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My 11 Favorite Movies of 2009

I mentioned on Twitter a while back that this was the worst year of movies in a long, long time. Today, I disagree with that statement. I don’t think there were many, if any, GREAT movies this year. To my mind, there were no all-time classics like Eternal Sunshines or Kung Fu Hustles or City of Gods. However, there were more very good films than I remember there being in a long, long time. I usually end up filling out my top ten of the year list with some movies I just kind of like. This year I like them all very much – and I even like a lot of movies that didn’t make the cut, like Observe & Report, District 9, and Drag Me to Hell. So I actually think it was a good year for films. I apologize to all of you I argued with on Twitter. You were right.

All that said, there are a few movies I wasn’t able to see this year, mostly of the foreign and difficult-to-get-on-DVD variety. I was shooting a movie for a few months, so missed out on some things. For instance, I haven’t seen Haneke’s The White Ribbon yet. Being that I’m a big fan of Funny Games, and an admirer of Cache, I’d really like to see it.  What I HAVE seen are almost all of the mainstream, critically-acclaimed films, American Oscar nominees, etc.

So, of that group, here are my favorite movies of 2009:

11. Star Trek

10. Zombieland

9. Anvil: The Story of Anvil

8. The Fantastic Mr. Fox

7. Adventureland

6. The Hangover

5. Avatar

4. The Hurt Locker

3. Up

2. Moon

1. In the Loop

Being that I know you all pretty well, there are a couple of questions I’m certain you’re going to ask, so let me just answer them now:

Why the Hell isn’t District 9 in your Top Ten?

I enjoyed District 9 and thought it was a well made film. But it did something that almost ruined the film for me – it set rules for the structure of the movie (it was a documentary), and then completely changed those rules part way through the film (that is, it was being shot as if it was a documentary, but suddenly had scenes where a documentary crew couldn’t possibly be, like the inside of the aliens’ home.) I haven’t talked to a filmmaker yet who wasn’t irritated by this cheat. It was a sloppy move that took me outside of the film. That said, it’d still be in my top 15.

Avatar? Really? That’s a gay choice.

Honestly, I fucking loved Avatar. All I heard before I saw it was how poor and simplistic the story was. Yes, it wasn’t the greatest script ever, but I found it simple more than simplistic, more in the manner of a Pixar film like Finding Nemo. Plus, I thought the ideas were exciting and smart, the filmmaking was incredible, and it was one of the most astoundingly beautiful films ever. All of that made up for any lack in the story or acting department – and, again, I didn’t think those things were as problematic as a lot of other people did.

Okay, let the hazing commence – here, on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

James

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