The Best Dudes Rock Movies of 2022

Culture
From Maverick to Jackass: Forever, this year was a great one for cinematic bromances.

The Best Dudes Rock Movies of 2022

Photographs: Everett Collection; Collage: Gabe Conte

Many things can change in a year, but one thing hasn’t: Dudes still rock. Last year, we examined a canon of cinema’s most rad bromances throughout the ages, identifying some of the best critical depictions of male friendship to ever hit the silver screen. So like any good Hollywood project, we’re back for a sequel—only this time, we’re looking at the best Dudes Rock movies of 2022. 

A refresher on the concept and its qualifiers: “dudes rock” started as a semi-ironic way of embracing harmless male behavior and friendship. This year’s entries, however, are notable in the ways they address or subvert the traditional ethos. The nine titles below offer bold new ideas or fresh new elements to the genre, so grab a cold one and settle in with your favorite bro to celebrate the best of dudes rocking.

Top Gun: Maverick

Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick, 2022. Everett Collection / Courtesy of Paramount

While Top Gun: Maverick may skew closer to dadcore, it’s still a critical entry in the  Dudes Rock canon. The flight-school portions of the film strike a balance between sincere camaderie and deep competition, pushing the machismo into the stratosphere. But Tom Cruise’s exploration of Navy Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell’s male friendships—whether with the terminally ill Iceman (Val Kilmer), Hondo (Bashir Salahuddin), or Rooster (Miles Teller)—define the personal and emotional stakes of the film. The “will they or won’t they” of Maverick comes from Rooster and Maverick’s fractured relationship, as Maverick attempts to be a father figure to Rooster and atone for his guilt over robbing Rooster of knowing his real dad. An airborne movie this entertaining doesn’t need to worry too much about staying grounded, but that rich relationship keeps Maverick rooted in reality.

The Banshees of Inisherin

Collin Farrell and Barry Keoghan in The Banshees of Inisherin, 2022. Everett Collection / Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

Most Dudes Rock movies show the origins of a friendship, or find two friends coming together after a long separation, but it’s rarer to see a relationship fall apart. The Banshees of Inisherin is heart-wrenchingly tragic, tackling weighty ideas about creation as Colm (Brendan Gleeson) decides to abruptly sever his years-long friendship with Pádraic (Colin Farrell). Gleeson and Farrell reunite with In Bruges writer/director Martin McDonagh and carry the weight of that relationship into Inisherin, where McDonagh captivatingly excavates the logic behind Colm’s choice and Pádraic’s empathically understandable bewilderment. As the two push and pull against one another, McDonagh weaves an unflinching thread about how the meanings of male friendship, pride, and even violence are tied together.

RRR

N.T. Rama Rao Jr. in RRR.Courtesy of Raftar Creations via Everett Collection

RRR, S. S. Rajamouli’s Tollywood smash, is notable for its epic and unpredictable action setpieces and three-hour run time, and it’s anchored by one of the most compelling and loving deceptions of male friendship to ever hit screens. Writer/director Rajamouli reimagines the lives of actual Indian revolutionaries Alluri Sitarama Raju (Ram Charan) and Komaram Bheem (N. T. Rama Rao Jr.) as best friends in the 1920s—despite the two having never met in real life. Wonderfully tender moments occur throughout the film, like Raju throwing a dance competition to let Bheem impress a local British woman he’s sweet on, or Bheem solemnly declaring his oath to rescue Raju from British captivity or die trying: Even in death, he vows, the two will be “best friends forever and ever.” That doesn’t even take into account the film’s myriad extravagant setpieces, in which the two are perfectly synchronized fighting machines, working in tandem to take on and rout multiple armies and enemies. One of the final scenes is a comically on-the-nose enaction of bro teamwork, as an injured Raju mows down soldiers while sitting on the shoulders of Bheem, who runs them to safety.

Bullet Train

Brad Pitt in Bullet Train, 2022. Everett Collection / Courtesy of Sony Pictures

Not all of Bullet Train works as well as it should, but the highlight of the battle royale-style film is the brotherhood of “twins” Lemon (Brian Tyree Henry) and Tangerine (Aaron-Taylor Johnson). In a bit of welcome subtlety in an otherwise bombastic film, it’s revealed the two developed their lasting brotherhood in the midst of their rough childhoods in the UK. As adult partners, they bicker and fight like siblings, and similarly have a deep affection for one another. Both actors elevate otherwise rote writing with real emotionality, especially as a comedy of errors breaks out in the back half of the film. I’m not saying we need a Lemon and Tangerine spin-off, but I do find myself watching a YouTube supercut of the pair’s best moments on YouTube every now and again.

Jackass: Forever

Zach Holmes, Johnny Knoxville, Rachel Wolfson in Jackass Forever, 2022.Everett Collection / Courtesy of Paramount

Jackass is an acutely accurate portrayal of male friendship, because who among us hasn’t done some dumb shit to make their buddies laugh? The newest entry—with Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Dave England, Danger Ehren, Preston Lacy, and Wee Man, who have been jackassing for 22 years—is just as much a sweet look at aging as it is a testament to a brotherhood forged in affectionately-delivered groin injuries. Forever shows that for this crew, every decidedly-dumb stunt comes out of a desire for the stunt performers to spend as much time with one another as possible while making each other laugh as hard as possible. If that’s not the epitome of this whole exercise, I’m not sure what else is.

Hustle

Ainhoa Pillet, Maria Botto, Juancho Hernangomez, Adam Sandler in Hustle, 2022.Everett Collection / Courtesy of Netflix

The mentorship between a grizzled vet and strapping rookie is a beloved staple of the sports movie, but Hustle transcends cliche by subverting expectations. As a seasoned scout for the Sixers, Stanley Sugarman (Adam Sandler in another serious and seriously good performance) stumbles across Spanish phenom Bo Cruz (real-life NBA player Juancho Hernangomez, maybe a better actor than he is a player) and brings him to the States. After his plan to sign Cruz to the Sixers goes awry, Stanley begins a full-court press to get the baller ready for the NBA Draft instead, becoming a sorely-needed father figure in the process. Yet the script and earnestly entertaining rapport between Sandler and Hernangomez make that dynamic feel new and fresh, despite being a well-trod part of the genre.

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

Nicolas Cage, Pedro Pascal in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, 2022.Everett Collection / Courtesy of Lionsgate

The draw of Nicolas Cage’s film was the meta set-up: Cage plays himself as a star who has piddled away his career making cheap action films, and is now desperate enough to accept a $1 million payday for attending the birthday of a shady billionaire, Javi Gutierrez (Pedro Pascal).  Javi is a Cage superfan—and a wanted arms dealer—and the criminal’s obsession with the actor escalates into a forced spy plot. But the lunacy doesn’t drown out the film’s best aspect: the lovely relationship between the two men as Javi’s overwhelming desire to be BFFs with his idol eventually warms up Cage, bullets and LSD trips be damned. 

Chip ‘N Dale: Rescue Rangers

Chip (voiced by John Mulaney) and Dale (voiced by Andy Samberg) in Chip N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers, 2022.Courtesy of Disney

The straight-to-streaming live-action/animation hybrid reboot of the beloved Disney cartoon is an avalanche of “how did they pull this off”?!” rights clearances (with glimpses of such non-Disney IP as Batman, He-Man, and Shrek) and a surprisingly serious story about the reconnection between two friends who just so happen to be cartoon chipmunks. Voiced by John Mulaney and Andy Samberg, respectively, Chip ‘N Dale traffics in the trope of two former partners teaming up to solve one last case together. Even in animated form, whether 2D or 3D, the chemistry between two of our best comedic performers feels genuine and authentic, lending a sense of reality to this rodent relationship. 

Ambulance

Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in Ambulance, 2022.Everett Collection / Courtesy of Universal

Here’s a comparison I’ll wager you’re not ready for: Much like Rescue Rangers, Michael Bay’s Ambulance is also a self-referential love letter to Los Angeles featuring two estranged friends who reconvene as they tear through the city on a quest. Bay is one of the patron saints of Dudes Rock cinema, and Ambulance is the closest to peak form the director has come to in many years, as he assembles the epic heist movie of his dreams. The sweeping drone photography is a standout—including one moment wherein a drone flies just underneath a police vehicle in mid-jump—but so is the brotherly love on display between robbers Danny (Jake Gyllenhaal, fantastic, especially when he’s yelling about cashmere sweaters) and Will Sharp (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II). The believability of their bond is never doubted for a second, as the film lets two of our finest actors sit back and cook.

Products You May Like

Articles You May Like

Speed House Queen CHYL signs to Dim Mak and releases “Hooyah!” with Fahjah
Fast & Furious Legacy Trailer Highlights Return of Main Cast
Should We Really Expect Honesty from Beauty Influencers?
10 of the Best Shel Silverstein Poems Everyone Should Read
That time Disneyland Paris built a Space Mountain ride themed after Jules Verne.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.