It's hard to believe that we are two years into the Friday Five, but here we are. As we get ready for 2023, we decided it was time to take one final look back at the year that was. So here are the things that moved, inspired, impressed, and entertained us the most from 2022. There were creative risks, gutsy performances, technological innovations, and quality jams that got us through the year, and we want to celebrate the best of the best. So without further ado, here is Volume 105.
Top Gun: Maverick
It could never be anything else. This was the movie we were most excited to see in theaters in years, and somehow, it exceeded expectations. It was one of our all-time favorite movie going experiences, and that is before you factor in all the incredible behind-the-scenes content to come from the movie. Even in the age of IP, it was a bold creative decision to go back to the Top Gun well. But when Tom Cruise decided they could shoot the movie the way that he wanted, he signed back up, and holy shit. Maverick delivered with practical effects that no one could have imagined, as the actors actually trained and learned to ride in the cockpit, and the production crew developed new camera techniques to film aerial stunts and set-pieces. There were gimmicky throwbacks to the original, like Miles Teller singing "Great Balls of Fire" or the beach football scene. But at the end of the day, it all just worked, mostly because Tom Cruise is still somehow the biggest movie star on the planet. Top Gun: Maverick was tense, exhilarating, and just an all-around good time. Whether or not it actually takes home any awards this year, it certainly is the King Penguin favorite from 2022.
Our TV choice also contained exhilarating, pulse-pounding drama, but on a much smaller scale. And that is, of course, the Hulu restaurant drama The Bear. The TV selection was much, much harder, due to the absolute deluge of quality TV we've gotten over the last couple years. We could've gone with the expertly crafted Andor, Tony Gilroy's spy-thriller set in the Star Wars universe. Or Slow Horses, the spy-thriller set in modern-day London. The Rehearsal brought Nathan Fielder's on-screen persona to an entirely different height, and Severance took us on an absolute emotional roller coaster. But at the end of the day, no show reached as high (in our minds) as The Bear. It captured the intensity of working in a kitchen to perfection, and introduced the general public to the high-stakes world of a dinner rush. Jeremy Allen White was stellar in the lead role as Carmy, the prodigal son (and high-level chef) returning home to run his brother's restaurant. Ayo Edebiri, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Abby Elliott, and the rest of the supporting cast were also phenomenal. The Bear was truly a success on all levels -- the writing and production really put you inside the world, and the performances imbued a sense of life into all the characters. The streamers all put out some big budget hits, but at the end of the day, this underdog was our favorite show of the year.
The Movement - Always With Me
It was never going to be any other album. The Movement's latest was responsible for 3 of our 5 most-listened to tracks on Spotify this year, and it's probably only that few because it came out so late in the year. Always With Me was a killer beach album released just in time for the dog days of summer, which meant we had it on repeat through all the 2022 heat waves. We featured a single from the album, "Sounds of Summer" as part of the Friday Five on its own, and then doubled down with the album -- so this is the rare three-peat on the Friday Five. The album's title track kicks it off with some horns that can only be described as "beachy" and really just jams out from there. The Movement's sound is heavily influenced by reggae, as well as alternative-reggae bands like Sublime and Slightly Stoopid, and it shines through on the album. All the instrumentation, the bouncing rhythms, and the vocal patterns just beg to be played on the sand somewhere. Whether you're cooling off at the beach, a beach bar, by the pool, or just in front of your air conditioner, Always With Me will put you in the right frame of mind to have a great day. How could we pick any other album to highlight here?
The 2022 World Cup
We are pretty massive sports fans here at King Penguin, and there was a lot to get excited about in 2022. But nothing in the four major sports could top what we saw on display during last month's World Cup. There were nail-biters, upsets, and other-worldy performances, all leading up to maybe the greatest Final in the history of the sport. Despite Kylian Mbappe's hat trick and France's frantic comeback, Lionel Messi finally managed to bring the title home to Argentina, capturing the one prize that had eluded him for his entire career. Messi's massive achievement, and the joy it brought to the fans of Argentina, wasn't the only highlight of the tournament. Morocco shocked the world and made a run to the semifinals. Likewise, Croatia strung together a couple of penalty kick-victories before falling to Argentina. And just when we thought we had seen it all, we had a Final that was more anxiety-inducing than anything we saw on screen this year. We're thrilled that Messi finally managed to reach the mountaintop -- and we know this won't be the last time we see Mbappe dominate on the world stage. We got to watch to all-time great players go head to head, in the biggest possible moment, so there's no way that wasn't our favorite sports moment of the year.
Hoonigans - GYMKHANA
For our "wild card" pick on our end of year Friday Five, there was no way we weren't giving a shoutout to the Hoonigans. Sure, we've loved the videos that outlets like GQ and Vanity Fair have done with our favorite creators, but nothing compares to the sheer joy and awe that the Hoonigans have brought us this year. Specifically, two videos stand out, and we are going to be cowards and highlight them both instead of having to choose. Ken Block's Electrikhana and Travis Pastrana's Gymkhana were both segments in the same series, and were both wild in their own ways. Block and Pastrana both pushed the envelope for what is possible in a car, taking chances and tearing up the roads of Las Vegas (Block) and Florida (Pastrana). While Block did donuts around The Strip and flew through parking garages, Pastrana jumped *over* a hovering helicopter and outran a fighter jet. We could watch both videos endlessly on loop. Both Block and Pastrana decided to innovate on a tried-and-true format, adding their own twists and exceeding viewers expectations. Whether it's behind the steering wheel, behind the camera, in a studio, or sitting at a laptop keyboard, that's all we ask for from our favorite creators, and in 2022, Hoonigans really came through. Happy New Year, we'll see you in 2023!