Okay, it seems pretty pretentious to do my own top ten list. Most people barely give two farts what so-called professional critics love. And since I haven't blogged in a month and a half, and on top of that, haven't seen all the Oscar bait they release in New York and L.A. at the end of the year, I can't make a completely informed decision. Hollywood seems to think that movies can't be both artistically superior and accessible to the masses, so unless someone works their butt off for seven years on the Lord of the Rings trilogy, blockbusters are out the window in favor of self-important claptrap like The English Patient. We lesser mortals don't get all of the year's movies until late into January (half of which is usually pretty good). In fact, this is what Hollywood pretty much thinks of Middle America:
And we all know that only the people who went to Transformers 2 live in trailers like that. Anyway, whether you care or not, here is my Top Ten of 2009...
10. Duplicity - That's right. I kinda liked it, even if no one else did. It's a corporate espionage comedy with Julia Roberts and Clive Owen. But the real reason to see it is for Paul Giamatti and Tom Wilkinson as competing CEOs. Anything with Giamatti, even in a supporting role, is a winner in my book.
9. Taken - Liam Neeson's daughter is kidnapped and he starts handing out compound fractures like a Chinese lady handing out free Szechuan Chicken samples at a mall food court. The plot is nothing you haven't seen before, and his ex-wife is much bitchier than necessary, but you will get sucked in if you have a pulse, especially when he starts crossing lines that are usually off-limits in this type of flick.
8. Up - Okay, you've all seen this. It's Pixar, and it's really good, and it's amazing that it was such a blockbuster when you consider it was about a grumpy old fart.
7. Sherlock Holmes - I had a great time with this movie. Robert Downey, Jr. continues to move back up the Hollywood A-list. The re-creation of 1860s London was superb. And Jude Law is pretty terrific as Watson too.
6. District 9 - Far from a standard alien movie, this one has some real grit to it that made it one of the most popular of the year, and it helps that its message is handled with some subtlety.
5. Fantastic Mr. Fox - From the numbers on this one, a lot of people stayed away. Director Wes Anderson always does some quirky stuff, some of which I like and others I don't, but I thought this one was hilarious, and had the best replacement cuss words ever.
4. Adventureland - This was another one that kind of flopped, and it's too bad, because while it's not laugh-out-loud funny, it's a really sweet coming-of-age flick with an amusement park background.
3. The Blind Side - Another inspirational sports movie, but this one really stands out, and makes you wonder what life would be like if we all reached out to people who need someone to care.
2. Inglourious Basterds/Zombieland - This is cheating, but these two kind of belong together, at least for me, because they're both superviolent dark comedies with really twisted humor, and both made me walk out with a big smile stuck to my face. If that kind of thing is your cup of tea, you've probably already seen both, and if not, then you can just ignore this slot and move on up.
1. Sunshine Cleaning - I didn't expect to make this my #1, but something about it really got to me. Amy Adams is a single mother who cleans houses for a living and stumbles into the business of crime scene cleanup with her slacker sister, played by Emily Blunt. In the same way Lars and the Real Girl did a year or two ago, it takes what sounds like a really sick idea and turns it into something sweet and inspirational.
... And now, one to stay away from. I can't really make a full "Worst Of" list, because I try to stay away from stuff that looks stupid, boring, or whatever. But Year One was by far the worst movie I saw this year. Michael Cera and Jack Black playing cavemen? Sounds (to me) like gold. But it was straight-up retarded. It was a big loser at theatres, but I think I lost some much-needed I.Q. points by sitting through the whole thing.
Anyway, that's it. Thanks for humoring me. What were your faves/least faves of 2009? I'll be back in a few days with another post. (No, really).