Friday, January 8, 2010

At the Drive-In: The Best of 2009

I am sure you have all been waiting anxiously for my Top Ten Movies of 2009 list, so you will be pleased to know you must wait no longer. But before we get into the movies, let me just say that this year was a rather light year for movie going and, in fact, even for DVD viewing, so there are many films I have not seen. So if you saw something awesome that is missing from my list, please do not hesitate to let me know. But as for me, here's my list...

1. Zombieland

"Where are you, you spongy, yellow, delicious bastards?"

Was there any doubt in your mind? Of course not! I mean, we have zombies, roller coasters and we have Woody. And then, of course, we also have Bil... oh wait... Don't want to spoil it for you if you haven't seen it yet! Definitely the most awesome movie of the year, but alas, not the all-time greatest zom-com (that's "zombie comedy" for those of you who may not be up on your hip terminology) as I had hoped. Definitely not as good as Shaun of the Dead. Probably close to a tie with Fido. Still, an excellent flick.

2. Law Abiding Citizen

"My wife and daughter can't feel anything. They're dead."

The previews for this movie built my anticipation of the film to the point that when it was released I was almost convinced it would be a disappointment. Fortunately, I was worried for nothing. The movie was as awesome as it seemed with a great plot and amazing performances by all the stars. Plenty of action and yet underneath it all is a movie that makes you think. Who is the good guy? Who is the bad guy? The only thing for sure is the system has failed and the average joe on the street is the first to get the shaft.

3. Taken

"I believe you. But that won't save you."

Unlike Law Abiding Citizen, it is very easy to decide who is the hero and who is the scum sucking bastard in Taken, an action thriller starring Liam Neeson. Yes, I said Liam Neeson. And Liam surprised us all by rocking the balls off the role. Probably because while he is able to play a convincing secret agent / super spy he is also able to play a concerned father who will storm the Gates of Hell to get his daughter back. Really there is more concerned father in the part than super spy anyway. He just happens to be a concerned father who knows how to fuck you up if need be. And well, the need did indeed be.

Released at the end of January, this movie was in the #1 spot on my list for most of the year and when I get the DVD it might even manage to wiggle its way up past Law Abiding Citizen. But even super spy Liam will not be able to wrestle the top spot back from Woody and the zombie hoard.

4. The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard

"Ahhhh, it feels like a Smurf jizzed all over my face!"

"If he pulls this one off, I'll eat my own pussy."

"Look, I may be old fashioned, but when a man tells me to wear my boner pants, I wear my boner pants."

"Nobody tells DJ Request what to play."

"Don Ready is the rash between my ball sack and inner thigh."

I wasn't sure what to expect from this movie because, on the one hand, the previews were the funniest I had seen in some time. But on the other hand, it is a movie about car salesmen. But then so is Cadillac Man. I gave the movie a chance. What I got was the "quote movie" of the year. Line after line to crack you up so that repeated viewings are required just to get all the jokes. Yes, this one is definitely a winner and your best bet if you are just looking for a laugh.

5. (500) Days of Summer

"Just because she likes the same bizarro crap you do doesn't mean she's your soul mate."

Any guy who has ever fallen for a girl that only wants to be friends will certainly identify with this movie. Why does he do it? You cannot really fault her as she never lies to him and tells him exactly what he can expect. And yet he still falls in love with her. And he gets exactly what she told him he would. Though I guess in fairness to the guy you have to admit that while she was saying one thing her actions sure seemed to say something else. Or maybe that's just the guy in me talking... See the movie.

6. Year One

"I'm sorry. I wasn't listening. All my brain blood was in my boner."

Yeah, I know. You think it sucked. Everybody in the world except me seems to think the movie sucked. But I thought it was hilarious. Jack Black's best work since The Pick of Destiny and, as much as I want to dislike Michael Cera, he makes a great sidekick for Jack in the movie. I can admit that Jack Black's departure from the tribe at the beginning of the film was pretty much lifted from his departure from the band at the beginning of School of Rock, but so what? It was funny the first time and it is funny the second time. It will probably be funny the third time.

7. Push

"Buy an umbrella. It's gonna rain."

This wasn't a very good year for sci-fi flicks. (And yes, I did see Star Trek. It was very flashy and high tech but it was lacking something.) Anyway, Push was this year's Jumper. It came out of nowhere with a cool plot and plenty of action and made its way onto my Top Ten. Sure, it was mostly things we have seen before, but it was put together perfectly.

8. Drag Me To Hell

"I desire the soul of Christine Brown. We will feast upon it while she festers in the grave!"

Sam Raimi's horror tale slipped by me in the theaters but I managed to catch it on DVD. Creepy and suspenseful, the movie drags you in along with the movie's heroine who soon finds herself in mortal peril because of a gypsy's curse. Hey, we've all had those days! This is old school horror that goes straight for the thrills and chills. Justin Long is along for a little comic relief though, to keep things from getting too heavy.

9. Orphan

"I have a special surprise for you, Mommy!"

This is the story of sweet, innocent Esther, a special child who finds a home with a nice couple and their two kids. Then it's "happily ever after" time, right? Sorry, but no way! When it comes to evil children movies, this one is up there with The Good Son. Things go from bad to worse and that is just the beginning. Things spiral out of control as this demented psycho gives new meaning to the term "homewrecker."

10. The Men Who Stare at Goats

"But really he was dying of a broken heart. And maybe a little bit of cancer."

This was a good movie but it didn't really live up to the expectations I had after seeing the previews. But still a strong comedy. A little heavy on the message and a bit light in the jokes though. And it might be one of those where it moves up the list once I get it on DVD and can watch it a couple more times without my high expectations.

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