Top 10 Movies of 2009

—With apologies to (among others) The Road, A Serious Man, District 9, and especially The Hurt Locker, because I didn’t see them, and they would have drawn serious consideration for this list, more than likely.

1.Away We Go – For me, this list sections itself off into 3 different lists.  There are the top two, which are far and away the best films I saw from 2009.  There are the top five, which are significantly better than the bottom five.  And then there are six through ten, which are significantly better than anything else I saw from 2009.  Away We Go is a miraculous film.  It is hilarious, well-acted, brilliantly written and edited, it has a wonderful soundtrack, it is hopeful yet sad, touching and awkward, and it hits absolutely the perfect notes in every scene.  I loved every minute of it.  As Josh Gibbs pointed out, it is a perfect companion to Revolutionary Road from 2008.  But I disagree on how.  There are many similarities between the two films, but whereas RR disgusted and depressed me, this one struck an emotional chord and left me feeling, dare I say, hopeful.

2.Up In The Air – I wasn’t so sure about this movie right away.  For one, Zach Galifianakis is only in one scene, and I wanted to see him more.  For another, George Clooney comes off as playing a similar role to most stuff we see him in (particularly Danny Ocean).  But as soon as J.K. Simmons steps onscreen, this movie hits its stride.  It is sad and rings true in today’s America.  The characters are superbly written, and the direction couldn’t be better.  The movie makes us laugh, but in a way that we know we really shouldn’t because this is real life.  And just when you think it’s going to step into a steaming pile of clichés, it sidesteps that, and brings itself home in fine style.  It’s a truly excellent film.

 3.Inglourious Basterds – I’ve pretty much said it all about this movie already.  It is just a fine piece of cinema in every respect.  There are missteps, yes, but Tarantino doesn’t care, and neither should we, really.  Just a couple of unresolved issues keep this one from being one of the best movies of the decade.

4.The Hangover – I remember seeing this in the theater with Bart and laughing hysterically, to the point where he felt embarrassed.  And yet I’ve seen it three times more since then, and as with every other classic comedy (a la Anchorman), it just keeps getting funnier.  Finally there is another buddy-Las-Vegas-road-trip-movie to quote other than Swingers!

5.Avatar – This movie absolutely blew my socks off.  Any more plot and it would have been number one with a bullet.  But, it is James Cameron, so what are you gonna do?  It truly sets the bar for visual f/x and 3D, and I can’t remember ever being more impressed with a movie in my life.  The plot really isn’t as bad as people are making out, it got me thinking, and though it was fairly empty in the end, I think there were some good points and metaphors to Christianity that could be drawn.

6.Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince – Ok, now for the second half.  I really should have numbered this list 1 -5, and 20 – 24 or something, there is that much of a difference.  But that’s not to say that the following five movies aren’t very good or anything.  It’s just that the top five are so much better.  Anyway.  It’s hard to separate myself from the book when I’m reviewing this movie.  I have some major complaints with how they treated the source material.  Putting that aside, this really is a very good film.  They deal with teenage angst and problems very well.  The Dumbledore death scene is fantastic.  It is quite entertaining, and yet touching at the same time.  It was very enjoyable and very well done, and I look forward to seeing book 7, parts 1 and 2.

7.Star Trek – J.J. Abrams strikes again.  This is probably the most fun I had with any movie this year, and I didn’t even get to see it in the theater.  I absolutely LOVED what they did with time travel and how they basically unraveled every movie, TV show, book, etc. and made a new franchise for themselves.  I liked the choices for the actors, and every homage paid to the originals was extremely well done.  This was just a kickass action flick, and happened to have an interesting, cool script.  Also, it had a few things to say about fathers and their sons.  Bravo.

8.Up – Within the first 10 minutes of this movie, I cried for the first time in a movie in several years.  If it could have kept that up for 90 minutes, it would be at the top of this list.  Not to say that the rest was sub-par in any way, though, it was still excellent.  This is probably my favorite Pixar movie to date, and as a bonus, Noah loves it too.

9. I Love You, Man – I had to put this on there for how hard I laughed.  Seriously, if you didn’t find this funny, you better check your pulse.  The storyline was ok, but the characters (even the bit parts) were spot-on hilarious.  I liked the way that relationships between heterosexual men were justified and even encouraged.  That’s important, and I think our society undervalues it a lot of times.  Also, I give this movie a lot of credit for turning me on to several Rush songs, which are excellent.

10.State of Play – Really, the only true nail-biter I saw this year.  The plot had great twists and turns, and didn’t just pull the wool over your eyes for the heck of it.  I thought the acting wasn’t quite as good as it could have been, because I really like all the principals (Crowe, McAdams, Affleck), but the storyline was top notch.  This movie was extremely well-made, and I appreciated that.

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One Response to “Top 10 Movies of 2009”

  1. top movies on dvd Says:

    Theese are unquestionably some of the greatest movies i’ve ever looked at. Fantastic work! Looking forward for a brand-new listing in the near future!

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