The Playlist’s Guilty Pleasures Of 2022
Mar 1, 2023
As we close out another year of film and TV watching at The Playlist, it’s time to talk about the area of viewing that is often neglected by Best Of lists. These are the films and TV series that we love watching, but not only are they never going to be featured in a Top 10 list, but they’re also likely too embarrassing to even admit to anyone else, for fear of the Film Twitter mob picking on you. That’s right, we’re talking about guilty pleasures.
READ MORE: The 25 Best Films Of 2022
It’s still a fairly new tradition about these parts, but we’ve pulled together a variety of guilty pleasures from the brave folks who contribute to The Playlist and are willing to bare their souls. For this list, there really aren’t any rules. Anything can be thought of as a guilty pleasure, as long as it was released in the calendar year and makes the person somewhat bashful when forced to talk about it.
READ MORE: The Best TV Shows & Mini-Series Of 2022
This year’s list includes horror films, reality TV, terrible blockbusters, addictive streaming content, and even a show aimed at preschoolers. It’s perhaps the most diverse list The Playlist publishes at the end of the year, and it’s definitely one of the most fun to write. Enjoy!
Follow along with all our Best Of 2022 coverage here.
“Deep Water”“Deep Water” has all the hallmarks of a return to the glory days of a maligned genre, namely the erotic thriller. With the combination of legendary director Adrian Lyne at the helm and a hot contemporary cast who were a real-life couple (as of filming), Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas, this smacked of being a sexy and thrilling good time. Sure, the genre has descended into tepid grot over the years but don’t dismiss great examples such as “Indecent Proposal”, “9½ Weeks,” and “Fatal Attraction” – all made by Lyne. While most critics hated “Deep Water,” and audiences largely seemed to shun it, but I found it hard to resist the clunky charms and obvious dialogue. Add the occasionally awkward and ham-fisted sensuality and even some random, sometimes straight-up cheesy moments (Snails was undoubtedly a choice), and I couldn’t look away. Add in an entirely unexpected musical moment involving a child’s backseat rendition of the Leo Sayer classic, “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing,” and this was gleeful. “Deep Water” does not deliver what was expected or hoped but, in some ways, dishes up so much more. Not a return to form for the genre or Lyne, but it still delivers something entertaining in its own way and gave me an even greater appreciation for the genre when done well. Thank you? – Simon Thompson
“Bluey”As the father of a young child, I often find myself watching children’s programming nearly all day, every day. And even though I know the target audience is decades younger and barely able to speak, it’s hard for me to turn off my critical mind. Often, the content is downright mindnumbingly silly and nonsensical. (“Eureka,” “Paw Patrol,” “Cocomelon,” and “Puppy Dog Pals” are just several of the shows that attacked my senses in 2022.) However, there is one show aimed at preschoolers that not only doesn’t make me want to hurl myself out of a window, but it actually impresses me consistently with its heartfelt, clever, and sometimes emotional 8-minute storytelling— “Bluey.”
The show about a family of Australian anthropomorphic dogs has no right to be as good as it is. Each episode of Season 3 (consisting of 27 8-minute episodes) balances humor, meaningful lessons, imagination, and heart in a way that most prestige TV series only wish they could. In an episode titled “Chest” (a play off the word “Chess” because the young Bluey doesn’t know how to say it correctly), Bandit (Bluey’s dad) is determined to teach his 6-year-old daughter how to play chess because “smart people play chess.” Things go awry, with Bluey confusing names of pieces (“prawn,” “castlehead,” “wedding cake head,” and “horsey” to name several) and generally being more interested in the storytelling in the game than the actual strategy. This leads to confusion, silliness, and genuinely clever joke writing. And at the end, wise Chili (Bluey’s mom) teaches Bandit a lesson about worrying too much about their children’s mental capacity at an age when fun and emotional growth is way more important. She drops wisdom I think about to this day when raising my own little girl, “Work on their heads later. For now, just hearts.” If you have a young child and you’re not watching “Bluey,” you’re just doing something wrong. Hell, if you’re an adult and just need to remember that there is positivity and fun left in this scary, uncertain world, “Bluey” might just be the 8-minute vacation you deserve. – Charles Barfield
“Terrifier 2”“Terrifier 2” could have been a blip on 2022’s horror cinema radar, or as godawful as the first “Terrifier.” But Damien Leone has achieved something special with his slasher sequel: He’s outdone his prior work on every conceivable level, supersized the niche’s blueprint, cemented the perverse, sadistic Art the Clown (David Howard Thornton) as the great modern slasher villain, and made bank all at once. If you saw that coming, bully for you. If you’re an astigmatic naif like the rest of us: Welcome.
Watching “Terrifier 2” is an exercise in shame management. Allie (Casey Hartnett), sweet Allie, fixture of the now-infamous “Bedroom Scene,” suffers a demise so prolonged and agonizing that the creative tortures Art inflicts on his other victims all seem preferable. Traditionally, the grungy 1980s-era films Leone emulates sidestep morality with characters so irritating that we root for the killer instead, but “Terrifier 2’s” cast is so broadly likable that Leone’s gruesome proclivities brusquely, cruelly remind us, again and again, that we’re seeing something we shouldn’t.
Actress and martial artist Lauren LaVera’s 2019 casting as “Terrifier 2’s” final girl made a sight unseen promise: That audiences would have their ultraviolent cake and eat it too. Watching LaVera kick the shit out of Art seems a sufficient alleviatory detail for unburdening our culpability in his atrocities. But Leone isn’t that kind of filmmaker. He’d rather push the envelope into the shredder. You’ll feel bad about “Terrifer 2,” but that, in an irrational, contradictory fashion, is all part of the show. – Andy Crump
“Winter House” A show that can be only described as a group of thirty-something, wanna-be influencers get together and party like it’s the end of the world, Bravo’s “Winter House,” like “Summer House” before it, is essentially plotless. Sure, there is some manufactured drama — it wouldn’t be on Bravo otherwise. But, mainly, it’s about how people who are way too old to drink like there’s no tomorrow are let loose on an Airbnb and the town of Stowe, Vermont, with disastrous results. God hopes that the owners of that house never see what this group of D-List celebrities does to their cabin.
Bringing the type of self-serious energy that only comes from having the tiniest miniscule of fame, the group — Kyle and Amanda, Luke, Ciara, Paige, Jason, as well as “Southern Charm” alums Austen and Craig cosplay as college students, as they go through various permutations of hooking up and screaming at each other, while essentially shut off from the world in a frozen cabin. Does it sometimes resemble a horror movie? Yes. It is still entertaining to watch Lindsey — a woman who seriously describes her career as a Metaverse real estate agent — become a pile of mush the minute Kory — a man who unironically wears a pearl necklace — shows her affection? Also yes. “Winter House” is best enjoyed with your judgment turned all the way up after shotgunning a Loverboy Hard Tea (or two). – Christian Gallichio
“Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe”Like the vast expanse that encompasses the endless void of space surrounding our pale blue dot, the buffoonery of MTV’s Beavis and Butt-Head continue to behave in a manner exactly the same as that of their early-’90s animated antics now set within the confines of the inane sci-fi “Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe,” their first feature-length jaunt following 1996’s road farce “Beavis and Butt-Head Do America.” Franchise head honcho Mike Judge relinquishes the director’s chair for this one but still crafts the screenplay, one that opens with our heroes after being understandably mistaken for astronauts transported via “Interstellar”-esque black hole trickery from the comforts of their current time in 1998 to the present, where Beavis develops feelings for an iPhone’s Siri app, dons the Cornholio persona once more, and the two match wits with versions of themselves from a parallel universe; there’s a bit more to the plot, but it’s hard to care when everything about this film is as wildly hysterical as one would expect from the dim-witted pair. Though the duo has seen revivals of their now-classic late night series from time to time over the past decade, to see them pick up as if no time has passed since ‘96 is as reassuring as their signature sound of their chuckles (admit it, it’s in your head right now) and an absolute reassurance in knowing that future efforts could potentially be just as watchable. In this time of global uncertainty, it’s nice to know that even the most ridiculous things will never change. – Brian Farvour
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