Friday, March 5, 2010

Best of 2009: The Thinnening

On my first pass through the list of 2009 movies, to determine a best, I shall remove all movies that sucked to a greater or lesser extent. We're going for movies with zero suckage. OK, it was a bad year: minimal suckage.

That leaves us with about 45 that were worth seeing for some reason.

Adventureland
Away We Go
The Blind Side
The Brothers Bloom
Coraline
Crazy Heart
District 9
Drag Me To Hell
Etsba Elohim: Out of the Blue
Extract
Everybody's Fine
Fantatstic Mr. Fox
500 Days of Summer
Funny People
Gomorra
The Great Buck Howard
The Hangover
Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince
The Haunting in Connecticut
The Hurt Locker
I Love You, Man
In The Loop
Is Anybody There?
The Maid
Management
Moon, Inc.
Observe and Report
Orphan
Pandorum
Paranormal Activity
Pirate Radio
Play The Game
Ponyo
Saw VI
A Serious Man
Sherlock Holmes
The Stoning of Soaraya M.
Sunshine Cleaning
Taken
The Taking of Pellham 1 2 3
Tetro
Tickling Leo
Up
Up In The Air
Zombieland

From that, let's remove those whose scales were tipped slightly more to flawed, or which just didn't bring enough to the table to warrant being considered in a "best of":

Adventureland
Away We Go
The Blind Side
The Brothers Bloom
Coraline
Crazy Heart
District 9
Drag Me To Hell
Etsba Elohim: Out of the Blue
500 Days of Summer
Funny People
The Great Buck Howard
The Hurt Locker
I Love You, Man
Is Anybody There?
Management
Moon, Inc.
Orphan
Paranormal Activity
Pirate Radio
Play The Game
Ponyo
A Serious Man
The Stoning of Soaraya M.
Taken
The Taking of Pellham 1 2 3
Tickling Leo
Up
Up In The Air
Zombieland

Huh. OK, that only shaved it down to 30. Let's eliminate the fluff (I Love You, Man, Taken, Pellham, Management, Pirate Radio, Play The Game), the good-but-not-great (Adventureland, Away We Go, Coraline, 500 Days of Summer, The Stoning of Soaraya M.
Tickling Leo, The Great Buck Howard) and, as much as it pains me, the movies that weren't really great so much as having great performances (Crazy, Is Anybody There?).

Now we're down to fifteen:

The Blind Side
The Brothers Bloom
District 9
Drag Me To Hell
Etsba Elohim: Out of the Blue
Funny People
The Hurt Locker
Moon, Inc.
Orphan
Paranormal Activity
Ponyo
A Serious Man
Up
Up In The Air
Zombieland

From this list, I'd drop Drag Me To Hell for the ending, Etsba Elohim: Out of the Blue because it did drag a bit in spots, Funny People for not being funnier. I'm tempted to drop The Hurt Locker because the ending reveals a lack of understanding on the producers' part, IMO. But instead I'm dropping Ponyo (for being a little too sweet) and Up In The Air for tasting too much like a hotel ashtray.

My top ten for the year, then:

The Blind Side
The Brothers Bloom
District 9
The Hurt Locker
Moon, Inc.
Orphan
Paranormal Activity
A Serious Man
Up
Zombieland

Not in order. Yeah, I got two horror movies on the list, not counting Zombieland. Maybe they're not as good as they other movies, but they're good horror movies and that's a damn rare thing. Also, two sci-fi movies and a post-apocalyptic thriller.

In order?

A Serious Man
Up
The Blind Side
District 9
The Brothers Bloom
Moon, Inc.
The Hurt Locker
Paranormal Activity
Zombieland
Orphan

There ya have it. Next up, my Oscar predictions. I didn't even see how many of my top ten are on their list. I'm thinking, at most, three?

7 comments:

  1. "I didn't even see how many of my top ten are on their list."

    Surprisingly, five of them are also nominated due to the expanded best picture field.

    That leaves (the craptacular) Avatar, (the exploitacular) Precious, (the Tarantacular) Inglorious Basterds, (the ephebophiliariffic) An Education, and (the Reitmantastic) Up in the Air as nominated films outside of your top ten.

    I suspect under the old rules, only A Serious Man and The Hurt Locker from your list would have also been best picture nominees.

    Of the films you liked, the ones I agree the most on are Up and Zombieland.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, totally forgot about Inglorious Bastards. There are probably some others ones missing, too.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I was surprised that the Hurt Locker was seen (by some) as having a negative view of the troops.

    I certainly had some problems with it, but they had more to do with plot points than politics.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Knox,

    I thought the ending--the last 20 minutes or so--struggled to find a "why" for the troops, and failed.

    And I think that might have something to do with the filmmakers' politics. Not necessarily, and it hardly matters, really.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I can proudly say that I did not see one of these movies.

    ReplyDelete
  6. It's funny that you would drop Drag Me To Hell for the ending. For me, the ferociousness and uncompromising meanness of the ending is the only that really made the film stand out.

    Without that, it was nothing but a series of leaden jump scares, the sort of thing that stopped scaring me twenty-five years ago. On the other hand, the ending stays with me. I still think about it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Kensington,

    Heh. We had an exactly inverted experience of that movie then.

    To us (The Boy concurs), the "mean" ending is so clich├ęd that it sort of pisses us off.

    ReplyDelete

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