Warwick's Top 10 Films of 2009

Well, here we are. The end of the year, a time when everyone is putting together their Top 10 lists and talking about the "best" films of the past year. I actually really like this time of year because I enjoy Top 10 lists and I like looking back on films that I had seen and really enjoyed, plus I think it is really interesting to see different people's perspectives on film and the best way to see that is by what they rank in the top 3 on their lists. I have a theory that everyone's top 3 are always set in stone as to what films are up there, but the position changes depending on that person's mood or feelings when they are ranking them. And that's why I find them interesting. Anyway, my picks for the year are after the jump. Punch it Chewy!

Warwick's 10 Favorite Films of 2009

Note: I have not seen the following three films: The Hurt Locker, Lovely Bones, Avatar. Those are the three that I haven't seen but plan on (Hurt Locker is out on DVD Jan. 12th, the others I haven't gone to the theater to see yet but I will) so when I do I will update this list and move things around, or at least mention what I thought of them.

Honorable Mentions:

-Observe and Report

Sick and twisted and brilliant. That is the best way to describe this film, and that is a good thing. Too often films take the easy way out and go out of their way to make amoral characters more friendly and less off-putting for fear of driving away audiences. They did not do that with this film, and if anything my biggest complaint and the thing that keeps it out of the Top 10 is that the ending is too upbeat and happy, and I wish that they had the balls to end it as depressingly as the rest of the movie. Other than that, really good film

-Law Abiding Citizen

With all films, how and where you see it will inevitably change your opinion of it in some way, either slightly or completely. I saw this movie with my brother in the theater, and the two of us had rock bottom expectations and were only looking for an enjoyable "things blow up" kind of film, plus we both made the Family Guy "Oooh, he said it!" joke when Gerard Butler referred to himself as just a Law Abiding Citizen in the actual movie. Good times. With that said, this movie is actually good and better than you think until the very end, with a crappy Hollywood ending ruining what could have been a cool and dark film.

-Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

I really liked this film, mostly because of Jim Broadbent and the development of Lucius Malfoy's character throughout. If it weren't for the over-reliance on teenage hormones (we get it, they're horny kids. Why did you cut out Snape teaching them to cast spells without speaking in Defense Against the Dark Arts for basically an hour of teens being horny?) this film would have been way up in the Top 10. As is though, still a great film.

Crank 2: High Voltage

- Not every film is Schindler's List. With that said, I loved Crank 2: High Voltage. It had all the insanity of the first Crank film (one of the best mindless action films of the aughts) and multiplied it by a hundred. By no means should you rent or buy this film thinking it deserves the same consideration as Up in the Air, but compared to other crazy action films you watch with your buddies this was the best of the year. If you're looking for an enjoyably crazy movie, this is where it's at, I mean there's even a scene where Jason Statham sings his own theme to himself as he's shooting people!

The Top 10:

10.) Zombieland

The second funniest film of the whole year, plus it had a lot more heart to it than I was expecting which was really nice to see. The thought and direction of this movie was spot-on and I honestly can't think of anything to nit-pick about it. Plus, remember what I said about how and where you see a film affecting your perception of it? I saw this at a special preview screening while dressed up as a zombie with some good friends in a theater filled with people dressed like zombies. Did I mention that I love zombies? Cause I love zombies.

9.) Brothers

I think that Brothers had probably the best marketing campaign this year after District 9. Why? Because the trailer to this movie made it seem like the dumbest, weirdest film that was going to be coming out this winter, but then when people actually saw it, it turned out to be a really good film that built a lot of positive word of mouth and landed on many critic's Top 10 lists. If you saw the trailer but then heard all of the good things people had to say about the film, than you were immediately intrigued on how it could be a good film. This is what happened to me. The only reason I saw this film (aside from the fact that our good family friend who came to Christmas didn't want to see Sherlock Holmes) is because I wanted to see how it could be good after just seeing the ads for it which made it look stupid. All that aside, the film is very good with some great acting from Maguire and Portman, but most of all from Jake Gyllenhaal who is excellent. And I was really taken by surprise with the twist that happens half-way through the film, which does not happen too often when I see films.

8.) Sherlock Holmes

For this film was, it was a very good movie, because this was not a completely faithful adaptation of Doyle's books, but damn was this incredibly entertaining and really fun to watch. Downey Jr. and Jude Law were both excellent as Holmes and Watson, and the style of Guy Ritchie really helped make this film pretty amazing to watch. Plus, they took a couple pages out of Casino Royale's book by building up future antagonists within the first of hopefully a couple Holmes' films, and the way they did it was incredibly entertaining. I just hope that somewhere down the line Ritchie's buddy Jason Statham joins the cast for the next movie, just hopefully not as Moriarty, because I'd love to see him in a good movie again and reunited with the guy who launched his career.


I had really, rediculously high hopes for this film adaptation of one of the best comic books of all-time, so of course it wasn't going to match them. And again, for what this film was it turned out to be a great movie, but it could have been so much more. That first hour of the film was practically flawless, all the way through the Comedian's funeral, but then it kind of goes off the rails. I just got the Absolute Cut of Watchmen on DVD for Christmas, and I'm really looking forward to watching everything put together (it's a 5+ hour version of the film) to see if Snyder's vision really blossoms. See, now I know that this sounds like I disliked the film that was released, when really I had just penciled this in as the number 1 film of '09 but I was let-down by the experience. I'm planning on doing a review of the Absolute Cut when I can watch it and take notes on it, and I'll go in-depth there why I think this went off the rails. Let me just say, I loved this film and thought it was great, but I just wanted it to be extraordinary.

6.) The Hangover

The funniest film of 2009. I could not stop laughing when I saw this movie, and the acting in it was great all the way through with some of the best current comic actors appearing (Ian Roberts of UCB, Rob Riggle, Dr. Ken Jeong, Jeffery Tambor). And not only was the writing of the jokes really funny, but it was also an incredibly clever film never settled for cheap reveals and instead every situation or escalation in the plot happened so naturally. All around great film.

5.) Star Trek

The completely opposite thing happened with this film than what happened with Watchmen, as I am not a Star Trek fan (I know, I know, but honestly I never liked the show and the only films I enjoyed were IV, VI, and Wrath of Khan) (....) (KHAN!!!!!) and therefore I had very low expectations for this movie and was absolutely blown away by how awesome it was. Chris Pine was perfect, absolutely perfect, as James Kirk and the rest of the cast were terrific with the big exception of Eric Bana (Lamest. Villain. Ever.). Plus, it was totally accesible if you aren't a trekkie, but if you are a trekkie there were tons of little asides throughout the film according to my brother, who picked up on all of the little winks to long-time fans. I was very pleased with how in a summer filled with disappointing films (*cough* Wolverine *cough*) Star Trek was unexpected but really excellent.

4.) Inglourious Basterds

I love Quentin Tarantino films. Straight-up. And I really got a kick out of this movie, especially all the funny little winks and nods to his previous stuff since I think that they were just subtle enough for oblivious people to not even pick up on them and they didn't detract from the film at all. This film had more tension in it than any horror movie that's come out in the '00s, with just some brilliantly staged scenes that are so gripping despite simply being two people just talking you find yourself on the edge of your seat and holding your breathe. I honestly think this might not be the best Tarantino film, but it is the best directed film of his career. Personally? I would love to see Marvel or DC say "Hey Tarantino, here's a dumptruck full of money. Take your pick of any of our obscure characters and do whatever you want with them in a movie as long as you don't have Luke Cage getting sodomized in a basement by Zed we're cool with." Wouldn't you love to see a Tarantino Iron Fist or the Question film? I know I would! Make Mine Marvel!!

Now, briefly, remember what I said about how people's top 3 are always set in stone but the order changes? Well that's how I'm looking at this top 3, much like I did last year. Last year I said basically, "These are the three best films hands down (the films being Wall-E, The Wrestler, and The Dark Knight) but I don't want to rank them". Well, this year I'm going to rank them for your sake, but honestly they are all tied for number 1 in my heart.

3.) Up in the Air

I already went into great deal about this movie in my review of it a couple weeks ago. I did want to add though, that I think it is amazing just how much this movie says about our current economic climate and the effect that it has on people. I think more than any other film this year, Up in the Air is the one that really defines 2009, and I was tempted to rank this at #1 because of that fact. Still, this is a wonderful film and I recommend it to everyone.

2.) District 9

The biggest surprise of the year for me. When I first saw the trailers I didn't know what to think, and in this internet age where we are privy to so much before a film comes out I always relish the chance to see a film without knowing almost anything about it. That, and this is one of the best science fiction films ever made. The fact that the film existed in a world that was so real despite knowing that it was a work of fiction, probably because of how the themes of film are taken directly from the struggle with apartheid in South Africa (where writer/director Neil Blomkamp is from). This is a very cleverly made film, that relies on the great work done by Sharlto Copley as Wikus Van De Merwe, and his journey is just heart-breaking and incredible to watch. I love this movie, and if you haven't seen it, please do.

1.) Up

It's a wonderful, poignant, and heart-breaking look at life and love disguised as a children's adventure movie. I don't cry at films, and I don't mean this as some macho thing where I'm saying that anyone who does is a complete sissy but instead I just mean it as a frame of reference. The last time I cryed because of a film (and not because it was awful because that was at Wolverine when the mind erasing bullets were used) was at Million Dollar Baby at the end, but this movie made me tear up twice during it. TWICE. Then I saw it again on DVD and teared up at both points again. This movie is just amazing, and so heartfelt and positive that it really is a breathe of fresh air in our cynical world. I can't even think of anything to complain about, and I love complaining about things (I complained because the Bears won yesterday. They won and I complained about it. Because I'm a true fan, that's why!).

But honestly, this was a perfect film, and Doug is probably my favorite character from a Pixar film after Wall-E. If the two of them were in a movie together I'd watch it a hundred times in the theater. Okay, here's the plot for the movie: Wall-E discovers a cryo-chamber where Doug has been frozen all this time, and it's just in time too as Auto(-pilot) has reactivated and he's out to destroy the new Utopian Earth so that he's useful again, so Wall-E, EVE and Doug have to team-up and stop him. It'd be like Rush Hour, but good and not directed by Brett Ratner (hence, good).

That does it for me today. Tomorrow night I'm going to be putting the Event Fatigue Best of 2009 up, featuring picks by all the writers here for the best of the year in Comics, Movies, TV, and other stuff too. Don't miss it!

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