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Netflix's 20 Best Original Movies of 2022 – Esquire

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There’s much more to Netflix’s batch of originals than The Gray Man. (But yes, that one too.)
This year will mark Netflix’s 25-year anniversary. In the past decade, the media service has paved the way for streaming TV and movies. According to new research, half of Netflix’s US library is now made up of original programming. Netflix has invested around $17 billion in content in recent years, focusing on producing original series and movies.
Netflix original movies aren’t just sentimental, Hallmark-esque Christmas movies, or rom-coms starring actors you haven’t heard from in years. They’ve been experimenting with more critically acclaimed films—including Oscar winners like Roma, Marriage Story, and The Power of the Dog, which received 12 Oscar nominations. The exciting new original films keep appearing on the platform in a steady stream with the likes of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Gray Man, and Don’t Look Up keeping subscribers entertained. When you’re ready, here are the best movies Netflicx has made in 2022 so far.
Dakota Johnson joins the Jane Austen canon in this adaptation of the novel, Persuasion. A story about true love and second chances unravels in this quirky and modern twist on the classic tale.
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If you feel like you can’t get enough Riverdale, or you’ve always want to know what Strangers on a Train would be like if it took place in a high school in 2022, then Do Revenge is the movie for you. Camila Mendes and Maya Hawke play high school outcasts who decide to take care of each other’s bullies.
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Day Shift is a star studded action comedy that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Jamie Foxx plays a pool cleaner by day and a vampire hunter by night, who is struggling to make ends meet, and is teamed up with Dave Franco, who plays his partner and co-vampire hunter. Oh, and Snoop Dogg makes a special appearance. What more could you ask for in a movie?
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In this film starring Leighton Meester as a young woman named Beth, two friends travel to Croatia for a getaway, but things spiral out of control quickly. After a drunken night out, Beth is suddenly thrust into a world of mystery as her friend goes missing. This suspenseful and engaging tale will keep you on your toes.
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Based on the short story by George Saunders, this film starring Chris Hemsworth, Miles Teller, and Jurnee Smollett, follows incarcerated people at a penitentiary who volunteer to test experimental mind altering drugs in exchange for reduced sentences. This dystopian sci-fi flick will take you to a world unlike any you’ve ever seen.
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This breakout film of the year has a star-studded cast, lead by Ryan Gosling and directed by Anthony and Joe Russo of Marvel film fame. Gosling plays Sierra Six, a secret agent, who resembles a Marvel superhero in many ways. The film offers breakneck speed action and the action stunt antics of actors like Chris Evans, Regé-Jean Page, and Ana de Armas. The Gray Man was such a hit that it’s already been tapped for a sequel and a spinoff.
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Two high school outcasts played by Jaeden Martell, of IT fame, and Adrian Greensmith, decide to form a metal band and compete in their school’s battle of the bands. As if growing up isn’t hard enough, try forming a successful metal band with your best friend and getting your girlfriend to join the crew, too. This movie will take you right back to your angsty high school days.
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Rebel Wilson’s new comedy, Senior Year, is definitely worth the watch if you’d like to unwind with something that’ll make you laugh. Wilson plays a grown woman who has to return to high school due to an unfortunate accident. Weird and hilarious hijinks ensue.
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This film from Chris Williams, the filmmaker behind Moana, serves up a classic tale of fantasy and adventure. Set in a world where sea monsters are lurking everywhere, a brave sailor and monster hunter named Jacob Holland embarks on a quest. Holland is hunting down his next monster, when he finds himself partnered with a young girl stowaway—and the two kick off an epic adventure.
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This Korean romantic comedy puts a spin on a typical workplace romance. Seohyun, a member of the hugely popular K-pop group Girls Generation, plays an office worker named Jung Ji-Woo who has a crush on her co-worker, Jung Ji-Hoo, played by Lee Jun-Young. When she finds out that her crush has a BDSM fetish, she begins a sexy (yet wholesome!) new relationship.
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Now, we’re cheating a little bit, because Hustle doesn’t hit Netflix until next week. But rest assured, we’ve seen Adam Sandler’s new sports flick, where he plays a basketball scout who’s so damn Philly that he wears a Federal Donuts sweatshirt. Rest assured, you’re in for a treat.
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Jackass Forever is precisely the organized chaos we needed earlier this year. So yeah, we were pretty excited when Jackass 4.5 hit Netflix, giving us all of (or at least most) of the footage that didn’t make it into the theatrical cut.
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A young woman awakens to discover that drunken photos of her from the night prior are circulating online. With no memory of the evening’s occurrences, and her scholarship and reputation at stake, she must work to piece together the truth and clear her name. This Indonesian crime mystery provides just as much edge-of-your-seat suspense as it does compelling sociopolitical commentary.
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A listless comedian reaches a fork in the road when he finds himself at a dead-end in his stand-up career. One road leads to pursuing a romantic interest with dreams of intergalactic travel. On the other, his life long friend requests him to join her journey of parenthood by becoming her sperm donor.
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Based on the political novel of the same name by Robert Harris, Munich: The Edge of War follows a young British political aide who is assigned to obtain a confidential document from his old Oxford classmate—now a German diplomat. Traveling across enemy lines to Germany ahead of the Munich agreement, the fate of Europe, and the world, lies with him. That is, so long as his old peer is willing to shake hands.
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Amélie director Jean-Pierre Jeunet takes on the dystopian sci-fi genre with Bigbug, a film set in 2050 amidst a robot revolt. Following a group of suburbanites who are locked inside of their homes by their andraids, this dark comedy struck a chord with 2022 viewers.
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Despite Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s multi-movie franchise, this 2022 addition serves as a direct sequel to the original 1974 film. Following a group of young people who plan to open a business in Harlow, Texas, the hopeful teens will soon be forced to reckon with the town’s bloody history–and potential future.
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With credits including Stranger Things and Night at the Museum, director Shawn Levy clearly has a knack for blending fantastical fiction with a family touch. His next film, The Adam Project, stars Mark Ruffalo and Ryan Reynolds in a unique time-traveling story about a pilot (Reynolds) who must travel back in time and work with his younger self to save his father (Ruffalo)–and the world.
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Did you know that a Weekend at Bernie’s-esque gag was pulled off during WWII? No? Well, then, it’s time to watch Operation Mincemeat. Based on true events, Operation Mincemeat portrays the plan of two British intelligence officials to hide the 1943 Allied invasion of Sicily during WWII by planting false information on a dead man disguised as a Royal Marines officer. The cast includes Colin Firth, Kelly Macdonald, Matthew Macfadyen, Jason Isaacs, and more.
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Romance is often mused about under the laws of gravity. We fall for lovers, being drawn to their gravitational pull, taking the leap into love. But what does love look like in a world where gravity doesn’t exist? Set in an imagined Tokyo after an explosion turns the city into a floating anti-gravity island, this animated film follows two teenagers who find one another amidst a world where all seems lost. From Death Note director Tetsurō Araki, this is a must-watch for anime and fantasy fans alike.
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