Wednesday, December 23, 2009

COUNTDOWN: The Best Movies of 2009

Which will come out on top?
2009 was a great year for movies. Probably the best since 2003. There were so many movies released this year that it feels like there were almost too many good movies for the big man himself to fit under a Christmas tree. It was hard to pick out the best of the best. All is fair in movie watching and critiquing. May the best movie win.

A dream come true for any comic person... or a nightmare. Watchmen is considered by many to be the greatest graphic-novel ever written. And for good reason. The book was fantastic. So when the movie was announced, fan boys screamed in either joy, or terror. Watchmen was named an impossible film to make, so the level of expectation was sky rocketing. I myself grew anxious to see Watchmen. The only problem with Watchmen was that it was directed by Zack Snyder. (300) Zack doesn't know how to direct well, and for that reason Watchmen was flawed.

If you aren't aware of what Watchmen is about, then I'll give you a brief explanation. In an alternate 1980's, superheroes have been outlawed. Nixon is up for re-election, and the doomsday clock is frozen at five minutes before midnight. The only hope to prevent a full-out nuclear war is a walking nuclear super hero entitled Dr. Manhattan. Things aren't good, and they only start to get worse after an ex-superhero is murdered, and an ex-vigilante begins to investigate his death to find matters are only worse than you can imagine. With that being said, Watchmen was a good movie. Although it wasn't super faithful to the novel, and Zack Snyder's directing is funny, the movie is still an interesting take on society and superheroes. It ultimately misses the point of the novel, but was still highly entertaining to watch. Be warned though, it isn't for the faint of heart or people with weak stomach's.

The Terminator series is one of my favorite series in all of cinema. The first two were directed by one of my favorite Director's James Cameron. The third was directed by Jonathan Mostow, with Cameron only helping with the script. (Least favorite one.)

Terminator Salvation is the newest film in the series and is directed by McG. Salvation was disliked by many, and sure it has flaws. The story is full of a million gaps, the dialouge is far from the best, the film is too corny, not bloody enough, and looks like a Michael Bay film. However, the film was still a fun one to watch. It was good to see another Terminator film, even if they were sticking lines from the previous entries in any chance they got.

If you're not familiar with Terminator, then stay away from this film. If you are familiar with Terminator, then watch this one with a light heart and accept it for what it is. Also, Arnold Schwarzenegger makes an awesome cameo. Christian Bale and Sam Worthington also perform fantastically together in the movie. It isn't a very memorable film, but it works and was a fun popcorn flick.

The world waited anxiously for the return of Disney and their golden age. After several awful 2D projects, most of them being crappy sequels, the world gave up on Disney and their return to glory with the 2D animation. Then came the announcement of The Princess and the Frog. Disney told us that it would be the revival of their golden years, and that 2D animation would return. Did succeed?

Well it made the number eight spot, so you can say, yes. Yes it did. The Princess and the Frog is the first good Disney cartoon since The Emperor's New Groove. Fortunately, it's a really good one too. If aren't aware of what they story is about, then I'll fill you in a little. The story takes place in New-Orleans and centers around a girl named Princess Tiana, throughout the courses of events in the movie she ends up kissing a frog, which ultimately transforms herself into a frog as well.

It's a classic Disney plot, and pulled off beautifully. The artists and writers to this movie truly cared about this project. They knew the kind of pressure that was on them, and you can see that in the movie. Everything is handled with so much care, that this feels like one of the old Disney cartoons that we've all grown up with.

I will be honest, I don't think it's one of their best movies. I did like it more than Tarzan though. The movie lets the culture of New Orleans be the flavor of the film. They do the music in the style of New Orleans, and for that reason this film has some very unique and very cool music for a Disney cartoon. It's original, and refreshing to see that Disney can still work the magic that we love. I don't think it was their best, but if they keep going like this, then we can say that Disney is redeeming themselves.

Wow. Isn't that poster cool? Take a moment to take in the pure awesomeness of it... done? Good.

The purpose of the new Star Trek film was to reboot the franchise. With a new cast, and story the series was ready to blast off again. It was a huge gamble, and many didn't have much faith that this new series would live long or prosper. (Excuse my lame jokes.) However, those fears for the most part were blown away with the audiences while watching Star Trek.

The new film takes place at the beginning of the entire saga. Beginning with Kirk's birth and his father's death, then moving forward, this film never had a dull moment. The movie was leading up to the series and showed us how the characters and crew of the USS Enterprise turned into the characters we loved. This is a film that should've been seen by everyone, whether you like Star Trek or not.

Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction) returns with his newest film, Inglorious Basterds. All I can really say about this film is that Tarantino is a crazy Basterd. (No offense.)

After an awesome advertising campaign I was anxious to finally see this film, and it didn't disappoint. The film is very unique, this becomes very obvious during the opening credits. (You'll have to see the film to know what I'm talking about.) The story is completely fictional. It takes place in a Nazi-Occupied France and stars the Basterds. A group of American soldiers specially trained in killing Nazi's in the most brutal ways possible. The Basterds have only one goal in this movie. Kill Hitler. Little do they know that several other people share the same goal. It all leads up to one crazy climax that you could never predict.

A basterd's work is never done. The only problem with Inglorious Basterds is that the Basterds are hardly in it. The film is still fantastic and the Basterds are all awesome, but they are only in the film for about twenty minutes. The film is still entertaining and has plenty of laughs, but I only wish that Brad Pitt could've had a little more screen time. It's still a fantastic movie and shouldn't be missed.

Fantastic Mr. Fox is one of the hidden gems of the year. Not many people saw this film due to the release of bigger movies, and because many thought that this movie looked... well, stupid. All I can say is that anyone who thought that was wrong.

Fantastic Mr. Fox is a grand achievement in stop-motion animation. We've been watching it for years. We've seen it with Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach, Corpse Bride, Coraline, etc. And we've seen it with Fantastic Mr. Fox. But never like this. There's an artistic element added to Mr. Fox that can't be described. When they said in the trailer that it looks like nothing you've seen before, they weren't lying. The film is gorgeous to look at and is highly entertaining. This film made me laugh harder than any other film this year. (Except for number four on this list.)

The story is about a Fox that is tired of living underground. He wants to live life on the edge like he used to before he settled down for marriage. So what does he do? He buys the nicest tree, which is located near the most dangerous men in the country side. The whole film is carried out perfectly. The pacing and dialogue are nearly flawless, and George Clooney is absolutely hilarious. This is one of the must see movies of the year. If you missed Fantastic Mr. Fox, then you missed out on one of the best movie experiences of the year. To sum it up, the movie was truly fantastic.

4. UP
It has been a truly great year for Disney. They may have had only two big film releases this year, but those two both made this list. The first was Princess and the Frog, and the second was Pixar's Up.

I feel that Up is Pixar's most mature film yet. The film circles around an old grouchy man, Carl Fredicksen. Carl has lived a hard life, and to make it only harder, his wife has just died. Not even ten minutes pass into the film before we start to see the life of Carl, we see how he met his wife and how they were friends their entire lives. We see all the trails they shared, some are heart breaking, and others a little funny. It's not long before we can see that these two characters are really in love... and then she dies. I've never been in a movie at the theater where the audience was moved from laughs to tears so fast. The beginning of the film almost makes me cry every time I watch it. That's rare for an animated film, or any film.

Moving on, Carl wants to fill out the promise he made to his wife that they would live together on a waterfall in South America entitled Paradise Falls. So what does he do? He straps thousands of his balloons to his house and literally flies it to South America. From there, the film is non-stop laughs with a few moments that move you. All I can really say about Up is that it is my favorite Pixar movie to date, and that it is one of the best movies ever made. This is a film that's all about thinking that you've never accomplished something in life, and then looking back and realizing that you really have done some good. I went into this movie and there were more adults than kids. I think that that's proof that animated movies don't have to be for kids only, and that they're still for everyone.

Clint Eastwood demonstrates here why he is an auteur. Gran Torino is one of the best movies to be released this year. I know what you're thinking. "Wasn't Gran Torino released last year?" The answer is yes and no. Gran Torino was released at a weird time of year. It was released in December last year to select theaters, and finally made nation wide in January this year. In other words, it released this year AND last year. For this reason, Gran Torino is the true lost gem of 2009.

The story of Gran Torino is about old Korean War Veteran Walt Kowalski. Kowalski lives an awful neighborhood full of gangsters and drug dealers. It's a wild neighborhood where everyone thinks that they're on top. Little do they all know, Walt is the most dangerous and scary of them all. One night Walt catches his neighbor trying to steal his prized car, his Gran Torino. Walt then sets out to straighten his neighborhood and teach his neighbor how to be a man.

It may not sound great, or very enjoyable to watch. But Clint Eastwood demonstrates perfectly in this film why he's a legend in film making. He gives one of the best performances I've ever seen in a movie. Gran Torino is moving film, it is very entertaining to watch and unfortunately, is a very sad film. It shows us why violence is bad, and how our society is moving downwards. Whether you agree with it or not, you cannot deny that Gran Torino is one of the best pictures of this year.

What are the secrets to District 9? Do you even want to know? District 9 is one of the darkest and saddest movies I've ever seen. Fortunately, it's also one of the best. You've never seen Science Fiction done this way, and that is a very very good thing. In a world where originality is becoming a rare thing, District 9 takes an interesting take on the alien invasion plot. What if the aliens never meant to come to earth? What if they were trapped on earth, and forced to live with us? If you're curious then you probably haven't seen District 9.

The whole film is a statement on society. It shows us how we treat each other. It's a symbolic movie where the aliens represent the lower class of society, and the humans represent the bourgeois. It's a marxist piece that says that we, the humans, have become so entangled in the machine of society that we have forgotten who we are. It is a must see film. It is a mind blowing film that cannot be missed. It's one of the best movies I have ever seen and is tied right up there with number one on this list for the best Sci-Fi I have ever seen.

Surprised? If you read my review for this then you already knew what was coming. It was close call for this and District 9. But Avatar is the best film of the year because of the level of depth and care that has gone into this movie. Every shot of this film shows that James Cameron wanted to take us somewhere we have never been before in movies. That place is Pandora.

The plot to the film isn't the most original, as we've seen it done a hundred times before with films like Dances With Wolves and The Last Samurai. Avatar makes it work though. It all feels so refreshing some how even though we already knew how the film was going to end just from watching the trailer. It doesn't matter if we know how it's going to end though, because the take of the film is executed so well that it feels like an entire new experience. The visuals are breath taking. You've never seen anything like this movie before. It is a beautiful film.

I loved Avatar because it made me feel like I was there in Pandora. The movie sucks you in like no other movie out there, especially in 3D. It is the must see movie of the year, and cannot be missed. You have to see Avatar. It is the best film of the year.

Well that was my countdown for the best movies of 2009. Hope I didn't make anyone too angry for not putting Sherlock Holmes or Boondocks Saints II up there. This year was probably the best year ever for Sci-Fi movies. It overall was a fantastic movie year, the best in years. So picking out the best of the best was hard. I hope that the people that read this don't come after me with pitch forks and torches.


  1. Your blogs are fun to read. You should be a movie critic. I went and saw Avatar- it was really good.

  2. I agree with every movie on the list! But you are missing one... Drag Me to Hell :-)

  3. Awesome Blog ya got here.
    I loved was shockingly good.
    Not as good as Pulp Fiction in my opinion.
    I didnt see Gran Torino and im not sure why. I love his movies.
    I also need to see Fantastic Mr. Fox.
    Great blog you have here man.

  4. I loved all of the movies that I have seen on this list.
    All were pretty good. I think several good movies came out this year...but a ton were also crap. Another great movie that just came out was Sherlock Holmes. That really surprised me at how great that film was. Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr. do a wonderful job as their respected characters. It was just a very entertaining movie.

  5. Super cool blog! I loved reading your top ten. You should be a critic! Well, ha ha, guess you already are! That's the cool thing about a blog, anyone can be a writer! Fantastic Mr. Fox was great, though the constantly bristeling hair of the animals distracted me a little, made it feel a little Rankin and Bass to me. But the script, fantastic! So funny, the son in his underwear, wonerful adaptation of one of my favorite books as a kid! Thanks for writting and inviting me to read! Happy New Year!