Articles, Film Lists

Taylor Kujawa’s Top 10 Films of 2009

Welcome all, to my very own list of the top films of 2009. This was a very productive year at the cinema. More than 50 percent of the time I went to a movie, I left with a positive opinion of what I saw.

First of all, it is rather difficult to do a list of the top films from a whole year due to many reasons. Exhibit A, I haven’t seen all the films of the year. Exhibit B, it’s been a while since I’ve seen some of the earlier films. And Exhibit C, some films just can’t compare with others. This makes it especially difficult to rank them alongside each other.

So, here is my top ten list of 2009 films going in a descending order (because why would you reveal the best first?). I hope you enjoy!

Notable Mention – Avatar: Almost everyone who made a list of the best films of 2009 at least mentioned this film somewhere. Of course, this was the biggest film of the year. Thus, I rank this as the notable mention because it didn’t make my list but it’s still notable and groundbreaking. I didn’t like the storyline that much, but the visual and audio effects were outstanding. After all, you see a film like this for its beauty of design rather than story. If you are more interested in this particular story, go watch Disney’s Pocahontas. It’s 81 minutes shorter.

10. Watchmen: When I first watched this film, I was disappointed. The graphic novel is monumental in its own right and will overshadow any film adaptation. But when the DVD came out, I tried to watch the film as if I hadn’t read the book. That is when I came to realize that this film is a visual sensation in its own right.

9. Funny People: This film came and went so fast that I don’t think many people even knew about it. From Judd Apatow, the director of The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up, comes one of the truest films I’ve ever seen. The characters are authentic with real actions, real emotions, and real lives. In my opinion, this isn’t a funny movie… it’s just real life captured through the eyes of people who make us laugh.

8. The Box: With a director such as Richard Kelly, the mastermind behind the modern-day cult film Donnie Darko, you would expect greatness from this movie. I did expect greatness and what I got was even better. The Box is full of Twilight Zone-styled science fiction that is both strange and intriguing. Sadly, most critics ranked it as one of the worst movies of the year. However, if you are a crazy cult film or B-film lover, then this is a film for you.

7. Drag Me To Hell: Now here is the best horror film I’ve seen since I don’t know when. Maybe the Scream Trilogy. There are scenes here of chaotic sickness that put you in a bizarre situation as a viewer. Should you laugh, scream, or gag? Hopefully you don’t do the latter, but that’s Sam Raimi for you.

6. Adventureland: Marketed as a hilarious film from the director of Superbad, Adventureland is much more anchored in drama than comedy. The plot is a complex love story taking place in the late 80s. Like Funny People, there is much more emotion here than the marketing would suggest. But the humor is still present. The comedy found in Adventureland is a nice bonus, just like its 80s-infused soundtrack.

5. Inglourious Basterds: With any Quentin Tarantino movie, you expect blood, guts, and grotesque action. What you also get here is the best written dialogue of the year. Inglourious Basterds plays out like an epic war film of yesteryear with a taste of spaghetti western. The gruesome effects are only but a facade to what’s really going on. With an amazing climatic scene featuring an awesome David Bowie song, the film delivers. And isn’t that all we care about?

4. Fantastic Mr. Fox: So far, I’ve covered the Apatow, Kelly, Raimi, and Tarantino fan bases. So now it’s only fair to have Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox on this list as well. Regardless of who the director is, this is the best animated film I’ve seen since 2006’s Corpse Bride. It just so happens that both films are stop motion.

3. Moon: No, I did not forget the “New” in front of this title. New Moon has no right to be on a list like this, but Duncan Jones’ Moon does. And sorry Star Trek fans but I must confirm that this is the best sci-fi film of the year. With mystery at every corner, Moon is a claustrophobi psychological thriller. If you like films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey or Alien, then I suggest that you rent this film when it arrives on DVD in later in January.

2. Up in the Air: Noted by many critics as the best movie of the year is Jason Reitman’s third film, Up in the Air. In the midst of mass-unemployment and broken relationships, this film covers every major struggle that life can throw at us. It is one of the truest films I have seen, especially in regards to what our country is facing today.

1. (500) Days of Summer: With many people backing me up on this, (500) Days of Summer is the best film of 2009. The story about love that’s not a love story questions what true love is. Playful, heartbreaking, manic, and enthusiastic. It’s no wonder why (500) Days of Summer has generated so much hype amongst young American audiences.