Sunday, January 03, 2010

Lord Bling's favorite movies of 2009 (and of the past decade)

I originally wanted to make a 'Top Ten' film list for 2009, similar to my video game and album lists, but there's still so much that was released in 2009 that I haven't seen (Up in the Air, The Road, Crazy Heart, etc.). So, I'll just talk briefly about ten films I liked last year (in alphabetical order).

500 Days of Summer -- A brilliant directorial debut. It didn't quite connect with me as strongly as it did with some other people, but it's still a very good film. The 'Expectations vs. Reality' split-screen scene is simple, yet genius. And Joseph Gordon-Levitt's performance almost makes up for his appearance in the horrific G.I. Joe!

Avatar -- I had no expectations for this film, and was pleasantly surprised. The script is so-so, and the last hour goes through the motions, but it's an 'event' movie that deserves the title. Also, see it in 3-D. It adds a great level of depth to the visuals.

District 9 -- Another great directorial debut. If Neill Blomkamp can keep making films like this, that Halo movie should just stay in Development Hell.

The Hangover -- Not quite as funny as all your friends told you, but still a very good comedy. Break-out performances from all three leads. My only concern is that most of the laughs come from the 'discovery' of what happened that fateful night. I'm not sure if it will be as funny on a second viewing, but I plan on finding out soon.

The Hurt Locker -- Jeremy Renner will get an Oscar nod for his work here, and deservedly so. I'm not as 'in love' with this film as some critics are: Anthony Mackie's performance was very one-note, and the sniper scene in the second act was tense, but felt false. However, it's a strong film, and definitely worth your time. It's also good to see Kathryn Bigelow make a comeback, as she's been due ever since the great Strange Days in 1995.

Inglourious Basterds -- Quentin Tarantino is still the best American director working today. Some felt it's too talky, but I disagree. The most dialogue-heavy scenes (opening, basement bar) are crackling with tension. Also, the Academy should just hand Christoph Waltz the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor right now. He completely steals the film.

Moon -- My favorite science fiction movies focus on ideas more than effects, and this is no exception. It's truly 'old-school' sci-fi, filmed on a tiny budget, and is all the stronger for it.

Up -- Pixar continues its mastery of the 'family' genre by making films that are aimed almost squarely at adults. Monsters Inc. is still my favorite of theirs, but this one may end up a close second. The opening 15 minutes contains what may be one of the greatest montages ever (yes, even beating out the one from Team America).

Watchmen -- Those who liked it and those who didn't can both agree on one thing: This is as good as a film version of the influential graphic novel could ever be. Jackie Earle Haley is flawless as Rorshach. Over $100 million domestic box office, and yet it's considered a 'flop'. Sad.

Zombieland -- THE best cameo of the year, without question (I won't say who it is, as to not spoil it). Woody Harrelson pulls off both funny and intimidating, and does it convincingly. However, anyone who tells you that this is better than Shaun of the Dead is as brain-dead as a zombie from either film.

BONUS LIST! Of the films I saw in the past decade, here are my ten favorite (as of today ... subject to change!):

1. Oldboy
2. Memento
3. Mulholland Drive
4. Bus 174
5. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
6. Wonder Boys
7. The Grey Zone
8. The Fog of War
9. Gangs of New York
10. Audition


Ryan the Angry Midget said...

I concur with all of your selections except Wonder Boys. The movie was decent, but top 10 of the decade? Why not move everything down and put The Wrestler or Requiem for a Dream (2000) as number 10?

Lord Bling said...

Wonder Boys is one of the warmest films I've ever seen. It's like a big, thick old blanket. I keep revisiting it once or twice a year, and it gets better with every view. It's probably not a masterpiece, but it's a very personal story, and I appreciate it more than most people did.

Requiem for a Dream didn't make the list because it's not something I've felt the desire to revisit. Still a great film though.

The Wrestler? Dude. Seriously.

Ryan the Angry Midget said...

I think if you put Wonder Boys on your top 10 list for movies of the decade, you can't bag on my desire to include something from Aronofsky on the list. Wasn't the wrestler in your Top 10 last year?

Lord Bling said...

No, The Wrestler was NOT in my Top Ten last year. But I'm not bagging on your desire to include an Aronofsky film. The Fountain and Requiem are both great films. I initially felt that the Wrestler was decent, but overrated, and a second viewing only solidified that opinion.

Lord Bling said...

However, if The Midge required me to remove Wonder Boys, I would move everything else up and put There Will Be Blood on the list too.

Ryan the Angry Midget said...

Hey Bling,

It's your Top 10 movies of the decade, so you can put Care Bears vs. the freeze machine on there if you want. I don't give a fuck. I just thought Wonder Boys stuck out like Tiger Woods at a Promise Keepers convention.

Lord Bling said...


I know. And I just thought I'd postulate a 'what if'. And if the list were 11, 'There Will Be Blood' would be on there. Great film.