Favorite Films of 2009
I had the privilege of viewing so many great films this year and that made narrowing down a top 10 list nearly impossible and quite honestly… a bit painful. Many of the ones I viewed I’m not likely to watch again because there’s only so much time in the day. As this is the case, fantastic films like Invictus, Taken, The Brothers, and Public Enemies—while all superior films in one facet or another—have been left off my list. This does not speak to their quality, but rather more to my ability to rewatch them. My idea this year was to keep this list to the “best” films, my favorite films, that I WILL watch again. That said, here’s the list:
Favorite Movies of 2009
10. New Moon: Some will say this is a film for 13-year old girls. Well, I coach 13 year olds, but that’s not what got me hooked on this series of movies and books. Sure, they’re not Oscar winners, but not all of my favorite films are. I felt that New Moon was a step above Twilight (no offense to that brilliant C. Hardwick) both in acting and writing. I enjoyed this film and it’s likely that, with the exception of my top 2, this is the 2009 film I will rewatch the most. Why is it only number 10? It’s here simply because, in the realm of excellent films from my list, this one is the lowest caliber.
9. Whip It: Oh, how I do love a good Ellen Page movie. The girl is a delight on screen and shows herself to be less Juno-y in this wonderful comedy/drama from first time director Drew Barrymore. Throw in Juliette Lewis and you’ve got one of the most enjoyable few hours I spent at the theater last year!
8. Zombieland: What can I say? Woody Harrelson had a fantastic year. This horror/comedy is chock full of moments of pure hilarity. I can’t tell you how much fun it was to see. I don’t know about you, but after watching, I know I feel a bit more prepared for how to survive a Zombie world take over!
7. The Time Traveler’s Wife: First, let me say, I read this book and LOVED it. Absolutely loved it. I hoped the film wouldn’t disappoint. It didn’t—though in some ways, it was lacking if only because the book takes place in the heads of the two characters, movies, though, are very much visual and it’s very difficult to capture those thoughts on screen (which, I believe, is also the problem with why the Twilight films don’t translate as well to the screen). Back to this film, though, I felt the performances were spot on and the writing good enough that I didn’t mind the few missing parts from the book.
6. The Blind Side: This was the surprise of my movie going experience this year. By far, Sandra Bullock’s best performance to date, this touching (if slightly Hollywoodized) true story of Michael Oher kept me glued to my seat and delighted to see another great story of overcoming adversity.
5. The Hangover: Oh Bradley Cooper, the world just discovered you this year, while all along, we Alias fans have known of your adorableness and great acting chops for a LONG while now. And Zach G., I still miss Tru Calling, but seeing your silliness grace the silver screen in several instances this year made it a fantastic year for comedy!
4. Inglourious Basterds: Pitt and Tarantino. Need I say more?
3. Up in the Air: Ok, gorgeous George Clooney is always good. Always. But he’s outdone himself in this terrific film. As good as he was, however, our little Anna Kendrick COMPLETELY stole the show. At times funny, sad, and always brilliant, Jason Reitman’s (Juno) latest offering had both the hubby and myself impressed. I’m excited to see what else he brings us in the years to come.
2. (500) Days of Summer: Zooey Deschanel, you always—ALWAYS—make movies better (and TV shows for that matter). This whimsical rom-com in reverse had be laughing, crying, and all mixed-up over and over.
1. Away We Go: Was there ever any doubt? This film (which happened to make at least one critic’s “worst of ‘09” list) tops mine for all of the reasons I’ve mentioned in previous blogs. Even upon rewatch, it remains as smart, funny and insightful as any film this year. Love it!
Honorable Mentions: Adventureland, The Proposal, Julie and Julia: Adventureland may have missed the mark in some respects, but I thoroughly enjoyed it both because of Ms. Stewart and Mr. Eisenberg (who are in two of the other films mentioned above). I was heartbroken when this little indie gem only appeared in theaters around here for ONE week. Thankfully, I got to see it later via Netflix. And I’d be a fool to leave off Sandra Bullock’s second top grossing film of her career (behind The Blind Side). This was Sandy’s year and she totally rocked in The Proposal. Performance wise, she’s always a charmer, but she hit new highs this year. And, of course, Ryan Reynolds’ appearance didn’t hurt, either. Finally, leaving off Meryl’s crowning achievement in Julie and Julia this year would be an utter mistake. Who will ever forget how she captured Julia Child so perfectly? Why isn’t this on the list? One word: Julie Powell. As much as I love Amy Adams and thought she totally nailed the part, that’s also part of the problem. If you read the book, you’ll likely feel like I did: Julie Powell is not a sympathetic or likeable character. Amy did her best with the material, and she really nailed it. But I find myself wanting to skip through her scenes and hear straight for Julia.
As I said, there are a TON of great movies this year—many more that I have yet to see and suspect would have made making this list even more difficult (so thank goodness I didn’t see them all!). In the end, I had to make my decision based on criteria I’ve not used in the past (necessarily): what did I love so much that I’ll watch it again? Ultimately, those on the top ten (AND my favorites on the honorable mention list) are likely to be re-watched. That’s not to take anything away from the others that I loved, but just to say that, perhaps, some of the subject matter doesn’t lend itself to repeat viewings. I shouldn’t complain about having a tough time with this list because, after all, it really points to the fantastic fun I had at the movies this year. Here’s to a delightful 2010! Let’s hope I have just as much trouble with my list next year!