Yes! It's BACK!! I posted my top 10 over at the new site I write for, Gordon and the Whale but since I figure you're all too lazy to look there (just as I've been too lazy to blog!) I'll post it here as well.
Keep in mind the following...
I've decided "best of" lists of the decade or year are silly because, lets face it, we haven't seen everything. I know I haven't. In fact, I've yet to see "Up in the Air" or "White Ribbon," both of which would likely have come into consideration. So my list is more like my favorite movies of 2009. That being said...
1. OBSERVE AND REPORT
I walked into OBSERVE AND REPORT expecting, like many people did, a raunchy version of PAUL BLART: MALL COP. While others were pissed that OBSERVE AND REPORT was not a dirtier BLART, I was totally blown away by just how dark, funny, sad, and weird the film was and it’s stuck with me all year. In a cinematic world homogenized for the masses, where every character has to be likable and go through a positive change, OBSERVE AND REPORT is a throwback to seventies cinema where not everyone is likable and sometimes they just don’t change.
I’m a big fan of Lars von Trier, and I’ve always loved the way he kind of bullies us into facing fears about what we believe. I also think the guy is screwing with his audience so much that he doesn’t even believe what he’s saying or telling us more than half the time. But with ANTICHRIST, not only is he making audiences squirm the old-fashioned way, I think he’s actually reaching out to audiences and trying to connect with them. People get so wrapped up in the gory and crazy aspects of this film, but I think it’s the most beautifully shot and best acted film of the year.
3. WORLD’S GREATEST DAD
Again, I went into WORLD’S GREATEST DAD not knowing what to expect. We’re all fairly sick of Robin Williams being “zany” and I feared he would be at full ham strength in this film. I was literally slack jawed by the end of this film and was almost in tears by how honest and moving the film was and, I loved the dark and twisted package it came in.
4. THE HURT LOCKER
THE HURT LOCKER is bad ass. At first I was a little irritated by what I thought was a lack of character definition in Jeremy Renner’s Sgt. James. However, upon multiple viewings, I found there were much subtler character traits that I must have missed while clinging to the edge of my seat the first time through. For as ballsy as the action scenes are, there’s also a very nice little human story involved here and THE HURT LOCKER really is a complete package of a film.
5. CRAZY HEART
I’m a sucker for those tales of rebel country stars who like to drink, smoke and screw so I was into CRAZY HEART from the word go. And it delivers on all those things but also tells a sweet story about a man who never had to grow up and his life is finally catching up to him. Being an artist can be tough on your soul and Jeff Bridges as “Bad Blake” wears his heart on his sleeve. It’s an awesome performance in a really great film.
6. FANTASTIC MR. FOX
The biggest question I had after seeing Wes Anderson’s FANTASTIC MR. FOX remains: is this his best film? And I consider myself one of the biggest Wes Anderson fans around so even wondering if FANTASTIC MR. FOX comes close to RUSHMORE is a daunting question and I don’t really have an answer. Not only is the animation spectacular, but the acting is the best I’ve ever seen in an animated film. Plus Anderson gets to use his borderline OCD obsession with set design to it’s full effect and the result is a fun and funny film with some nice observations about human nature.
7. THE MESSENGER
THE MESSENGER is another one of this years films that reminded me of a 70’s drama and I loved it. Obviously the film is very current in it’s subject matter but the age old question of what war does to a man lingers on. While I still have some quibbles with some parts of the story, I still love the Woody Harrelson/Ben Foster one-two punch and I think about THE MESSENGER all the time.
8. BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS
BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS is a batshit crazy film. Nic Cage is batshit crazy in it, too, and I think this film might be the most fun I’ve had at a movie all year. Fans of the old on-the-edge Cage will be thrilled by this “re-imagining” of Abel Ferrara’s classic bad cop drama and Werner Herzog cashes his paycheck big time by going totally over the top with this film.
MOON is just about the perfect little slice of sci-fi and I don’t really consider myself a big fan of that genre. Even so, MOON is pretty irresistible and clever and Sam Rockwell is genius in it. I’d love to watch it repeatedly on DVD but alas, it’s still not available in the U.S. Hint…hint…
Pixar does it again.
I'm still figuring out albums so that's forthcoming!