Movies...Fuck 'Em - A Look Back At 2009
Y'know, I have to admit, 2009 was a solid year for film. Like a little blue pill for my movie mojo, 2009 actually gave me a rush of blood to the head. Erection. Ahem.
For the first time in a long time, I actually saw a movie in the theater. Twice. I rented DVD's, although that probably had more to do with the quaint charm of Faye's Video & Espresso Bar and the prospect of a cozy night on the couch with Kristen.
Primarily though, these days, I'm content to bootleg and watch movies in my leisure time, at my own pace. "Hype", you are a evil temptress, and I say, "Good day to you!"
Surprisingly, I actually saw enough films this year to compile a Top 10. And, y'know, I really like every movie on this list. Of course, due to my viewing habits, I'll also include a list of films I've yet to see that I feel could possibly be Top 10 worthy. So, let's get to it.
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First, let me mention the films from 2009 that I have not yet seen, but have plans to watch, and am somewhat looking forward to:
Fantastic Mr. Fox
I don't have this one yet. I'm hesitant to bootleg this one because I really want to appreciate the animation, colors, and set design. Wes Anderson is my favorite writer/director, and George Clooney and Jason Schwartzman as voice talent only add to my hopes for this one.
Where The Wild Things Are
I've always been a fan of Spike Jonze, although I don't have any real memories of the book this film is based on, and what I mean by that is I've never read it. It comes highly recommended by my brother though, so I'll be looking forward to doing the wild thing with it. Eh? Get it?!? Wild Thing?!?. Well moving on...
I've been sitting on a copy of this film for a few months now. For one, it's directed by Alex Proyas, and because he directed Dark City, I'm going to give this one a shot. However, since it stars Nicolas Cage, I'm not in any hurry.
Again, based on director cred (Darren Aronofsky) and from what I've heard a fabulous performance my Mickey Rourke, I'm ready to get into the ring and go a few rounds with this one. Eh? Get it?!?! Oh never mind.
Another one I've been holding onto for a couple months now, I've just been waiting for the right time. Like, when I'm not alone and won't piss my pants out of fear. I kid, I kid...
In The Loop
Downloading as I type this. Everything I've read / heard about this film makes me want to see it. Hella funny is what I expect. We'll see...
Up In The Air
Just got this one. Of course, it sits atop many of the year's best lists I've seen, so, clearly the hype is too much. Even your boy and mine ag suckled it without qualms. I'll probably never watch it.
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Ok, before we get to my Top 10 list of 2009 (SO fucking played, this concept, and I know it), let me discuss the movies that inspired hate and dick punchery in me...
5. Old Dogs
Fuck no I didn't see this nonsense. But I had to walk by a poster of it almost every day for a few months, and that alone was enough to inspire Hate and Fury in my soul. Let's put it this way, this movie was released on November 25, 2009. Bernie Mac is in it. He died on August 8th 2008. That should tell you all you need to know about this steaming pile of crap.
4. Transformers 2: Revenge of the... Aw Fuck, Who Cares
Don't get me wrong. I expected nothing at all from this movie. Nothing. Still...
Like my roommate said at the time, it felt like "Michael Bay just Michael Bayed all over your face."
Seriously, fuck this movie. I've already discussed this before. Moving on...
I really wanted to like this movie. I expected to like this movie. I suppose that, more than anything is what propels it towards the top of this list.
In the end however, I found it pretty much unwatchable. It wasn't funny. It wasn't clever. It was poorly acted, and I didn't give a shit about a single character. Let's just call it Adventurebland shall we? Haha. I'm full of this bullshit today...
1. Public Enemies
Michael Mann. Johnny Depp. Christian Bale. Fucking surefire combination for success right? Eh... Maybe not so much.
This film opens strong. The first 20 minutes or so had me prepared to see something brilliant. Everything I'd expect from said trio. And then, well, I don't know what happened. The story fell to pieces like a jigsaw in the box. I realized I didn't care about any of the characters. Even Mann seemed to be mailing in the directoral duties. It just made no sense. This film had every reason to work, and yet it failed. And that is why it tops my list of Hate and Fury, because it had all the right ingredients and still ended up tasting like a shit sandwich.
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Top 10 of 2009
10. The Hurt Locker
I have a feeling that over the next few weeks this film could start to move up this list. I really like what I've seen of it. And by that I mean, yes, I've yet to watch it in it's entirety. It's fucking intense! It's visceral! It's gripping and stunning and fucking keeps you at the edge of your seat the entire fucking time. And that's why I haven't finished it. Shit, I come home, I need to relax son! Oh but it's good. It's excellent. I can't wait to finish it.
Although I am a fan and sometimes reader of comic books, I am one of those few geeks who had never bothered to read the Watchmen books. I finally got around to reading the books just before the movie came out. I could see why fanboys were frothing at the mouth over it. But the film had a lot to hold up on it's end. No easy adaptation this one.
As far as I'm concerned, the movie held up it's end of the bargain. Violent, sexy, true to the books, dark and brooding, explosive and surreal. Everything I want in a comic book / super hero movie.
Moon is one of those movies that grew on me a lot after I watched it. I certainly didn't appreciate it when I saw it. There were a lot of factors I guess, the main one being, my roommate set it up all wrong for me. But that's the beauty of a film like this, is it really should be watched without any setup at all. Don't read about it. Don't watch a trailer. Just watch it.
And don't be surprised 30 minutes in when you're mocking it openly and thinking you're all fucking slick cuz you've got it all figured out. Just let it play out. Appreciate Sam Rockwell. Rarely do actors get to chew every last bite of a role like this, and trust me, he is absolutely fantastic.
I hear a lot of praise for Kevin Spacey from critics, but in my personal opinion, I didn't care for his work much in this film. In fact, he might be the reason it's not higher on this list. Don't let that hold you back from Moon though. It's worth a look.
7. Funny People
We're getting into the range of films now that I'm going to find it hard to pick on too much. Funny People was engaging, funny, and really not the film I expected it to be.
Here's the thing. I like Adam Sandler. And not just Happy Gilmore silly / funny Adam Sandler or Punch Drunk Love serious / neurotic Adam Sandler. I also liked Click and Spanglish, and I think that's the type of balance that Sandler shows here. His role in Funny People fits him perfectly, and he plays it exactly how it should be. Strangely enough, it's Seth Rogen who I didn't really care for in this film, and that's not a knock on Seth Rogen so much as it was just for me, a miscasting.
Worth mentioning, Eric Bana. He has one of the tougher roles I think, and is exceptional.
Yes, it's essentially "Dances With Smurfs". And sure, the story is for the most part, predictable and slightly preachy...
But did you fucking see it?!? I mean, with your eyes, in 3D?!? The fucking glorious fantastic 3D world of Pandora?!? Visually stunning. Pandora is as dense and immerssive a world I've ever seen in a film. I mean, I would have shit my pants and gladly sat still for another 2 hours if George Lucas had pulled off anything close to the world of Pandora with any of the Star Wars prequels. The care, the detail, the amazing creatures and plant life. Who fucking cares about the story?!?
Add to that some pretty kick ass action scenes, some absolutely fun-as-hell character work from Giovanni Ribisi and Stephen Lang, and a solid performance from Sam Worthington and it all adds up to a nice tall glass of "fuck yes, I'll have another".
5. Star Trek
Honestly, I'm surprised I like this movie as much as I do. Perhaps I shouldn't be though. I grew up a fan of the Star Trek movies. Not a "Trekky" by any means, but I enjoyed seeing them in the theaters, usually went with my parents, and always had a good time. Star Trek IV set right here in San Francisco remains my favorite.
So really, I guess I was skeptical before seeing this one. Now, I wish I'd seen it on the big screen. It kicks major ass! (By the way, I'm no film critic, so, expressions like "kicks major ass" or "it's really good" or "it felt like a punch in the dick" are pretty much as far as my range goes for these type of summary reviews.)
J.J. Abrams knows what the fuck he's doing. He entertains the shit out of me. Sometimes, that's all I want. Just fucking hit me with it. Make me laugh. Make me say "whoa" a couple times. Make me root for the hero, rue the villain and such. Hell, make the room get a little bit dusty even, if you know what I mean. Fuck. Star Trek gets play any time it wants at my house.
4. Land of the Lost
Again, just a fucking pleasant surprise for me. I mean, I would never have expected to like this movie, let alone have it crack my top 5 in any given year. Here's what works for me...
The effects are somewhat cheesy. I believe, on purpose. Love that fucking campy quality it has. Will Ferrell is absolutely one of the funniest actors working today, this we all know. But the brilliance of this film, is that Ferrell gets to showcase his toned down, understated humor, while Danny McBride brings the over the top hilarity to the mix. It's a perfect combination to me. And it had me laughing consistently the length of the film. What's more is, I was rooting for these guys, and the Land of the Lost they find themselves in is pretty cool when it's all said and done.
"I finished building it, yes, but... I didn't have the nerve to test it out. So, I thought a trip to Arby's might give me some courage, but no dice. Then, I hit Popeye's, Del Taco. 14,000 calories later, I found myself down at Subway... powering through a 12 inch veggie on whole wheat babbling to a cut-out of Jared. Still didn't give me the strength to turn that thing on. I'm a coward."
3. The Hangover
Could easily have been #1. Just. Fucking. Brilliant. In every way. You know the expression "hilarity ensues"? Well, that's The Hangover. In fact, I can't think of anything that I don't like about this movie. It's everything I'd want it to be. It never deviates from what it's supposed to be. It never takes any wrong turns. It never slips in a throw away joke. It's just a fucking romp through Vegas and if you've ever spent more than 24 hours in that town you know it's either extremely fucking insane or just another night in that filthy desert town.
Love, fucking love this flick. Hell, what could possibly have beat it?...
2. Observe and Report
Black Humor - in literature, drama, and film, grotesque or morbid humor used to express the absurdity, insensitivity, paradox, and cruelty of the modern world. Ordinary characters or situations are usually exaggerated far beyond the limits of normal satire or irony. Black humor uses devices often associated with tragedy and is sometimes equated with tragic farce. - Columbia Encyclopedia
There should be nothing, and I mean nothing funny about Ronnie Barnhardt's life, his job, his dating options, his home life, or his delusions. It is fucking tragic. And when you're thinking, "what the fuck?!?", you only realize, that not only is his life seriously tragic, but he is not in any way amused by it. He is fucking dead serious.
Seth Rogen... fucking aye Seth. I never in a million years thought you had this performance in you. (Yes I'm speaking directly to Seth Rogen, he deserves no less.) You've become a bit typecast I'd say. I'm sure you'd agree. But hey, Pineapple Express and Superbad and Knocked Up... all that shit was really funny. And you were fucking good in all those movies. But in Observe and Report, well, fuck man, you are just fucking brilliant! You make me want to laugh and cry and cringe and shout at my television like a madman and fucking cheer for Ronnie fucking Barnhardt!
I never expected it. A fucking space alien could have landed in my fucking living room and I would have been less surprised than I was by this movie.
Jody Hill, thank you for writing and directing this fucking work of genius. Ray Liotta, Michael Pena, The Yuan Twins... fuck, thank you all. Jesus fuckall this movie made my year. I mean, only one film could have knocked it out of the #1 slot...
1. Inglourious Basterds
Quentin's best film. Hands down. I almost thought putting this at #1 was taking the easy way out. But nah...
This is just sheer brilliance. This is why I love film. This is tension and drama created only with words, and the possibility of shit going very, very wrong.
Best character / performance? Start with Chrstoph Waltz as Hans Landa. Then what? Can any separation be made? Brad Pitt as Aldo Raine? Melanie Laurent as Shosanna Dreyfus? Diane Kruger as Bridget von Hammersmark? Daniel Bruhl as Fredrick Zoller? What about Til Schweiger as Hugo Stiglitz? Jacky Ido as Marcel? Denis Menochet as Perrier LaPadite? Seriously, I can't say any one is better than another.
"Wait for the crème."
Well, this is it.