Once again, it's that time of the year...and I'm not talking about Christmas. It's that one special time where you scramble your thoughts around and choose your Top 10 films of the year. 2009 was a pretty interesting year overall, and I'm glad to see that studios released a wide variety of movies that everyone could enjoy. There were many films that took me by surprise, and there were some that gave me nauseating headaches. But not to worry, this list consists of the ones that stood out to me. These are the ones that left the biggest impact on me when I walked out of the cinema. As always, I'm sure there will be some debate and some people might even be tempted to come and set my house on fire...but I'll take the risk. Here it is ladies and gentlemen: My Top 10 Films of 2009.
Disclaimer: I tried my very best to get to every film I could this year. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get to them all. Here are some films that might have the potential to make my Top 10: The Messenger, Precious, and Avatar.
10. Drag Me To Hell
I was really pleased to see Sam Raimi get back into top form (especially after the tragedy of Spider-Man 3
). Raimi gets back to the basics and delivers a solid horror film with his infamous comedic overtone. There are some parts that are downright disturbing, while other scenes are completely hilarious. The film gets right in your face and doesn't hesitate to get to the good stuff. Alison Lohman and Justin Long dish out some solid performances, and the Raimi Brothers give us a simple, yet memorable plot to enjoy. Undoubtedly, this is a guilty pleasure, but I'm glad that the critics felt the same way after watching it.
9. Julie & Julia
Did I just put a chick-flick in my Top 10? Well, labeling this film a chick-flick doesn't do it justice. It's a comedy, a drama, and a romance all in one. This film really took me by surprise, and I had no intentions of putting it in my Top 10 until after the credits were rolling. Meryl Streep gives a mesmerizing performance as Julia Child, and Amy Adams does a great job playing the frustrated Julie Powell. What makes the film so good though is it's smooth narrative. It flawlessly displays the lives of these two women, and shows us the crazy parallels that exist between them. It's a film you'll want to watch again and again, but it does have one little problem: Watching people eat delicious food for two hours leaves you hungry as hell.
8. Public Enemies
I personally think this was the one film that left movie-goers with the most polarized reactions. Some thought Michael Mann's new crime-drama was a great hit, while others thought it missed the heights it was supposed to reach. By putting it at number eight, you can already tell I loved the movie. Michael Mann never fails to disappoint me, and I thought Public Enemies
was a magnificent piece of work. Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, and Marion Cotillard give us incredible performances and Mann really brings the 1930's to life. There's no doubt John Dillinger was a complicated guy, and I think Public Enemies
does a great job of portraying that. While the film had some short-comings, it wasn't anything enough to hold it back from putting it on my Top 10.
7. The Hangover
"Okay, well maybe we should tell that to Rain Man, because he practically bankrupted a casino, and he was a ruh-tard!" Sorry...had to put that there. That line alone had me laughing out loud in what would be the funniest film of the year. Todd Philips gives us a brutal comedy that really does show that not everyone can handle Vegas. Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, and Justin Bartha give some crazy performances and it's hilarious watching these characters try and get through their hazardous hangover. One crazy night definitely leads to one crazy day. While I thought the film was hyped up a little too much, it was still one hell of a joy-ride, and I hope the proposed sequel is just as good.
6. Paranormal Activity
There are films, and there are events. Oren Peli's low-budget horror flick was definitely an event that had everyone going crazy. Paramount's 'Demand It' marketing technique really payed off, and everyone had to rush out and see what all the hype was about. I was fortunate enough to see the film prior to its national release, and it didn't disappoint. I was really glad to see a horror film get back to the old-school basics (i.e. swinging doors, creaky noises, tension build-up etc.) and the film utilizes these scare tactics very well. The performances are great, and Peli delivers a top-notch horror flick that does the genre proud. It's one creepy film, and while its not the 'scariest film of all time' it sure had me jumping in the cinema.
5. Star Trek
I was never really a fan of Star Trek
. To be honest, I used to avoid the movies when they came on television. The only reason I saw this film was because my brother had interest in seeing it...and I'm really glad he dragged me along. This was one of the biggest surprises of 2009, and I was completely amazed at what J. J. Abrams was able to do with the Star Trek
universe. It's a film that old-time Trekkies could enjoy, but it also allowed us newcomers to enjoy it as well. It introduced the world of Star Trek
perfectly, and I had an incredible time watching this at the cinema. The special effects were top notch, the performances were solid, and the story was exciting. This is the kind of experience you want when you go to the movies, and I'm glad I was able to go along for the ride. Live Long and Prosper!
I'm just waiting for Pixar to fail, but I highly doubt that's going to happen in my life time. What Pixar accomplishes with this movie is tremendous, and it seems that they set the bar higher for computer-animated films with each of their releases. This film is really an up-lifting experience that can make even the grouchiest bastard in your neighborhood a happy camper. Up
is a must-see. No matter how old you are, no matter your race, no matter where you live: anybody can relate to it...plus the vicious dog with the pussy voice is always funny to watch.
3. District 9
Neill Blomkamp and Peter Jackson give us one of the most thought provoking and intriguing films of the year. District 9
is one disturbing sci-fi flick that reminds us that the human race is filled with ass-holes! The movie tackles so many themes, and it's a memorable experience that will stick with you for quite some time. Sharlto Copley gives an incredible performance as Wikus van de Merwe, and the film gives out some very impressive special-effects for only a $30,000,000 budget. It's no exaggeration to say that this film is heading down the road to being a 'sci-fi classic'. There's no doubt in my mind that it deserves the title.
2. Inglourious Basterds
It literally kills me putting this at number two, but it had to be done. Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds
is a film beyond words. It's difficult describing it because the only way of truly understanding it is by watching it. I personally think that this is his best work since Pulp Fiction
. The story is flawless, the performances are incredible, and the dialogue is top-notch. I was completely taken away by Tarantino's World War II 'spaghetti western'. It was a bold and risky attempt, but the result was fantastic. Brad Pitt, Mélanie Laurent, Diane Krüger all do an amazing job with their characters, but the best performance came from Christoph Waltz. Without a doubt, Waltz gives us one of the most charming and ruthless villains of the last decade. I really hope he grabs an Oscar at the Academies, because he deserves it. I loved
this movie, and it was a complete surprise since Tarantino films are always a hit or miss with me, but this one really is his masterpiece.
1. The Hurt Locker
Tarantino's flick had the number one spot...until I got the opportunity to see Kathryn Bigelow's epic Iraq war-thriller. This film really blew me away, and its probably the most realistic depiction of the Iraq War I've ever seen. It really was a mind-blowing experience watching these soldiers carry out their rotation in Iraq. The emotions are gritty, the suspense is intense, and most importantly the characters are authentic. Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, and Brian Geraghty give some of the best performances I've seen all year and Bigelow's direction is definitely worthy of an Oscar in my opinion. The film gets you in the head of these soldiers, and you're almost drained by the moral dilemmas they go through. The characters go through some extreme psychological torment, and you're really left thinking about the war and the lives it has effected after the film is over. The film is also inspiring, because you not only see the pain these soldiers go through, but you also see the motivation that keeps them going. This is a must-see movie, and I hope it gets more exposure as time goes on. It definitely is the best film I've seen all year.
There you have it! These were my Top 10 films of the year. I was very pleased with 2009, and I hope 2010 does just as well or even better. Let me know what your Top 10 Films of the year were. Happy Holidays everyone, and have a great New Year. See you guys later!