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The Rake’s 2009 Film Rankings

Here is my list of the film’s released in 2009 in order of preference.  You must realize how difficult it is to put together a true order of films, as so many of them start running in to one another and so much time has passed between viewing some films in the theater and others on DVD or Blu-Ray.  Nevertheless its a task I set out to do and therefore, present that list to you now.  They are in listed in order from best to worst, top to bottom, in my opinion.  I’ve given a little bit of reasoning on some of my picks, scattered throughout the list, for reference.  Click on any of the bolded/italicized titles for original reviews.  Let me know what you think, agree or disagree. (Please note that several of these reviews were done by other previous writers to the site, despite what some name consolidation would suggest – hence there may be some situations where a better review was given to a low ranking picture for me and vice versa.)

Where The Wild Things Are

This was my favorite film of ’09 based on the achievement of taking a book with so few words and making it a full-length film.  I think it was the ultimate in creative achievement for the year and perfectly captured the feelings of wonder and imagination a boy has, and translating for adult consumption.  Spike Jonze is officially a genius and Maurice Sendak should be tickled pink over this.

The Road

After reading the book, this adaptation perfectly captured the post-apocalyptic vision that I saw in my head while reading the novel and enhanced it where it could.  A difficult film, a challenging subject, but one that rewards the viewer (primarily those with the book as a frame of reference in my opinion).

Avatar

A creative and technical achievement, even if the story telling is not top notch.  There is a good reason this is the most seen film of all time (based on B.O. dollars).

Up In The Air

More Than A Game

Three of my top-8 favorite films this year were documentaries. This one chronicling a young LeBron James meant the most to me I suppose.

Tyson

Inglourious Basterds

Capitalism: A Love Story

State of Play

Crazy Heart

Bruno

I enjoyed this in the theater, but probably would continue to drop it down the list if I were to re-watch it a few times. Crass, but it was still amusing and Sacha Baron Cohen has brass balls.  He could probably sell real estate in Glengarry Glen Ross.

District 9

The Hurt Locker

The Escapist

Sugar

Moon

This one continues to grow on me. Actor Sam Rockwell and director Duncan Jones deserved more recognition for their work. A great score by Clint Mansell, the man behind the infamous score from Requiem For A Dream.

Facing Ali

Anvil: The Story of Anvil

Uplifting final scene. One for the underdog in all of us.

Precious

Duplicity

The Cove

Makes you care about dolphins. Pathetic, senseless slaughtering might lead some to anger and activism.

Nothing But The Truth

Rachel Getting Married

The Vicious Kind

Sherlock Holmes

Brothers

The Fantastic Mr. Fox

Two Lovers

Michael Jackson’s This Is It!

Law Abiding Citizen

Notorious

Whatever Works

The Brothers Bloom

I wasn’t that impressed with this when I first saw it, but I get the sense I might appreciate it more in time if I were to see it again.  It’s been two years since I have seen it as it was a very advanced screening at the time.

The Informant

Potential ditto on the above comments.

The Messenger

The Soloist

Zombieland

A Serious Man

(500) Days of Summer

The Box

Didn’t deserve to get bashed as much as it did. It’s a strange film but J.R.Kelly is a unique voice in film today. I hope he gets more opportunities to utilize it.

Shrink

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

The Blind Side

Not remotely close to a top-10 film.  Oscars really lack credibility.  While I was rooting for the likable Bullock, I wasn’t that blown away by her performance here either. Sorry.

Funny People

Gentlemen Broncos

Public Enemies

Invictus

This film makes me feel like Eastwood is losing it.  Really a jumbled mishmash of scenes meant to be uplifting and educational.

World’s Greatest Dad

The Girlfriend Experience

Thirst

Taken

Completely cheesy and implausible, but fun to see Liam Neeson play this role.

Bronson

Downloading Nancy

Taking of Pelham 123

Last Chance Harvey

In The Loop

Wolverine

Watchmen

Push

The Lovely Bones

The Hangover

So overrated I can’t begin to break it down. Nothing remotely special in this one and I would have loved to enjoy it. Maybe 3 laughs throughout. Plus, a little bitter since it “stole” (used) one of my script’s premises/film ideas.

My One and Only

I Love You, Man

Powder Blue

Swayze is a genius in one of his last film roles. Still a pretty weak film.  And yes, we’re leaving out the obvious reason why I would sit through this drivel. You can figure it out on your own.

Away We Go

Sunshine Cleaning

2012

Long and overwrought, disaster flick puffery.  Horrendously mixed dialogue alternating between dead serious and ridiculously over the top.  Amazing it not only got made but was seen as much as it was.

Post Grad

The Ugly Truth

Big Fan

Couples Retreat

The Proposal

I propose you never suffer through this film. The reason I rarely see rom-coms. Ocassionally I submit to a woman’s filmic desires for some reasons my subconscious would need to explain, but I am continually reminded why I choose what movies I should see.

The Great Buck Howard

Complete lack of chemistry between the lead male/female (C.Hanks and E.Blunt). A slice of life that just didn’t work for me.

The Limits of Control

I hate to have Jarmusch’s movie in this spot, but I can’t justify having this any higher. Boring and unmoving.

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  1. [...] precarious position of being released two months too late for the ‘09 Awards season (see my 2009 Film Rankings here), while at the same time being the first big event type film of the 2010 year, though it was not [...]

  2. [...] Proposal was one of the worst films I have seen in years, as evidenced by last year’s film rankings.  It was incredibly stale completely formulaic with “jokes” that fell flat at nearly [...]

  3. [...] of making this list (primarily a few award contenders) by the start of the year. As I have said in year’s past, these lists are difficult to put together in a true order due to various factors. Time, [...]