Nathan’s Top 10 Films Seen In Theaters, In 2009
Being a dad, a husband, a drummer, a designer, a blogger, and otherwise persistently occupied with Flickchart means having precious little time to get away and plop myself down at a local cineplex for a few hours. I always relish the opportunities to do so when I can and the following list represents the best of what I’ve seen while sitting in those darkened rooms – eagerly anticipating the next captivating story, special effects that convince me other worlds exist, and the best performances & artistry that Hollywood has to offer.
There are many films I of course still have yet to see from throughout the year, so I’ll also do a rundown of some of the ones I missed but can’t wait to remove from my own personal “haven’t seen” list on Flickchart.
#10 – Knowing
I have an unhealthy obsession with doomsday scenarios in movies. Alex Proyas’s version of the end of the world, with Nicolas Cage at the helm, didn’t disappoint. The plane crash sequence in particular had an impact far greater than I was anticipating. It ended up a well-spun, spooky tale that felt like a big-budget, gorgeously shot, Twilight Zone episode done right. It’s currently #284 on my all-time list.
#9 – Zombieland
While I wouldn’t consider myself a zombie flick fan (I’ve never seen several of the big ones, like Night of the Living Dead or 28 Days Later – yes, feel free to widen your eyes in disbelief and grumble), I still found a lot to like in Ruben Fleischer’s direction. Woody Harrelson in particular seemed tailor-made for his role, and the extended cameo of the great Bill Murray provided two great veterans for the rest of the cast – and the story – to revolve around. It’s currently #274 on my all-time list.
#8 – 2012
Like Knowing, I knew I would see this in theaters regardless of how good a film it might be. The fact that John Cusack (one of my favorite actors) was in it was icing on the cake. So I found the biggest, loudest IMAX theater I could find and found myself thoroughly enjoying being visually and sonically assaulted. Even if it is a ludicrous plot, Ronald Emmerich is getting progressively better at showing the coolest ways we’re all gonna die – and for that, I thank him. Disaster films are my absolute favorite cinematic guilty pleasures. It’s currently #273 on my all-time list.
#7 – Away We Go
This little indie film actually had a lot of heart, and a good mix of drama and comedy from John Krasinski & Maya Rudolph. It was one of the wife’s selections to see, but as romantic comedies go, it impressed me with clever scriptwriting and its quietly beautiful road movie feel. It’s currently #272 on my all-time list.
#6 – Star Trek
As a fan of the legacy of Trek – from the original series, to Picard and the next generation – this movie seemed nearly destined to fail. The shining light however was the attachment of J.J. Abrams – as Alias, Lost, and Fringe all happen to be some of the best things on television. The fact that they cast a mix of unknowns, up & comers, and veterans in the picture lent itself well to service the story. It’s also a credit to everyone involved that it is possible to do a good remake/reboot of an existing property. This movie is proof positive. It’s currently #234 on my all-time list.
#5 – Moon
I happened to see this one in the theater at a late showing, alone. It may have actually improved the film viewing experience for me. As the loneliness and minimalist tone permeated the story, I felt genuinely affected by Sam Rockwell’s performance. While the film has plenty of nods to other science fiction staples (2001, Alien, Solaris), it still felt creatively unique – and damn if it didn’t have some of the best doubled acting ever. I could swear Rockwell had a identical twin. It’s currently #133 on my all-time list.
#4 – The Hangover
While I’m not one to usually catch the comedies in theaters, the buzz on this one was strong enough to lure me in. I’m glad it did, as there was plenty to love about the characters and the mystery of how everything went down. Talk about chemistry – Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, and Ed Helms knocked it out of the park and made you care about figuring out what happened to them and their plight to save their best friend. Hilarious, heart-warming in the strangest ways, and a wholly great comedy – I came away from the theater smiling from ear to ear. It’s currently #81 on my all-time list.
#3 – Watchmen
I made a point to read the original graphic novel before watching this film because I wanted to know what I was getting myself into. As an adaptation from source material to feature-length film, I can’t think of anything that’s ever been done better. The squid-ending aside, the changes from page to screen work tremendously well, and Zack Snyder exceeded every high expectation I brought into the theater with me. It’s currently #41 on my all-time list.
#2 – District 9
Edge of my seat. From nearly start to finish, this movie blew me away. The cinéma vérité stylings. The unbelievably good, first-time performance of Sharlto Copley. The unprecedented quality of realism combining live-action and CG. It’s a movie I haven’t seen combine actors and animation as well since Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. This film makes you glad the Halo movie was never made, as this brilliant, out-of-nowhere masterpiece from Neill Blomkamp might not have ever seen the light of day. It’s currently #36 on my all-time list.
#1 – Avatar
Everything you’ve heard is true – the bar is in fact raised. Best CG on film, period. A new visual standard for 3D. A love letter to fans of many characters, set pieces, and designs from James Cameron’s past work. If ever a film built its hype, and deserved its hype where so many others have failed (Star Wars: Episode I, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), this is it. With this film, Cameron is now represented 5 times within my top 50 all-time films – second only to Spielberg holding the crown with 7. It’s currently #35 on my all-time list.
Keep in mind, this list represents my position on these films as of right now. My hope (and I imagine Jeremy would concur) is that Flickchart becomes a place for your ever-changing tastes in film – whether you’re a film snob, limited-release lover, foreign film fan, indie enthusiast, horror whore, sci-fi geek, or whatever your leanings may be. Flickchart is for you to decide what’s “best” – and that doesn’t necessarily have to mean “most well-made”, “favorite”, “top”, or “which you’d rather see” – that’s all for you to decide. If you love all types of movies, then they should all have their own special spot in your heart, and Flickchart’s there to help.
The aforementioned titles that I’m most looking forward to seeing? Here’s 10 on my list, in no particular order:
- Inglourious Basterds
- The Hurt Locker
- (500) Days of Summer
- Where the Wild Things Are
- Paranormal Activity
- A Serious Man
- World’s Greatest Dad
Are there any other films from the year that you’d absolutely recommend? What did you see in the theater this year that you feel everyone must see?