Monday, December 28, 2009

What was your favorite movie of 2009?

Since this has apparently turned into a movie blog for the last week of '09 (what with the absence of most original TV this week), I may as well ask a question that's come up a bit in the "Up in the Air" discussion below: what was your favorite film of the year?

Now, I don't get to a lot of movies anymore, and I doubt I'll have seen more than 3 or 4 of the 10 Best Picture nominees this year. But with that caveat in mind, my favorite of 2009 would be either (depending on my mood) "Up" or "The Hurt Locker" (today is a cold and windy day, so I'm feeling "Hurt Locker"). "Up" was yet another Pixar masterpiece (particularly the opening montage about Carl's marriage), while "Hurt Locker" was both a kick-ass action thriller and the most engrossing war movie I've seen since "Three Kings."

So, what was your favorite from this year, and why?

94 comments:

Anonymous said...

District 9. Mostly because it was the only movie I saw. Very imaginative, well done.

Anonymous said...

Inglourious Basterds for the moment. I still need to see a few movies (The Hurt Locker being one of them) before I can make a definitive decision.

Andrew said...

"Where the Wild Things Are." I doubt it will be a best picture nominee, but it was as well executed and affecting a movie as came out this year. A movie that really stayed with me.

Andrew said...

"Where the Wild Things Are." I doubt it will be a best picture nominee, but it was as well executed and affecting a movie as came out this year. A movie that really stayed with me.

Alex Mullane said...

Inglorious Basterds, simply for the fact that it's not often I walk out of the cinema with such a big grin on my face.

While many were disappointed it wasn't an all out action flick, I was pleasantly surprised by that! The script was marvellous, as were the performances (Particularly Cristoph Waltz (Oscar worthy), but also a very tongue in cheek Brad Pitt), and it was refreshing to see a big-name Hollywood blockbuster where the real meat the of the film, the real "action sequences", consisted of little more than extremely tense and well written conversational battles between well drawn characters.

It was a breath of fresh air.

WhatTheFDidIDo said...

1. Inglorious Basterds
2. The Hurt Locker
3. District 9

Scott said...

Inglourious Basterds. Made from recycled bits Tarantino style, yet it's totally unique. Also, it's the closing night feature in my buddy's upcoming Jewish Revenge Film Festival. (Still seeking other entrants.)

Emily N. said...

Fantastic Mr. Fox. I also enjoyed Up, The Informant! and Star Trek.

groovekiller said...

Up is the movie I'll remember most from this year.

However, my favorite cinematic experience this year was Chapters 1 & 4 of Inglorious Basterds.

Anonymous said...

My favorite movie was Star Trek.

The best movie experienc was Avatar.

The actual best movie was probably District 9 or Inglorious Basterds.

-DamnYankees

groovekiller said...

Scott, I'm sure your friend has already added Defiance and Munich to the list, right?

paulf said...

I'd go for Moon. Great movie.

Not sure if it's out on DVD in the US yet, but it's well worth picking up when it is.

George said...

Totally with you on Up, Alan. Pixar continue to amaze me; to be able to churn out extremely bankable, critical adorned, visually stunning, emotionally engaging, technologically groundbreaking films for nigh on 15 years is incredible, a wonderful anomaly. If they had a musical equivalent, it would be Radiohead.

I think most people cried within the first quarter of an hour with that opening Carl/Ellie montage, I certainly did. It is amazing that Pixar have been able to find their human side in recent years, Carl and Wall-E have been their two most complete characters. I mean their cartoon characters, and they could easily be overwhelmed by stunning visuals, but their stories (and the emotional core of recent Pixar films) never failed to hold their own, in my eyes.

I too haven't seen many films this year but Basterds has to be up there as well as Public Enemies.

Josh said...

Oh dear, it's clear that the tv crowd doesn't watch many films.

The best film of the year was White Ribbon. Although I do hear good things about The Hurt Locker.

Jennifer said...

Unfortunately I hardly watched any movies this year.

Eric said...

1. Adventureland; 2. Up In The Air; 3. Inglorious Basterds

Don't think there has been as compelling of a "coming-of-age" movie since Almost Famous. Plus, Martin Starr.

cassandrajade said...

District 9 because it was totally unexpected. Very mind blowing. Though I also loved Inglorious Basterds, Up, and strangely Race to Witch Mountain though I'm not going to claim that was the best movie of 2009. It was pleasantly surprising given I expected it to be terrible.

Scott said...

Groovekiller:

Defiance, Munich, Inglourious Basterds, and possibly an Entebbe movie. Maybe Exodus and Ten Commandments. That's the whole list at this point.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Oh dear, it's clear that the tv crowd doesn't watch many films.

The best film of the year was White Ribbon. Although I do hear good things about The Hurt Locker.


A friendly tip: don't turn up your nose at other people's moviegoing habits right before confessing you have yet to see one of this year's most acclaimed films.

Dan said...

The Hangover was my favorite this year. Funny and enjoyable from start to finish.

Star Trek is a close second for me. Extremely entertaining. It comes in second for me because while I love these characters, the story of this movie isn't very good.

RD said...

1. Inglorious Basterds
2. Precious
3. The Hurt Locker.

I watch way more TV than I do films, but these are my choices. Happy New Year :)

JustJoan said...

Up.
Star Trek.
I'm saving Avatar for New Year's Day, so I suspect that will go on my 2010 list.

groovekiller said...

Man, Alan's having to lay the smack down in the comments sections today!

Maybe movie-related comments tend to be snootier than tv-related comments.

Sheez Louise!

bsangs said...

Zombieland
The Hangover
Coraline
Adventureland
Star Trek

To be fair, I haven't yet seen "Up in the Air," "District 9" or "The Hurt Locker," but plan to do so.

Tobias said...

3. Inglourious Basterds (partly because most of them little scenes where played by my german friends)

2. The Hangover

1. The Damned United (best movie by far! think of it as a Frost/Nixon of football or as you call it soccer (arrrghhh))

mj15 said...

1. Fantastic Mr. Fox
Wes Anderson never dissapoints, especially this one. Very well done, and a great job using stop-motion animation that way.
2. The Hurt Locker
Alan already explained why
3. Up
Best Pixar movie of the decade.

Get_It said...

Undecided between District 9 and Moon. However, I'm yet to see The Hurt Locker.

By the way, in my opinion, "Up" was best than "Avatar".

Bryan said...

As of right now I'd go with Wild Things but there are a few - Star Trek, Zombieland, The Road- that are very close. It's a tough one, I didn't consider it a stellar year for the movies- not like the last 2 years with Slumdog, Milk, No Country, Blood, etc)

Anyway I'm pissed though because I'm sure from everything I've heard Hurt Locker would be at the top of my list but damn Showcase Cinemas won't show it (they will however reserve 3 - countem THREE -theatres for a week for Old Dogs!) (and I think the newest chipmunk movie right now is taking up 2)

guess i'll have to wait for the dvd.

Nicole said...

I don't think that I can isolate just one movie because I like many for different reasons. I thought the Hangover was the funniest movie of the year, Star Trek was the most "fun" movie experience and Precious was the most intense (although Hurt Locker is a close second, with the intensity coming from the plot rather than the characters).

I have yet to see Crazy Heart and A Single Man, which I hear has stellar performances by Jeff Bridges and Colin Firth, respectively.

I also think that A Serious Man by the Coen brothers and The Informant are comedies that are worth seeing, but haven't been promoted as well as others.

And I have also seen Inglorious Basterds and Up in the Air, and recommend them as well. I am not normally a Tarantino fan, but IB was a fun ride, and Christopher Walz is great in it.

I usually see 30 movies at the Toronto Film Festival and about 10 more throughout the year and I can't say that I saw too many clunkers this year. Of course I avoided the obvious crappy fare like Transformers 2 and the torture porn horror films, but overall, I think this was a good year for movies.

Robin said...

Star Trek was far and away my favorite in the theater and it's held up on repeated DVD watchings this month (first with the bf, then with the parents). A close second and third would be Up and the Hangover (obviously for different reasons).

Biggest disappointment I think was Public Enemies. It had everything going for it on paper, and it just didn't translate to the screen.

Anonymous said...

I saw "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call, New Orleans" on Saturday, and it was pretty damn entertaining. Despite the fact that this was a remake and I've seen the original, I can't really say I've ever seen anything like it. That's not the reaction I was expecting to have after watching a movie about a cop run afoul of the law.

All in all, kind of a slow year at the movie theater. Some other contenders:

Inglorious Basterds
It Might Get Loud
Big Fan
Crazy Heart (haven't seen, but hear almost universally good things about)
Baader-Meinhof Complex (it was rather unfocused and could have been two separate movies (a la the Kill Bill's), but the ambition it showed was commendable).
District 9

I know that for a vast number of reasons it's unfair to compare mediums, and all these movies might have been great, but in the spirit of this being a TV blog I can honestly say that I found "Breaking Bad" and "Mad Men" to be much more entertaining and thought-provoking viewing experiences.

Henry said...

(500) Days of Summer is still my favorite film of the year. It turns the whole romantic comedy formula upside-down and presents a pretty good romance between two solid leads. I didn't know what to expect throughout the film and it still left me with a smile when I watched it. Solid soundtrack, great story (though unconventionally told), likeable performances.

Inglorious Basterds, Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Adventureland round out my top five.

dyingsilence said...

Difficult to decide indeed. Let The Right One In was particularly effective, especially in this year of New Moon! In The Loop was without a doubt the best comedy this year (how has no one mentioned this?) and much better than The Hangover which I found bizarrely overrated! Drag Me to Hell was a great popcorn movie and certainly brightened up a dull exam revision period! Same goes for Zombieland, an extremely fun film with the best cameo I've seen in some time (I know everyone says this!)

About Up, I seem to be about the only person who didn't love it! Those opening 15 minutes are great, though certainly not the greatest moment in animation history as some UK publications have said! But it careened wildly out of control in the second half. I guess Wall-E did this too and I loved that so different strokes I suppose.

District 9 and Adventureland deserve honourable mentions. I'm watching Hurt Locker tonight and expect brilliance.

Just be grateful you guys didn't have Lesbian Vampire Killers in wide release.

Sarah H said...

1. 500 Days of Summer
2. Up
3. Star Trek

Dan said...

Adventureland was freaking great
The Informant!
A Serious Man
Inglourious Basterds. If this grad student ( http://www.thevalve.org/go/valve/article/tarantino_is_an_inglourious_basterd/ ) is right about it, anyway. However I'm not 100 percent on that. I like Tarantino, mostly for Jackie Brown, but part of me doubts he's deconstructing the "good war" and genocide as a way of apologia for the other western empires. However, the scalping bit is pretty inexplicable otherwise, unless he's every bad thing people say about him and he just thinks it's badass.

---

Also 2009 is the year TV surpassed movies for me. Guess I'm late to the party. I got started on the Wire in 08 (season 1 took two tries, season 2, meh, watched season 3 in I think a 48 hr period) but season 4 was last year's Christmas present. This year I'm suddenly into Mad Men, Breaking Bad, the floodgates have opened.

Dan said...

(cont'd)

Whoops the link is http://www.thevalve.org/go/valve/article/tarantino_is_an_inglourious_basterd/

and I was referring to both the scalping and the swastika carving as inexplicable.

Dan said...

http://www.thevalve.org/go/valve/article/tarantino_is_an_inglourious_basterd/

WTF post correctly

Dan said...

Fuck clean this up moderator.

the remainder of the link after tarantino_is, is:

_an_inglourious_basterd/

Nicole said...

In the Loop was definitely funny and Peter Capaldi is spectacular, but having just seen the third season of In the Thick of It, I think I prefer the characters when they are in a television series as opposed to a movie. Gandolfini was good, but the UK character actors not so well known on this side of the Atlantic are better.

Carmichael Harold said...

I'd probably go with "A Serious Man" and "Inglourious Basterds" as my top two, and then "Hurt Locker", "Up" and "Fantastic Mr. Fox" in some order thereafter.

jasctt said...

HUNGER

mrsb said...

We just bought and rewatched Up with the kids, and once again I was crying in the first 15 minutes. My husband left the room until 20 minutes into the movie, lol. It's got my vote.

Inglorious Basterds was not my type of movie, but I have to say that I enjoyed it much, much more than I expected to.

Craig Ranapia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Craig Ranapia said...

Josh:

Don't be so bloody condescending -- I watch more movies than television, and to be honest don't think it was a vintage year on either front.

My favourite film of the year was Ponyo -- which, with no disrespect to the Pixar crew or Henry Selick, but Hayao Miyazaki is still the master of animation and still delivering the goods at sixty nine. (Also kudos to Disney for an intelligent and high quality English dub.)

But I've got to give honourable mentions to Star Trek, Coraline, Zombieland and Inglorious Basterds for being unpretentious fun; and Coco Avant Channel for not only proving that Audrey Tatou can do more than Gallic whimsy, but avoiding the usual pitfall of biopics, and NOT trying to smooth out a spiky, contradictory woman into a conventional biopic heroine. Tatou and director/writer Anne Fontaine have the nerve to let Channel be, for want of a nicer way to put it, a cold-blooded bitch who was nobody's fool and nobody's victim.

erin said...

Up, The Fantastic Mr. Fox (which I was incredibly skeptical about, because i'm not a huge Wes Anderson fan, but I ended up just loving it), and the Hangover, which just made me howl with laughter.

And I quite liked Julie and Julia, which was way better than the book on which it was based (well, half the movie was based on it). Streep is genius.

Mike F said...

Enjoyed a lot of movies this year...mostly all have been mentioned in the comments...

But the best film I saw this year was The Hurt Locker

I'd put it on the short list of films for best of the decade as well

On the lighter side of things, I'd agree with Sarah and highly recommend 500 Days of Summer

ryan said...

Inglourious Basterds was my favorite by far. Nothing else was even close to being as fun.

Craig Ranapia said...

And I quite liked Julie and Julia, which was way better than the book on which it was based (well, half the movie was based on it). Streep is genius.

Having put on my tin hat, am I the only person on Earth who thinks Streep is ever so slightly over-rated? I'm one of those people who admires her technique, but is seldom emotionally affected by her performances.

Julie and Julia is structurally a very odd piece of work; it feel like two films jammed together and they don't really fit. But it's a shame a lot of the reviews felt the need to praise Streep by dumping on Amy Adams -- who, I think, is a good actor but was on a hiding to nothing with the under-developed and less showy side of the script.

In the end, I think Julie and Julia was a better watch than it should have been, and most of that was down to a very solid cast all the way down the line. I only wish Norah Ephron's script and direction were up to the same level.

Tyroc said...

Nice to see Adventureland getting so much love.

That's my favorite for sure.

Hit the Gen-X sweet spot.

J said...

I enjoyed In the Loop and A Serious Man and Basterds and Broken Embraces were fine. An Education for Mulligan.

But -- and I'd have to stare at a list of stuff that's come out this year to be sure (I've managed to keep missing Hurt Locker) -- the one movie that completely took me by surprise was Ricky Gervais' The Invention of Lying. I'd heard both good and bad things going in, and assumed the premise would dictate something obvious. But it wound up being something hilarious and sweet and very human in a way I hadn't expected. Off the top of my head, that's the one movie from this year I really lurved.

Rachel said...

Sadly, I really wasn't able to see many movies this year.

But of the ones I have seen, I'd have to go with (500) Days of Summer.

Matthew L said...

I really can't decide between Inglourious Basterds or Where The Wild Things Are. Both incredible pieces of filmmaking. In the case of Basterds, I felt like I saw Tarantino finally become a real filmmaker in front of me - this was not a collection of movie references and aped shots, this was a genuine work of cinematic imagination. Meanwhile, Wild Things was the most emotional gut-wrenching film I have seen in a long time, and I admire any filmmaker able to take such scarce source material and expand it to create something so different yet so true to the original source.

(I should add a disclaimer - I do live in NZ, a lot of the end-of-year award films haven't come out here yet, so I haven't yet seen The Hurt Locker and other such films. But I don't imagine any of them replacing Basterds or Wild Things in my ranking.)

I also have to mention The Imaginarium Of Dr Parnassus. It's not the best film of the year by a long shot, but it is pretty good, and as a Gilliam fan when Heath Ledger died I was resigned to never seeing it, so it was a thrill to see it finished and actually still work with the actor
replacements.

dyingsilence said...

@Nicole

Oh I definitely prefer their characters in their television form, but I thought In The Loop was a pretty amazing film in it's own right.

@J

I watched The Invention of Lying a couple of days ago and found it underwhelming, I mean I love Gervais but it just wasn't very funny and I was trying to laugh, the religious satire. I'll concede it was sweet though and I loved Jennifer Garner in it, she is always incredibly likeable and in a film where she judges people for the quality of their genes that mustn't have been easy.

dyingsilence said...

@Nicole

Oh I definitely prefer their characters in their television form, but I thought In The Loop was a pretty amazing film in it's own right.

@J

I watched The Invention of Lying a couple of days ago and found it underwhelming, I mean I love Gervais but it just wasn't very funny and I was trying to laugh, the religious satire. I'll concede it was sweet though and I loved Jennifer Garner in it, she is always incredibly likeable and in a film where she judges people for the quality of their genes that mustn't have been easy.

Oh and @Alex Mullane

Nice to see another student in Nottingham reads this blog!

Alan Sepinwall said...

As a Gen X'er, I'm also generationally obligated to sing the praises of Adventureland. Certainly in my top 10 for the year, possibly in the top 5.

Anonymous said...

I may sound like a mean old 26 year old codger, but this was a terrible year for movies. Maybe something I haven't heard about or haven't seen will blow me away but this year, I only have a top 2.
1. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans.
2. Waltz with Bashir.

Herzog knocked it out of the park with this ridiculous and completely hilarious worn out tale of the crooked cop. Can't recommend any higher.
Waltz with Bashir was an animated documentary that blew me away. I love documentaries more than any other film medium, and this is one of the greats.
Hurt Locker had maybe the best first 45 minutes of any action movie (the first three bomb diffusings), but everything after that felt hollow and phony.

dez said...

Films (not necessarily in order):

District 9 - Real science fiction, really affecting story, and no clean-cut ending.

The Hurt Locker, Up, and Up In The Air - for the reasons you already gave

Paranormal Activity - Not great film-making, but it did what a lot of horror films fail to do: it scared the bejesus out of me

Inglorious Basterds & Star Trek - Because they were fun to watch, even if IB disappointed in the lack of gore (I expected more since so many of my friends were bitching about how gross it was)

500) Days of Summer - Because it was touching and funny and real

Drag Me To Hell - Still debating where this is Raimi's masterpiece, but it was great fun and pretty darn scary, too

Let The Right One In - Disquieting horror. Also made me feel very, very cold because of all the snow

Der Baader-Meinhof Komplex (which I don't think really counts since it came out in Europe last year and was already nominated for an Oscar earlier this year--but I didn't see it until this year, so there) - Because it made me think and because it reawakened some of my youthful idealism (though I'm not one for blowing things up, honestly) :-)

I still haven't caught A Serious Man or Fantastic Mr. Fox, but they sound right up my alley.

Re: Another discussion which has popped up in the comments: The problem I had with Julie and Julia is that Julia's story is fascinating, and Julie's? Not so much. Amy Adams kind of had a thankless role there.

mollycule0226 said...

1. An Education- Outstanding acting, directing, and cinematography.
2. The Hurt Locker- Intense and heart stopping; I never felt the way I felt watching this film before.
3. (500) Days of Summer- Redefined romantic comedies for me
4. Up in the Air-George Clooney at his best.
5. Adventureland- Made me wish I was alive in the 80s.
6. UP- The first 15 minutes alone make it a classic for me especially the music.
7. Precious- Fantastic acting and engaging subject matter.
8. Star Trek- Pure entertainment from start to finish.
9. The Princess and the Frog- Another classic disney musical with a great story.
10. District 9- One of the most innovative and shocking films I've seen this year.
Honorable Mention- Away We Go

Savvy Veteran said...

My favorites were "In the Loop," "Fantastic Mr. Fox," and "500 Days of Summer." There's still a couple more that I've heard good things about but have yet to see though.

erin said...

@Craig Ranapia--I don't think Streep is over-rated (but possibly over-praised, she's the ACTRESS OF OUR GENERATION, doncha know) because every role she seems to play something different (The Devil Wears Prada and this movie come to mind). The movie jams two movies together because it actually jammed two BOOKS together--the book of the title is just Julie's story, but they also incorporate Child's autobio in the movie. I didn't Julie Powell's book because I think she's kind of a whiny bore. But Amy Adams redeemed the character, and using Julia Child's story made for a richer movie. I actually thought it was pretty seamlessly weaved together. So I quite enjoyed it, much more than I thought I would.

Therem said...

My favorites, out of a very limited pool of movies I saw this year, are:

1) The Hurt Locker
2) Fantastic Mr. Fox
3) Ponyo

Star Trek was amusing, but the villain was lame, as was the plot, so... it doesn't make the cut.

Still looking forward to seeing Up in the Air and A Single Man.

RichC said...

I'd have to go for Inglorious Basterds as my favorite movie of the year. But one movie that is in my top 5 but hasn't been mentioned yet is Sugar. It's a story of a Dominican baseball player sent from the academy in the Dominican Republic to a minor league team in Iowa. I thought it was going to be a typical sports movie but it turned out much better than that.

The Mad Hatter said...

Count me as one who thought that THE HURT LOCKER was tops. If there was any justice it'd take Best Picture, but I'm not holding my breath.

My top five of 2009 would go like this:

1. THE HURT LOCKER
2. AN EDUCATION
3. PRECIOUS
4. INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS
5. AVATAR

Anonymous said...

in no order:

Star Trek: a blast of fresh air into a dearly-loved franchise. Great fun from beginning to end.

Up: another home run for Pixar, and another person here who sobbed through the Carl/Ellie montage.

District 9: staggering, truly original, shocking, thought-provoking, brilliant. I would call it one of the top five films of the decade.

nikki said...

Taken, The Proposal and The Blindside are my top movies. I know the snobs of movies wouldn't count those at all, but in my life I like movies and TV shows that have happy endings.

Mike F said...

Oh, I liked Away We Go too...really fond of it...though I had forgotten about it

Nevada Smith said...

1. Inglorious Basterds-
2. Avatar-one of the most fun moviegoing experiences ever
3. Hurt Locker
4. District 9

I am really at a loss about Up. I don't see it-for me Coraline was 100 times better. I am so out of the loop with many Pixar films-I was not a big Wall-E fan either.

Craig Ranapia said...

Nikki:

Guess I'm going to get drummed out of the film snobs club, because I rather liked 'The Proposal' -- Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds played nicely off each other and a solid script Yes, it's slight and predictable but still nice to see a comedy that doesn't go the Judd Apatow route of infantile ca-ca jokes, and stunted man-children stoners vs. the castrating shrew.

rosseau said...

Best Film: Up in the Air*
Best Film that could be a great novel: A Serious Man.

Those are #'s 1 and 2 for me. For the indie crowd, I would highly urge Bright Star, Goodbye Solo and Everlasting Moments.

*Have yet to see The Hurt Locker

srpad said...

For pure entertainment, I would say a tie between Star Trek and Avatar with ST maybe having a slight edge.

For pure fun, Zombieland.

The best sequence would be the opening montage from Up.

Best non genre film, Adventureland

Compiling this list reminded it me it was a pretty darn good year for movies. I also loved District 9 and want to shoe horn that somewhere in here.

You didn't ask but my vote for the worst: Transformers 2 It stank so bad that it went back in time and made the first one, which I thought was not so bad, stink.

Hatfield said...

Fantastic Mr. Fox. Yeah, it was the only movie I went to this year, but it was pretty great.

Joey Germ, MNIS said...

Favorite was Half-Blood Prince, with Star Trek being second.

film script said...

Avatar and District 9!

Rev/Views said...

District 9.

LoopyChew said...

I haven't seen The Hurt Locker yet, but I've wanted to, and your comparison of it to Three Kings makes me want to watch it moreso. Unfortunately, lack of company with whom to watch it (and a limited release schedule) kept me from watching it the first time around.

The movies I watched which stuck with me the most were (500) Days of Summer and District 9, although the prologue of Up was the most heart-wrenching fifteen minutes of any movie this year. Star Trek was also an excellent entry into this year's list, and I've watched it multiple times in different theaters (different groups of friends and family).

Inglourious Basterds also gets high marks, mostly for Tarantino (who knew his signature meter of dialogue flowed so well into French and probably German?) and Waltz. I too am surprised that people were disappointed at the lack of action, considering Tarantino has always been about dialogue (at least to me).

District 9, and you'll have to excuse the incredibly bizarre comparison, is the political sci-fi equivalent of Once--one of those films that is perfect as is, that keeps you glued to the screen through every sequence with the kind of raw action and emotion that money not only can't buy, but tends to buy its way out of. While I suppose there's room for a sequel--and while I heavily suspect diminishing returns will apply, I would go watch it regardless--this movie is a perfect one-shot.

(500) Days of Summer is up there because Zooey Deschanel is my movie girlfriend, and this film simultaneously manages to put her on a pedestal, tear her down from that pedestal, accurately describe my anguish at not being able to land her in real life (I'm sure if I did, I'd follow it up with a musical number, too), and portray a properly realistic relationship in an entertaining fashion. Also, the opening disclaimer still cracks me up.

Other movies I'll have to watch include The Fantastic Mr. Fox (not out here yet), Where the Wild Things Are, and I suppose I also need to put in the obligatory return to Disney 2-D animation (not out here yet). Also, I keep hearing about Moon, but the odds of that coming overseas before a DVD deal is practically nil.

While very little can top last year's big-budget one-two combo of Iron Man and The Dark Knight, 2009 was a more solid year in movies overall. Even Avatar was pretty awesome, if it didn't make my list.

ben said...

i've only seen about 12 movies from this year, most of which have been bad or mediocre. there are a few more mainstream films from 2009 that i plan to watch in the new year, along with more foreign stuff as it becomes available.


for now i'd say "polytechnique" is the best i've seen, though it's nothing to write home about.

nice blog! i enjoy visiting.

jasctt said...

HUMAN CENTIPEDE

Billiam said...

I finally saw both Star Trek and Up recently, but going to rent a movie mainly made me realize just how few movies I've been to this year. More of a TV guy, though I do hav a list of movies I need to see (I also have a list of classic movies I need to see, including Shawshank Redemption, and The Godfather: hadn't seen Rocky until about a year ago).

Greg said...

Favorites in no order:

Moon
Up
District 9
Role Models
The Brothers Bloom
Zombieland
Away We Go

Biggest disappointment: Public Enemies
Worst movie: Gentlemen Broncos

Lord knows I grew up wishing "Bastards of Young" would play under opening credits of a movie, but I wanted to like Adventureland more than I did. Maybe the problem was seeing it so soon after catching up with Son of Rambow, another '80s nostalgia pic which blew me away.

Still haven't seen:
Basterds
Hurt Locker
Wild Things
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Up in the Air
Avatar

JanieJones said...

Hurt Locker, Up In The Air, A Serious Man, An Education, Adventureland definitely sated me as part of Gen X. Bright Star was an excellent film, it's a shame that it got buried and didn't reach more of the masses, I tend to like most of Campion's work. The Young Victoria-I enjoyed this film immensely, Emily Blunt was quite good. Seraphine (excellent foreign film) that ran a gamut of emotions, Broken Embraces, Julia, Disgrace and Everlasting Moments.
Would love to see Crazy Heart.

Also, it was mentioned that one preferred television more now than film because of some of the wonderful quality that is being put out there. I agree. There was an article I read yesterday regarding the same idea. If anyone is interested, I'll dig up the link.
Alan, you have been a part of decade where the face of television has entirely changed.
I'd like to thank you for your hard work and wish you and yours a Happy New Year.

Josh said...

I feel a bit surprised that I'm making something like the 80th comment, but I'm the first person to completely echo your thoughts, Alan. Though I've seen (by your count, I guess) more movies this year, Up and The Hurt Locker are easily my two favorite films of the year.

Granted, thanks to my wife being a bit under the weather, I've yet to see Up in the Air, Nine, and a couple other Oscar contenders, but I'll be surprised if those films or any others top Up or The Hurt Locker.

Other favorites include In The Loop, District 9, Avatar, Star Trek, Inglourious Basterds, Adventureland, Coraline, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Where The Wild Things Are, Public Enemies (am I the only person who loves this movie? Sigh), and a few others I'm sure I'm forgetting. Maybe not the best year for 10 Best Picture nominees, but not a terrible year for movies, especially some of the big-budget films.

Anonymous said...

All the reviews I've read of The Hurt Locker have made it sound extremely depressing, so I've avoided it. But if Alan's comparing it to Three Kings, I'm sold.

I did not see many movies this year, but District 9 and Up in the Air were both great.

Alan Sepinwall said...

But if Alan's comparing it to Three Kings, I'm sold.

It's not exactly like Three Kings - it's not particularly funny, and it doesn't have the caper elements or the political commentary - but it's just the best movie in the genre I've seen since.

Also, it's not depressing. It's just incredibly, white-knuckle intense. The main character spends most of the movie trying to disarm IEDs, and the movie makes you feel like you're right there clipping the wires along with him.

Anonymous said...

My sisters and I (who all have varying tastes in film & tv) all enjoyed Pixar's "Up." (I profess that I still love "The Incredibles" more than "Up").

I confess that I did not like "The Hangover" although I suspect that it was primarily because I saw it on DVD at home. I imagine it would have gotten much better response from me if I had seen it in a theater.

As for "Julie and Julia," I was just happy to see a film that showcased women's stories. Far too often Hollywood places women on the sidelines of the film. I will say "Julie & Julia" was better than "Amelia."

harleydgal95 said...

Taking Chance...awesome from beginning to end

Claudia said...

Let the right one

Alex Mullane said...

Whoever it was that said 'Hunger' up there... It was a brilliant movie, but I'd really struggle to call it my favourite. Or even to say that I enjoyed it. Very, very hard to watch*.

* With the exception of the near 30-minute one shot, one take conversation in the middle which was pure awesome. The rest was pretty gruelling to sit through, however effective it may have been.

James Kang said...

There are still so many movies I haven't seen (A Serious Man, Up in the Air, Where the Wild Things are) because I almost always wait for the DVD. But out of the ones I've seen, my favorite is Bronson, the story of Britain's most violent prisoner Charlie Bronson. It's bizarre, brutal yet graceful, gorgeously shot, and hilarious.

My second favorite was Inglourious Basterds. Phenomenal. Tarantino is the king. I can't wait to see it again.

Craig Ranapia said...

Am I the only person who found re-releases more engaging that new films? 'Gone With The Wind', 'The Wizard of Oz' and 'North by Northwest' (my favourite Hitchcock film) all got luscious BluRay releases this year, with tasty new extras. Criterion did their usual A-grade work on two-thirds of the filmography of one of my favourite American indie directors, Whit Stillman. And the list goes on...

renton said...

Most of my top 10 has been mentioned already --- but let me add a vote for "I Love You, Man"

Anonymous said...

Inglorious Basterds was definitely the movie I looked forward to the most, but fell far short of 'favorite'. The one that stays with me the most is Mary and Max [stop-motion animated Austrialian film; real, moving & decidedly not "kids' stuff"]. Worth seeking out! Up would probably be in my top three.

erin said...

@Renton: I forgot about that! I loved it, thought it was one of the more clever and sweet comedies (dare I say romantic comedy?) I'd seen in a long time. Paul Rudd continues to do right by me.

Juliette said...

This was a good year - Moon, District 9, Star Trek, Half Blood Prince. I haven't seen The Hurt Locker yet.

Abhimanyu Das said...

I think it would be a tossup between In The Loop, Inglourious Basterds and Moon. Bad Lieutenant was a close contender.

The Hurt Locker is a solid movie with some incredible isolated sequences but I don't understand why it's being lauded to the heavens this way. I think Bigelow's done better.