Let’s continue the best of 2009 lists with movies I watched this year.
I love movies, about as much as I love music [it’s a even draw, with some exceptions] but unlike music, I am more critical of the list of movies that are at the top.
So with that, here’s the list, in order of good, better and best of the year, with a section at the end of the post of the movies that I wanted to like, and the list of movies I want to see that I haven’t yet.
Sure, it’s a “blow up everything in sight” movie. And it’s based on an end of the world destruction plot. But for me, it worked very well. Not too many cheesy lines and visuals to endure through in this Roland Emmerich film. Plus, with John Cusack as the lead actor, it made it that much more enjoyable.
- Michael Jackson’s This Is It
One of the biggest shocks to the entertainment world this year was the death of The King Of Pop. Not only was he revered as one of the best musicians of our time, he was planning a come back set of concerts that would have been his final bow. But those were not to have happened. This is the footage of rehearsals leading up to the canceled dates. Viewing this footage showed everyone that Michael still had it.
- The Soloist
I’m a sucker for a feel good story. Robert Downey Jr. plays a journalist who decides to write a story on a homeless cello player, who is brilliantly played by Jamie Foxx. This movie had all the right elements that made me glad I didn’t let this one go unwatched.
- We Live in Public
We all know at least some of the stories of how the pioneers of the Internet and Web changed how we communicate today. What most of us don’t know is the back story and how these entrepreneurs carry out their personal lives. This is the story of Josh Harris, one of the early founders of online video production. Ondi Timoner directs this documentary in a way that makes you wish you had experienced just a glimpse of the over-the-top antics of Josh’s life.
- Where The Wild Things Are
I loved this book as a kid. But to make a 90 minute movie out of it? Impossible. Enter Spike Jonze, who takes this story and makes it odd, unique, entertaining and real. Seeing how life really is through a child’s visit to an imaginary world brought both smiles and tears to my face.
- Star Trek
How do you reboot a franchise that started out great, fizzled a bit, regained it’s greatness, only to fizzle out?. You tell the prequel story. This is what Star Trek did. It came forward and told how the original members of the Starship Enterprise got to be in their positions. J.J. Abrams is a genius, in my book.
I envy the storytellers at Pixar. They have all the freedom in the world to come up with an original story that everyone will enjoy. This one of a retired man who wants to journey to a remote part of South America, taking his physical house with him, was nothing short of amazing. The characters, including a talking dog and an energetic scout, come alive as we laugh, cry and cheer at what we see unfold on the screen.
- Inglourious Basterds
Quentin Tarantino. Love him or hate him. That’s pretty much it with most people and his movies. But this latest film of his took his movie making style to a new level. The story within a story. The movie within the movie. The rewriting of war history to make you sit in your seat in awe of both the acting – Christoph Waltz was incredible – and the dialogue – Brad Pitt’s southern drawl trying to be Italian. Without question, This ended up being my favorite movie of 2009.
What Should Have Been
There are some movies that I really have high hopes for, which then start to unravel once I’m actually viewing them. These are but a few that I liked parts of, but overall thought they needed more [or less in some cases].
- The Men Who Stare at Goats
The story had promise. It worked well in book format. And the actors were great, including a lead role by George Clooney. I even enjoyed the inside joke for Ewen McGregor [has to do with his role in the Star Wars movies]. But overall, there were weak moments in the film that left me wondering why I didn’t save this movie for a DVD viewing at home.
I laughed my ass off in Borat. It was original, it was funny, it was offensive. And I am glad I saw it in the theater. Which is why I was really looking forward to seeing Brüno. I missed it in the theater [it’s first run was pretty short], so I waited to get it on DVD. I sat down to watch it and couldn’t wait for it to be over. The gags were too drawn out and I rarely found myself laughing enough. Only the ending was worth me leaving the movie in the DVD player.
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Let me explain this one. The movie was well done. It really was. And it told a good story [I haven’t read this book yet, so this is going completely from the movie]. But it was a looooong movie. So long that I didn’t fully appreciate the movie until I watched it on DVD/Blu-ray and was able to concentrate better. Not sure if it could have been made shorter, but for me, that would have helped.
Still Need To See
I try to see a lot of movies each year, but there are some that I never get around to seeing in the theater and on video. This is a few of the must-see movies that I want to view.
- Up In The Air
George Clooney never ceases to amaze me. His string of movies that he’s been in is long. Very few of them have been duds [see above]. This is one I need to see in the theater before it leaves. The critics are raving about this being the best work he’s done. I need to see what all the rave is about for myself.
A cheesy plot and a screen filled with the undead. I like a good zombie movie and this one, with Woody Harrelson, escaped me this year. Going to have to wait for early 2010 to see it on DVD/Blu-ray.
- The Hurt Locker
I like a good documentary, but too many that are based on war can be difficult to watch. But I’ve heard good about this movie and plan to watch it here soon. It’s gotten high marks from film buffs of all types. That’s good enough for me.
- The Hangover
I’m probably the last person to have not seen this movie yet. It’s on DVD now and my Netflix list says “very long wait” so if I’m going to see this, I need to find someone that owns it so I can borrow it for a night.
How Does My List Compare
And there you have my best of movies list for 2009, including some that didn’t quite work and some I still need to see. What was your best movie of the year? Any changes you see in my list you’d like to make?