2009 Movies of the Year List

The guidelines:

  • Any movie viewed in the year 2009 that I haven’t seen before qualifies for the list.
  • I balance artistic merit with a swinging good time.
  • In order of importance I rank artistic brilliance, “re-view-ability”, and only then “a swinging good time”.
  • I do twelve top movies (B-listing 12 more). Consider it cinema calendrics.

The selections for 2009:

1. Thin Red Line : Terrence Malick : 1998

Terrence Malick is lyrical with the camera, a cinematic Psalmist. The Thin Red Line is a war movie like no other, reflective, poetic, tragic. Jumps immediately into my top fifteen favorite films of all time.


2. Happy Go Lucky : Mike Leigh : 2008

An infectious film. Sally Hawkins plays a character who is so oddball and all over that she can only be loved or hated for it. I loved her for it.

Happy Go Lucky1.jpg

3. Rachel Getting Married : Jonathan Demme : 2008

I don’t know how Anne Hathaway ended up in this film, but never have I seen such a contrast between self-indulgent misery and corporate celebration.  A perfect compliment to Margot at the Wedding.


4. The Wrestler : Darren Aronofsky : 2008

Darren Aronofsky’s “The Passion of Christ” cynically remixed as the Ram of God who wrestles with the sins of the world.  Despite its subject matter it’s a pull-no-punches film.


5. Apocalypse Now : Francis Ford Coppola : 1979

A war classic that is gripping up until its soft conclusion, ending in whimper rather than bang.


6. The Hurt Locker : Kathryn Bigelow : 2008

A movie that is full of bang,  Jarhead without the cinematic gloss.


7. Lat Den Ritte Komma In (aka Let the Right One In) : Tomas Alfredson : 2008

An atypical vampire film that I’ve described as “John Carpenter passed through Gus Van Sant”. I discuss the true horror of it here.


8. Days of Heaven : Terrence Malick : 1978

Terrence Malick is a master of visuals. If there were a “Top 100 Scenes List” he’d own a quarter of it.


9. Goodbye Solo : Ramin Bahrani : 2008

A dark film, but one of the richest I’ve ever seen. The final ten minutes are breathtaking.

goodbye solo.jpg

10. Up : Pete Docter : 2009

While not a perfect film Pixar continues to raise the bar.


11. Sommarnattens Leende (aka Smiles of a Summer Night) : Ingmar Bergman : 1955

My classic film appreciation continues to grow, Ingmar Bergman’s entertaining romantic farce is still immanently watchable.


12. Transsiberian : Brad Anderson : 2008

This quiet but haunting film escalates beautifully.


Click here for the best of the rest:

Avatar : The master of Splodies sets the volume to rompus and the 3D added a bit more depth than the vague mysticism.
Hannah and Her Sisters/ Manhattan Murder Mystery : Classic Woody
Julie & Julia : Amy Adams does more with less, but Meryl Streep does well with her lot.
Blade Runner : I still waiver over whether he is or is not. As of now I say he is.
Gran Torino : Good R-rated fun.
Jungfrukallen : A powerful film, includes one of my all-time favorite visuals: Tore wrestling with the birch tree.
Les Quatre Cents Coups : Another classic film, excellent staging and storytelling.
Le Regle du Jeu : Humor sometimes doesn’t age well, but this one is still funny.
Public Enemies : It’s safe to say that I don’t get Mann anymore, but there are moments in this film that are outstanding.
Coraline : Wildly imaginative and gorgeously done. Underrated.
Chop Shop : Another film from Ramin Bahrani (Goodbye, Solo), whose carved out his own little genre.
Bella : The best of the Pro-choice-Life movies of recent years. Very pretty.

The best movies I watched in 2008.


5 thoughts on “2009 Movies of the Year List

  1. Remy, have you watched the Three Colors (Blue, White, Red) trilogy by Kriestof Kieslowski? I suspect they’ll make part of your “best movies ever” list. They’re on mine.

  2. Mike Leigh’s Secrets and Lies has been a favorite of mine for years and Thin Red Line is perhaps my all time favorite film. I suspect you watched Days of Heaven so as to enjoy more of Malick’s stuff. I tried watching it once a couple years ago, but I was so tired, I couldn’t get beyond the first 15 minutes. The Wrestler, Gran Torino and Transsiberian are also recent favorites. I wasn’t a fan of Coraline at all.

    Thanks for the list, I’ll add the ones I haven’t seen to my Ziplist (like Netflix, but for Canada).

  3. I keep hearing things about Secrets&Lies so I need to get on it. “The New World” was the first Malick I watched, “Days of Heaven” was the second, and “Thin Red Line” was the most recent. Days is definitely the lowest in my esteem, since storywise it’s the least remarkable, but it still stands strong in the visual department.

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