My year-end (as opposed to rear-end) countdown of the best movies from this past year. Of course, I haven't seen EVERY flick that came out in 2009, and neither have you. And neither has anyone else who reviews movies for fun or profit. But of those I was compelled to see, these are the ones that didn't disappoint. Technically speaking, some of these films were actually released in the waning days of 2008--but like many other moviegoers, I didn't catch them until the new year had arrived--so for that reason, I hereby declare: CLOSE ENOUGH !
Opinions on movies--like opinions on anything--are subjective to each of us, based upon personal tastes, which are based to a large extent on our individual life experience. Still, if you want to argue with me because you think I've made a glaring omission--or went ga-ga for something that really sucked--feel free to do so. But just keep in mind that... YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT !
You can read the full reviews of each of these movies if you care to dig back into the archives of Timmy's Noodle. And so, with no further doo-doo...
#10: SUNSHINE CLEANING
Dark comedy starring Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Alan Arkin. As funny as a movie about cleaning up after suicides can be. The best films are the ones that make you alternately (or simultaneously) laugh and cry. Sunshine Cleaning gets the job done.
Woody Harrelson, Emily Mortimer, Ben Kingsley. Struggle for survival on the Beijing to Moscow train in this engaging, relatively overlooked mystery/thriller. Intriguing plot twists and majestic aerial cinematography. Mesmerizing.
#8: TERMINATOR SALVATION
Christian Bale, Moon Bloodgood, Sam Worthington. Sci-fi action/adventure. A thrill ride of immense creative genius--if there were ever a prudent reason for strapping moviegoers into their seats, this is it. HANG ON !
Gabourey Sidibe, Mo'Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey. She's an obese, 16 year old Harlem native who is pregnant with her second child by her own father. Gritty, gut-wrenching drama which tells the story of how the human spirit will fight to survive, despite overwhelming odds against it.
#6: TWO LOVERS
Joaquin Phoenix and Gwyneth Paltrow are kindred space cases in this quirky romantic drama. An engrossing character study of some of the growing functional dysfunctional in our society of the 21st century.
#5: THE PROPOSAL
Expected another run-of-the-mill romantic comedy from Sandra Bullock, (with Ryan Reynolds as her leading man) but got a real surprise. This is a beautiful film, not only cinematically, but in spirit as well. And it's genuinely funny.
#4: DISTRICT 9
Sci-fi drama starring Sharito Copley and cat food gobbling aliens! You never thought you'd care so much about them until you realize they symbolize all of the oppressed people of the world. Belongs with the epic tales of how fate sometimes turns ordinary men into heroes.
#3: TAKING WOODSTOCK
Tripped out coming of age docudrama based on the memoirs of Eliot Tiber, who was instrumental in bringing the Woodstock festival to fruition. Ubiquitous pot smoking, mud sliding, some great music of the era, and an engaging behind the scenes story to be told. And naked hippies...YAY !
#2: SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK
A self-obsessed man (Philip Seymour Hoffman) builds a replica of New York City inside a gigantic warehouse in Manhattan, populates it with a multitude of actors, and creates an ongoing and all-consuming performance piece about his own life. Reality and magic realism intertwine. With Samantha Morton. Brilliant.
And (drum roll please) Timmy's FAVORITE film of 2009...
Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin. A funny, clever, inventive piece of film making that shows just because the drooling, snarling, disgusting un-dead are lurking behind every public crapper stall door--it doesn't mean a zombie flick can't also be poignant and life-affirming as well. With a deliciously off the wall surprise cameo by one of the biggest superstars of comedy.