As we near the end of 2022, I’ve been reflecting on some of my “bests” of 2022: TV shows, recipes, games, albums, books, etc. In thinking of my own year-end list, I wanted to hear what my colleagues liked in 2022. The MinnPost newsroom is full of smart and interesting people, and I’m frequently taking up their recommendations. Whether you need a diversion or have some extra free time this week, consider some of the things that MinnPost staffers have watched, listened to, or played this year.
Before we get to that…while these recommendations are all for fun, the reporting our journalists produce is essential to our democracy. And that work isn’t possible without the support of our members. We still need to raise $37,000 to hit our goal by Dec. 31 and ensure these smart and interesting reporters have the resources they need to pursue vital Minnesota stories. Will you pitch in with a tax-deductible donation of any amount right now?
Okay, now that you’ve donated (right?!) on to the recommendations…
“Everything, Everywhere, All At Once.” I had no expectations for this film on Amazon. Reading the blurb didn’t help gauge what it was about. I watched it anyway and I’m still not sure I can describe, at least not in fewer than 1,000 words. Domestic comedy meets multiverse? Chinese American immigrant only wants to save her family but ends up defending the universe?
— Peter Callaghan, state government reporter
“Summer of Soul.” It immediately followed the “Slap Heard ’Round the World,” so few paid much attention, but the Oscar for Best Documentary went to Ahmir Thompson, better known as Questlove of the Roots, for his archival capture of the long forgotten 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival.
“Summer of Soul” is a masterful lookback at a golden time in music at the epicenter of the Black Renaissance, Harlem, New York. Featuring performances by Nina Simone, Sly and the Family Stone, The 5th Dimension, Mavis Staples, Stevie Wonder, Mahalia Jackson, B.B. King and others, “Summer of Soul” not only presents wonderful concert footage, but offers the story behind the concerts (taking part over six weeks) and the show’s producer, Tony Lawrence. “Summer of Soul,” the best thing I watched this year, is available on Hulu.
— Harry Colbert, Jr., managing editor
“White Lotus.” I have to say watching “White Lotus,” a dark comedy that reveals the worst in human nature but is set in sunny, warm locales, helped me deal with winter doldrums.
— Ana Radelat, Washington correspondent
“The Swimmers.” This Netflix movie, based on a true story, follows two sisters who leave their home in Syria and become refugees in Germany. I loved how it told the story of their escape, the challenges of the journey and how the two sisters found happiness while in a new country away from their family.
— Ava Kian, race & health equity reporter
“The Banshees of Inisherin.” All I would tell you about this movie is that it takes place on an island in Ireland so if you have trouble with accents then turn on your CC. Don’t bother with trailers or reviews, just log onto your friends HBO Max and enjoy.
— Brian Perry, director of advertising & sponsorship
(Okay, TWO MinnPost staffers recommended “Andor,” so I guess it’s gotta make it on your list!)
“Andor.” As a Gen Xer, I’ve been injecting all of the new Star Trek and Star Wars series directly into my veins. After the over-hyped “Book of Boba Fett” and “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” came “Andor,” a “Rogue One” prequel series centered on the rising rebellion against the Empire, and one Cassian Andor’s place in it. One week it’s a bank heist, another it’s a prison break, the next a citizen uprising, with smart dialogue by creator Tony Gilroy and sharply executed by Diego Luna, Stellan Skarsgård, Denise Gough and the rest of the cast. Charming droid also included.
— Corey Anderson, creative director
“Andor.” While this is a Star Wars show, it gets away from the fantasy and magic that we know with the Jedi (which I also like as an avid Star Wars enjoyer) and delivers a grounded espionage story about what tyranny does to regular people, how it’s maintained by an oppressive force and how it breeds rebellion. It’s a masterclass in screenwriting from Tony Gilroy (who also wrote Michael Clayton and The Bourne Trilogy) that has some of the best speeches on TV this year, and some emotional gut punches that had your boy (me) feeling like someone was in my room chopping onions at times.
— Mohamed Ibrahim, public safety reporter
“Somebody Somewhere.” I recommend the HBO comedy-drama series, “Somebody Somewhere,” the first season of which aired earlier this year (and available to stream on HBO Max). The show stars comedian and singer Bridget Everett, as her character navigates loss in her family and how to fit into life in her hometown in Kansas. It’s poignant and beautiful, but also made me laugh a lot.
— Tanner Curl, executive director
Articles of Interest, Season 3. A lot of my favorite writing (and OK, podcasts) take something that feels obvious — something you’ve never really thought about — and digs into its origin story to unearth something really interesting. That’s what Avery Trufelman did with the third season of “Articles of Interest,” a podcast about what we wear and why. This season is about the history of “preppy,” the look that has come to define American, and in some ways, global style. As Trufelman said in an interview about the podcast, “I really thought in examining these clothes, I would be going to interview, you know, old white people in Kennebunkport. The story is really Black, really Jewish and really Japanese. So much of like punk style came out of this. Street style came out of this. I promise. It’s like the weirdest, most interesting topic that you could think of in fashion.”
— Greta Kaul, associate editor
Sold A Story. I’ve been reporting on schools for a decade, so of course my rec is education-related. The podcast Sold A Story is the latest in a mind-blowing thread of reporting by Emily Hanford and her colleagues at the St. Paul-based APM Reports. Long story short: The way many schools are attempting to teach millions of children how to read is completely wrong — or at least, not supported by neuroscience research. Maybe that sounds like dry subject matter, but there are Beyoncé references, Vietnam War stories and compelling tales of the haves and have-nots in our schools. No wonder Hanford’s work has already prompted a reckoning. Worth a listen, whether you have kids or not.
— Kyle Stokes, incoming metro area reporter
Blue Kazoo Puzzles. 🚨 NERD ALERT 🚨 The best puzzles on the market (arguably) are from Blue Kazoo, a company based right here in St. Paul. I’ve bought [number redacted] puzzles from them this year alone, and they’re all fantastic. Beautiful artwork, thick-but-not-too-thick pieces, easy to snap together but doesn’t completely fall apart every time you try to move a section, and they offer a range of difficulty levels. The quality is superb, the company is local, the puzzles are unique — what more could you ask for? If you want easy and satisfying, go with one of the rainbow ones. If you want something harder, but stunning, I recommend Pillars, Earth, or Microlife III. If you’re a masochist but want a pretty puzzle, get some extremely good lighting and tell me how many times you think you’re missing a piece (and/or swear) when you do Sun or Moon.
— Laura Lindsay, membership manager
Horizon Forbidden West. Horizon Forbidden West is a role-playing action video game. It’s beautifully and casually diverse, with interesting storylines, and super smooth, fun gameplay.
— Jada Pulley, operations manager
Right now, I’m reading Kim Stanley Robinson’s Ministry for the Future, and recommend it. A student suggested it to me after a class about climate change, and it’s a thoughtful palliative to more despondent narratives about climate.
— Bill Lindeke, Cityscape columnist
Thanks to our members for helping MinnPost have a great year in 2022! If you’re not a member, or if you want to make an additional gift, you can make our work possible in 2023 with tax-deductible donation of any amount right now.