flicks! 2009 ruled for the most part.

I just read the AV Club’s rundown of the 19 worst movies of 2009. Thankfully, I only saw two on that list: Paper Heart and Gigantic; though, I should probably see the other seventeen movies and reach my own conclusions. After all, the AVC isn’t exactly infallable. I don’t agree that Paper Heart belonged there. Sure, it was annoyingly twee-centric, but it had it’s moments and Charlene Yi definitely has her charm, as awkward as that charm may feel. Gigantic wasn’t that bad either. It’s not necessarily a movie I would have paid for in the theaters (Ed. note: I did when it was called  (500) Days of Summer). Lucky for me it was, and still is, available for immediate viewing on the Netflix. The irrelevant title and the random beatings of Paul Dano by a homeless Zach Galifianakis  didn’t do it for me. The story was a little dry as well. I can see why it could be considered one of the worst movies of the year. So where was 2012? That movie was way worse than anything on this list could have been. And I know. I witnessed the whole ordeal as I was squished into the LCD sardine can at the Metreon.

In the spirit of the season, I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring of movie lists. That’s the thing bloggers do, apparently. Some really amazing movies came out this year. We witnessed the awesome rebirth of a new Star Trek saga, which is saying a lot since I’ve always identified as a Star Wars geek. Tarantino unleashed another brilliant opus with Inglourious Basterds. Paranormal Activity made audiences everywhere scream (“My stomach hurts!”). I’ve formulated three lists: movies that I loved, movies I regret seeing and I want my 90-120 minutes back, and honorable mentions.These movies aren’t arranged in any particular order within their categories. I don’t believe in rank.

There are obviously some movies left off the list (see: Avatar), but I think i get my point across.

Movies I loved:
Sam Rockwell puts on the performance of a lifetime in Duncan Jones’ debut feature. I can’t believe this movie isn’t getting more recognition. Sam Rockwell definitely deserves a Best Actor nod for this flick.

Inglourious Basterds.
You know you’re in good hands when you see a Tarantino flick. Clocking in at 152 minutes, I could have watched 30 more.

Observe and Report
I think this came out a little too close to Paul Blart to be fully embraced. Don’t be fooled, this is not a feel good comedy. It’s a complex, dark comedy with Seth Rogen given a nuanced performance as the borderline sociopathic manboy security guard.

I reviewed this a few months ago. Read that.

Inspirado. Finally, Henry Selick gets the credit he deserves. Coraline made me want to be a stop-motion animator. I’m still working on that. I love this move a lot  and love the somewhat disturbing themes that are threaded throughout the movie. I mean, there’s a kid who’s name is short for “Why Be Born?” And did I mention 3D?

District 9
Neil Blomkamp’s mind-blowing debut is brutal and epic. I loved how the movie is basically divided into two sections: the mockumentary and the sci-fi action flick. While a lot of people see this as an alllegorical take on Apartheid, and while that may be true, it’s more of a statement of the climate in South Africa surrounding Nigerian immigrants. Check out Blomkamp’s original short, Alive in Joburg. It’s a really impressive approach to the global immigration discussion. But yes, the movie rules.

Let the Right One In
Fuck Twilight. Let the Right One In is a vampire movie for smart people. What I love the most about this one is that you basically have to imagine the vampire horror. Not much is revealed. The fact that the vampire is a child makes it a lot creepier.

The Hurt Locker
This movie ruined my classical guitar career. I was biting my nails the entire time. Not literally. This is the only way Kathryn Bigelow could have topped Point Break. And how!

Drag Me to Hell
I applaud Sam Raimi’s brilliant return to form. Drag Me to Hell cuts to the chase and the super demon villain is only visible in shadow form. True horror is always shrouded in mystery, am I right? Yes. Raimi uses sound brilliantly and really packs a lot of jumps in this PG-13 movie.

Star Trek
Why can’t every blockbuster be this amazing? JJ Abrams really set the bar for the summer and really made the Star Trek franchise his own. As geeky as it sounds, I cannot wait for the next installment.

Food Inc.
This movie scared the shit out of me. I even cut meat out of my diet dramatically — I’m a Texan, so that’s saying something. Finally, we have a movie about food that, while still smug, really puts the food industry into perspective. Government food regulation favors industry over consumer, which leads to the population ingesting the worst possible shit because it’s more affordable. They do a really good job talking about class and how it relates to eating organic vs. fast food. You can’t exactly waltz into the barrio and expect families to get organic chard and broccoli for the same price as a whole meal from Mickey D’s. Where Super Size Me failed, Food Inc. shines.

Movies that Made Me Dumber/Angry:

I only saw this because it was supposed to be the best comedy of  the year. Turns out the first 60 minutes were hilarious. The subsequent 90 were emotionally draining, probably because the woman next to me smelled like whiskey-shit. This is the audience that sees (and enjoys) these movies, people.

I have faith in Gerard Butler and think he can be in some very good movies. Unfortunately, this has not happened. What? 300 was crap and you know it! There’s nothing you can get out of this movie that you can’t get out of seeing Running Man. Neither Ludacris nor Michael C. Hall could save this flick.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Tell me, when the fuck is Harry actually going to do something? In all of these movies he hasn’t done a thing to warrant getting an entire film franchise in his name. Also, I refuse to read the books. Where’s Alfonso Cuaron when you need him? Oh, making other amazing movies.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine
I waited for this movie my entire life and, while I knew it’d be bad, I didn’t realize it’d be this bad. There’s a point where Wolverine and Sabertooth actually say “Back to back!” and start kicking ass whilst back to back. Normally that’d rule, but it’s not 1984-1995 anymore.

Last Chance Harvey
I don’t know why I saw this. I’m not 50 and miserable yet. So I found out the hard way that they actually make movies for this demographic.

Liam Neeson kicking ass. What more could a man ask for? Oh yeah. Good acting, directing, and writing. This movie has none of that. Just watch Ransom on TBS again.

I saw it when it was unscripted and called Borat. Sorry, Sacha. Your punking days are over. Stick to playing gay French racecar drivers and everyone will be happy.

I’ll admit that Zack Snyder did a better job this time around than with 300, but only with the production. The acting was atrocious and the movie dragged and dragged. I understand that it was trying to capture the essence of Alan Moore’s masterpiece; but it failed. I wish Terry Gillam had made this nearly twenty years ago. Also: most awkward sex scene ever. I guess it doesn’t help that my guitar was stolen during the movie. Not the best judgement on my part. I will never see this movie again because of this. But it still sucks. Don’t see it, you.

Up In the Air
Okay. So this movie isn’t bad, it just makes me angry that the powers that be are giving it so much damn acclaim and Moon is basically chopped liver at this point. Sorry, but Jason Reitman is stock.

Honorable mention or good movies that had no impact on my life:

The Fantastic Mr. Fox
I really enjoyed this film, but it really doesn’t belong on my favorites list, at least not next to Coraline. The story didn’t feel like it had much of an arc.  I applaud Wes Anderson for delving into new territory with an animated feature.

Role Models
I love David Wain, but he’s the weakest link of Stella. Directing is definitely his thing. Wet Hot American Summer is a modern classic and The Ten just plain stinks. Role Models is a good mainstream style comedy. I definitely laughed more during this than during The Hangover.

The Brothers Bloom
This was initially on my “best of” list, but I decided it really wasn’t among my favorites. With that said, what a good caper movie! Mark Ruffalo and Adrian Brody are always spot on.

The Informant!
Matt Damon. Joel McHale. Soderbergh. Scott FUCKING Bakula. That’s all.

Terminator: Salvation
Not at good as Terminator or T2, but it was a huge improvement from Terminator 3. It really isn’t as bad as everyone is making it out to be. I had a great time!

Where the Wild Things Are
Amazing production. I hated the story. Read about it here. What’s up with hipster directors adapting childrens’ books this year?

Year One
Because of one joke involving Oliver Platt. “This guy!”

(500) Days of Summer
I initially thought 500 Days was pandering to the wankster masses, but even if it was, Marc Webb directly a well thought out coming of age story disguised as a romantic comedy. Zooey Deschanel is cute, but she doesn’t really appeal to me as an actress. Joseph Gordon-Levitt owns. Speaking of JGL, if you haven’t seen 2005’s Brick, you really should. I haven’t seen a high school film noir this amazing since the 90s!

Movies I regret missing:

A Serious Man
Big Fan
We Live in Public
An Education

…and more!

I’m sure I missed some. Just keep checking this post for updates…

…if you dare.


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