Again I don't go to the movies as often as I should, but I still enjoy the theatre experience. It's always fun even if you have to deal with stupid and disruptive folk, candy that costs more than your usual steak dinner, and sticky floors. Still no home theatre can match the sound, picture, and overall enjoyment of watching a movie how the director intended you to see it.
Yeah I know some of you are bragging to yourself about your big screen television and sound system that probably cost as much as a college semester, but it's not the same. No you're not that cool.
Okay you're kind of cool.
So in no particular order below are my favorite films of 2009.
1. Up - It's a touching story about a widower who attempts to fulfill the dreams him and his wife once shared. Even at their worst Pixar always entertains and this one they surpassed my expectations. It was a really good script with characters that are endearing.
2. 500 Days of Summer - Quite possibly my favorite film this year. Not exactly a romantic comedy, at least in the formulaic sense, but like the script tells you from the outset, it's not a love story. What unfolds is a visually creative movie with characters that are easiy to relate to. I think all of us to some degree can imagine ourselves in this story, even when we don't want to admit it. It helps that the actors just sold it.
3. Star Trek - I'm surprised at how much I enjoyed this film given the franchise seemed to take such a downward spiral. I wasn't looking forward to seeing it, but I went and was pleasantly surprised. This reboot, much like the one recently done by MGM with Bond, reminded me of why Paramount's much loved series has a special place in my heart.
4. The Hangover - After a good amount of drinking the previous night I went to see this with some friends. Yes I was sporting a nice little hangover funny enough, but I can't remember laughing that hard in a theatre. It was hands down the best comedy in years.
5. Food Inc. - While you may assume this to be an attempt along the lines of Sinclair to expose the food industry's manufacturing techniques, and it partially is, the film is really about the politics of what and how we consume. From analyzing seed patents to farmers being bullied by large corporations this is an interesting documentary that doesn't forsake the aesthetics, which is refreshing.
6. State of Play - A smart political thriller with some good acting and realistic tension. You'd think there would be more of these, but sadly there doesn't seem to be much of a market. I may have enjoyed this so much because I haven't seen a good one in I don't know how long. That being said fans of films like this will not forget it anytime soon.
7. Where the Wild Things Are - I can understand why people didn't enjoy this film as the director turned a children's story into art house fair, but I thought it kept true to the spirit of the book. Visually impressive and more adult than some parents would like I found this touching and worth a second look.
8. GI Joe - No this is not a good movie. In fact I won't argue with you if you think it's terrible. It's a terribly flawed film, but I loved it. Unlike the works of that hack Michael Bay, this movie really captured the spirit of it's origins and damnit I had a good time watching it.
And now to the worst:
1. X-Men Origins: Wolverine - Even the special effects were awful. I enjoy a good comic book film, but that was far from it. I can see no reason for even the most die hard fan to watch this dreck.
2. Angels & Demons - I didn't expect this to be good at all. In fact it certainly wasn't my choice to see it. Alas this stupid plot with a twist you saw coming well into the first act made for a real snooze fest. You can't expect much when the source material stems from the most successful hack writer in human history.
3. Public Enemies - It wasn't bad, just dissapointing considering all the talent behind this. A story with this much potential doesn't seem to have the right to be this unsatisfying.
4. Friday the 13th. - It may appeal to fans of the franchise, of which I'm not, but others will largely laugh inappropriately. The worst sin of a horror film is to not provide a single scare and this had none.
5. Bruno - Finally we may be nearing the end of Sacha Baron Cohen's career. While Borat was amusing this film managed to do the unthinkable when making a mockumentary and that is not allow the audience to buy the premise. No one watching this believed a fashion designer from Vienna was that clueless about cultural norms and even the director knew it. Instead they needed more shock value, of which it delivered in spades.
"Much like Annie Hall did for a previous generation, (500) Days of Summer may be the movie that best captures a contemporary romantic sensibility." - Claudia Puig