Top Ten Favorite Movies of 2009

I know that my top list is coming three months late. Being an avid follower of the Academy Awards, I wanted to see as much of the nominated films as I can before the big ceremony on Sunday. I have to say that ranking this list was a colossal undertaking. I had over fifteen movies that I gave 4 1/2 star or higher ratings to and now, I think I have definitive list.

First, I wanted to give out some honorable mentions to the movies that missed the cut; Anvil! The Story of Anvil, Every Little Step, World’s Greatest Dad, The Hangover, District 9, The Cove, and Food Inc.

Now to the my top ten favorite movies of 2009 from number ten to number one.

10. Antichrist – When I initially reviewed this movie back in October for my “Creep-A-Thon”, I gave it a five star rating. The more time passes, the more I think I thought I misinterpreted Lars von Trier’s intentions. He said that he was not doing his best creating this film. It seemed too avart-garde for its own good, especially the opening sequence with  the slow motion action, the swelling orchestra music, and un-simulated sex. To borrow a quote a fellow LAMB, Tom Clift from Plus Trailers, “It is one of the most flawed masterpieces you will ever see.” Chaos reigns!

9. The Road – This film has gotten the shaft during awards season. It was bumped from the 2008 season, because The Weinstein Company wanted to promote that horrible movie, The Reader. Yes, this movie is unflinchingly bleak  account of a world after an unknown apocalypse, but this movie is a look at world that could be possible if we continue down the path that were going. Viggo Mortensen gave one of the best performances of the year and he was overlooked. Why the resistance? It it because it’s not “a happy, happy, joy, joy” world. Is it because it’s greay, light gray and dark gray? I don’t understand.

8. Up in the Air – After the overwhelming hype surrounding this movie touting it as “the movie of moment, a movie of the times,” I was hesitant that I would be disappointed with it. In the hands of Jason Reitman, I was proven wrong. It is a wonderful take on corporate downsizing and the need for human connection. The writing is strong and the performances from George Clooney, Anna Kendrick and Vera Farmiga were exceptional.

7. (500) Days of Summer – I heard the deafening buzz surrounding this movie when it premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. This is another movie I thought I would hate. When I saw it in the theaters, the beginning of the movie bored the hell of out me, but something happened that I begun to become engrossed in this story about the girl that got away. There is one particular split screen moment that made my heart ache for a long time after the movie was over. I thought this was a breath of fresh air to dying romantic comedy genre.

6. Drag Me to Hell – I didn’t see this movie at theaters, because I thought it was weird that it was released in May. People were scared shitless seeing this movie. After hearing numerous people putting this on their top ten lists, I wanted to check it out, I’m glad I did. Sam Raimi blended the perfect ingredients of horror and comedy to create a kick ass story about a sweet young woman being forced to fight for her soul. The still above it from my favorite part of the movie.

5. A Single Man – When I heard that renowned fashion designer Tom Ford wanted to make movies, I thought that he was crazy to do so. I didn’t think that much about when it received a good response at the Venice Film Festival when it was bought by The Weinstein Company. It because one of my eagerly anticipated movies of the year. When I saw it, it was visual eye candy, the lushness of the color, the costumes, the subtlety of taking story of heartbreak not boring. Colin Firth gave one of the most nuanced, brilliant performances of the year.

4. Precious: Based on the novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” – When the trailer of this movie choked me up, I wanted to see it immediately. I was not disappointed when I saw a raw, emotional performance from newcomer Gabourey Sidibe playing titular character that has to endure the shit storm that fell on her. Her perseverance, being able to see light in world full of darkness is truly inspiring. Mo’Nique played against type to make Mommie Dearest look like Carol Brady. Wonderful piece of cinema.

3. The Brothers Bloom – This movie flew under the radar for a lot of people because it came out in limited release during the summer. I wanted to see it and it was nowhere to be found. On DVD, I saw what the fuss was about. After being left cold watching Rian Johnson debut film, Brick, I was taken by surprise by this tale a pair of brothers who are con men. One brother, Bloom wants to get out of the game, but the other wants to pull off one last job. I particularity loved Rachel Weisz who played the mark for the duo, Penelope. She is an eccentric woman that is trying to find her place in the world. I could relate to that.

2. Inglourious Basterds – Quentin Tarantino came back in a big way with the release of his latest movie. I wasn’t too hot with Grindhouse or Kill Bill: Vol. 2. The trailers for this movie suggested that it was non-stop Nazi killing movie, instead we get a beatuiful narrative about revenge on an epic scale. Tarantino wants to make the audience uncomfortable with the tension-filled scenes that stretches out five minute too long for some. He created one of greatest villains of all time with Colonel Hans Landa aka “The Jew Hunter” played by Christoph Waltz.

1. The Hurt Locker – I first heard of Kathryn Bigelow’s Iraqi war drama when it was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards in 2008. It wasn’t even released until July of 2009. I saw this movie and I was transported into a world of this bomb disposal unit circa 2004.  The tension from the first frame had me hooked. I felt like I was watching a documentary, not a fictional movie. The slow motion of a bomb exploding. You felt like you are feeling the air violently pushed out of your body. The standoff in the desert. Brilliant. The way a fired bullet falls to the ground. I loved this movie. That’s why it’s my number one movie of the year.

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About Branden

Branden: I am just your average movie nut that reviews films. Gives his take on pop culture and Hollywood happenings. Dreams to have his own thriving website and make a living doing what he is passionate about.

Posted on March 4, 2010, in Meme and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. mcarteratthemovies

    “The Brothers Bloom” made your top three! I love that. That movie was sorely overlooked by the public and by the Academy — if that script doesn’t deserve entry into Best Original Screenplay, nothing damn well does.

    • I agree, M. The movie was actually lower on my list. The more I thought about it. I had a better time watching it than I remember. The writing was great. Rinko Kikuchi as Bang Bang, she doesn’t speak throughout the movie, but I still loved her.

      I loved that their was some ambiguity with that guy that thought the brothers the con game.

  2. I did cringe slightly at Antichrist (but I think that movie just hit a chord to close to my issues with women), but love the rest of your list. I can’t believe how lost in the shuffle The Road got. It will forever be one of the most underrated movies of 2009.

    • I have never been so revolted with the movie than I did with Antichrist, but I understood that this is von Trier. His character have to suffer and be miserable at all times.

      I understood the underlying theme of the eternal struggle between men and women. von Trier had to use brutality, self-mutilation to get his point across.

      It sucks that The Road was completely forgotten. I blame the Weinsteins for this personally.

  3. Antichrist never even got a whiff near theatres here in Reno. Hoping the DVD comes out soon.

    • It’s available now on Netflix Watch Instantly. Although something about watching it on my laptop feels much more manageable than a dark theatre.

  4. I was one of the people who did not enjoy Antichrist. It felt very slow for the first hour and then all Hell broke loose for no good reason but to shock. Nice top 10 though!

    • I can understand why people were turned off with this movie. It’s not for everybody with its brtual imagery, the talking fox, the doe with the half-birthed fawn, the genital mutiltation, bloody gushing cumshots. It’s understable.

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