Posts tagged UP.

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The Best Films of the Year! (2009)

Just for a lark, here’re my top 10 films of 2009…which I posted in February 2010, to give you some idea of the lag you’re in for. Don’t wait up! 

10. Adventureland (Greg Mottola)

This came out earlier in the year and didn’t really find an audience because it’s a film for young people that doesn’t…how shall I put this…suck. It’s like Freaks and Geeks the movie and if that doesn’t get you to rent it, then you’re a lost cause. 

9. In The Loop (Armando Iannucci)

Scathing political satire is not even an adequate platitude to describe this film. Combine the absurdity of the UK version of The Office, the breakneck pace of an episode of The West Wing (when Sorkin was still in charge), and the venom and verbal bitchslapitude of Jon Stewart on a good day and you’ve got In The Loop. It’s a total send-up of the US-UK clusterfuck leading up to the Iraq War which is really hilarious but really sad when you stop laughing and realize geopolitical decisions truly are made by a bunch of stuffed shirt imbeciles like the ones in the film.

8. A Serious Man (The Coen Bros.)

Much like my all-time favorite Coen Bros. film Barton Fink, A Serious Man starts off pretty normal and then gets progressively crazier. There are a lot of unanswered questions and that may put off some viewers but I love it. The stranger and more Jewish, the better, I always say. And watching this film is way more fun than reading the Book of Job, anyway. 

7. Coraline (Henry Selick)

When I saw this in February in 3D, I thought it was the most beautiful film I’d ever seen. I still think it’s stunning and by far one of the finest example of stop motion animation. The voice acting is top-notch.

6. Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson)

Another stop motion animation picture, and curiously enough, Wes Anderson’s best to date. The things that don’t work in other Wes Anderson movies all work here. The humor is warm and consistently hilarious, the character “quirks” bypass irritating and go straight to charming, and besides a meandering narrative, there’s actually a straightforward story at play here. Unlike Where the Wild Things Are (blech, don’t get me started), if there is any justice in the world, Fantastic Mr. Fox will stand the test of time and become a true children’s classic. 

5. A Single Man (Tom Ford)

If you go into this picture with a cynical view towards the director’s fashion background, you will find plenty to sneer at. It’s too pretty, too colorful, too tailored, too darn fashionable. But those criticisms miss the point entirely, as the aestheticism of the film is entirely character-based. In fact, the entire film is centered on Colin Firth’s character and if it hadn’t been for Jeff Bridges being so good in Crazy Heart, Mr. Darcy would be getting an Oscar. 

4. Bright Star (Jane Campion)

Why this movie is getting overlooked during awards season, I’ve no idea, but I’m pissed about it. For everyone who’s every sighed out loud while reading poetry or had a crush on a dead guy you read about in an English textbook. Also, it’s just really pretty and the acting is great.

3. Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)

The more I watch and absorb this film, the more I like it. It’s Tarantino’s least genre film and probably his most complex in terms of story and theme (not character—that title still belongs to Jackie Brown). If you want to view it in this light, there are a lot of interesting things going on with good and evil and terrorism and national loyalty in Inglourious Basterds. On the other hand, it’s just a damn entertaining film. Almost too entertaining. Like QT had to hide his complexity under a Bear Jew basket…

2. The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow)

Like IB, there are two ways of looking at The Hurt Locker. You could get all political if you want. War is a drug and drugs are bad, kids. Or, it’s a really taut, suspenseful, skillfully-directed and well-acted action thriller that takes place during the Iraq War. It’s satisfying on both levels. It’s also a rare action film in that its characters are psychologically complex and equal time is given to develop their stories as is given to shit getting blow’d up real good. And character complexity makes action sequences stronger! Are you listening, Michael Bay and everyone else in Hollywood? Y’all got schooled by a girl. Suck it. 

1. UP (Peter Docter & Bob Peterson)

UP is just the best movie of the year, I don’t know how else to explain it. It’s Pixar. It’s awesome. I laughed, I cried, I learned, I loved.


Three movies that sucked to varying degrees but I really liked. Okay, loved. I fucking love these crappy movies. 

1. Watchmen (Zack Synder)

Obviously, I am a huge geek for Watchmen, so I will not be swayed in my love. However, of course some parts of this movie suck. Despite its sometime crapitude, segments of it are beautiful, moving, exhilarating and spectacular. So, there’s that. 

2. Sherlock Holmes (Guy Ritchie)

Great soundtrack, fantastic fizzy chemistry between the leads. Again, I’m a Holmesian nerd so it was a great thrill to see so much of what makes the stories enjoyable brought to life. And I’m a sucker for Victorianisms on screen. So many waistcoats!

3. Whip It! (Drew Barrymore)

Not a bad movie, but obviously, not breaking any new ground here. However, Whip It! is entertaining as all get-out and it is a GREAT movie for girls. If this movie were a person, I’d want to be its best friend. If you are a guy, you should want to date this movie.