A-ha, proof Obama is ruining our country… wait, that’s not right. Granted, a single chart says very little, but I guaran-damn-tee that this information will never see any airtime on FOX News.
I wanted to write a full version of all the lists of 2009, I really did. However, the prospect of a new blog project, the various school writing, a few other writing commitments, along with said lists created a logjam which resulted, because I am who I am, in my utter inability to write any of the above. I just couldn’t do it. Thus, to get the lists out into the blogosphere for the 2.5 people who care, here they are, albeit without the explanations and such for each film/book/cd/etc. I hope this alleviates some of the pressure and hopefully gets my mind-grapes juicy again.
If anyone is interested in conversation concerning the particulars of any or all of these various lists, I would LOVE to do that, so email me, or comment me, or show up at my house in a black van and throw a bag over my head.
As a side note to this post, I didn’t realize the movie Pontypool was actually released in ’09, and if I had it would have made it on just about every list I’ve compiled so far. Granted, that would have made the lists even more zombie centered, but in a year full of great zombie entertainment, Pontypool was my favorite of them all. Smart, small, tense and wildly original. For my money, Pontypool is legit. Good job, Canada.
On a similar note, I didn’t realize Away We Go came out this year as well, but let it be known I adored that film as well.
Now, on with the lists, and, as always, there is no particular order for a single one of them.
These are the films that exceeded my expectations the most. For some, I assumed I would hate them and really enjoyed them, for some, I thought I would like/love them and they still blew me away.
1. Drag Me To Hell
2. Star Trek
3. The Hangover
5. In The Loop
6. Julie & Julia
8. Inglourious Basterds
9. Extract (especially Ben Affleck)
10. Where The Wild Things Are
Honorable mention: Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Up in the Air
I was also going to do a ‘most disappointing list, but I decided there is enough negativity in the world, and I’m not sure what my list would accomplish. Thus, I burned it, and by ‘I burned it,’ I mean ‘it is still sitting in my notebook with my other lists but it didn’t make the blog.’
Best Scenes, Moments or Devices:
1. The pre-title moments of Star Trek – as I’ve written before, once the film’s title graced the screen in all its splendor, I turned to Emily and whispered “Holy shit that was fucking amazing.” It was love at first sight.
2. The marriage vignette at the beginning of Up – If someone gave me only 5 minutes to explain how remarkably gifted the Pixar folks are at storytelling, I would simply show them this vignette and leave it at that.
3. The howling of Where The Wild Things Are - I should probably write an entire post on this, the final howling is especially powerful for me.
4. Zombieland and the best cameo ever!
5. Dance scene in (500) Days of Summer
6. Having all the characters say ‘cuss’ instead of bad words in The Fantastic Mr. Fox... this is going to be a clustercuss for everyone.
7. Opening moments of Inglourious Basterds
8. The woman slowly waking up to zombies holding her insides in Dead Snow
9. The conclusion of Paper Heart
10. Every moment of Sam Rockwell’s performance in Moon
Franchise Installments of ’09 that make me most excited for the next one:
1. Sherlock Holmes
2. Star Trek
3. Harry Potter
Best Movies That Didn’t Come Out in ’09, That I Saw For The First Time:
2. Being John Malcovich
4. Let The Right One In
7. Kill Bill
8. The Shining
10. Rachel Getting Married
Honorable Mention: The Squid and the Whale, Milk, Alien, Sugar, Waltz with Bashir, Young Frankenstein, Joyeux Noel, Paris je t’aime
Favorite Video Games I Played in 2009:
1. Mass Effect
2. Assassin’s Creed II
3. Arkham Asylum
4. Gears of War 2
5. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2
Favorite TV Shows I watched in 2009
3. True Blood
4. 30 Rock
5. Mad Men
My Favorite Albums Released in 2009
1. Muse – The Resistance
2. Mos Def - The Ecstatic
3. M. Ward – Hold Time
4. David Bazan – Curse Your Branches
5. Andrew Bird – Noble Beast
6. AC Newman – Get Guilty
7. Grizzly Bear- Veckatimest
8. The Decemberists – The Hazards of Love
9. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
10. St. Vincent – Actor
Best Books I Read in 2009:
1. Speaker for the Dead – Orson Scott Card
2. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
3. The Brothers K – David James Duncan
4. A Farewell to Arms – Ernest Hemingway
5. Slaughterhouse-Five – Kurt Vonnegut
6. Undergoing God – James Alison
7. The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
8. Jesus Wants To Save Christians: A Manifesto for a Church in Exile – Rob Bell & Dan Golden
9. The Giver - Lois Lowry
10. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell - Susanna Clarke (even though I finished the last of this in 2010)
Hitler learns of Conan losing ‘The Tonight Show’ to Leno.
Those of you who watch ‘Community’ on NBC are already familiar with Donald Glover (although he also has a movie called Mystery Team and has written for SNL and done the same and appeared on 30 Rock). His short scenes with Abed over the credits are often my favorite part of a given episode of community.
As it would turn out, he is also a hilariously fantastic emcee. He turns funny phrases filled with irony and pop culture references just like the fun side of Hip Hop should be. I love him.
We already knew he had some chops because of one of the aforementioned credit sequences at the end of a ‘Community’ episode:
Yet, even that wonderfully nonsensical spanish rap didn’t prepare me for how awesome his DIY rapping over indie rock was going to be. Amazing. I found his stuff on You Ain’t No Picasso, and boy am I glad I did.
/i make your iPod hotter than a lighter would/
This is my favorite song so far, it’s called ‘Bitch, look at me now,’ and it’s a cathartic stab at those who made fun of him in school, rapped over ‘Two Weeks’ by Grizzly Bear. It flips back and forth between bravado and irony. You should listen to it, and fall in love as I did.
Also, for good measure, another credit sequence to appreciate.
I was going to save this list for last, since it seemed fitting to end my 2009 lists with one looking ahead to 2010. However, at the pace I am writing these who knows what month we will be in by the time I finish. Thus, I’m going ahead with this one now. Here are the movies of 2010 that I am anticipating with the most excitement. The list will probably shift as the year goes on and I learn more of the films coming later in the year, but for now, this is the list. As always, in no particular order.
Written & Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Cillian Murphy, Ken Watanabe
Release Date: July, 16
So, with the exception that this poster (while still great) looks an awful lot like the poster for Christopher Nolan’s last movie, everything about this film makes me wish it came out in February instead of July. Part sci-fi, part heist film, part thriller, part spy film, and probably a bunch of other genres as well, Nolan will once again blast us off into the world of great storytelling. The guy brought us Memento, Batman Begins, The Prestige, and The Dark Knight, and this time he is working with DiCaprio. (momentary Gob Bluth voice) C’mon! How can anyone not be excited about this movie?
Here is the newest trailer, full of wonderfulness:
2. Iron Man 2
Written By: Justin Theroux
Directed By: Jon Favreau
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Mickey Rourke, Scarlett Johannson, Sam Rockwell
Release Date: May 7
Have you seen the first Iron Man?! That’s really all that needs to be said. Plus, this time around we get War Machine. Come quickly May, come quickly.
3. Alice in Wonderland
Written by: Linda Woolverton (screenplay), Lewis Carroll (books)
Directed By: Tim Burton
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Crispin Glover, Michael Sheen, Alan Rickman
Release Date: March 5
Tim Burton telling the story of one of Alice’s Wonderland adventures through the lens of his dark and beautiful imagination. Yes, please.
See the most recent, and to date the longest trailer here: Alice in Wonderland
Written By: Mark Millar (graphic novels) Jane Goldman (screenplay)
Directed By: Matthew Vaughn
Starring: Aaron Johnson, Chloe Moretz, Nicolas Cage, Mark Strong, Christopher Mintz-Plasse
Release Date: April 16
The poster is telling me to shut up and kick-ass so I will keep it short. The trailer, as well as all early reports from people who have seen the film or footage of the film so far say Kick-Ass does indeed kick ass.
Here is the brand new (within the last week) international red band trailer, it starts off with familiar footage, but offers some wonderful new stuff later on: Kick-Ass
5. Dinner for Schmucks
Written By: Andy Borowitz (screenplay) Ken Daurio (writer)
Directed By: Jay Roach
Starring: See Below.
Release Date: July 23
This one doesn’t have a poster, or a trailer for me to offer you yet. However, I doubt I need to. Eight small words should be all you need. Those words are: Paul. Rudd. Zach. Galifianakis. Steve. Carrell. Jemaine. Clement.
6. Toy Story 3
Written By: Michael Arndt
Directed By: Lee Unkrich
Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Michael Keaton, Joan Cusack, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Don Rickles, Estelle Harris
Release Date: June 18
If you don’t know how much I love Pixar, then we’ve never met before, and you have probably never been to this website either. Thus, let me introduce myself. I’m Scott, and this is my blog, Gloaming and Dawn. I think Pixar tells stories as well as anyone else in the business, and until they find a way to disappoint me I will await each new release with bated breath, especially after last year’s Up.
See the trailer here: Toy Story 3
7. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Written By: Bryan Lee O’Malley (graphic novels) Edgar Wright & Michael Bacall (screenplay)
Directed By: Edgar Wright
Starring: Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Satya Bhabha, Chris Evans, Anna Kendrick, Brie Larson, Alison Pill, Aubrey Plaza, Brandon Routh
Release Date: August 13
No trailer has been released as of yet, but I assure you I will post one when it becomes available. Directed by the genius who helped give the world Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead, and Spaced, the movie is an adaptation of the graphic novels of the same name. It’s about the title character, who meets the girl of his dreams only to discover that her seven evil exes are out to kill him. The film figures to be absurd in all the best possible ways, and nobody does that better than Mr. Wright.
They showed the current version of the film in Vegas last month and early buzz is great.
8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One
Written By: J.K. Rowling (novel) Steve Kloves (screenplay)
Directed By: David Yates
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Wright
Release Date: November 19
If I had to give my voice away Little Mermaid-style for a chance to live at Hogwarts, I would do it, no doubt about it. Hopefully one of the talented witches or wizards there would be able to help me get my voice back, or fake it. Sadly, I know of no scary octopus lady to make such a deal with, so I will have to watch the movies and reread the books instead.
The trailer is up on YouTube if you care to check, but the quality is pretty consistently terrible, so just rent the Blu-Ray for Half-Blood Prince if you are really dying to see it.
Only two film installments left and we will get a new Harry Potter experience for the last time, thus placing people of all ages worldwide on suicide watch. That is until they can scrounge up the money to head down to Orlando to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, which opens this Spring. I want to go to there. (Go ahead, judge me.)
9. Tron Legacy
Written By: Adam Horowitz & Richard Jefferies
Directed By: Joseph Kosinski
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Olivia Wilde, Garrett Hedlund, Michael Sheen, John Hurt, Serinda Swan
Release Date: December 17
In my mind, this trailer doesn’t really get old. Watch it in wonderful HD here: Tron Legacy
10. Green Zone
Written By: Rajiv Chandrasekaran (book) Brian Helgeland (screenplay)
Directed By: Paul Greengrass
Starring: Matt Damon
Release Date: March 12
This one is just around the corner. The tagline on the poster is obviously terrible, but two of the primary people responsible for Bourne’s Supremacy and Ultimatum team up again. In my opinion, enough said.
Honorable Mention: Shutter Island, Jonah Hex, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Robin Hood, Gulliver’s Travels
So, there’s my list. What movies are you most excited to see this year? (And for some reason, whenever I ask that sort of question people seem to think they can only pick off my list, not true!)
***I have to warn you now, these lists are often filled to the brim with spoilers. Not every description of why a character or moment made the list is spoiler-heavy, but it may be safer for you to just skip the ones from films you haven’t seen but plan to enjoy in the future. I don’t want to be that guy who ruins a great movie for someone, so, you’ve been warned.***
6. When genius goes badass – Sherlock Holmes
In the opening moments of Sherlock Holmes, we see a mental breakdown as he uses his ‘not inconsiderable skill’ to anticipate exactly how to take down an approaching thug. It was what happens when the character of Holmes is taken closer to his literary roots, but is taken there buy Guy Ritchie. I suppose it is the sort of thing that you either love or hate. I fall quite fully in the ‘love’ group.
I had a great time watching Sherlock mentally disassemble his adversaries before quickly and savagely carrying out his plan. I hope they find a clever way to keep doing it in the sequel!
7. Dead Snow Finale
There are many reasons I love the zombie film genre. One of the primary of these is the fact that there are clearly defined rules that everyone understands going into the film, although these rules are certainly debatable and malleable. Either way, when someone does something new with the idea of a world of zombies, we all know it is something new. So, when Danny Boyle (who still maintains that they aren’t zombies) has a horde of rage-infected humans filled with adrenaline, as opposed to reanimated corpses, we all knew it was a new twist on a familiar category.
I’m a zombie fan because I am a film fan, I love watching what someone does with the rules and boundaries of the zombie apocalypse, at least, when it is done well I love it. Do they stick closely to a particular mythology? Do they venture off on their own? Why do they make the choices that they make? Is it laziness or genius?
Part of the cause for the surge of great zombie media over the last ten years is that people are openly playing within the rules and conventions of the zombie apocalypse. People who love the genre are playing around in it, toying with who would be best suited to survive, what rules would be most beneficial to adhere to, etc. etc. In my opinion, the results have been hugely entertaining.
The pinnacle of this phenomena is most certainly the finale, or perhaps more accurately, the second half of Norway’s Dead Snow. As I have written before, the folks who made this film are most definitely huge film fans, and they never take themselves too seriously.
My favorite quote from a film review is for a film called Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, when a reviewer claims that it is “a movie made by idiots, for idiots.” Well, Dead Snow is a movie made by people who love genre movies, for people who love genre movies. Referencing films from the Indiana Jones trilogy to the Evil Dead trilogy, these guys know the rules, and they know we do too, and they decide to celebrate the beauty and absurdity of it all.. albeit in the goriest way possible.
As mentioned in a previous list, these Norwegian medical students know how to kick some zombie ass, and while I wish they had made it out alive, the result of their tenacity was not just one of the best fights of the year, but of the decade.
Long un-live zombies!
8. Wikus vs. Everyone - District 9
And by everyone, I mean everyone, including himself. There isn’t really much else to say. He finally acts courageously, risking the chance of sacrificing himself so that the “good guys” (because as is often the case in a film, but rarely if ever in life, there are clearly discernible good guys and bad guys) can escape, and provide hope for rescue for all the victimized aliens, or Prawns, as they are derogatively referred to by humans.
9. Paul Blart: Mall Cop vs. All the Forces of Justice in the Universe
Blart made loads of money at the box office, meanwhile, movies like The Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Hurt Locker made little to nothing. What the fuck?!?
10. The Sniper – The Hurt Locker
Speaking of The Hurt Locker, the sniper scene was terrible and amazing. It captured some of the horror of real war and violence. No over-the-top, Michael Bay, slow motion explosions. No gritty, five minute fist fights. It was subtle, it was quiet, and while the events in the film stretched on for hours in the desert sun, most of the time was spent sitting and waiting. Death didn’t come filled with noise and heroism. Each death came without ceremony or pomp, there was simply a flash in the distance, a sickening moment that seemed like eternity as the bullet traveled the immense distance to its target, then flesh was torn, followed by the gurgling struggle for life, then the silence and stillness of death.
The entire movie was filled with a remarkable tension, brilliantly guided by Kathryn Bigelow. If you haven’t seen it, you need to…. right now.