I’m sure everyone had their own favorite film of 2009. However, it’s quite difficult to pick just one since there were a lot of great screen gems that came out for this past year. In terms of films at a monumental scale, a few great ones were Avatar and Star Trek. Avatar was James Cameron’s return to familiar territory as he introduces us again into a fascinating new world of aliens, albeit less menacing and more magical than his previous outerspace creatures. Although the plot is nothing new, the special effects and CGI however, is one of the best in the history of film. Star Trek on the other hand gave the franchise’s fans and Star Trek virgins a movie that they both could enjoy. It was great to see the origins of Captain Kirk and Spock, and their budding friendship. What I was most impressed with in the movie however, was its opening sequence. It’s probably one of the most emotionally gripping opening scenes I’ve seen in a while. Interestingly enough, I had very low expectations for both movies, but to my surprise, they were two of the years best and are must sees for fans of the sci-fi genre.
Adding to the list, Inglorious Basterds was everything one can hope for in a Tarantino flick. It had playful dialogue, super-tense moments, over-the-top violence, and great music. Brad Pitt as Lt. Aldo Raine was one of the most memorable characters Tarantino has ever directed, and the film’s comic book ending was pure entertainment. Inglorious Basterds was truly an unforgettable 152 minute film experience that can be talked about as the director’s best ever.
In terms of comedies, it felt as if the male bonding experience became the target for bringing laugh out loud moments on to the screen. I Love You, Man and The Hangover were two of the funniest movies of the year. Though light-hearted and more genuine in its study of friendship, marriage, and family relationships, I Love You, Man was funny because of the comedic chemistry between actors Paul Rudd and Jason Segel. Also, you can’t help but laugh when there’s a funny moment involving Lou Ferrigno. The Hangover on the other hand was probably the most talked about comedy of the year. The characters were colorful, and the situations the characters end up in makes you really want to re-think your next Las Vegas experience. If there’s ever a plan for a movie night with just the guys, make sure to grab either of these two on DVD.
For the year’s best film, I had it shortened down to two selections – District 9 and The Hurt Locker. District 9 I felt, reinvented the Sci-Fi genre with its gripping social commentary on racial tensions, war, humanity, and government. With South Africa as its backdrop one couldn’t help but think about the film’s Apartheid Allegory. Despite its societal concerns, at the core of the movie was a sci-fi film filled with captivating characters and powerful action sequences, all while infusing the theme of hope, friendship, and survival in the mix. Also, Sharlto Copley’s performance as Wikus Van De Merwe was truly amazing as he transformed his character from average fun-loving government worker to a surviving alien war machine. To take it a step further, District 9 could possibly the best Sci-Fi film of the decade.
If I were to only pick one out of the two, my nod would go to The Hurt Locker as the best film of 2009. If you thought your job was bad, then you wouldn’t think it is after watching this film. The reality is, we have soldiers in Iraq at the moment whose job is to defuse explosive material such as roadside bombs, car bombs, or pretty much any explosives that will cause harm to soldiers and civilians. What director Kathryn Bigelow has done is she’s captured what the feeling and the surrounding tension would be like during these moments. It gives viewers a sense that these soldiers are of a different breed, but in reality some are starting to develop emotional and psychological issues with their given role. On top of the bombs they have to defuse, there’s also concern of their environment and the people they’re protecting. Soldiers could never really know if the plain clothes civilian on his or her cell phone is either someone just making a call or someone trying to set off a bomb. Forget phrases like “nail biter” or “edge of your seat,” if anything this is movie is a “punch in the face,” that will make you realize that this is unlike any other war movie you’ve ever seen.
These are just some of the films in 2009 that I thought were worth mentioning. They were all great in their own right, and it sets the bar high for 2010 to follow. If you’re looking forward to the films of 2010, here are some films that I’m personally looking forward for as well: Day Breakers, Book of Eli, The Wolfman, Shutter Island, The Crazies, Alice in Wonderland, Green Zone, Clash of the Titans, Repo Men, Iron Man 2, Robin Hood, The A-Team, Predators, Inception, The Expendables, Tron Legacy.
Also here is my complete list of the best films in 2009.
1. The Hurt Locker
2. District 9
3. Star Trek
5. Inglorious Basterds
6. The Hangover
9. 500 Days of Summer
11. The White Ribbon
Words by: Felson Sajonas (Editor-in-Chief)