Sunday, June 7, 2015
MrMovieETC's TOP 10 FILMS of 2009
Greetings, Movie Lovers!
I'm glad to be back after another 4 week stint of absence. Being a new player in this game of Parenthood will do that. Not to confuse that with any sort of complaint as I've enjoyed every moment immensely! Now I feel is the time to start integrating my (previously) normal life into this new one, and I thought getting my Top Ten Film series up and running again was the best way to break the seal.
Moving back to the main subject of my favorite 2009 films, I remember looking back at this timeline with fond memories only to review the list of theatrical releases and found that, while there were some exceptional films, the gap between that and "meh" felt vast. There wasn't anything that particularly jumped out me as a decent buffer between the two sides. That being said, that did make formulating this list a more simple task than expected.
So, without further delay, here is my Top Ten Film List of 2009:
*Disclaimer: No, Avatar is not on the list. Burn me at the stake, if you felt so inclined. It was an achievement, and, hell, my first ever blu-ray purchase, so I'm not trying to take anything away from it. In truth, though, still not my favorite.
10. (500) DAYS OF SUMMER
This spot on the list was the most difficult one to place. I had "(500)" on there initially, then switched it out for another, then placed it back again, and that went on for a few more rounds. All in all, I couldn't let it go; this film, for me, is simply too much fun to let slide. It's a rom-com in a basic sense, although with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel as the two leads, it's not going to be your typical rom-com. I found this film had a good balance between the laughs and the heartbreak, and to my utmost advocacy, a not-so-telegraphed or cliche ending to a story about two lovers that found and lost each other. A decent soundtrack never hurt matters either, and I can thank this film for introducing me to the wonderful Regina Spektor.
I had picked this up as a blind buy in the beginning and I'm glad I did. It's a keeper!
Personally, there was no way "Zombieland" was going to avoid making it on my Top Ten. It's been an annual staple in my Halloween checklist since I've owned it, and in my mind, really helped cement the horror-comedy craze that "Shaun of the Dead" help create the foundation on a few years prior; not to mention it reviving Woody Harrelson's career and putting both Jesse Eisenberg and Emma Stone into the limelight more permanently. Otherwise, it's everything you could want for its particular genre: Great gore and makeup effects, well-timed laughs, a great cast sold on the concept, and finished off with one of the best celebrity cameos this side of the new millennium.
When I first saw the posters for this, I shrugged it off as another production company trying to cash in on the already tired "Scary Movie" spoof trend. Sadly, that prevented me from seeing it in the cinema, because I'm sure that would have been a great atmosphere for the first watch.
8. I LOVE YOU, MAN
Ok, I'm aware this is not the most original or thought-provoking pick to ever make a list like this. Although, what can I say? The Judd Apatow generation of comedies was still evolving, and I've almost run out of enough fingers to count on the number of times I've seen this film. Whether it was the first time, or the eighth time, "I Love You, Man" still thoroughly cracks me up. Jason Segel and Paul Rudd have a great chemistry, the script was well-written and the jokes never stopped coming. What easily separates this from many of its imitators is that it doesn't live and die on raunchiness and bathroom humor. This movie knew how to be smart and "bromance" goofy all at once, and that's not really too much to ask from an adult comedy. If you haven't checked it out before, I'd highly recommend doing so!
I first encountered "Moon" on my inaugural 24-hour movie marathon last year and it was later on the agenda that day, so I'm sincerely hoping my brain wasn't too washed out by that point. All of that aside, I felt this film deserved to be on a Top Ten list for Sam Rockwell's performance alone. He's a genuinely talented actor that I feel gets often overlooked, and one thing "Moon" certainly proved is that he can handle the screen on his own - literally - the whole film is him and Kevin Spacey's voice. What also drew me in was the stress factor of the story's circumstance, or even more specific, the claustrophobia. Watching a one-man crew on a space station on the moon slowly starting to lose his mind was effective enough to make my pulse raise a few notches and squirm restlessly on my couch. If a film can get that sort of rise out of me, I'd say it did the job and then some.
6. THE ROAD
I tip my hat to any filmmaker that wants to take on the daunting task of the post-apocalyptic genre, mainly because there aren't many moods that are well-suited outside of grim, dour, bleak, grey - you get the picture. "The Road" mixes all of those into the pot, and then for added flavor, tosses in some cannibals. Honestly, though, anyone whom has heard any brief description of this film has already made up their mind as to whether or not it's a movie they want to try and get through. It really goes without saying that this isn't the type of adventure you want to go on during a rainy Sunday after your goldfish just died. That being the case, if you care anything about good filmmaking, this is the type of film for you; it's bold, it's honest, and puts to shame even decent similar films like "The Book of Eli" and really shames the marshmallow fluff the cinematic world was offered with "The Giver" last year that felt more like an insult than honesty.
Highly recommended for sure to fans of the genre.
I've said this multiple times in the past and I'll say it again - there are 2 main things I ask for from horror: Suspense and a good story to feed that suspense. To you, "Orphan", I say thank you for understanding! For a film I didn't think much of when I first saw it advertised, this little horror flick continues to entertain time and time again. It does not rely on jump scares, it maintains a healthy pace, and most importantly, as aforementioned, keeps this subtle eerie tone that slowly and faithfully builds upon it from the beginning to the climax. Speaking of which, maybe I missed all the telltale signs, but said climax did provide a decent twist that I did not see coming.
I won't get into spoiler territory, but if you couldn't guess already, I do recommend "Orphan". Besides, horror films based on kids are bound to be effective anyway, right?
4. FANTASTIC MR. FOX
Without going into full review territory, there's not much more I can really say about the film on this platform. I love it, and while Wes Anderson is not a taste that suits everyone, I'd still like to think a majority of viewers will still get the charm. Fair warning, the antagonists' theme song will get stuck in your head; there's no avoiding it.
3. DISTRICT 9
I do make an honest effort not to drink from the same water cooler as the reviewing majority and make up my own mind as to whether a film looks worthwhile or not. Maybe those latter two are and I'll figure that out later on? Until then, I know Blomkamp has the talent that is elegantly on display in this feature.
An animated adventure with Pixar's trademark color palette, humor, and enough emotion in the first 10 minutes alone that makes it feel like your heart and soul were just drop-kicked? Please, you had me at "Pixar", no need to oversell it. In all seriousness, this is the type of Pixar that I hope we start seeing again. I have no issues with "Cars 2", "Brave", or "Monsters University", but they did lack that signature combination that "Up" had enough of to spare for a few more films. Action, heartache through loss, resistance and resolution to the ultimate friendship - that's the kind of story I can get behind and the type of film that I find gets better with each re-watch. Naturally, there's a comedic silliness to it that draw in the youngsters, but this and "Wall-E" had that feeling of being aimed towards the slightly older demographic. Either way, I rank this towards one of Pixar's best and I don't foresee that changing anytime soon.
And finally, my #1 film from 2009:
1. INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS
Truthfully, how could it not be? A fictional revenge tale against one of the most easily hated group of antagonists in the history of mankind - for the most part. Admittedly, Christoph Waltz made that difficult due to his chillingly effective performance as SD Standartenfuhrer Hans Landa. I could watch that character all day long. This is also the point where I feel Tarantino begun to hit his true stride. Nothing at all against the "Kill Bill" duo and "Pulp Fiction" - both classics in their own right - yet "Inglourious Basterds" felt like a refined focus of what he does so well with violence, gore, humor, and memorable characters.
Again, not to leave this overview short, but this is a movie that is best served to speak for itself. I loved it from the first time I saw it, and I enjoyed "Django Unchained" even more, so here's to Quentin continuing on this upward scale!
Thank you for reading! See you next week for my Top Ten List of 2008!