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My 10 favorite films of 2009; also, Happy New Year!

It's the end of the year. You know, that time of the season when every website and publication names the "greatest" or "best" films of the year. I don't plan to tell you what the "best" movies of the year are, but here are my ten favorites of the many many of films I saw. Out of everything this year, these are the films that best captured my interest. These are movies I wanted to go see again and again. They're the ones I'll be adding to my DVD collection and recommend to friends. They are listed in no particular order. 


Like Wall-EFinding Nemo, and most every other Pixar film, Up is an amazing journey with amazing heart. It follows an old man who attaches thousands of balloons to his house, lifting it in the air so he can finally go on the adventure to South America that he and his now departed wife always dreamed of taking. Aside from Avatar, this is probably the most beautiful film of the year. 

State of Play

Talk about a surprise. State of Play is the best political thriller I've seen in years and is a return to form for Ben Affleck and Russell Crowe. It's also a very accurate portrayal on the state of newspapers and journalism in this country. A mistress of a senator (Affleck) turns up dead and Cal (Crowe) tries desperately to get the full story. The movie has more twists and turns than Willow's wand. It's a great time.


I've been talking about Avatar constantly for the past couple weeks. To quote my own review: "Avatar is an encapsulating visceral adventure unlike anything else and I highly recommend it." My review is here

Star Trek

I must admit to being a lifelong fan of Star Trek, but I was skeptical J.J. Abrams could reignite the franchise, and even less enthusiastic about his plans to bring back Kirk, Spock, and the gang with a new cast. It seemed an impossible task, yet somehow he pulled it off. For the first time I can think of, it's cool to like Star Trek, and Abrams achieved it without ruining what makes the franchise so great. 


My review is here. Zombies are always cool, but Zombieland is not just a zombie movie; it’s a great film that happens to feature the undead, and easily one of the funniest movies of the year. It has real characters with honest interactions, and it’s frothing with clever cinematography. 

500 Days of Summer

Oh, are my favorite. To quote my review: "Rarely have I left a film so happy and fulfilled. 500 Days of Summer tells a story that happens long after most romantic comedies finish their third act and spool the credits. It starts at the end of a relationship (Day 299 to be exact) and skips back and forth through time, picking up its pieces along the way. This is an honest, very funny movie about accepting, coping, and moving on when a relationship doesn’t work; and 99% of the time, they don’t."

Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire

I laughed when I realized I have a film like Precious on a list with Zombieland, but they're both fantastic, albiet in very different ways. Precious tells the story of an inner city girl who has it worse than most of us can imagine. She has two children, both from her father, and a mother that would rather beat her unconscious than see her happy. It's hard to watch, but the creative camera techniques and incredible performances by everyone in the cast, especially Mo'Nique, make the journey well worth it. (Review.)


With two films in my top 10, Jesse Eisenberg had a good 2009. In Adventureland, from the director of Superbad, he plays a college Grad. who has to get a summer job at a run down amusement park. A lot of people wrote this film off. It isn't as laugh out loud funny as some comedies, but the smaller jokes are supplemented by a story that is honest and warming. It's a good coming of age tale. 


Whatever Works

Woody Allen is an amusing guy. Larry David stars as Boris Yelnikoff, who IMDB describes bas as an "eccentric, misanthropic chess teacher." He teaches kids to pay chess by yelling at them for being so terrible at it. Boris thinks he's to smart for the world and has repeatedly tried to kill himself, but fails even at that. Until he meets a young girl 40 years younger than he, and marries her. Allen repeated breaks the fourth wall and has Boris monologue to the audience. Boris doesn't know the best way to live life, but watching him try to figure it out is quite hilarious and fascinating.

Up in the Air

George Clooney plays a man who is free from all human connections. He flies around the country firing people for bosses too weak to do the dirty work themselves. This film, much like Thank You For Smoking, gets us into the mind of a man with a very odd job, and odder life philosophy. Read my full review here

Honorable Mentions

Inglourious Basterds, The Hangover, World's Greatest DadThe Hurt Locker, The Box, Where The Wild Things AreFunny People, and Fantastic Mr. Fox.






Reader Comments (1)

This is an encapsulating visceral list and I highly recommend it

January 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrandon

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