This Is a Blog: My Favorite Movies of 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My Favorite Movies of 2009

Hands Down, The Best Movies of the Year

Crank: High Voltage

To be fair, I love Jason Statham movies in general, so I'm biased; however, it's goofy; it's cheesy, and it has more imagination per frame than any other movie of the year. In a year where storytelling was replaced by filmmakers trying to paint over crappy movies with a layer of feigned social conscience, it was refreshing to watch a movie that didn't even pretend to be bigger than it was. For people just willing to give themselves up to ridiculousness, this movie will blow you away. As soon as you have free time, rent the first Crank movie, give yourself a few days to think "How the fuck are they going to make a sequel to that?" then rent Crank 2.


"Shaun of the Dead" is a better made movie, with greater emotion and depth of character. However, I love "Zombieland" so much more. It's just pure fun. I can't remember laughing so hard for such a sustained period of time. I don't even like zombie movies, but subject matter aside, this movie was so fucking good.

Inglourious Basterds

What I hate most about Quentin Tarantino are those long dialogue scenes. The man seems in love with his own writing, and he thinks his pop culture references make him cooler than everyone else. Even worse, his philosophy about everything isn't as thoughtful as good actors make it sound. With Basterds, he finally figured out that if we're going to sit in one place for 20 minutes, we want some fucking tension. Gone are the rants about milkshakes and '70s television, and in their wake, he brings us two of the most tense film scenes I've ever seen (the farm house and the basement). As a Jew, I found this movie to be a cathartic piece of fantasy. I would never support the wholesale torture and murder of any group of people, but in a movie, safe behind squibs and prat falls, I can enjoy watching those Nazi bastards die.

Really Great Movies of the Year

Star Trek -- I can't wait to see where Abrams takes this. So many possibilities. The man James Kirk was before and the choices he made shaped the times. With Kirk changed and the Vulcans mostly extinct, I can't wait to see how they replay some of the major events of the series, then jump to The Next Generation and see how different the whole universe becomes.
Saw VI -- Real, relevant social conscience comes to the Saw franchise. It has always had that subtle hatred toward the medical community, but this movie gets so specific and so cathartic. Saw VI should be required viewing at health insurance companies. Not the best Saw movie, but definitely up there. I hope they crank these out for decades to come.

Moon -- Solid sci fi that makes "District 9" and "Avatar" look like really expensive student films. The entire movie is just Sam Rockwell and the voice of Kevin Spacey. That is really all you need. You don't need CGI for sci fi. You don't need giant aliens and themes that hit you over the head. Moon is full of twists, but not gotcha twists, twists that add to the depth of the story.
Drag Me to Hell -- Oh, Sam Raimi, how I've missed you. No one else can bring a horror movie with so many hilarious moments. I saw this movie in a mostly empty theatre. Me, my girlfriend, and one other couple left the movie with ear to ear smiles. Everyone else left confused. This is why I love Sam Raimi. He makes Sam Raimi movies, and nothing else. Luckily, Sam Raimi movies are brilliant. Sam Raimi, Sam Raimi, Sam Raimi.
Up -- It's not possible for Pixar to have a record this good. How do they do it? Statistically, they have to make one bad movie. They just don't. I'm glad I saw this as an adult because as a kid, it would have made me cry. It made me cry anyway, but as an adult, I can handle it. I've never seen a movie full of so much adventure and so much sadness.

Movies That Deserve a Sentence of Honor

I Love You, Man -- The word "bromance" cheapens the brilliance of telling a love story between two men that isn't gay but can still play up the emotional importance of male relationships.

Up in the Air -- I can watch George Clooney do anything, even fire people over and over and over again.

Taken -- What saves this movie from being a Bourne rip-off is that at its center it's about a loser father trying to prove himself to his not-so-easily-impressed daughter.

The Princess & The Frog -- When Disney isn't so mired in bullshit, they can actually crank out a movie with depth and beauty that doesn't sacrifice anything to tell a good story.

Watchmen -- A better director wouldn't have so missed the depth of this story, but then better directors tried and failed.

Inkheart -- It's like that Adam Sandler movie where the fairy tales come to life, but without the weight of being an intolerably crappy movie.

17 Again -- What sells this movie for me is how they treat the fantasy nerd that never grew up supporting character with enough respect as not mock the things he loves (see: the kids who think they're aliens in "Just One of the Boys")



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