Top Ten of 2009
Yeah...it's March of 2010 now...but I really wanted to make this list and my motto is "better late than never." Partially to blame for this lateness was that I felt that I couldn't truly complete this list until I had seen some choice films on DVD I was very right in doing so, because some of the last movies I've seen on DVD definitely earned a spot on my list for sure. We'll start from the bottom and go to the top.
#10 An Education
The film certainly is not one that I would recommend to everyone. You know that scene at the end of Juno when Jason Bateman's character Mark comes on to Ellen Page's Juno? Yeah, that's pretty much the entire tone of An Education. Tastefully telling the story of the seduction of a sixteen-year-old girl definitely is no simple task and the film certainly has no qualms about making the viewer feel pretty uncomfortable. That said, the film definitely has a lot of poignant things to say and features an incredibly strong cast. Carey Mulligan gives a fantastic performance (probably the best of the year by an actress as far as I’m concerned), as does Peter Sarsgaard and the supporting cast, particularly Rosamund Pike. My only gripe is that I feel that the ending is slightly rushed so that the audience doesn’t quite get the reward for their patience as they deserve, nevertheless, the film as a whole remains strong. Again, this movie is clearly not for the faint of heart (at times it's pretty depressing stuff) but it is extremely well made and worth a watch by those who are willing to take the risk.
Quote: Action is character. If we never did anything we'd never be anybody.
#9 The Lovely Bones
Okay, I have to admit, I am a complete sucker for movies that blow me away visually (except Avatar…which I did enjoy to an extent…but not as much as the rest of the world apparently.) So naturally, when I saw the visually dazzling trailer for Peter Jackson’s latest film, The Lovely Bones this film quickly became one of my most anticipated. When I read the reviews, I was very disappointed and kept my expectations low. I was delighted that I kept an open mind (or I don’t know…maybe I went in there determined to love it) because I was completely engrossed the entire time. The film is gripping, heartbreaking, horrifying, and visually stunning all at once. There’s so much going on under the surface as well that it’s a great movie to try and dissect. Also, Stanley Tucci’s performance shouldn’t be missed. I know this movie came out here in Utah in 2010, but as the IMDB lists it as 2009 I’m placing it on my list anyway.
Quote: There was one thing my murderer didn't understand; he didn't understand how much a father could love his child.
#8 District 9
I heard a lot of hype about this film, but really didn’t know quite what to expect, as I had only seen limited previews. This was a solid sci-fi flick that is set apart from the rest because it was told in a very compelling and unique way. While it took a while for the plot to get going, the ambiance that sets the film up is absolutely necessary to get the audience invested in the events surrounding the characters. Once the film does get moving, it is definitely an intense ride that keeps the viewer's attention constantly until the very end.
Quote: When dealing with aliens, try to be polite, but firm. And always remember that a smile is cheaper than a bullet.
# 7 Inglourious Basterds
This movie is pretty great. The storytelling here is very well done in every way. The movie is very engaging and suspenseful. It also features some pretty great performances too. Tarantino builds an increasing tension throughout the film that culminates in a finale that really should not be missed. I guess hooray for revisionist history films! Who thought I'd ever be saying that?
Quote: You probably heard we ain't in the prisoner-takin' business; we in the killin' Nazi business. And cousin, business is a-booming'.
# 6 TIE Away We Go
I don’t know how John Krasinski does it! Even with a beard and hipster dork glasses, he still is the most alluring male (to this gal) on the planet. Seriously, the guy is so lovable. But he is just one of the reasons I love Away We Go While the film, doesn’t really have the strongest plot (the familiar road movie formula,) it really benefits from the strong performances of both of its leads. Who knew Maya Rudolph had such dramatic acting chops in her? The film is equally hilarious and poignant. When I wasn’t laughing my head off, I was taking a deep look at myself at my ideas of love, marriage, and parenting. Away We Go is a very enjoyable watch from start to finish.
Quote: "What's wrong with a stroller?" I LOVE my babies. Why would I want to PUSH them away from me?"
#6 TIE Up in the Air
This is a very interesting movie. Its characters are real, and its story is important. I don't really have a ton to say because I don't want to give anything away, but it is just a really good movie...It's just solid. The fewer expectations you have, the more you'll understand and enjoy it. Jason Reitman does it again.
Quote: If you think about it, your favorite memories, the most important moments in your life... were you alone? Life's better with company.
#5 I Love You, Man
This movie is just ridiculously hilarious. A movie based entirely on my brother, Clayton’s favorite concept of “friend dating,” certainly has the potential for the amusement of the highest. I Love You Man definitely does not fail to capitalize on the wonderfully awkward and hilarious moments that friend dating offers (and Paul Rudd and Jason Segel have great bromance chemistry) This film is a solid comedy with great writing, and thus definite rewatchability.
Quote: If you see a cool looking guy, strike up a conversation and ask him on a man date.
What can I say? Another movie on my top ten list that I find absolutely hilarious. Could I be more predictable? This movie for me was basically the equivalent of a rollercoaster—it has just as many laughs and thrills. The characters and their dialogue are very memorable, but what I perhaps love most about Zombieland is just how outrageous it dares to be. During a certain subplot of the film, I kept thinking to myself “Is this REALLY happening…Yes yes, it is and it is amazing.”
Quote: "I'm not great at farewells, so uh... that'll do, pig." " That's the worst goodbye I've ever heard. And you stole it from a movie."
It’s no secret that I love Pixar…in fact…I’m a bit of a Pixar snob. So I definitely was pleased to find that Up was yet another triumph. While the film could have perhaps fleshed its villain out some more, the rest of the characters in Up are incredibly portrayed and serve the story well. I always find it to a film’s credit when they are able to touch an audience so quickly and Up had many members of the audience in tears within the first ten minutes (me included, which is definitely a rarity.) Up, put simply, is just a beautiful story about the adventures that life holds.
Quote: Thanks for the adventure. Now go have one of your own.
#2 Drag Me To Hell
What’s this? Another horror comedy on my list? Kent Dunn is right. This is pretty much an awesome genre, and one of my newfound favorites. What I absolutely love about Drag Me To Hell is that it demands your attention and definitely takes it captive until the very end. Like Zombieland, Drag Me To Hell is outrageous, hilarious, and extremely entertaining. I have to give the edge to Drag Me To Hell just for the scene in the parking garage alone... it is so ridiculous it's fantastic.
Quote: Here kitty, kitty....
#1 (500) Days of Summer
It’s official. I’m in love with this movie. I love its acting, I love its writing, I love its editing, I love its soundtrack, I love the heart-shaped birthmark on the back of its neck..haha wait what? But seriously… I love this movie so much that I’ve allowed it to occupy a spot in my top favorites ten not only of the year…but of all time. Perhaps more than any other film I have seen in my life, this film actually makes the audience feel exactly what the characters do from the extreme highs of the relationship to the utter lows. Don’t even get me started or else I WILL write out an essay-length response about just how perfect this movie really is. But what I love most is that this movie is real and honest. As an experience, seeing this movie for the first time was amazing, but learning from it more and more after each viewing is just as important and why it goes down as an instant favorite.
Quote: This is a story of boy meets girl. But you should know upfront, this is not a love story.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Extract, Paranormal Activity, Star Trek, Where The Wild Things Are, Adventureland, Bright Star, The Princess and the Frog.