Inglourious Basterds and District 9 are the tops of 2009

by: Nathan Swank

It is time for my top 10 list of 2009.  I know we are into February of 2010, but it usually takes another month after the New Year to see all those “Oscar” contending movies that the studios cram in before the year is up.  It really didn’t make much of a difference since most of those films did not make my list, but I believe I saw most everything I think would matter with the exception of a few stragglers.  This year was a fairly decent year.  Overall, I liked more movies this year than last, however my top couple of movies last year may have been better than my top few this year.  At first, I felt there were no overwhelming standouts but after some time and a few repeat viewings, I disagree with that notion.  Surprisingly, the Horror/Sci Fi genre represents half my list.  Which is unusual but definitely makes for a more people friendly list than usual with all films that are rewatchable.  The Academy Awards decided to nominate 10 Best Pictures this year.  So if I were in sole control of the Academy, these would be my nominees.  I will count them down.  You can click on any of the titles to read their full reviews.

Brad Pitt in Inglourious Basterds

Honorable Mentions: (In no particular order but all struck a chord with me in some fasion)

Precious: BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH BY SAPPHIRE, Food Inc.This Is It, The Hurt Locker, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Road

10.  Up In The Air– I like this film more as time goes on.  I can relate and appreciate the concept of being your own island without any material possession, traveling, just being responsible for you.  However not being able to share those good moments with people you love ultimately loses any argument for that life style.  Good performances all around and an interesting insight to a job of firing people.

9.  Zombieland– Wild, crazy, brain-bashing fun!  I can’t wait for the sequel.  A how to hand guide on what to do and what not to do when the world is over run by zombies, which will obviously happen in our lifetime, so we better start preparing.  Quite possibly contains the best cameo ever.

If some of you think this would be a ridiculous nomination, you can plug in PRECIOUS instead…or you can just shut up and deal with it.

8.  Up– It has its flaws but a Pixar film with flaws is still better than most any other movie out there.  There is an 11-minute opening montage that has more character development, story, depth and heart than most films have in 2 hours.  I’ll admit I teared up but then Dug the talking dog and his fellow canines entered the scene with brilliant laughable gems like, “Ha, it is funny because the Squirrel gets dead” or “I like you temporarily.”  Oh the loveable positivity and short term attention of dogs. “Squirrel!”

7.  The Hangover– I love it when a comedy comes together.  How many of us were a little disappointed when the bachelor party is about to start their night only to cut to the next morning?  Shame on us for that inkling of doubt because the journey of discovering what they went through was like a comedic LOST episode only actually tying up all the loose ends.

6.  500 Days of Summer– The opening says, “This is not a love story.”  But it’s my favorite love story I’ve seen in a very long time.  Told in a clever fashion by randomly pulling out days within the 500 to see the gauntlet of emotions one goes through in a relationship.  Whether or not we are meant to be with someone they might just be the reason we find the right one.  The editing, structure, and style mixed in with great actors and an awesome soundtrack makes it hard not to smile all the way through this film.

5.  Star Trek– Wow what a ride!  This is funny without being cheesy, action filled without being ridiculous, smart without ever loosing the plot.  All summer blockbusters should take note, this is how to make a fun action movie but still have a brain.  Dare I say, Best Star Trek Ever.  Ok, maybe I should rewatch WRATH OF KHAN.

4.  Avatar– I struggled with where I wanted to put this one, but the overall movie theater experience in 3D was one of the best I’ve had in so many years.  Sure the story has been told before but never with so much style.  So I have to give it up for Avatar, especially since I had my doubts.  James Cameron created a world where we would all want to live and with the 3D technology we get just that for 3 hours.

3.  Paranormal Activity– I think I’m in the minority putting this film at number 3 or even in my 10 list at all, but this is the scariest movie I’ve seen in a loooong time.  I don’t care about you naysayers.  This is not overhyped and I will gladly argue against whatever film you put it up against.  Not since the Exorcist has a film affected me after I saw it.  I dare you to try to sleep alone peacefully the first night after watching this one.

2.  District 9– A film truly ahead of it’s time, touching on so many political and social aspects.  I have to appreciate the originality and raw realism even when dealing with aliens.  The effects are the best I’ve ever seen because it was seemless interaction between humans and CGI.  It’s a film that makes you see both sides of every story making it difficult to know just what to root for.

1.  Inglorious Basterds– What can I say, Quentin Tarantino can do no wrong in my book.  Easily my favorite film of the year.  Interesting story, great dialogue, humorous, dramatic, with action and continuous tension, this film is typical greatness for Tarantino.  He has the ability to keep me on the edge of my seat no matter what the scene is.  This is entertainment and creativity at it’s best with a brilliant ensemble cast.  If only this was how things really went down during WWII.

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