Thor’s Top 10 Movies of 2009

Thor's Top 10 Movies of the Year 2009So its time for the “Best of the Year” list.  I’ll admit even though I watch a truck load of films on a weekly basis, I’m more of the ‘home theatre’ type, meaning I see all types of films from different countries and different eras but I am not always up-to-date with the current films in cinemas.  Still there were a select few that I went out of my way to catch during their release and fortunately this year was rarely disappointed.  It was a solid year overall with big studio films tending to either completely miss the mark (Transformers 2, X-Men Origins: Wolverine) or excel beyond expectation (Star Trek), add to that a handful of sleepers (District 9) and underdogs (The Hurt Locker) that came out of nowhere and kicked unexpected butt.  Anyway enough blabbing, here’s the Top 10 movies that not only stand as my favorites of the year, but most likely of many more years to come.  Enjoy!


10. Public Enemies

Public EnemiesAlright Michael Mann is treading familiar ground here.  His classic flick Heat is fairly similar, but this time instead of casting the top actors of last generation (De Niro, Pacino) he uses the best of this generation (Johnny Depp, Christian Bale), gives the plot historical relevance (the true story of John Dillinger) and conducts a series of awesome Tommy Gun shoot-outs.  Though the pace was too relenting to really resonate the first viewing, I took this one out for a second spin and no doubt got completely wrapped up in its classy awesomeness.  Mann is the man indeed!


9. The Hangover

The HangoverMike Tyson singing Phil Collins.  A naked Asian guy jumping out the car trunk.  Zach Galifianakis stealing almost every scene.   Do I need go on?  Sure it’s not going to win any Oscars, but I don’t think I’ve laughed harder this year.  If you missed it, you missed out.






8. Funny People

Funny PeopleKing of the ‘bromance’ and savoir of the modern comedy Judd Aptow took a break from producing 12 billion movies a year to direct this bittersweet twist on his own early experiences in the comedy industry.  Surprisingly this film contains a depth missing from most laugh fests focusing more on the ‘bitter’ than the ‘sweet’ and standing as his most mature and solid work.  Also, Adam Sandler proves once again that coupled with the right director, he can deliver a top notch dramatic performance, but in true Aptow fashion its all the supporting cast and bit players that steal the show.  A fun and involving comedy that uniquely provokes thought instead of making you feel stupider.


7. Martyrs 

MartyrsWhile I can’t claim this to be a favorite (hell I don’t think I ever have the desire to ever watch it again), I’m hard pressed to name a film that has gotten a stronger reaction from me this year.  Surprisingly there’s plenty of food for thought underneath its blunt surface, it walks an odd line of being the cinematic equivalent of a punch in the face and a philosophical meditation on faith and existence.  Also it has one of the most unique plot structures I’ve witnessed, you’ll truly have to hold tightly as it twists and turns.  Not the best of ‘Gallic horror wave’ (that honor is held by Inside) and I genuinely felt nauseated throughout its entire running time, denying this film a place on the list and the impression it left on me would be a crime itself.  A reaction is better than no reaction at all and this flick takes that honor…and then some.


6. Avatar

AvatarI consider myself a die-hard James Cameron fan, so patiently waiting for him to deliver the goods for nearly 12 years was no easy feat, and then again that’s a lot of expectation to pay off too.  While I admit it didn’t completely succeed (what the hell could?) Avatar is an epic, enthralling and enjoyable adventure.  Not since I was a little tyke watching Jurassic Park did I become completely lost in the world a film created, but Avatar did just that.  Without a doubt, the plot feels overly familiar and flatly simple, but if there was one film that you absolutely had to see in the cinemas; this was your huckleberry…awesome stuff indeed.  Well done Mr. Cameron.


5. Zombieland

ZombielandI had zero expectation going into this one; first time director, so-so cast and yet another addition to the tired zombie trend.  Don’t get me wrong, I think zombies are awesome but I’ll be the first to admit they are getting played out and this one gave no hint of bringing anything new to the table.  Well, I’ll eat those words because this film is God d#mn awesome!  It points out all the tired clichés and successfully flips them on their heads, creating a fresh experience that channels the inventiveness of the equally awesome video game Dead Rising, add to that a sharp and witty script, slick visuals, spot-on black humor and the best use of Woody Harrelson in years and you’ve got yourself a winner.  Oh yeah and Bill Murray is in it too, but to tell you what happens to him would be ruining it.  Go grab some beers and find out for yourself!


4. The Hurt Locker

The Hurt LockerAfter an unexplained hiatus, personal favorite Kathryn Bigalow returned to cinema with both guns blazing, delivering a tense, forward yet thoughtful war film that stands as one of the best of the genre.  Thankfully the film avoids imposing a political agenda on the current conflict and presents the situation as direct as possible, skillfully delivering tense set-piece after set-piece.   The result is a unique rollercoaster ride as exhilarating as it is devastating yet somehow we feel that’s Bigalow’s whole point; as horrible and unnecessary as war is, its also terribly exciting and strangely addictive to some men, while most audiences won’t relate they can at least try to understand.


3. Star Trek

Star TrekWho would have thought Star Trek could emerge out of its niche ghetto and became cool once again?  Well J.J Abrams did what several felt impossible and did just that.  He shook the franchise up while treading a careful line by making it feel fresh and sexy enough to entice new viewers while paying respect and satisfying the devoted fans.  Its not perfect, but aside from a few convenient plot twists and the misuse of a “Beastie Boys” track you’ll just be nit-picking if you’ve got complaints.  No doubt the best Blockbusters of 2009, now that the crew is assembled, bring on the second installment!


2. Drag Me To Hell

Drag Me To HellAfter the disappointment of Spiderman 3, Sam Raimi got all old school on our #sses and proved he can still flawlessly deliver a thrill ride like no other.  In true Raimi form, the film excels at being scary, funny, exciting, gross and all out entertaining.  A must see for fans of the man and even if your not, check it out, you’ll likely to become one.




1. District 9

District 9Neil Bloomkampf rose from the ashes of the failed Halo movie and knocked out this quick and dirty sleeper hit.  A fresh and unique spin on a familiar premise, District 9‘s bizarre racism allegory uniquely echoed the Sci-Fi’s genres literature roots instead of the usual big budget spectacle its counterparts shallowly strives for.  What results is a film that is sharply clever and relevant to hot topic issues, but makes for an exhilarating, emotional and awesome experience to boot, which to me is what cinema should be all about.  I’ve never seen anything like it and can’t wait to see what Bloomkampf gets up to next, and if it involves a pimp #ss finale with Mech Warriors like this one, you can bet your bottom dollar it’ll chart my Top 10 again.  Its official, whoever pulled the plug on the Halo movie, should kick himself in the face repeatedly. 





6 Responses to “Thor’s Top 10 Movies of 2009”

  1. Gregg

    Great read, Thor! I’m interested in “The Hurt Locker,” but I have to disagree on “Public Enemies.” I thought that film was so detached from its audiences and I blame it on the director and his lack of connecting viewers to the characters. Zombieland was a fun ride indeed! I’ve already got that one pre-ordered on Blu-ray. Loved it!

  2. Yousuf Qureshi

    I think those movies are a nice choice. Although I think ‘The Hangover’ would deserve a higher spot than ‘Funny People’ on my list. Funny People was a nice movie, but like what tends to happen with some movies, all its highlights were pretty much pictured in its trailer. I was left wanting more out of it. District 9 definitely deserves the first spot, and I finally liked Star Trek again after the olden days with William Shatner as cap. Kirk. Im missing ‘Whatever Works’ (which turned out to be a great collaboration between Woody Allen and Larry David) in the list, but then again you can’t squeeze in eleven in a top ten. 🙂

  3. Brian White

    Great list Thor! I have to agree with Gregg on Public Enemies though.

    4 of my Top 10 are in your list! You’ll find out on Thursday. I bet the suspense is killing you!

    Man…I think I am the only one in the world who did not see Zombieland this year. 🙁

  4. Sandy

    looks like i gotta check out Martyrs

  5. Lucas Mattos

    After watching District 9 and loving it I began promoting it to all my friends as a must-see kick A$$ movie, but to my surprise I was met with lots of negative reviews. I couldn’t understand how they couldn’t be impressed. A subject so familiar to us all (different cultures coming into contact, trying to coexist and then running into problems about it) brought in such a innovative way, presented in an interesting, seldom used format, not to mention great themes such as the personal struggle of a man being framed, the individual against the institution, justice.. to name some..

    It’s good to see somebody doing it justice by putting it on it’s deserved place.

    Thank you.

  6. Abel Vandersloot

    Of these top ten flicks, I am in complete agreement for approximately one third, very good recommendations!