I’ve finally done it! My quest to watch all movies nominate for the Oscar for Best Picture has finally been completed. The Oscars decided to make it harder on me by upping the nominees this year, which is why it took until mid-August to finally see all of 2009’s movies. So, for the purpose of heated debate and discussion, I rank them #10 to #1.
10. Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
I truly did not like this movie. It’s the kind of movie that is “well made” and “well acted”, but when it comes down to it just isn’t enjoyable on any levels. Features amazing performances by Mo’Nique and Gabourey Sidibe, but it spends most of its time being raw and in-your-face and not that much time developing an interesting storyline.
9. A Serious Man
I confess that I really hate mid-life crisis movies that spend most of their time portraying being married with children as a miserable life that people only want because society tells them they want it. A Serious Man is only slightly this type of movie, because it follows a man who isn’t so much having a mid-life crisis, he just keeps having terrible things happen to him in his mid-life. I didn’t hate it, but didn’t really like it either.
8. District 9
This is a movie that seems to be unashamed in its political motives. While the movie was preachy, it was also unique enough for me to get over it. The main problem? No one to root for or identify with. When you care little about the main character, you care little about the outcome of the film.
7. The Hurt Locker
My first thought after watching this movie was “THAT movie won best picture??”. Expectations sometimes cloud things a bit. In reality, the movie was pretty good. Its portrayal of the deployed environment was anything but glossed over, but its “hero” was unabashedly over the top. This is a movie with a message, and the message is loud and clear, even if I didn’t like it.
6. Up in the Air
Going off the previews and cast I would have expected this one to be my favorite. I love George Clooney and I think Anna Kendrick is a cutie. The script was witty enough at times, but the movie also dragged and caused more chuckles than real laughs. Overall, I “liked” it, but I did not love it.
5. The Blind Side
I swear the people responsible for this movie’s trailers wanted it to appear as clichéd as possible, which is unfortunate because the movie is actually quite good. Having read the long newspaper piece the movie was based on, I can attest that the movie held true to the story, even the parts that would probably have been left out of standard PG cookie-cutter football movies. Superbly acted, this film managed to heart warming without crossing the cheeseball line.
I don’t give points to this film for being groundbreaking. Certainly the movie was an epic undertaking, and I cannot deny that the movie was extremely entertaining. A bit long perhaps, but the movie is legitimately captivating all the way through. There is nothing overpowering about the storyline or the script, and I believe it better falls in the “good” category than the “great” one.
3. An Education
Boy did this movie catch me off guard. I hardly expect to like movies like this, but I loved this film. It featured outstanding performances by Carey Mulligan and Peter Sarsgaard and provided some of the most confusing emotions. Overall the movie was captivating from start to finish and was easily one of the best movies of the year.
I was so glad this movie got nominated. I guess there’s an assumption that animated movies will just go to the Best Animated Film category (hopefully Toy Story 3 will get a chance as well). Up was one of Pixar’s best, showcasing the trademark humor combined with more heart than usual. It’s difficult to make it through this movie without a side that hurts from laughing OR a dry eye.
1. Inglorious Basterds
Quentin Tarantino is so very hit and miss. I equally love and hate his good and bad films. This one? Loved it. It’s hilarious, action-packed, well acted, and entertaining. Brad Pitt is fantastic. Christopher Waltz was even more fantastic. The end was fantastic. I loved basically everything about this movie and if I had to pick from these 10 movies, I would choose this one.
In my opinion the two best movies of the year were not even nominated for Best Picture. These two movies are Crazy Heart and Fantastic Mr. Fox. Coraline, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs also could have figured into this list if nominated. I merely wrote the list like this because I like to watch every film nominated and decide for myself.