Favorite flicks of ’09

Here’s my third annual list of my favorite movies of the year. (You can read my 2008 list here and my 2007 list here.)

In 2009 I saw 26 new movies, oddly enough the same number as in 2008 (but down from 41 in ’07). Obviously there were loads of good movies I didn’t see, so if your favorites aren’t here, maybe I just didn’t see them.

Note: A couple of these are technically 2008 movies because they came out Dec. 25 or Dec. 28 in limited release, but like most people, I saw them in 2009.

My top 10, in roughly descending order:

Gran Torino, Up, Milk, The Class, Julie and Julia, (500) Days of Summer, Me and Orson Welles, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Food Inc., Black Dynamite.

The next 10 would be:

Summer Hours, Watchmen, The Hurt Locker, An Education, Up in the Air, Monsters vs. Aliens, I Love You Man, Gomorrah, Last Chance Harvey, The Soloist.

What did you see and like (or dislike) in 2009?

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  • Desdave

    That scene in ‘Gran Torino’ where Clint takes the kid to the barber shop to learn how to speak properly to men might be one of my favorite funny scenes of the year!

    How anyone could be scared away by a movie like ‘Milk’ due to its subject matter is beyond me… probably my favorite “sappy” movie since ‘Philidelphia’. It took this movie to really drive home the fact that Sean Penn may be my generation’s best actor.

  • shirley wofford

    Hi David,

    I agree with everything Desdave says.

    I probably saw twice as many movies as you did because I’m old and can go to the Laemmle on Wednesdays for half the cost of the other movie houses. Everything that comes to the Laemmle is pretty much the cream at the top, and many of those never make it into the other theaters.

    On your first list, I did not see “Food Inc.” and “Black Dynamite.” I thought “The Class” was quite boring, highly rated as it was.

    On your second list, I missed “Summer Hours,” “Watchmen,” “Monsters vs Aliens” and “Gomorrah.”

    The absolute worst movie I saw this year was “Paris,” a foreign mess that came to the Laemmle.

    “Up in the Air” is certainly one of the best of the year. George Clooney is another Clark Gable and Gary Cooper combined. I knew during the movie that there would be a twist — I wasn’t prepared for what the twist was — I thought it was quite a kick in the stomach, and I’d sure like to sit one of the characters down for a long talk.

    With my Laemmle premier card and some gift cards I hadn’t even gotten around to using yet, I have been living it up this week. I also saw “It’s Complicated” which is really funny — Alec Baldwin does not realize his own comic talent — he is a riot in this movie.

    Yesterday and today, I saw “Nine” and “Avatar.” “Nine” receives such bad reviews that I almost passed it up, and I loved it, because singing and dancing gets me every time. “Avatar” is quite long and sometimes boring, but I am glad I saw it for the visuals and the 3-D, which were astounding. I could not sit down and discuss it. I think it is a metaphor, but none of the reviewers mention such.

    Next week I am going to see “Sherlock Holmes” because I love RD Jr. “Young Queen Victoria” and “Crazy Heart” are both coming to the Laemmle within the month.

    I would add that Meryl Streep was so good in “Julia and Julie” that sometimes I forgot it was her and thought I was watching Julia Child. Amy Adams was very underrated too.

    Another humerous little ditty was “The Invention of Lying.” And, I even forgot to mention “The Blind Side,” which was absolutely wonderful.

    I had been all primed to see “Did You Hear About the Morgans?” until I saw the reviews. It is supposed to take place in Wyoming and it is actually filmed in New Mexico.

    A couple more highly reviewed movies I saw: “Good Hair,” a Chris Rock documentary — terrific; “A Serious Man” — I hated it — always have to see what the Coen Bros. are up to.

    [You're an adventurous moviegoer, Shirley, and I respect your taste. I'd meant to see "Good Hair" but missed it. As for "Morgans," LA Weekly gave it a positive review, but almost no one else did. -- DA]

  • judi

    Always enjoy your top choices. But which ones did you see that you wished came with a money-back guarantee?

    [The only one I considered walking out on was O'Horten, a Scandinavian import that was very dull, and far less entertaining than the L.A. Times review had led me to expect. Almost nothing happens to a taciturn man: Now there's a winning formula. Overall, I choose my movies carefully and avoid most of the hyped duds, which is why my moviegoing consists of so few stinkers. -- DA]

  • John Clifford

    So what were the 6 that didn’t make the list of the top 20? Since it’s not a long list, perhaps you might share?

    [I was wondering if perhaps I shouldn't have done that, so thanks for asking: Waltz With Bashir, Invictus, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Duplicity, Whatever Works, O'Horten. Despite being my bottom six, they were still pretty good, although I wouldn't recommend the last three. -- DA]

  • Linda Frost

    Mt favorite was The Blind Side. What a refreshing story! It renewed my faith in people.

  • Matt Swift

    I haven’t seen it yet but I noticed you don’t have “The Hangover” on your list.

    [Didn't see it, no. -- DA]

  • Lyn Williams

    Hi David–
    Just saw “It’s Complicated” with Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin. If you can, squeeze it in for viewing as it is quite entertaining. I want to be Meryl when I grow up-as she is still quite stunning.

    Happy New Year to you-and looking forward to what your columns and blog entries have for 2010.

    Best Wishes-
    Lyn Williams