Monday, January 4, 2010

The Best of 2009! (So far!)

First off, I hope anyone who actually reads my blogs can forgive me for being such a garbage blogger. I'm tempted to make some sort of empty promise about "getting better about that," but, as I like to tell the truth whenever possible, I'll settle for a sincere apology: I'm sorry, Readers. I love you dearly.

Secondly, the title of this post probably deserves some explanation. It should be obvious, I think, that a list of the best movies I saw in the past year will be available below. Generally, I wait until shortly before the Oscars to compile a "Best of the Year" list. But, even though it's only three days into the new year, practically everyone else I know who makes this sort of list (critics and casual fans alike) have already done so. And goddammit, I don't want to miss this boat again. I'm notoriously late for everything (ask anyone); this list will be the exception to that rule (my priorities are obviously fucked).
Which brings me to the "(So far!)" part of my title. If anything is more typically 'me' than chronic tardiness, it is my limitless fear of commitment (just trust me on this one). The "(So far!)" is my disclaimer. Should I see a 2009 film in the next month or two that I can't bear to leave off this list, I reserve the right to amend it accordingly.

Just for fun--or maybe as a light appetizer?--here's a sampling of some of the 2009 films I intend to see as soon as possible, which I think stand a good chance of cracking my Best of 2009 list:
  • The White Ribbon (01.19: I have no idea how I feel about it yet, which probably means it's good. I'll see it again in a couple weeks when it gets its official release.)
  • Police, Adjective (01.30: As with White Ribbon, I'll need to see Police, Adjective at least once more before I'll know whether or not it's worth of The List.)
  • Summer Hours
  • Goodbye Solo (01.18)
  • The Limits of Control (02.11: It's fascinating. Not to mention gorgeously photographed. Oh, and the music is terrific, too. Come to think of it, I like it more and more and more with each passing moment.)
  • Anvil! The Story of Anvil (Best doc of the year. 50-year-old Canadian dudes still chasing the dream. Inspiring.)
  • Liverpool
  • The Girlfriend Experience (01.05: Moving it to the Honorable Mention list.)
The White Ribbon and Police, Adjective haven't even opened in Seattle yet! How can I possibly make a complete, final, unconditional Best of 2009 list when such strong prospects open in my city nearly a full month after the year has ended?! Movie-watching sure is tough.

Anyway, without further ado, the ten finest films of 2009, according to me, are:
  1. Hunger
  2. Moon
  3. Sin Nombre
  4. Revanche
  5. Gomorrah
  6. Still Walking
  7. 35 Shots of Rum
  8. Precious
  9. The Hurt Locker
  10. Inglourious Basterds
In the interest of brevity and my sanity, I have no intention of providing any explanation for my decisions (yet, anyway). One thing I would like to point out: only two three American productions made this list, and they waited until the 8th and 9th (and 10th) spots to do so. Way to suck, USA. (Note: As of 01.12, one more American film has snuck onto the list. Crazy Heart, tied for at #10. See it.)

Some quick honorable mentions:
  • Adventureland (Jesse Eisenberg: the thinking-person's Michael Cera.)
  • An Education (Demoted from Top Ten on 01.20...but through no fault of its own.)
  • Avatar
  • Crazy Heart (Bumped from Top Ten by The Hurt Locker.)
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox (Because I, too, am a wild animal. HOT BOX!)
  • The Girlfriend Experience (See below comment.)
  • The Informant! (Two decades on, and Steven Soderbergh continues to make terrific movies with remarkable frequency and consistency.)
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Star Trek
  • Zombieland (You're killing it, Jesse Eisenberg.)

Okay, that's all for now. But stay tuned for a forthcoming "Best of the Decade" list--the Top 9 of which have already been decided (assuming an as-yet unseen 2009 film doesn't complicate matters by completely blowing me away). Also, Oscartime will undoubtedly bring some nonsense about who should be nominated, followed by some disgust with who was nominated, and culminating in a bitter post-show rant about how all the winners are undeserving scum. Maybe I'll even pretend to swear off the Oscars for good! Should be a blast!

Byefornow, Readers.

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