returned to the big screen in fine fashion this year. Scenes such as this one followed Brendan Fraser around the world as he and director Darren Aronofsky took The Whale on tour. Knowing what Fraser went through, it’s hard not be terribly moved by this, and inspired by his strength.
Find out more about The Whale from the man himself here.
The #NotALLMen Award
The Saul GoodBass Best Poster of the Year Award
Just look at it!
This one is never easy, but it is always a pleasure to give out. We’re privileged to speak with so many talented and (for the most part) lovely people each year. But our favourite? Well…
It might be Jake Gyllenhaal talkin about why he loves Greggs, before explaining the entire plot of Innerspace to his co-star:
Or perhaps it’s Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson talking pony:
Emily Blunt talking MCU fun with John Krasinski?
Or is it this epic, extended (half an hour) interview with LEGENDARY director S.S. Rajamouli on the occasion of his equally epic film RRR:
Could it be… JANE. F. FONDA?
Or it could well be Tom Cruise being the most Tom Cruise ever – just watch until the very end to see exactly why he’s Tom Cruise –
But who am I kidding? Nothing will beat the first few seconds of this interview –
It’s been quite a year. Thank you for being part of the fun with us. We wish you all a peaceful and happy Christmas.