I think about a world to come where the books were found by the golden ones, written in pain, written in awe by a puzzled man who questioned, "What are we here for?" All the strangers came today and it looks as though they're here to stay.

-David Bowie "Oh! You Pretty Things"

Monday, March 29, 2010

And The Nominees Should Have Been...

My ten favorite films of 2009 in alphabetical order.

1. Avatar

Captivating from beginning to end. James Cameron may have done more for the film industry than any person who has ever lived, and I do not believe this to be hyperbole. I think way too many of you decided you were going to hate this movie before you ever saw it, and then you stuck to your guns because you didn't want to be proven wrong.

2. Away We Go

Most of the critics did not seem to understand this film. I suppose I can empathize. With understandable, realistic characters and a brilliant literary writing style I find it hard to believe that any film critic would understand this movie.

3. The Box

I can think of just as many reasons as you can why this film shouldn't be good. It starts out slow. It goes a little long. Cameron Diaz can't act. And yet this film is easily better than Hurt Locker and Blindside. As a matter of fact, I saw absolutely no difference between Cameron Diaz and Sandra Bullock's portrayal of strong southern women, except of course from the fact that Sandra Bullock walked home with an Oscar that all of the other nominees deserved over her.

4. Inglourious Basterds

I get that you wanted to see the Basterds more. I get that you want to undermine Quentin Tarantino's cinematic vision. As long as he keeps delivering brilliant dialogue and amazing movies, however, I'm going to keep loving them. Inglourious Basterds is not only among the years best, but possibly Tarantino's best.

5. Moon

"And the winner for Best Picture goes to Moon." This is what you would have heard if you watched the Academy Awards ceremony in the alternate reality where the best film of the year is based on merit rather than making a political point. Moon was easily the best film of 2009. EASILY!

6. The Road

Throughout 2009, this was the film that critics were talking about as a surefire Oscar win, but come February 2010 and it wasn't even nominated. I finally saw the film and it really impressed me. I'm still thinking about it. Daily.

7. Star Trek

Is it my fault the year's best films were almost entirely science fiction, fantasy and speculative fiction? No. I wish I could take responsibility for this trend. It means that people are interested in feeling a sense of wonder, and wonder is the most significant thing a film offers us. This movie was good enough that I wanted to watch the sequel immediately afterward. Then I realized that a sequel didn't exist yet and felt sad.

8. Up in the Air

Well, at least the Academy got three out of ten correct. I'm sure you can go far in this world if you are performing at 30% of what you should be performing. I, however, care about the best, and you'll find that Justin Tiemeyer agrees with the Academy: Up in the Air was one of the best.

9. Watchmen

Yes, I read the graphic novel, and probably a long time before you did. My immediate thought was that Watchmen couldn't be more impossible to make. Alan Moore's vision is perfectly exemplified in graphic novel form. Well, guess what? The visionary director of 300 did the impossible. Watchmen was amazing.

10. Where the Wild Things Are

As of 2009, Spike Jonze is the man to beat when it comes to capturing childhood wonder and the psychological complexities of the pre-adolescent struggle. In Where the Wild Things Are, the collective visions of Maurice Sendak, Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers came together in a stunning masterpiece. This movie made me feel happy to be alive.

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