The Top Ten Films of 2009

My favorite films of 2009. Since they're already semi-covered in detail in my preferred Oscar nominations and since we have best of the decade stuff coming up, let's go with some best-of particulars in lieu of paragraphs about why they're each awesome.

10. In The Loop

Best quote: " falls well within my purview!"
-"Within your 'purview'? Where do you think you are, some f**king regency costume drama? This is a government department, not some f**king Jane fucking Austen novel! Allow me to pop a jaunty little bonnet on your purview and ram it up your sh**ter with a lubricated horse c**k!"

Best Quote Safe For Work: None.

Best Post-Script: When you, presuming you're an ignorant American like myself, are informed by Wikipedia that In The Loop is a spinoff of the BBC series "The Thick Of It," which means there is at least nine more hours of Peter Capaldi as Malcom Tucker.

9. Broken Embraces

Best Left Field Soundtrack Selection: "Werewolf" by Cat Power

Best Plot Twist: Most of the plot, for once, seems plausible, which is rare for Almodovar. But late in the film we find out that someone is someone else's father, in a familiar soap-operatic moment that is never adressed again. It made me chuckle.

8. Inglourious Basterds

Best Film Within A Film: There's a German propagande movie in the big premier at the end of IB about a sniper that kills 300+ Allied soldiers, and it seems to be entirely composed of hilarious pratfalls and Wilhelm Screams.

Best Mangled Italian: "A-ree-ver-DARE-chee."

Best Mangled English: the title.

7. Sherlock Holmes

Best Victory Of The Rational: Spoilers: much of Sherlock Holmes points toward a villain that controls the Dark Arts, but the big ending reveals it was all trickery. I nearly clapped: I'm sick of things coming down on the supernatural side anytime there's a question- even if its mostle religous horror films (The Reaping, Stigmata, The Exorcism of Emily Rose) or every episode of "The X-Files" (was Scully's skepticism ever prudent?).

Best Broken Instruments: To give the score more "edges" to be in tune with the mid-Industrial-Revolution period film, Hans Zimmer just up and broke stuff. From an interview: "A lot of the percussion in the movie isn’t percussion...It’s someone totally mistreating their upright bass."

And what became of the out-of-tune piano they used? "...then I thought, rather than use big drums what would a piano sound like if you dropped it down a flight of stairs? ...We rented 20th Century Fox’s underground car park one Sunday and did hideous things to a piano."

6. District 9

Best Pre-Emptive Strike: I think an underrated part of the Best Picture race is the degree to which District 9 stole Avatar's thunder some months beforehand- who would have thought it would only be the second-best sci-fi actioner in which a human betrays his own kind to save an alien race, ultimately becoming one of them? It makes it easier to argue for The Hurt Locker, which is truly one of a kind this year.

Best Dodged Bullet: Does anyone really think that a movie based on the "Halo" video game series, which fell apart and led to District 9 instead, would have been anything but a big-budget disaster? When has a video game movie ever worked? Seriously, try to read the plot summary for "Halo" without your eyes glazing over.

5. Up In The Air

Best Trailer Of The Year: The first teaser was craftily edited to Clooney's motivational speech:

Best Scenes Of Destruction: For me, the most resonant images of our economic times from Up In The Air weren't the real people they worked into the firing scenes, but a few images of ravaged workplaces- our heroes arrive to fire the last few people in a stripped empty cubicle pool, or seeing Kendrick sitting in a room full of unused chairs.

4. Star Trek

Best Flawed Science: Though the time-travel logic in Star Trek is sound, nearly everything else is completely backwards. Among many innaccuracies, there's no way to conceivable drill to a planet's core without the hole collapsing, a black hole made out of a planet would only be the size or a marble, how big Vulcan would be in the sky on Delta Vega, supernovas can't really "threaten the galaxy," and there's no way the warp core explosion would have saved them at the end.

But you know what? It was too awesome for me to care.

Best Terrible Pun: "Are you out of your Vulcan mind?!"

3. Fantastic Mr. Fox

Best All-Purpose Curse Word Substitute: Expressions uttered by claymation animals in this film include "Cuss yeah," "The cuss you are," and "A real cluster-cuss." That's how you keep it PG.

Best Vague Anthropomorphism: The Fox family and friends all walked, talked, and listened to Burl Ives records, but I wasn't clear if they could speak directly with humans- at one point there's a recording of an animal hostage, but there's no dialogue. They do communicate in notes written with cut-out magazine letters, though.

2. The Hurt Locker

Best Abrupt Snap To Reality: One of my favorite lines from The Hurt Locker comes about halfway through- Anothony Mackie's staff seargeant, after a night of dunken bonding with his renegade superior Jeremy Renner, asks him if he thinks he has what it takes "to put on the suit," the protective gear of the OED squad leader.

In a boilerplate sappy war film or Hollywood action movie, he would of course reply: "Someday," or whatever, but instead Renner snorts a derisive "Hell no."

Best Stand-in For Civilian Banality: the grocery isle at the supermarket:

1. The Brothers Bloom

Best Opening Sequence In Rhyming Verse: "What kind of cave? -A Cave..Of Wonder! -Psh! -Shut up, Dave."

Best Card Trick: None of this is CGI:

True story.

1 Response to "The Top Ten Films of 2009"

  1. Cody-B says:

    In Defense of Halo. The movie was only going to be about the first game. And the first game's story is pretty memorable. Thr Pillar of autumn lost in space, finds a ring and crash lands on it. The mast chief has to figure out what the purpose of the ring is. The ring turns out to be a weapon, he destroys it instead and leaves as the last human. It's really quite dark while playing the final levels of the game. Especially since you're the last human who is alive and not crazy.

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