Top 5 Movies of 2009

So I’ve been thinking about this post for the past week. I’ve been doing my best to hold off on writing this until I saw a couple more movies, particularly Up in the Air, which I saw today as part of a double-feature with my parents (the other movie was NINE). I’ve yet to see The Hurt Locker or Where the Wild Things Are, and frankly, the only other movie that felt really came close was State of Play. Here are the movies that I enjoyed the most this year:

Up

Pixar is easily one of the best studios on the planet. The worst movie that they’ve ever made (in my opinion) was Cars, and even that was considered a success by many. But this year, they really outdid themselves with this amazingly charming and heartfelt story of Carl Fredericksen, a boy named Russell and a dog named Dug: Up.

Avatar

One of the most visually stunning films of the last decade. I want to see it like three more times. Such a huge accomplishment for James Cameron. Fascinating on so many levels.

The Hangover

Call it overrated or crude. I don’t agree, nor do I care. I thought that Zach Galifianakis’ performance as Alan in The Hangover was one of the most entertaining of the year. Galifianakis and The Office‘s Ed Helms totally steal the majority of the scenes in this debauchery-filled romp through Las Vegas. I haven’t laughed this hard in a very long time.

Away We Go and (500) Days of Summer

Independent movies have really come into their own over the past few years. Juno and other films have set the bar extremely high, but there were two independents that came out this year that I really loved: Away We Go, starring John “Big Tuna” Krasinski and Maya Rudolph, (which I reviewed already) and (500) Days of Summer, starring Joseph-Gordon Levitt and Zooey Deschanel (which I also reviewed). Away We Go is just a lovely movie with some amazing chemistry between Krasinski and Rudolph. And (500) Days of Summer really did some amazing work redefining the romantic comedy genre. Both movies had great performances and completely phenomenal soundtracks (which always is helpful).

Star Trek

There was a lot of speculation as to whether J.J. Abrams (Alias, LOST, Cloverfield) could pull off a reboot of one of Hollywood’s most storied franchises. He did so and he did it amazingly. Essentially, he took the traditional Star Trek story with a new cast of characters and made it into an exciting action movie that just happened to be set in space. Star Trek was everything that you could ask for a summer blockbuster to be: it was exciting and funny and (most importantly for the summer blockbuster) it set the stage for many more sequels.

So my list is probably a lot different than most, but this is what I thought was great in 2009. I’m looking forward to 2010 (especially Iron Man 2).

What did you love in 2009? What are you looking forward to seeing in 2010?

(500) Days of Summer

Alli and I caught our second screening of the week tonight — Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the independent romantic comedy (of sorts): (500) Days of Summer.

It’s an interesting movie, a little bit different take on the traditional romantic comedy. It opens up with a very comical letter from the writer, but I won’t spoil that. I’ll just say: don’t be late.

Zooey Deschanel is becoming somewhat of an indie flick darling and she’s really the star of the movie; she is, after all, Summer. And Joseph Gordon-Levitt…well, he’s come a long way since playing the annoying little kid on 3rd Rock from the Sun. He’s really grown into a good actor.

The chemistry between her and Gordon-Levitt is really charming, even if it’s doomed from the start. Or is it? That’s kind of the great thing about the movie. You root for them all along, even if you aren’t sure why or if they’re even right for each other. Plus, the soundtrack is really good. I don’t want to say anything more about it…I want people to discover it for themselves.

We both really enjoyed the movie. I probably liked Away We Go a little better, but it was definitely better than Tuesday’s movie.