My Top 10 Movies – 2009

Yes this is a bit late but who cares…anyway, let’s start with some random statistic about my list:

– 5 Sci Fi films
– 1 animated film
– Feature length movie debut by 2 directors
– 1 superhero film
– 4 films adapted from an established franchise
– 3 films that are considered to be frontrunners in the Oscars
– No biographical film
– No New Moon

without further ado here’s my top 10 of 2009 list:

10. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

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From the director of Bad Boys, The Rock, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor
Watched it: Once

The good: Giant Robots fighting, Explosions, mass destruction, pumped up action, Megan Fox

The bad: dog humping, mini robot humping leg, annoying twin robots, giant robot balls, Megan Fox

9. GI Joe: Rise of the Cobra

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From the director of Jungle Book, The Mummy, Van Helsing
Watched it: Once

When I was a kid I used to make my own imaginary movies with my toys. I would usually think of various cool action scenes first and then figure out how they connect later. If any of those childhood fantasy movies were to actually be realized in the big screen it would look something like the GI Joe movie. I wasn’t a fan of GI Joe, I didn’t grow up with it so I didn’t have any GI Joe toys (more of a transformers fan) but the whole ‘feel’ of this movie with cool characters (doing cool things) fighting bad guys (that are really bad) on various locations (from air, land, sea, the arctic, the streets and the desert) is a little boy’s dream movie. Oh and GI JOE > Transformers. GI JOE had better pacing, less stupid humour, cooler characters and I also like how each character played a role while in transformers it was basically ‘optimus, bumblebee and those twins..while the rest of the bots just shoot and didn’t had much lines.

8. Hangover

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From the director of Old School, Starsky & Hutch, School for Scoundrels
Watched it: Once

This is like ‘Dude where’s my car?’…but much better. Main reason? Those three guys in the picture.The premise is simple: Four guys went to Vegas before one of them gets married. They woke up the next day without any memory of the night before and their groom-to-be friend is missing. They set out to find their friend and get some answers on what happened that night. Along the way they met a baby, Mike Tyson, a tiger, a stripper and a gay asian mob leader among others. Again, the thing that makes this film much more hilarious are the main characters.You have the sarcastic school teacher, a weak and more conservative dentist controlled by his girlfriend and the weird socially awkward bearded guy….pair them up and throw them into various stupid situation and you get a really funny movie. They even saved the best joke in the end of the movie.

7. Watchmen


From the director of Dawn of the Dead (2004), 300
Watched it: Twice

This movie will forever be cursed by people who judge it against the source material. The graphic novel is a masterpiece with deeply layered plot and characters. Those depths were lost in the movie adaptation BUT for a task that many believed to be impossible, Zack Snyder didn’t do a bad job so I gave this movie an A for effort. After the movie ended, I find myself thinking if there were anything they missed from the movie. Aside from the black freighter story and some scenes (put back in the extended cut), I was actually satisfied that they managed to keep the core story and did it well especially with the casting of the characters like Rorschach, Nite Owl and Manhattan. They changed the ending too but the intention or the outcome of the ending was still the same.

6. Inglourious Basterds

From the director of Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill
Watched it: Once

I wanted more out of this movie. More of the Basterds, more of Col. Landa the Jew Hunter, more of that British spy, more of Til Schweiger, more of Shoshanna, more of that black guy from the cinema, more of everything! And this is a two and half hour movie with very little action scenes. Don’t get me wrong I love almost every minute of the movie but I don’t mind if it goes a bit longer particularly on the Basterds side of the story. Don’t be fooled by the trailers and promos, this is a Tarantino film therefore more talking, less action. In a Tarantino film the dialogue is usually much more interesting than the action but when the action kicks in, it happens in a shocking brutal way. My favourite scene is the one in the bar where the British undercover spy and two other German born basterds met with the Double agent German actress only to be interrupted by a Nazi SS official. The meandering dialogue, the slow rising tension and then the bloody aftermath that came out of nowhere!

5. 500 Days of Summer

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From the director of various music videos
Watched it: Once

Let’s look at two ‘hypothetical’ scenarios:

Scenario A

A lone single guy is watching this movie in a lazy Sunday afternoon all alone. He feels sorry for the guy and can even relate to him in certain points. After the movie, he thinks back about the girls in his past and tries to think about what went wrong. He then starts thinking about what would be different if he stuck with the girl and in the end thinks that he wouldn’t be where he now and happily stands now. Sometimes good things come out of bad things.

Scenario B

A couple who are just beginning to hook up and unsure about where they are heading with their relationship are watching this movie in a lazy Sunday afternoon and perhaps this the first movie they watch together. After the movie, they’ll probably think about who was wrong, the guy or the girl? What went wrong? Issues such as labeling and definitions would creep into their minds (What are they? couple? friends with benefits? Where is this heading to? going too fast or too slow?).

Every romantic film or chick flick does this to some extent but this one is much more apparent. No, it doesn’t have a bad ending…in a way. It’s an honest movie about relationship…a really good honest one since ‘When Harry Met Sally’. The tag line summarises the movie quite well: ‘It is not a love story, it is a story about love’. I don’t consider it to be a ‘chick flick’..I like to call it a ‘guy chick flick’ but it appeals to everyone. One of the writers gave the screenplay to his ex girlfriend (inspiration of the character Summer) and she said that she actually relates more to Tom, the broken hearted protagonist…so yeah go figure.

If you don’t fall into the two ‘hypothetical’ scenarios above then I suggest a third scenario:

Scenario C

It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon, a guy wanted to watch a new trailer of a movie but accidently stumbled upon the trailer for 500 days of Summer. It has a nice music, a montage of various scenes that looks happy and sad, Zooey Deschanel, crazy surreal scenes such as a guy dancing at the park with an animated bird, the kid from 3rd rock from the sun, movie have a nice feel to it and Zooey Deschanel. He got excited and anxiously waited to watch the movie (meanwhile, good reviews kept pouring in) and he wasn’t disappointed when he finally saw it.

4. UP

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From the director of Monsters, Inc.
Watched it: Once

Pixar has done it again. Pixar does not make kids movies…they make movies for everyone. This one takes it literally by teaming up a grumpy old man and a young fat asian kid on a wild adventure.  This movie has a floating house, a talking dog, a weird funny giant exotic bird and a very funny physical combat between two old men. It is ultimately a feel good movie despite the characters having to deal with their respective tragedies (Carl’s wife passed away while Russell’s parents are divorced).

Finding Nemo and Wall E are still two of my favourite Pixar films but Up definitely has THE best scene/intro!

3. Star Trek

From the director of Mission Impossible III
Watched it: Twice

Not a big fan of Star Trek. I find it ‘nerdier’ than Star Wars and I never fully watched any of the Star Trek movies (among the list of  my ‘watched some parts of’ Star Trek movies: The Motion Picture, Wrath of Khan, Final Frontier, Generations, Nemesis). The only Star Trek movie that I sat through the whole thing was ‘Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home’ aka The One With Saving The Whale. An alien wants to destroy earth and the only way to communicate with it is through an extinct animal called Whales. So our heroes time travel to the past (the present – 20th century – 1986) and get some whales. I liked that movie because it removed all the ‘Scifi-stratrek-alien-politics-klingon-mythology-universe’ stuff and deal with a simple present day environmental issue like saving the whales. The characters get to shine as each of them are thrown into a time period unfamiliar to them. It’s a pretty damn funny movie too.

Which brings us to this new movie. It aims to introduce Star Trek to a new and wider audience while not pissing off the old fans too. They succeeded by:

a) setting the movie in a separate alternate timeline created when the bad guy time travel and messed things up and

b) appealing to the non-Star Trek fans by taking the best bit about old Star Trek – the characters.

Going back to ‘Star Trek: Saving the whale edition’ movie that I mentioned above, the highlight of that movie was the interaction between the characters particularly the relation between Kirk and Spock (and the doctor too). JJ Abrams understood that and he made this awesomely entertaining movie. A friend of mine said to me that she never liked Star Trek but now she is a fan (finds Spock hot too). If you’re like her and want to get a taste of the old Star Trek then I recommend ‘Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (& saves whales)’.

Now the top two movies in this list can be interchangeable because I believe people will see these two as seminal movies.

2. District 9

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From the director of few short films
Watched it: Once

A relatively low budget but highly original sci-fi film. It is a movie that is hard to shoe horned into any category. It’s a mockumentary yet it’s not. It’s a handheld camera movie yet it’s not like Cloverfield or anything. It’s an action movie yet it’s not entirely that type. Social commentary? yes it does have one and presented in a not so subtle way (in case you don’t know, it reflects South Africa’s Apartheid period). It is a mixture of genres and definitely a must watch. If you excuse me, let me rip off a quote from a reviewer in Aintitcool.com:

Avatar pushed the limits of technology and showed the world that giving a bonafide genius 12 years and every toy in the toychest to play with that you can make more money than God. DISTRICT 9 showed that if you give a young genius $30 million dollars and leave him the fuck alone under the tutelage of a master like Peter Jackson, that you will make money hand over fist while garnering endless praise forging a classic that will be rewatched and discussed for generations.

Nuff said!

District 9 could be the best film of 2009 however….

1. Avatar

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From the director of Aliens, Terminator 2, Abyss, True Lies, Titanic
Watched it: Once

…..for this list, size DOES matter. AVATAR is the long awaited return of James Cameron. He’s been working on this movie for almost 10 years and it took him that long because he was developing a new technology that would revolutionize cinema viewing, worked with a professor to create a new language and with the help from expert, created a biosphere of an alien planet. It wasn’t just about making a movie, it was about creating a whole new world. Getting people back to the theatres and have them experience raw movie magic that people probably had back in the 70s with Star Wars. The storyline and the dialogue isn’t oscar worthy but James Cameron is aiming for fun immersive movie going experience. His movies are about spectacles and taking the audience for a ride but managed to keep things grounded (unlike Transformers 2…number 10 on the list LOL a lil bit of circularity..).

The movie was meant to be seen in IMAX3D so I didn’t want watch it on anywhere less. What I notice was that the movie didn’t have any of those typical 3d movie gimmick moments eg. a character reaching his hands towards the audience. Instead, the movie played it straight for most part which is kinda good because it doesn’t make us feel too conscious and go “wow! it’s in 3D!!” which kinda distracts you a bit.

Answers:

– 5 Sci Fi films = Avatar, District 9, Star Trek, GI Joe, Transformers
– 1 animated film = Up
– Feature length movie debut by 2 directors = District 9, 500 Days of Summer
– 1 superhero film = Watchmen
– 4 films adapted from an established franchise = Star Trek, Watchmen, GI Joe, Transformers
– 3 films that are considered to be frontrunners in the Oscars = Avatar, Up, Inglourious Basterds

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4 thoughts on “My Top 10 Movies – 2009

  1. Good stuff. Best movie I have seen in a while is Avatar hands down. That movie was well done and extremely entertaining. For any of you that have yet to see it, go watch it while it’s in theaters. You will not be disappointed.

  2. Pingback: My Top 10 Movies – 2010 « Trylobyte’s Corner

  3. Pingback: My Top 10 Movies – 2011 « Trylobyte’s Corner

  4. Pingback: My Top 10 Movies – 2012 « Trylobyte’s Corner

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