Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"2009, you are clear for landing."

Aren't you glad you don't have to read another 15-word description of why I'm watching so many movies?

It's Oscar nomination morning, which means my personal 2009 film rankings are finally in the books. (That was 16 words.)

Each year around June, when I've seen a scant dozen movies released that year, I can never imagine that I'll actually get my list up to a respectable number by the following January/February. But it's a bit more than a respectable number this year. Actually, a bit more than a bit more. Actually, this year, I'm ranking twenty-six (26) more movies than I did last year -- and last year was a personal record. Which means I have a better than average chance of actually having seen all ten (grrr) of the best picture nominees. (Which, as I type this, are about three minutes away from being announced.)

Excuse me, I'm going to go pour a cup of coffee. (It's 5:31 a.m. where I am.)

So if you've never read one of my year-end lists, I'll include some disclaimers that let me off the hook for some difficult decisions. Each critic/enthusiast uses slightly different criteria when ranking movies. Mine is pretty much straightforward, but I do follow this basic guideline: I judge a movie based on how it fulfills its own potential. Which is why best picture nominees The Hurt Locker, Up, District 9 (!) and The Blind Side (!!!) don't rank as highly as what many people would consider lesser movies -- they left me wanting in important ways, while those other films drove it home more satisfactorily.

Also, if you see some film that you think belonged to 2008 (or God forbid, 2007), just trust me that I agonized over it, and came to the conclusion that I wouldn't have reasonably been able to see it -- like, it was released only in another country -- until this year.

Okay, that's about all you need. Here we go:

1. Moon
2. Where the Wild Things Are
3. Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire
4. Anvil! The Story of Anvil
5. Away We Go
6. Sin Nombre
7. Inglourious Basterds
8. Watchmen
9. The Education of Charlie Banks
10. Fantastic Mr. Fox
11. Two Lovers
12. Humpday
13. Star Trek
14. Zombieland
15. Disney's A Christmas Carol
16. The Messenger
17. Monsters vs. Aliens
18. Sugar
19. An Education
20. The Escapist
21. Departures
22. The Men Who Stare at Goats
23. Cold Souls
24. The Girlfriend Experience
25. World's Greatest Dad
26. 2012
27. Drag Me to Hell
28. Food, Inc.
29. The Soloist
30. Big Fan
31. The Cove
32. Sleep Dealer
33. Invictus
34. The Princess and the Frog
35. Up in the Air
36. Whatever Works
37. Avatar
38. Samson and Delilah
39. The Road
40. Surrogates
41. I Love You, Man
42. The Hangover
43. Knowing
44. Soul Power
45. Coraline
46. Crank High Voltage
47. Paranormal Activity
48. Mary and Max
49. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
50. The Proposal
51. Michael Jackson's This Is It
52. He's Just Not That Into You
53. Taking Woodstock
54. Extract
55. Funny People
56. The Time Traveler's Wife
57. Antichrist
58. Police, Adjective
59. The Invention of Lying
60. 9
61. The Lovely Bones
62. Up
63. Tyson
64. Nine
65. District 9
66. The International
67. Duplicity
68. The Hurt Locker
69. In the Loop
70. (500) Days of Summer
71. Observe and Report
72. Jennifer's Body
73. Whip It
74. Couples Retreat
75. The Blind Side
76. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
77. The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day
78. My Tehran for Sale
79. The Ugly Truth
80. Brothers
81. Julie & Julia
82. Sunshine Cleaning
83. A Perfect Getaway
84. Management
85. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
86. The Fourth Kind
87. Taken
88. Crazy Heart
89. Battle for Terra
90. Astro Boy
91. Adventureland
92. Dead Snow
93. Lymelife
94. Miss March
95. The Unborn
96. Land of the Lost
97. New in Town
98. Post Grad
99. The Mysteries of Pittsburgh
100. Year One
101. The Uninvited
102. Paper Heart
103. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
104. Death in Love
105. Inkheart
106. Confessions of a Shopaholic
107. Gamer
108. Gigantic
109. Terminator Salvation
110. Push
111. The Box
112. Paul Blart: Mall Cop
113. The Final Destination

Most regret not seeing in time to rank them: Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Black Dynamite, Good Hair, The Informant!, A Serious Man, A Single Man

Okay, I saw nine of ten best picture nominees. Nobody's perfect.

And even if you don't usually comment, I'd love to hear what you think. Compliment me for lavishing praise on the criminally underseen Moon. Tear me a new one for dissing Up and The Hurt Locker.

All I have is my voice, and as usual, I'm willing to use it.

Stay tuned tomorrow for my list of the top 25 films of the last decade. And thanks as always for checking in.


Don Handsome said...

Nice Job, Vance...I know we've already exchanged rankings for the year, but I wanted to publically commend you on an excellent list. Your top ten is respectable (with two notable exceptions...Watchmen and Charlie Banks) and as always, I'm jealous by the variety of film that you've been able to cram on to your list. Its a good time doing these rankings with you.

Surely we'll be talking off blog more about this, but just because I can, I'm posting my top 10 from 2009 here:
1) Inglourious Basterds
2) Sin Nombre
3) A Serious Man
4) Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
5) Hump Day
6) Zombieland
7) The Limits of Control
8) Goodbye Solo
9) Police, Adjective
10) Where The Wild Things Are

Obviously, I agree that you should have seen Bad Lieutenant.

Groundskeeper Willie said...

64. Nine
65. District 9

You did that on purpose.

Vancetastic said...

Yeah, and 9 was at #60, only a couple slots ahead. It just so happens that all the movies with 9/nine in their title this year were about the same kind of mediocre for me.

Vancetastic said...

But Don, do you agree less that I should have seen A Serious Man? You ranked it one higher than Bad Lieutenant ... revealing a bias in your rankings you didn't even know you had?