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    Television
    Monday, January 30, 2023

    Favorite TV and movies of 2022

    Tom Cruise as Capt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in “Top Gun: Maverick.” (Paramount Pictures via AP)

    The Day’s art writers look back on their favorite TV programs and films of the past year.

    TV

    “Edge of the Unknown”

    National Geographic Channel

    I’ve never been so anxious watching TV. This series shows video of adventurers — skiiers, climbers, kayakers, etc. — at a moment when things all go wrong. Filmmaker Jimmy Chin interviews the athletes, as they reflect on how their approach to their sport and to life changed because of the harrowing incident.

    — Kristina Dorsey

    “The Old Man”

    FX

    Jeff Bridges and John Lithgow conduct a seminar on Thespian-ness in this story of an off-the-grid CIA operative (Bridges) who thwarts an assassin and is forced to go on the run. Lithgow’s counterintelligence agent is tasked with roping the renegade. Mucho Afghan/Soviet intrigue and excellent support work from Amy Brenneman as an unlikely enabler.

    — Rick Koster

    “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy”

    CNN

    Well, if I can’t go in person on these trips with Tucci to sample Italian cuisine, watching this show is the next best thing.

    — Kristina Dorsey

    “Abbott Elementary”

    ABC

    Finally, the next great sitcom. Thank you, Quinta Brunson.

    — Kristina Dorsey

    “Norm MacDonald: Nothing Special”

    Netflix

    In some ways, it’s impossible to separate the quality of the material from the circumstances of the performance. The late MacDonald, who was dying of cancer without anyone knowing, taped this “concert” from the desk in his home office during COVID as his condition worsened. There’s a wistful poignancy to MacDonald’s delivery, but he’s still by-God funny as always — and in that indelibly unique way.

    — Rick Koster

    “Murderville”

    Netflix

    So stupid and so entertaining. In this part-scripted, part-improvised series, Will Arnett is a homicide detective whose new partner each episode is a star — Sharon Stone one time, Conan O’Brien another. The celebs try to solve the murder, but the real payoff is the unintentional comedy.

    — Kristina Dorsey

    “Cardinal“

    Hulu

    This fourth and final season of the exquisite Canadian crime series, based on the novels by Giles Blunt and set in frigid Algonquin Bay, are at last available for binging here in the States. John Cardinal (Billy Campbell) and Lise Delorme (Karine Vanasse) return as cops trying to find a primo kook kidnapping and murdering prominent locals in grisly and icy fashion. It’s also possible the long-simmering erotic tension between the two leads will blossom before Lise takes a job elsewhere.

    — Rick Koster

    “Dark Winds”

    AMC

    Tony Hillerman’s wonderful novels about Navajo Tribal Policemen Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee have been brought to television in magnificent fashion. Zahn McClarnon, Jessica Matten and Kiowa Gordon lead a largely indigenous cast in a series in which the investigation of seemingly separate crimes — a bank robbery and the murder of two murders — reveal elements of dark witchcraft.

    — Rick Koster

    MOVIES

    “Top Gun: Maverick”

    This is just what you would want in a “Top Gun” sequel. It has callbacks to the original film but gives them, plus the new story, a vibrant energy. And good for Tom Cruise for demanding it be released first and foremost on the big screen. That’s where you need to see it.

    – Kristina Dorsey

    “Nope“

    No one does that sense of dread and encroaching eeriness better than writer-director Jordan Peele. Period.

    – Kristina Dorsey

    “Elvis”

    The reason this movie was so good came down to Austin Butler’s performance as Elvis. He was absolute perfection. I remember seeing Butler in a supporting role in a Broadway production of “The Iceman Cometh” in 2018, and I was impressed then. But I had no idea the guy could morph into The King.

    – Kristina Dorsey

    “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent”

    Nicholas Cage wouldn’t have been my first guess if you told me a famous actor was going to make a self-effacing movie ridiculing his own eccentricity. But Cage is terrific portraying himself in a fictitious story where he’s in such dire financial straits that he hires out as a celebrity guest at a rich and dangerous lunatic’s birthday party. Very funny.

    – Rick Koster

    “Tick, Tick … Boom!”

    What a beguiling film adaptation of a stage musical this is. A good deal of the credit goes to Lin-Manuel Miranda, who directed it. Andrew Garfield plays a fictional version of “Rent” creator Jonathan Larson, who wrote this piece about his struggles to get his work produced early in his career. Garfield is fabulous as the creative live wire.

    – Kristina Dorsey

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