I know the norm is a “top ten,” but I couldn’t help myself. I thought 2009 was a great year for movies, most notably sci-fi films. Before I set out my list, though, I need to name the films that I didn’t get a chance to check out this year due mainly to availability: Precious, A Single Man, Crazy Heart, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Fantastic Mr. Fox, An Education, Nine, and Brothers.
1. A Serious Man – I’m a huge Coen Brothers fan and I thought this dark comedy was brilliant.
2. Inglourious Basterds – Funny, brutal, and filled with tension and great performances.
3. District 9 – Smart sci-fi mixed with some gory action…I loved it.
4. Avatar – A visual feast, and the story and dialogue are not as bad as the haters make it out to be.
5. Watchmen – Underwhelmed most critics, but I thought this graphic novel adaptation was spot on.
6. Moon – Interesting sci-fi coupled with an award worthy performance by Sam Rockwell make this a must see.
7. Star Trek – Most fun I had at the theater all year.
8. The Informant! – Matt Damon may have been nominated for “Invictus,” but this performance was the one to see.
9. Antichrist – Strange, disgusting, and beautiful; I wouldn’t recommend it to many people, but I can’t lie, it was one of my favorites.
10. The Box – Absolutely destroyed by most critics (and filmgoers, for that matter), I found Richard Kelly’s latest mindbender to be endlessly fascinating. Can’t wait to watch it again.
11. The Hurt Locker – A terrific trio of performances along with some extremely tense moments made this one of the year’s best.
12. Zombieland – A hilarious zombie/comedy. What else can I say?
13. Up in the Air – Clooney is perfect in this timely tale about life and what it’s all about.
14. The Road – Criminally delayed then dumped into theaters, this faithful adaptation of the depressing novel deserved better treatment, and a wider audience.
15. JCVD – A painfully honest look at Jean Claude Van Damme. Technically, this came out in 2008, but it wasn’t available on DVD until this year, so I’m including it. Van Damme gives a great performance…I’m not joking.
There were also some notable comedies this year that didn’t make the cut for me but are definitely worth checking out: The Hangover, In the Loop, Observe and Report, and I Love You, Man.
It was also a great year for documentaries. I suggest checking out Tyson, The Cove, and Food, Inc.