Sunday, December 20, 2009

My Favorite Movies of 2009

12. Precious
I loved that Clarisse ("Precious") experienced so much hardship but refused to be a whiny victim. I was so prepared for the heaviness of this movie that I was pleasantly surprised by all the moments of lightness ("my favorite color is fluorescent beige..."). Don't get me wrong - it is an intense movie - but the acting is fantastic. I loved that the big moments were saved for last, and loved Mariah Carey's understated performance.

11. The Blind Side and The Proposal

What can I say? 2009 was the year of Sandra Bullock. Neither of these movies ignited any passionate fires inside of me, but I left both theaters smiling.

10. Up
Pixar movies are just plain fun, which I think we sometimes take for granted. They're also incredibly touching - and clever. The dogs? Kevin? Hilarious.

9. Inglourious Basterds
This movie had the best villain I've seen in a LONG time, played by Christoph Waltz. The perfect example of a bad guy who thinks he's the good guy in his own story.

8. Away We Go
Some of the supporting characters were a bit too kooky for me, but I loved watching the adorable central couple (John Krasinski and Mya Rudolph) in their search for a perfect family. Extra points for depicting a pregnant woman in a way besides morning sickness. Also, Chris Messina absolutely blew me away.

7. Public Enemies
I think this movie got a bad rap - but I really liked it! John Dillinger was a such an interesting character that I had to keep watching.

6. Up in the Air
I didn't love it as much as I loved Juno, but this was a touching and entertaining movie. You kind of forget you're watching George Clooney, and that's pretty hard to do.

5. Julie & Julia
From blog to blockbuster! The real-life story makes me happy, and I thought the parallel journeys of these interesting women was fun and original. To quote Modern Family: "They could cast Meryl Streep as Batman and it'd be the right choice."

4. The Hangover
Hands down, this is the movie that made me laugh the most this year. The investigation element added a fun new element to an otherwise simple comedy, and each member of the cast was perfect. My favorite line: "I keep forgetting about the Tiger."

3. An Education
This film really blew me away. The story is incredibly simple, but it's told in a rich and compelling way and I was completely thrown by the twist. Carey Mulligan absolutely deserves all the buzz she's getting for playing a teenager who may not be as mature as she thinks, and Peter Saarsgard is powerful and enigmatic. The film balances comedic and serious moments as it maneuvers through endless shades of gray.

2. 500 Days of Summer
I love anything that subverts a genre and messes with expectations. It's a romantic comedy...that isn't exactly a romantic comedy. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is irresistible, the characters are incredibly well-drawn, and the nontraditional ending somehow still leaves you feeling satisfied. Plus, the music is fantastic - and there's an adorable dance number!

1. Fantastic Mr. Fox
I've always loved Wes Anderson, but even if you're not a huge fan of his tragic comedies and quirky retro aesthetic, I think you'll still be impressed by the cleverness of and whimsy of this Roald Dahl adaptation. It's a fun adventure that's thoughftul, touching, and downright funny. My favorite detail: using the word "cuss" in place of "f---." Example: "What a clustercuss!"

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Kristan said...

I have seen a whopping 3 of these movies. Thanks for basically writing The 9 Movies Kristan Should Watch Next list. :P

The 3 I've seen were Up, Julie & Julia, and 500 Days of Summer. I'm totally with you on Up and 500, but I thought J&J was a little long for what it was... However, the acting was fantastic! (Meryl Streep's imitation of Julia Childs' voice kind of made me want to die, lol.)

Jeff said...

Public Enemies? I'd be interested to hear more of what you thought was appealing about this film. What did you think the screenplay did right?