I had every intention of avoiding the list-making impulse again this year. Every time I see one of those lists of lists, the ones that bloggers like Largehearted Boy make gathering together every "best of" they can find in one place, I disappear to some kind of quiet happy place. There are just too many. What does it all matter anymore? And this year it goes double, since we're also getting decade round-ups.
But then I was out the other night having a drink with Joëlle and she noted that based on the Golden Globes, it seemed like a bad year for movies. I said I didn't think this was true, and she challenged me to come up with my top 3. I vacillated a little, came up with a basic top 3, but said I really needed to look at everything I saw. Which I did, confirming that the guesses I made at the bar were, in fact, my faves. Once I started looking, though, it was all downhill, I couldn't stop.
There are a few movies I haven't seen. Crazy Heart, for instance, has not shown up in Portland yet (though, check Jason Bailey's review). It's one of the few I can think of that might have a slight chance of cracking this block, but I feel pretty confident that I've got a solid list here. All of the links go to my reviews of the films, so no real need to write short blurbs.
Okay, without further ado...
Jamie S. Rich's Top 15 Theatrical Releases of 2009
1. Where the Wild Things Are
3. Up in the Air
4. An Education
5. The Informant!
6. Inglourious Basterds
7. A Single Man
8. The Fantastic Mr. Fox
9. The Hurt Locker
10. A Serious Man
12. The Messenger
13. The Brothers Bloom
14. Star Trek
15. Treeless Mountain
If I had to give out a special award this year, it would be to Steven Soderbergh, who entertained me not once, but three times. Though Che was technically a 2008 starter, I saw it in 2009, and alongside The Informant! and The Girlfriend Experience, the filmmaker delivered a lot of entertainment this year.
Then again, Sandra Bullock also made three movies this year, none of which I saw. What happened to you, Sandy?! I used to love you!
For a fantastic summation of 2009, I recommend A.O. Scott's intro to his own list over at the NY Times. He finds the common themes of the year, and I think is very astute. His picks are pretty good, especially his #1. Great minds...
DVD Talk is also currently working on their list rounding up our reviewers' opinions on the best DVDs of the year. This means the best packages of the best movies, not just the quality of the film itself. Below is essentially what I voted for, though I hadn't watched Tora-san yet when I voted. I swapped it with Up, since it had already made the theatrical list.
Jamie S. Rich's Top 10 DVD Releases of 2009
1. Wings of Desire - Criterion Collection
2. Mad Men - Season 2
3. Wendy & Lucy
4. Magnificent Obsession - Criterion Collection
5. The Human Condition - Criterion Collection
6. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - Criterion Collection
7. Scott Walker: 30 Century Man
8. Harlan Ellison: Dreams with Sharp Teeth
9. Funny People - 2-Disc Unrated Collector's Edition
10. Tora-san: Collector Set 1
I believe the full results of the DVD Talk poll will be posted sometime next week.
Current Soundtrack: Pet Shop Boys, Yes: Special Edition
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All text (c) 2009 Jamie S. Rich