Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Top 10 Films of 2009

There is a tradition in my family, every year judgment is pronounced on the year's films. It goes goes something like this:

Mom: "This was a bad year for films."

Me: "Yeah."

Except this year, that statement appears to be true, 2008 was a disappointing year for film goers, at least when compared to 2007. Where are the No Country For Old Men or There Will Be Blood? Looking back on 2008 I had a hard time picking 10 films I liked, let alone I would put on a list. Admittedly, I haven't seen every Oscar bait contender...

Ten Best:

1. Slum Dog Millionaire - A marvelous film, a modern day fairy tale. Danny Boyle's best film.

2. Frost/Nixon - In 1977 I remember my father screaming at the TV set during the Frost/Nixon interviews, after watching this movie, I know why. Ron Howard's best film.

3. The Wrestler - Mickey Rourke in a tour de force performance, and Marisa Tomei is hotter then ever.

4. Kung Fu Panda - I know, it's a silly cartoon, but I found it delightful, and liked it even better watching a second and third time.

5. WALL-E - Another cartoon, a lot of people loved this film, I wasn't one of them. But given what I've seen so far of this year's crop, it's better then most.

6. Iron Man - Sigh, we're already to the comic book movies. This one was fun and captured the spirit of the comic, Robert Downey Jr. is perhaps perfect casting for Tony Stark.

7. Dark Knight - A memorable perfomance by Mr. Ledger, he shines bright, casting the rest of the film into forgettable shadow.

8. Tropic Thunder - The first 2 minutes is brilliant, miss that and you've missed probably the best part of the film. A great parody.

9. Forgetting Sarah Marshall - A servicable romantic comedy with some outright hilarious laugh out loud scenes.

10. The Visitor - This is heavy, plodding film. I didn't enjoy it, but I can appreciate the quiet, understated performances and nuance.

Movies I haven't seen that may still make the list:
Vicky Cristina Barcelona, The Class, Christmas Tale, Milk

Overrated Films:
Gran Torino - If this wasn't Clint this movie would have been tossed into the Fast Food disposal.
Seriously. Watch the film again. The acting is horrendous and the story simplistic and predictable.

Rachel Getting Married - Two hours of people screaming at each other through hand held camera. No thanks.

Synedoche, NY - A Kaufman film. If someone you know has suicidal thoughts, keep them away from this.

Revolutionary Road - A series of set pieces masqurading as a film.

Utter Trash:
Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, Hottie and the Nottie, Jumper, Son of Rambow, The Happening, Quantum of Solace, Choke, and my worst film of the year:

10,000 B.C - A story about pre-history with pretty white people in dreadlocks coming a diverse multi-cultural tribe. Even when they are being chased by sabre tooth dinosaurs and mammoths, those white people still look good in make-up.

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