The Five: Best Films of 2009

I promised earlier this week that I would give you my five favorite films of 2009 before the year was up. So here I am at the end of a very long year that saw a ton of very cool films pass through theaters, as well as a few buckets full of really lame movies, too. Here are my five favorites (in no particular order):

1.       Avatar – While you can say that James Cameron’s story was a little too familiar and clichéd, for me this film wasn’t about the story – it was about the experience, and the characters and the amazing new, original world that was painstakingly created over the course of ten years. This film is why movie theaters were invented, and it was easily my favorite moviegoing experience of 2009.
2.       Inglourious Basterds – Few writer-directors know how to craft a conversation like Quentin Tarantino, whose Inglourious Basterds not only re-wrote history in hilarious and action-packed fashion, but it was also a film that was packed with incredible moments of tension; the perfect slow-burner, and his best film since Pulp Fiction.
3.       Up in the Air – Jason Reitman (Juno, Thank You for Smoking) returned to theaters this year with a film that very well may end up scoring a best picture Oscar. With an incredible performance from up-and-comer Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air is a film about missed connections, sure, but it has an uncanny way of connecting with its audience, tunneling deep into their own lives and relationships to help them come to terms with whatever issues might be hiding in plain sight. A bit of a downer, yes, but one that ultimately feels therapeutic.
4.       The Hurt Locker – Kathryn Bigelow’s power-charged drama about an elite bomb squad in Iraq was left to fend for itself right smack in the middle of a busy summer movie season. Thankfully, critics and fans of the film didn’t let the buzz die, and this must-see, edge-of-your-seat slice of awesome is now on its way to racking up numerous award nominations, and is bound to do plenty of business on DVD as folks scurry to catch up with a film they may have missed a few months back.
5.       Up – When I first read about Up, I didn’t know how they’d pull off relationship between an old man and a young boy without it feeling creepy. Then again, I should’ve just trusted Pixar, who in the end delivered a film that was beautiful, poetic, hilarious, action-packed and visually stunning. They gave us an elderly action star, one of the more memorable inquisitive little kids in recent history and an opening montage that most likely moved you to tears (I know I wasn’t the only one wiping liquid away).
 
Your Favorite Film of 2009: With about 50 comments so far on my earlier post, it looks like the majority of you thought Avatar was the best film of 2009, followed by Star Trek, New Moon and a host of others (including the films I listed above). Feel free to continue to leave your picks for best film of 2009 in the comments section of this post and that one, and I sincerely wish you a very happy new year.
 
See you in 2010!
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