The Movie Blog’s Top 10 Films of 2009

Well, it’s that time of year again. I have to say that despite the fact that 2009 was not a fantastic year for cinema overall… there were still a decent number of very solid movies that made it all worth while. Yes… we may have had to sit through “Transformers 2”, but at least we had “District 9”. “G.I. Joe may have only been 1/10th as good as it should have been… but at least we had “Up In The Air”.

Remember, all film is subjective, so I’m sure no one on the planet is going to have the exact same list as mine.

With all that out of the way, here is your definitive list of the top 10 movies of 2009:

Top-UP.jpg#1 – UP
To me nothing else even came close this year. A touching and moving story that had the audience in tears one moment… and then a few minutes later laughing themselves sick. This film is a flat out masterpiece and easily the best film of 2009. It was also the #1 critically rated film of the year on both Rotten Tomatoes AND Meta Critic.
Top-Up-In-The-Air.jpg#2 – UP IN THE AIR
I should have learned by now to always give Jason Reitman the benefit of the doubt. I didn’t even think this movie looked any good… let alone completely fantastic. Reitman has to be listed up there with Christopher Nolan in the new breed of genius directors. Great story. Great performances. Great movie.
Top-An-Education.jpg#3 – AN EDUCATION
Another great example of why first impression can be misleading. What appeared to me to be a boring 60’s period piece turned out to be perhaps my biggest surprise of the year. Peter Sarsgaard is fantastic in the film, but to me Alfred Molina should get an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Top-Julie-And-Julia.jpg#4 – JULIE AND JULIA
An absolutely beautiful mix of moving and hilarity. Add on top of that a flat out OSCAR worthy performance by Meryl Streep and you’ve got a winner of a film. Also has to be ranked up there amongst my biggest surprises of the year. Seriously… did many of you think this movie would be THIS good?
Top-Star-Trek.jpg#5 – STAR TREK
I had to eat a lot of crow over this one. I was very public about the fact that I didn’t think this movie would be any good… and WOW did it prove me wrong. So much charm, so much swagger, so exciting… it was just awesome. They pulled off the nearly impossible… keeping the traditional Star Trek, while re-inventing it at the same time. Perfect casting didn’t hurt either.
Top-Avatar.jpg#6 – AVATAR
One of the most visually beautiful and stunning films I have ever seen in my life. James Cameron has indeed changed the way films will look at doing visual effects forever. Critics will say the story itself was a bit lacking, and I don’t necessarily disagree, but as a cinematic EXPERIENCE, this film will blow your socks off.
Top-The-Hurt-Locker.jpg#7 – THE HURT LOCKER
Such an intense film. It’s not an action film per se… but it drags you into it. You feel the intensity… the tension is palpable… the performances are engaging and you leave the theater feeling a little staggered.
Top-Nine.jpg#8 – NINE
The last film on this list that I actually had the chance to see and man I’m glad i did. I’m not a big fan of musicals at all, but this movie just dazzles you from the word go. I’ve always found it difficult to connect with CHARACTERS in musicals… but this one does a masterful job of it as it actually comes off as a character films somehow.
Top-The-Hangover.jpg#9 – THE HANGOVER
I don’t care what anyone says. This movie deserves a spot on here because of the pure experience it offers. The best pure comedy of the year that had you laughing almost from the first minute. Maybe the best comedy since “The 40 Year Old Virgin”. I love this film and make no apologies for including it on this list.
Top-District-9.jpg#10 – DISTRICT 9
District 9 proves thatyou can indeed have a great visual effects movie without it needing a $300 million dollar budget. Yet unlike Avatar, this movie is not carried by the effects… it’s carried by the amazing performance of Sharlto Copley in the lead role. There is probably no way in hell he’ll get an Oscar nomination, but I honestly believe he deserves one.

So there you have it folks, my list of the best of 2009. Now, just for some fun and debate:

THE WORST FILMS OF 2009 (in no particular order)

– Halloween II
– Observe and Report
– Transformers 2
– Paul Blart Mall Cop
– Year One
– Old Dogs
– The Invention Of Lying
– Imagine That

MOST OVERRATED FILMS OF 2009 (not necessarily horrible movies, just overrated)

– Inglourious Basterds
– Where the Wild Things Are
– Drag Me To Hell

So that does it folks! My final “Best of the Year” list for “The Movie Blog”. What films did I leave off there that you would include? And if you name any, you have to name which films you’d take off the list to make room for them. Let the debate begin!

Comment with Facebook

83 thoughts on “The Movie Blog’s Top 10 Films of 2009

  1. honestly, i would put avatar as number 1, it lived up to its expectations and i fell in love with pandora and the navi ,incredible CGI to the point where i wanted to go to Pandora. Havent seen a good movie like that in years but thats just my opinion.

  2. I wish I could make overrated movies like Quentin Tarantino…lol I dont think Inglourious Basterds was not overrated at all and should be in your top 10 list of 2009. This was a very good movie my favorite of 2009. I went to see this movie two times and each time all the people in the movie theater clap.

  3. I agree that observe and report wasn’t the “worst”. I’d throw on law abiding citizen or gamer myself. Also, on the best list, I would put IB as I thought Christoph Waltz performance was one of the best performances in years. Also moon does deserve to be up there and antichrist was an extremely chilling movie that most won’t be able to even watch it. Otherwise agree with the list John, no doubt the hangover should be there. I would also say bad lieutant: port of call new orleans should be up there… maybe throw pandorum on the worst list as well?

  4. Oh my god…… Did you seriously put Observe and Report on your worst of list? I understand its a polarizing film and not everyone is gonna like it but so many other horrible films have come out this year…

  5. Of course John would say that Halloween 2 sucked… You don’t get horror, John, and you never will. Without seeing a movie repeatedly, you’re never going to.

    1. Hey NYCKing

      Oh no, I “get horror”, and enjoy horror very much. What I don’t like it shit awful movies… like Halloween 2. Cinematic fuck ups with zero scares, zero tension and zero suspense. And if you actually “enjoyed” this steaming pile of garbage… I’d suggest you’re the one who doesn’t “get” horror.

      1. All movies are subjective. I never bash anyone for liking something I don’t… you know… unless they’re a complete idiot… like yourself… who starts something. You swing at me, I’ll swing back.

        I mean come on… you bash me for no liking a shitty movie that even most horror websites thought was trash.

  6. 1. Inglourious Basterds
    2. Fantastic Mr. Fox
    3. Whip It
    4. Observe and Report
    5. Tetro
    6. The Informant!
    7. Adventureland
    8. Sunshine Cleaning
    9. The Brothers Bloom
    10. Drag Me To Hell
    11. The Hangover
    12. Star Trek
    13. Funny People
    14. Me and Orson Welles
    15. The Invention of Lying

    Most Disappointing:

    Whatever Works
    Jennifer’s Body

  7. 500 Days of Summer deserves to be on the list.
    Julie and Julia? Streep was fantastic…a very good film but the Amy Adams half of the movie was lacking to say the least…and that’s HALF of the movie.

  8. While I may not necessarily call it the “best” film of 2009, I certainly think Avatar is the most amazing. Up should get a Best Picture nomination IMO (it may be my favorite of the year, too), but I’m kind of rooting for Avatar to win it, just for what that movie accomplished. And while the story wasn’t original, I don’t think it was weak either. It was an all-around good movie, that was spectacularly inviting. I truly felt like I was on Pandora and completely forgot I was in the movie theater — no other movie’s done that to me before.

  9. 10. Gamer (gave me the adrenaline rush I felt I missed from Transformers 2, Termniator 4, Wolverine, and Gi Joe.)

    9. Up (I have nothing bad to say about this film at all, I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I’ve enjoyed other Pixar movies)

    8. Harry Potter 6 (I could watch anything with Harry, Ron, and Hermione in it, I love them all so much. and it was nice to see more of Draco for a change)

    7. I Love You, Man (I loved the bromance, and I wish I had a friend like Sydney)

    6. Law Abiding Citizen (I was completely hooked and my adrenaline was pumping till the very end)

    5. District 9 (I still can’t believe that those Aliens were all CG)

    4. Star Trek (Hated everything Star Trek, except Spock, up till this movie)

    3. Avatar (Best movie going experience I’ve ever had, only movie I’ve been to where audience applauded once it was over)

    2. Watchmen (I was constantly enthralled with this movie, even watched the entire Directors Cut without getting tired once)

    1. Where the Wild Things Are (skrew you John, my favorite movie sense Revenge of The Sith)

    Worst/Most Disappointing (in no order)

    Dragonball Evolution (worst I’ve ever seen in my life)
    Terminator 4
    Transformers 2 (I actually saw this movie twice, I was entertained both times, but I also felt empty inside after each viewing)
    Hurt Locker (the “best” movie on this list, but I was bored with this movie a little too much)
    Public Enemies (the trailer made it look really good, but I nearly walked out I was soooooooo damn bored, biggest disapointment)

    1. This is the list I mostly agree with, just my no.#1 would be Angels and Demons(seriously, I loved this movie). And Inglorious Basterds in the place of I Love You, Man. Then I’d swap it with Watchmen which means, no#2 IB and no#6 Watchmen.
      But kinda liked T4 and PE.
      I got nothing to say about TF 2. I ain’t even sure.

  10. The only thing I really agree with on here is the Observe and Report licked azz.

    Up was really, really good but it’s like everyone has an animation fetish theses days.

    I liked Transformers 2 superior to the first at least it moving it forward….it was kinda long and the end wasn’t great.

    Then again I have only seen about half of the top ten so what do I know.

    I’d put The Hangover higher just watched it again and it is a solid comedy, somethin that seems kinda hard to achive this year.

    G.I. Joe wasn’t great but probaly would have made my top ten just because….

    Happy New Year All

    1. I wouldn’t say where the wild things are was overrated because once it came out, it disappointed a lot of people. What I think would be a more appropriate term would be overhyped. When the trailers were coming out, it was all people talked about.

  11. You’ve said that you didn’t like Observe and Report a few time before. You even once said that it was, at that point, the worst movie of the year. However, you never gave a review. Could you just give your quick thoughts on it, mainly what you disliked about it so much? Thanks.

  12. I haven’t been able to see like half the list but they all sound like good choices, can’t wait to see Nine.
    I actually thought Drag me to hell was a fantastic film, had a terrific movie experience with that one, me and all my friends absolutely loved it.

  13. YOU FORGOT WATCHMEN! Don’t you fuck with me Campea! LOL jk.

    Sad to see it come to an end with you, but the end is always a new beginning. I’ll be checking out your website and I wish you the best of luck.

    My top five (seeing as I haven’t seen District 9 or Hangover)

    1. Avatar (yes, even more than…)
    2. UP (made me cry, screw you)
    3. Watchmen (the director’s cut is awesome! Have you seen it?)
    4. Star Trek (I don’t even like the franchise and I loved the movie)
    5. Inglourious Basterds (and I want my scalps!)

    Honorable Mentions: State of Play, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Taken

    Hey John, have you seen The Road yet? I haven’t because it isn’t playing where I live. DAMN LIMITED RELEASE.

  14. I honestly think that either G.I. Joe or Wolverine should be there instead of Transformers 2; that movie was definitely not the abomination that critics make it out to be.

  15. To me, Observe and Report had to have been one of the most underrated movies of ’09. it doesn’t belong in the top 10, but it definitely doesn’t belong in the “worst films of ’09”

  16. Eh- I disagree with your top 4, but that’s just me. Up would have been on the top ten, but not #1. The next three wouldn’t have even made the list- neither would the Hangover.

    I would have take Inglorious Basterds out of the overrated and put it in the top 10, and added Moon and Caroline.

    1. Sorry, that’s Coraline not Caroline.

      Also, would have added The Hangover to the most overrated. It was funny, but not groundbreaking comedy, certainly not top ten of the year. The “I’m drunk and don’t remember” gag has been pulled way too often and it instantly went to the back of my mind a couple hours after watching- just not very memorable.

  17. How is Christopher Nolan considered in the new breed when his first film came out in 1998?
    Up is so overrated its not funny. Just like Wall-e starts out amazingly well and quickly fizzles out. Up is built on so many coincidences that I quickly lost interest when I soon realized that any story problem could be solved with “and they happen to land right next to it”

    Up in the Air is truly great. loved the shit out of it.

    My favorite films of the year in no particular order are

    inglourious basterds
    eden lake
    star trek
    the lovely bones
    up in the air
    land of the lost
    drag me to hell
    the road
    funny people
    paranormal activity

    the worst films i have seen are

    transformers 2
    donkey punch
    terminator salvation

  18. “It was also the #1 critically rated film of the year on both Rotten Tomatoes AND Meta Critic.”

    Hurt Locker (94) is rated higher than Up (88) on Meta Critic.

  19. I’m ashamed to admit it but I caught Paul Blart on HBO (or starz) and thought it was an OK film. Wouldn’t have spent $8 to see it but it was cute.

    So John, are you back again or was this just an end of the year post?

    1. Hey KC,

      As it says right in the post:

      “So that does it folks! My final “Best of the Year” list for “The Movie Blog”.”

      I’m only around until the end of the month. Actually, the only thing I have left to do is one more LIVE podcast. I’ll be using YouStream and taking questions and interacting live.

    1. Me either, it’s beautiful, engaging, personal, imaginative on any level. Even the trailer soundtrack is catchy and get into your ears for awhile. It’s one of Spike Jonez best

  20. I’d put A Serious Man instead of Julie and Julia. I think A Serious Man is the personal film the Coen Bros. ever did and it is hilarious. I’d put Funny People instead of Nine. I think this is Judd Apatow’s best film. It has the right feel of comedy and drama. Nine didn’t really dazzle me as much as Chicago.

  21. I know it wasn’t reviewed here but Moon really deserves to be on that list. A really impressive indie movie and nothing short of an oscar performance by sam rockwell. A modern sci-fi that has an original plot (in the days of remakes, that alone is a miracle). The cinematography is beautifully crafted. I can not fault this movie on any level. It is a modern day space odyssey.

  22. Inglorious Basterds definitely has to be out of that overrated category. Top 5 movies of the year. Solid performances all around, great dialogue/tension building scenes, and wonderful cinematography. His best since Jackie Brown. I’d put the Hurt Locker at #1. The Road, Antichrist, District 9, and Watchmen would be some others. Watchmen for some reason, really struck a chord in me.

  23. “Observe And Report” was great, one of the best black comedies in years. Not suprised you didn’t dig it though John, i have noticed it is not really your thing.

    1. Agreed, it felt like watching an extension of Eastbound and Down, which was one of my favorite comedy series since Curb Your Enthusiasm. Flat out random, hilarious, and strange.

  24. Your list seems pretty solid and i wont disagree with it. What I will disagree with is the worst movies of the year. I would put Street Fighter and Dragonball on there instead of Paul Blart and Observe and Report.


    Of those 10, Hangover, District 9, Star Trek and Up are not movies you would normally think would be nominated for best picture. With 10 films being nominated this year, do you think that any of those movie would be nominated?

      1. That’s a good list.

        I can’t really disagree with it too much, as overall, these films in your list are pretty much the standouts. However, my list somewhat differs.

        10) Me & Orson Welles

        9) Avatar

        8) Sin Nombre

        7) The Orphan

        6) The Hurt Locker

        5) Star Trek

        4) Two Lovers

        3) The Road

        2) Up

        1) Sunshine Cleaning


        Twilight New Moon
        Drag Me To Hell
        Terminator Salvation

        THE LEMON LIST/Worst might shape up to be something like this:

        – Friday The 13th
        – Bride Wars
        – Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past
        – Push
        – Street Fighter Legend Of Chung Li
        – Land Of The Lost
        – Fanboys
        – Observe and Report
        – The Brothers Bloom
        – GI Joe Rise Of Cobra

      2. @Darren J Seeley

        I don’t get it…how can you say T4 was overrated. Most ppl didn’t even like T4 let alone rating it highly.
        It could be a dissapointing movie for you but explain how its OVERRATED?

        P.S. I liked T4 but most ppl don’t and majority doesn’t rate it highly.

  25. Agree with you on all the other things but Inglorious Basterds should be out of that overrated list and should be in the best movie list.
    Not sure I’d say this but Law Abiding Citizens should be in that best movie list.

Leave a Reply