12/31/2009

Top Seven Movies of 2009...

I wasn't able to see every movie I planned on seeing before I made this list. The Lovely Bones was moved to January because it wasn't testing well with sample audiences and the studio wanted to retool its ad campaign. And, in the case of Nine, I just ran out of time. I might see it tomorrow. I might not. It probably wouldn't make the list anyway. (This is how I'm justifying it.)

I saw sixty seven movies this year. (Not counting repeated viewings.) What follows is my list of the movies I loved the most. It's completely subjective in its composition (as all end of year lists on the internet are). But it's completely awesome in its entirety (as all posts on my blog are).

And just in case you'd like to see the past two years' lists, click the links for 2008 and 2007. Anyway, on to why you came here...


7) The Soloist (certified 4.5 Yarmulke™ rating) - Critically (and commercially), this movie didn't do so hot. But I loved it. Robert Downey Jr. provides another incredible performance as he proves that his career resurrection is completely deserved. It's the story of how a reporter befriends a homeless schizophrenic man who was a once prodigious musician. I felt a deep personal connection to this movie as some of its events mirrored some of the struggles I've had growing up with my little bro. But in the end, it provides such an incredibly beautiful picture of grace...

6) Avatar (certified 4.5 Yarmulke™ rating) - I really, really wanted to dislike this movie. Mainly because of how smug James Cameron was in his proclamations of how this would be the best movie to ever be made. Well, after seeing it in 3D, I have to say I gave in to the hype. It really is good. The story may be similar to Dances with Wolves or The Last Samurai, but the visuals are completely game changing. I guess that's what you get when you give a genius twelve years and three hundred million dollars. Call them were-smurfs all you want, but this movie is a must see...

5) Inglourious Basterds (certified 4.5 Yarmulke™ rating) - I've never been a fan of Tarantino's before. But this movie changed that. While having its share of language and violence, I thought it was one of the most fun movies I've seen in a long time. To see Christopher Waltz's performance in this movie is nothing short of witnessing an absolute oscar guarantee. In fact, there are several character's that I'd like to see get their own feature. This one was so good, I went back for a second viewing...


4) Coraline (certified 5 Yarmulke™ rating) - This movie is absolutely magical. The combination or Henry Selick's stop-motion animation, Neil Gaiman's story, and some of the best voice casting around has produced one of the best fairy tales I've ever seen. And what's even better, is that it brings back the scares in kids' movies. This is another movie that I saw in 3D (and the last one my brother wanted to see in 3D, maybe due to the scares). It absolutely lit my imagination on fire and I can't wait to see what Selick does next...


3) Up In the Air (certified 5 Yarmulke™ rating) - I just saw this movie today. I went in with tempered expectations. After all, it had received critical praise but looked boring. But after about twenty minutes in, I was hooked. Such a beautiful, and honest, depiction of the importance of relationships. The movie takes its time showing that Clooney's character has built up walls to keep himself from being hurt. Then it slowly shows how his relationship with a new woman tears them down. The ending was absolutely surprising to me. And I loved it. It's not a typical "neat" story. But it's a great one...

2) Star Trek (certified 5 Yarmulke™ rating) - I had serious doubts about this movie when it was first announced. After all, it's not like Mission Impossible 3 was great. But after seeing the second trailer, I was fully on board. And after seeing it three times, I can say that I was right. EVerything about this movie was awesome. Abrams remained faithful to the spirit of the series while relaunching Star Trek for a whole new generation of fans. This was a case of someone going where others had gone before, and conquering it. A friend just got this on Blu-ray, and I can't wait to see it there...

1) Up (certified 5 Yarmulke™ rating) - Simply put, this movie deserves to be on top. It could be Pixar's best. And that's saying a lot. The first ten minutes of it were better than almost everything else released this year. Not to mention among some of the saddest. Everything from the story, to the voicework, to the laughs, to the animation was absolutely great. Not only will this be nominated (and win) the Oscar for best animated feature, but it will be nominated for best picture as well. If you haven't seen this, make it your priority to see it asap...

Honorable Mention- District 9 (certified 4 Yarmulke™ rating), Fantastic Mr. Fox (certified 4.5 Yarmulke™ rating)...

And for the second year running:


Worst Movie of the Year) Miss March (certified 1 Yarmulke™ rating) -
Wow. I mean... wow. There were other movies I considered giving this title to: BrĂ¼no, Jennifer's Body, I Love You, Beth Cooper, Year One, and Land of the Lost were all in the running. But this was the king of them all. There are four, count them, four scenes of explosive diarrhea shown in this movie. Shown. Lazy and easy gross-out humor abound in this absolutely terrible movie about a guy's attempt to win back his High School girlfriend after awaking from a coma. Whatever you do, don't see this. Avoid it at all costs. I'm actually mad that I wasted four dollars on it. I'll be surprised if The Whitest Kids You Know (the internet comedy troop who made the film) ever get another shot at making a follow up...

1 comment:

TS Harrison said...

This has been a slow movie watching year for me. I still haven't seen Up, Solo (oddly enough I do own on DVD), Coraline, or Up In The Air yet. But in my defense I've been watching tons of older films, trying to finish seeing all of AFI's top 100.
But this list seems like what I would expect. Maybe in a slightly different order.
However I might squeeze Sherlock Holmes in there. I loved it.
Also I saw Nine this past Sunday and while at first I just thought it was okay I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.
Also I watched Star Trek on Blu-ray at a friends decked out home theater...awesome movie!
After considering it I may put Inglourious Basterds towards the top. I love the Hitchcock-ian, WWII, movie tribute it is.
And one final quick thought. I've been referring to Avatar as The Matrix meets Dances With Wolves meets Ferngully. And while it's a really good movie, the Ferngully keeps it from being a great movie.

Good list.