The Best Movies of 2009
Below is my list of the best movies that I have seen that were released in 2009 (even if some were made in 2008). I have included trailers for each movie. Click on any of the highlighted titles for my full review of that film. I highly recommend all of these movies. I will continue to add to this list if I see any more movies from 2009 that are worthy of this list.
Public Enemies (2009)
The Hangover (2009)
The Box (2009)
The Road (2009)
Movies that were good, but did not quite make the list are:
State of Play (2009)
The Messenger (2009)
The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day (2009)
Law Abiding Citizen (2009)
Terminator Salvation (2009)
The Proposal (2009)
The Hurt Locker (2009)
The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009)
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (2009)
Couple’s Retreat (2009)
Crank: High Voltage (2009)
12 Strong (2018)
Besides what I saw in the trailer, I was not aware of the true story that this film depicts. How was this not more widely publicized?
12 Strong is a true story about 12 Special Forces soldiers sent on a covert operation in Afghanistan, following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. They are the first boots on the ground. The group teams up with an Afghan leader, and together on horseback, they try to take down the Taliban.
The movie is based on the book “Horse Soldiers” by Doug Stanton. It is directed by Nicolai Fuglsig.
The noteworthy cast includes Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon, Michael Pena, Navid Negahban, Trevante Rhodes, Geoff Stults, Thad Luckinbill, Austin Stowell, Rob Riggle, William Fichter, Fahim Fazli, Numan Acar, and Taylor Sheridan.
12 Strong is the best war movie that I have seen since American Sniper (2014). It is done in a similar style as Lone Survivor (2013). It is an amazing untold story that everyone should know about. It tells the story about America’s immediate response after the 9/11 attacks.
This is easily Chris Hemsworth’s best film. His role as a soldier was quite believable.
Michael Shannon and Michael Pena also give very likable performances.
The flow to the story was very fluid. I credit the film quality to the unknown director Nicolai Fuglsig. A film with such epic proportions cannot be easy to direct. Especially one this good.
The convincing sets and realistic battle scenes make you feel like you are watching on the battlefield. It is a war movie, so there is a lot of quality brutal violence. The special effects are good, but not overdone.
The story itself, was what was most surprising to me. The U.S. sends twelve men into Afghanistan to respond to the 19 terrorists that took out the World Trade Center. The covert operation sees those twelve men joining forces with Afghan soldiers on horseback to try to systematically takedown the Taliban. Horses against tanks, rockets, and other heavy artillery. Who would’ve thought?
That is fascinating to me. It’s the 21st century. The greatest country in the world is attacked with their own planes. And, their response is on horses in the desert. Reading that out loud sounds pretty harsh. But, that is why this is such an interesting and incredible story. This is not me talking down about the story it all. That is me praising it. If you have not seen it and it sounds interesting to you, go see it now!
I rate this movie a on a 9 on a scale of 1-10.
If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:
American Sniper (2014)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)
The Pianist (2002)
We Were Soldiers (2002)
Now You See Me (2013)
Now You See Me is a film about a group of 4 magicians brought together by an unknown person. They are convinced to become a team and eventually they land their own show in Las Vegas. When one of their tricks involves stealing a large amount of money, they become part of a cat and mouse chase with the FBI.
The film was directed by Louis Leterrier. The cast includes Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Dave Franco, Isla Fisher, Melanie Laurent, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Michael Kelly, Common, and David Warshofsky.
Now You See Me hypnotized me with its excitement. It was certain to amaze. The cast of characters were all clever and quite entertaining. For a while I was caught up in the illusion of the promise of something great. Eventually I was let down. The ride was a thrill. The destination however, was a disappointment.
I enjoyed seeing Eisenberg and Harrelson teamed up together again for the first time since Zombieland (2009).
This is the 4th time that Freeman and Caine have been in the same film. The previous 3 films were The Dark Knight Trilogy.
Now You See Me could be Dave Franco’s best performance to date.
It was nice to see Laurent in another American made movie. This is the first film that I have seen her in anything since Inglourious Basterds (2009).
The story was unfinished and sort of lacked a point. The movie became dependent on sleight of hand in order to entertain. You can only one-up a magic trick so many times before it starts to get a little worn out.
The ending of the film acted like it was a big grand conclusion when in reality it just fizzled. Don’t get me wrong, the movie was fun and amusing. It was worth seeing, just not in the theatre. The film is like any magic trick, once you know the secret behind it, it is no longer exciting.
I rate this movie a 7 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Rent.
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Inglourious Basterds is a World War II film of epic proportions. I think the title of the movie is enough to turn some people off from wanting to see it. That is unfortunate because those people don’t know what they are missing. The film is absolutely incredible. At the time that I saw it, I did not think that Quentin Tarantino was capable of making such a perfect movie. He writes, directs, and has an uncredited part in the film.
“Once upon a time in Nazi-occupied France…”
A group of Jewish American soldiers known as The Basterds, along with a famous German actress and, a Jewish girl seeking revenge, all find themselves in a plot to try to kill high ranking Nazi leaders.
Inglourious Basterds is one of my favorite films of all time. It is definitely in my top 5 and maybe even in my top 3. I wish I had seen it in the theatre. I was a little bit skeptical of the movie when it first came out, and therefore I ended up waiting to watch it on DVD. Big mistake! If they brought it back to the theatre tomorrow, I would see it in a heartbeat.
The film has everything. Love, hate, blood, guts, war, beautiful landscapes, spies, traitors, loss, tragedy, revenge, hope, tension, an excellent story, a huge cast of amazing characters, a great director, a perfect script, and just enough humor to bring everything together.
Inglourious Basterds is probably Brad Pitt’s best movie. It is definitely his best character, but it is a toss-up between this movie and Fight Club (1999), although in recent years he has chosen his roles very wisely.
Quentin Tarantino managed to not only get a perfect cast, but somehow he got the best possible performances out of most of them. It is amazing how incredibly awesome everyone in the movie is. This is Tarantino’s best movie. He may come close, but I don’t think that he will ever top this film.
Christoph Waltz broke into American movies with his part in this film. Up until Inglourious Basterds, he was basically just a well-known foreign actor, mostly in Germany. His performance in the movie was nothing less than perfect and nobody could have done a better job. He did receive the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor which he wholeheartedly deserved. As I mentioned in my Django Unchained (2012) review, he received the same award in back-to-back Tarantino directed films. Those are both 2 characters that have really stuck in my mind. He got the role of a lifetime twice.
Like Waltz, Melanie Laurent came out of nowhere and was just astonishing. I can’t think of an actress off the top of my head that in recent years has done a better job than she did in this film. The only actress that could maybe come close is Diane Kruger also for her role in this film.
Eli Roth gave the best performance of his acting career.
The not very well-known Daniel Bruhl made his mark in this film and let his presence be known.
Til Schweiger has been acting for a while, but his breakout performance was definitely in this film. Any reference to him will be a reference to this movie.
This was Mike Myers best movie since Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002).
Michael Fassbender was an up-and-comer before he made this movie and now he is a household name.
Samuel L. Jackson plays the part of the narrator and you also hear the voice of Harvey Keitel.
The movie also includes Gedeon Burkhard, B.J. Novak, Omar Doom, August Diehl, Denis Menochet, Sylvester Groth, Martin Wuttke, Julie Dreyfus, Richard Sammel, Alexander Fehling, Rod Taylor, Samm Levine, Christian Berkel, and Lea Seydoux.
If you have not seen Inglourious Basterds then after you finish reading this review, stop what you are doing, drop everything and go out and buy it immediately. It is that good. I am not kidding. Go now!
I rate this movie a 10 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? BUY!
Django Unchained (2012)
Django Unchained was a bloody masterpiece in film making. Quentin Tarantino did a fantastic job writing and directing the film. He even gave himself a fun cameo appearance in the film as he often likes to do in his movies. He has a tendency to choose the perfect actor for each role in his films. Somehow Tarantino seems to have the power to obtain the best possible performances out of each and every actor in all of the movies that he makes and Django Unchained was no exception.
As with most of Tarantino’s films, Django Unchained was a carefully executed and well scripted exercise in goriness and vulgarity. I think that this excitement and intensity that is shown in previews often will actually turn a person off from seeing the film. They may think that the film looks too violent or too R-rated.
These days there are so many straight-up violent movies filled with so much unnecessary blood, torture, cussing, and pure evil such as Hostel (2005) and its sequels, or Saw (2004) and its almost yearly sequels. It seems like the main intention of those films is to see how far they can push the envelope in gruesomeness. They always have to one-up the previous film of its kind.
When Quentin Tarantino first started making movies it seemed like they were almost strictly for shock value i.e. Reservoir Dogs (1992) or Pulp Fiction (1994). Don’t get me wrong, both of those films were solid movies in their own right, but they lacked meaning and story. They did however, have great characters portrayed by superb actors spouting very colorful dialogue.
In recent years Tarantino has perfected his craft. He has successfully penned films with true meaning and spectacular stories. His best example of this is Inglourious Basterds (2009) and I believe Django Unchained to be his second best film. Although his films continue to be extreme, they are no longer strictly for shock value. They are very edgy, but they will entertain you if you give them a chance.
Christoph Waltz delivers an unquestionable Oscar worthy performance in Django Unchained. The funny thing about that is that I thought his performance in Inglourious Basterds was also without a doubt, valuable enough to receive an Oscar. Waltz did in fact; win back to back Best Supporting Actor Oscars for both Tarantino films. At the rate that he is going, I would not be surprised if Christoph Waltz wins another Oscar in a Tarantino movie in the future.
In Django Unchained Waltz stole the show. Jamie Foxx did a wonderful job as Django, but his performance was overshadowed by Waltz. Leonardo DiCaprio would have won a Best Supporting Oscar for his role in the film if Christoph Waltz wasn’t in it. If Dicaprio had given the same supporting performance in a different movie in any other year besides 2009 or 2012 he would have won the Oscar. Arguably the only performance better than that of Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained was that of Christoph Waltz in Inglourious Basterds.
There were so many excellent actors in this film, that if I tried to list them all, I would certainly miss a few. A few more certainly worth mentioning were Samuel L. Jackson, Don Johnson and James Remar. James Remar (probably most known as Dexter’s adopted father in the television series Dexter.) actually played two different characters in the movie, but nobody seemed to notice. I caught it right away though and I thought that it was a little weird.
Django Unchained is a new-age Spaghetti Western of epic proportions with heart and soul, splattered with lots of blood and violence throughout. It definitely deserves an R-rating, but it also definitely deserves a watch. I have wanted to see the movie for a long time and I almost went to it about a dozen times in the last couple of months. I’m glad that I finally saw the film.
I rate this movie a 10 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.