By John C.
There were many great movies released last year. 2 Months ago, I published my list of the top 11 worst movies I saw in 2009, and it came to my attention that I still haven’t formally published what I thought the best movies of last year were. I saw many great ones, animated and live-action, and I know what my favourites were. But why is it always so much easier to assemble a formal list of bad movies? I could rethink this list, or wait until I see another small gem of last year on DVD, but as of now - Oscar weekend, these are the films that have stuck with me throughout the 2009 movie-going season.
It breaks my heart to leave off such fine films as Brothers, Crazy Heart, Everybody’s Fine, Goodbye Solo, The Hangover, Victoria Day, and 9, not to mention Best Picture nominees The Blind Side, Inglourious Basterds and Precious, to name but only a few of the other movies I quite enjoyed.
But alas, the making of a list is always heartbreaking. These 20 films I have picked are perhaps the ones that I am most looking forward to watching again, or perhaps the ones that have left the longest lasting impression after only one viewing.
Tomorrow, the Academy will announce their pick for the best movie of ‘09, so without further adieu, here are the top 20 movies I saw last year + an honourable mention for best achievement from a new director. But still, this is only scratching the surface of the so many great films released last year. They are organized in alphabetical order.
(500) Days of Summer - One of the best rom-com’s in recent memory.
Avatar - Though far from perfect, and not the best movie of last year, as a piece of entertainment, I loved it.
The Boys: The Sherman Brother’s Story - A heartfelt, moving look at the famed Disney songwriters.
The Brothers Bloom - Quite simply a masterpiece.
Coraline - An incredibly well-crafted stop motion film.
A Christmas Carol - A great adaptation of a classic story - an animated masterpiece.
Departures - An emotional masterwork.
An Education - A wonderful film.
Fantastic Mr. Fox - A lovingly-crafted stop motion film from director Wes Anderson.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - A stunning achievement, a near masterpiece.
The Hurt Locker - An amazingly tense and powerful achievement.
The Informant! - A brilliantly written and acted film from director Steven Soderbergh.
Is Anybody There? - A touching film, with an excellent performance from Michael Caine.
One Week - A Canadian masterpiece.
The Princess and the Frog - An instant classic, with an awesome soundtrack.
A Serious Man - A serious masterpiece.
Star Trek - Tons of fun.
Up in the Air - Jason Reitman’s third, great film.
Up - Pixar’s latest masterpiece. Not only was it my favourite movie going memory of ‘09, but nothing beat that opening montage.
Where the Wild Things Are - Great movie.
Honourable mention for best achievement from a new director:
District 9 - A thought-provoking piece of contemporary sci-fi. It just doesn’t make my list, perhaps because of the graphic-grossness, but it was one of the finer achievements of last year. It’s hard to believe it was only director Neil Blomkamp’s first feature film, and it was a stunning debut.