Road to Film of 2009: Runners Up

Okay so let us begin this years best of by talking about the films that did not make it onto my top ten.

The runner-up category is always hard for me because these films were still great, and I think should still be seen, but I feel couldn’t quite edge their way into my top ten.

These are in no particular order or ranking.

Next Day Air: This movie was smart and funny. Like an inner-city Oceans 11 only a little more violent. Drugs, guns, gangs, and Mos Def all come together for a smooth running, well-directed piece of gangland comedy.

Drag Me To Hell: God damn this movie. This movie should not work as well as it does. However, that could be said about pretty much every Sam Raimi movie that doesn’t involve a super-powered teenager. With Drag Me to Hell Raimi is back in full on Evil Dead mode, comedy, frights, and violence blend perfectly into one of the best times I had in a theater this year.

Public Enemies: While Next Day Air was a comedic look at the crime world Public Enemies was all seriousness. Johnny Depp gives yet another performance that proves he is not just the guy who plays the wacky pirate. Christian Bale was also great as the man charged with hunting the great bank robber. I don’t know much about the historical facts behind this tale, but Micheal Mann kept me interested the entire time, which rarely happens for me with Mann films.

Funny People: Judd Apatow’s best directorial effort as well as the best film bearing Apatow’s name in any capacity. It isn’t nearly as funny as 40-year-old Virgin but anyone who holds that against Funny People totally missed the point. It is about people, and what the actual work that goes into making people laugh. This movie took the poorly mixed drama and comedy elements of Knocked Up and blended them more succinctly, maybe not perfectly but the best mix of Comedy and Drama since Punch Drunk Love.

The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans: This one and Precious (which is coming up later in the broadcast) were the two hardest choices I had to make when coming up with my top ten list. Having seen the original Bad Lieutenant earlier this year, and immediately loving it, I had high hopes for this one. Nic Cage, who I will go to my grave defending, and Werner Herzog, one of the best directors who ever touched a camera, working together to tell the story of a fucked up cop WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE? It isn’t nearly as bleak as the Kietel/Ferrera Bad Lieutenant but, honestly, who needs two movies that bleak. I say get some friends together, pop some corn, get out your lucky crack pipe and enjoy the best Mega Acting you will see this century.

Coraline: 2009 was an amazing year for children’s fare, and Coraline started that trend off right. A horror film for kids that works at both empowerment for the imagination, and a cautious fable about letting imagination get the best of you. So much has been said this year of Henry Selick’s masterful work with stop-motion but it is all warranted. Not once does the veil of artifice break. You are never reminded that these are 12 inch high clay figures, you always believe these are living breathing characters, even when they turn into giant monster spiders. Saw it in 3-D and was absolutely astounded.

Precious: After I finished watching this disturbing film I thought it was a shoo-in for my top 10 list, but in a little while since then I have thought about it. Yes Gabourey Sibide gives a touching and brutal performance, and Mo’Nique did such a good performance that I totally forgot that she was Mo’Nique, Precious still delves into the cliché a little too often to be included with the top ten. Still see this movie if you like great melodrama.

So those are my runner-ups. They are all great films worthy of seeing.



2 Responses to “Road to Film of 2009: Runners Up”

  1. Hey, I’ve got an 8-year-old so it’s Coraline, Coraline, Coraline. In fact, it better be under the tree in a DVD or I’m history. BTW, I’ve posted Depp’s astrology chart at:

    You may find it interesting!

    Good blog!

  2. Yeah for kids definitely Coraline is pretty great.

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