EDIT:: I POSTED THIS LIST A FEW DAYS AGO, HOWEVER I SAW SHERLOCK HOLMES LAST NIGHT SO I AM AMENDING THE LIST...
KNOCKED OUT OF TOP 20 - Invictus
This movie felt rushed to me. The high parts were great, but everything else was just sort of there. Could have been much better. Will probably be bumped out by Sherlock Holmes. EDIT:: Was bumped out by Sherlock Holmes
20 - Zombieland
Totally surprised me. Great laughs, and a surprisingly good story (except for the ending with the girls, which didn't make sense). Good stuff.
19 - Where the Wild Things Are
I was expecting this to be a Top 5 for me this year, and it just didn't deliver for me. It is the best movie I've seen about being a kid. There was just nothing going on, and as much as I loved it and the soundtrack (best of the year?), I loved other movies more this year.
18 - The Princess and the Frog
Ahh Disney 2D animation, how I love you. Destined to become one of the Disney classics, but probably on the second or third tier of those classics. A new princess was born and more great songs to sing-a-long to.
17 - I Love You, Man
Paul Rudd might just be my favorite actor working today. I love everything he does, and he doesn't get old. He made this movie so uncomfortable it was absolutely hilarious. One of the best love stories of the year, and it was about two guys trying to be best friends, figure that?
16 - Coraline
Creepy good fun. Loved it in 3D, the world really came alive for me. Excellent characters.
15 - Observe and Report
I wanted this to be my favorite comedy of 2009. Coming into the year I was looking forward to this comedy the most, and it almost succeeded. It became my second favorite. Seth Rogen was perfectly cast in this, because everyone has been so used to his normal comedy, he went balls out in this one. Totally flips his personality. Loved it.
14 - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
I'm not sure if this is my favorite Potter movie or if The Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite. This surprised me because it was arguably my least favorite book. Everyone knew going in this was going to be a "filler" movie for the last book and it succeeded in being a great filler story. I missed the final battle scene at Hogwarts, that should have been in the book, but I'm sure they're saving that goodness for the very final battle scene of the series.
13 - Fantastic Mr. Fox
Wes Anderson hit this one right on the head. Perfect. Great cast that really made all the characters come alive. Fantastic story thanks to Roald Dahl. Great fun.
12 - Adventureland
I hated people who disliked this movie because it wasn't funny enough. This wasn't a comedy in the strictest sense. It was a coming of age film about finding yourself through a shitty summer job. I absolutely loved this movie. It made me fall in love with Kristin Stewart, and the rest of the cast was great.
EDIT:: TAKEN AND STAR TREK SWAPPED PLACES
11 - Taken
I was surprised this stayed in my Top 10 all year long (EDIT:: JUST GOT KNOCKED OUT). Came out in Jan 2009, I was expecting this to drop out of the Top 20 by June, but it just kept hanging around in my head. I LOVED this movie. It had a tremendous amount of flaws, and it's pretty unbelievable, and the dialogue is shitty, and so on and so forth, but Liam Neeson kicked tremendous ass in this film, and I love it.
10 - Star Trek
Best fun I had at the theater this summer. JJ Abrams knocked this one out of the park. I was never a Star Trek fan, and I was immediately entrenched in the story from the get-go. I'm hoping he does the sequel so we can get more goodness out of this series with this cast.
9 - The Hangover
Surprise comedy of the year. Best comedy of the year. Todd Phillips presents another Old School breakout. Hilarious from start to finish. I didn't laugh harder this year at the movies. Good stuff.
8 - Sherlock Holmes
Just saw this last night and I totally loved it. The dynamic between RDJ and Law was fantastic. Mark Strong was fantastic as Lord Blackwood, and having Moriarty seeded throughout the movie just added to the goodness and the hope for a sequel. They explained everything just right, not leaving you in the dark and connecting all the dots in a fun, exciting way. Good stuff.
7 - District 9
Surprise movie of the year. Was this supposed to be ANY good? These guys were supposed to make the Halo film, and then that got scrapped and made this amazing alien movie. The weapons in this movie were outstanding, and I loved the way they presented the entire situation. Entirely plausible, no? And we got introduced to a new director who can really put together nice action sequences. Nice.
6 - (500) Days of Summer
This was in my Top 4 until a couple weeks ago when two films bumped it out of the Top 5. This was a real love story. Not fairytale. I loved it. Best song/dance sequence on film this year. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was great, and Zooey Deschanel, well, I can't say enough about her. I might love her, in fact I do love her. She was great.
THE TOP 5
5 - Up In the Air
Great performances and a great movie. Almost predictable but not quite. Clooney, Vera Farmiga and newbie (not if you count Twilight and such) Anna Kendrick were all fantastic, as was the great supporting cast. My favorites: Jason Bateman, Danny McBride in a surprisingly dramatic role, and Sam Elliot, who is one of the great character actors. I walked out of the film with a mixture of happiness and sadness. I wasn't sure how I should be feeling towards the movie, all I know is that I loved what I saw.
4 - The Hurt Locker
The most intense 2+ hours I have ever spent in a movie theater. Gripping, edge-of-your-seat excitement all the way through. Katherine Bigelow directed a bomb of a movie (pun?). That was an awful sentence, but I wanted to get the word bomb in there. Going through the movie there were times I was holding my breath because of how intense this movie was. Every scene, not just the bomb diffusion scenes, but the barracks scenes and when he returns home, every scene is gripping. Jeremy Renner was superb in this movie, and I hope he wins some awards for this role, or at least gets nominations. They'll be studying this movie in classes for a long, long time to come.
3 - Up
The trickiest movie in my Top 20. This sat at #1 from May until last week, and then it dropped one spot, and then another. I saw Up in 3D and absolutely loved it. The story was great and the characters were great, everything was great. It was funny, touching, moving, exciting, daring, and so on and so forth. I couldn't decide which was a better Pixar movie: Wall-E or Up? Up should get nominated for a Best Movie at the Academy Awards, if it doesn't I'll scream fix. So which movies knocked it down 2 spots?
2 - Inglorious Basterds
Tarantino's masterpiece? He makes the claim with his final line in the movie. It just might be. Right now it's my third favorite Tarantino movie, but that will quickly change. Pulp Fiction is my first favorite, but that will drop behind Kill Bill at some point, and then will drop behind this with repeat viewings. In a few years time this will probably be my favorite Tarantino movie. Why not now? Because I have to let the movie sit and see how it holds up over time. But this was a killer of a movie.
1 - Avatar
I saw this movie in IMAX 3D two times in 24 hours. I walked out of the theater being in awe of what I had just witnessed, both times. I can't even tell you if that has ever happened to me before, and since I can't tell you, I must assume that it hasn't. Avatar simply blew me a way. The plot was ok and the dialogue was eh, but wow, those visuals, those action scenes, wow. Just wow. Avatar won me over. I originally placed it at #4, but I just kept thinking about it, and thinking about it, and then I moved it to #1 because I knew that it was my favorite movie of 2009.