Okay, so I’m about a month late on this post but I’m doing it anyway; I’ve been waiting on getting my hands on some of the late awards season releases, sue me. As a disclaimer, I am not including Avatar in the list because it was released in December and frankly was there any chance it wouldn’t make a top ten list anywhere?
My top ten list is as follows:
This is a tough movie to describe, because throughout the film there really is only one character… although Kevin Spacey chips in and plays a talking computer Sam Rockwell does amazingly well. Clint Mansell’s musical score is easily the best of the year.
Yet another fantastic movie brought to you by the biggest badass of them all, Clint Eastwood. I have no interest in rugby, or South Africa for that matter, but this movie was inspiring. Some of the acting was shaky at times and a few times it was tough to make out what they were saying in heavy accents. This film would be much higher if acted perfectly.
08. The Messenger
Woody Harrelson just may get his first Oscar for his supporting role as an Army Officer assigned with the task of notifying the next of kin upon a soldier’s death. However, this movie belongs to Ben Foster, prepare to see his face as a leading man again soon.
07. District 9
A well delivered original science fiction story… who would have thunk it? In the days of Hollywood remakes and reboots it was great to finally catch a Sci-Fi story that hadn’t been regurgitated twelve times before. Here’s to hoping there is a District 10 on the horizon.
A gut-wrenching story about a Marine who comes home after being taken as a POW in Afghanistan, much to the amazement of his family who believed he was dead. The young cast play excellent with one another and just when you think you know where it is going, you’re wrong. Natalie Portman and the two young daughters are fantastic.
The road trip comedy that became a pop phenomenon while being instant quote-tastic. The movie is flat out hilarious and one of the best comedies in years. “Thanks a lot Bin Laden.” I’ve probably watched this movie ten times and it just never gets old. Sadly it is the only comedy to make the list.
04. The Hurt Locker
This movie is the epitome of pressure packed. From the crazy bombs, to the insurgents firing from rooftops, to the unspoken self doubt and the constant sweat on Jeremy Renner’s brow… it’s intense. The crazy thing is, throughout the movie I’m thinking to myself, “there are men who do this insane crap everyday!”
I actually watched this movie in 2008 but the official release was 2009.It is a rather short film (just under 90 minutes), but during that time it packs a huge punch. Too bad more teenage girls don’t have kickass fathers like Liam Neeson; he could give Jason Bourne a run for his money as he was in top macho-badass-form.
02. Inglorious Basterds
The final 15 minutes of this film are some of the most intense yet most enjoyable you’ll ever find. Christoph Waltz as Colonel Hans Landa just may be one of the most memorable villains ever to hit the screen. The tension and the dialogue in the opening scene help make this one of Tarantino’s best. If Waltz doesn’t win an Oscar there will be blood (bad pun).
01. Up in the Air
Finally the movie that will win George Clooney the Oscar he deserved last year for Michael Clayton. Take that Daniel Day-Lewis, you brilliant bastard! The movie takes you on a fantastic and witty journey across the country that almost makes you want to fly again… if it wasn’t for those damn diaper bombers. Seriously though, there is nothing really special about this film but it just hits on all cylinders and everyone can relate to it in some form or another.
This was a great year for films based upon the modern military man, and I couldn’t make this list without mentioning the amazing HBO movie “Taking Chance.” Similar to “The Messenger” mentioned above, “Taking Chance” is a movie focusing on the death of a hero, and the Marine Officer who escorts him home. It is a touching and humbling movie that every American should see. It is a true story.
Overall this was a tough list to whittle down. There is a clear absence of big budget blockbusters but there’s good reason for that. Star Trek was a great movie but I wouldn’t consider it awards worthy, and it was the only blockbuster sans Avatar worth a damn in 2009. There is also a severe lack of comedies on the list but “Extract," “The Informant,” “Up,” “Zombieland” and “I Love You Man” were all really, really good.
I also haven’t had a chance to watch some of the more obscure movies that I’d love to see including "Fantastic Mr. Fox," "A Single Man," "Crazy Heart" and "Nine," but either way I feel my top ten list is pretty solid. Time to make some popcorn.