Welcome to FC.com's first ever FC.com Top 10 Films of the Year! I am really excited to do this, as I am addicted to these lists and finally get to make one myself. This will be a solo venture, even though there is a staff now, but at the end of 2010 (cross your fingers we get there), I will involve the rest of them. This time the glory is mine, mine, MINE!

This top 10 is based on the films I have actually seen, so you may see some glaring omissions. Oh well. Let's get to it!

Honorable Mentions: Observe and Report, Love Aaj Kal, I Love You Man, Orphan

10. Crank 2: High Voltage
9. Taken
8. Zombieland
7. Up
6. Watchmen

5. World's Greatest Dad

Written and directed by 80's film star/pop culture joke Bobcat Goldthwait, this dark comedy had a limited release in both theaters and on Amazon On-Demand. After viewing it, I wish more people had the opportunity to see this. World's Greatest Dad is a smart, biting social commentary of a film, with the cajones to actually tackle some pretty deep subject matter that most people leave alone (namely, how people view the deceased, regardless of their opinion of them when alive). Robin Williams gave the performance of the year playing Lance Clayton, a failed writer turned English teacher, who deals with having possibly the worst son in movie history while nursing an almost desperate need for someone, anyone, to actually like him and give his life meaning. Do not be surprised if Williams gets a whole ton of nominations during this award season, as this is definitely the best performance he has given this decade, and one of the best in his career.

4. Inglourious Basterds

Quentin Tarantino brought his dialogue and pop culture heavy brand of filmmaking into the World War 2 genre and made it interesting again. Instead of basing the film purely on fact, he decided to take liberties with history and came out with a film that is pure historical fiction, but absolutely stunning, with two stories that make the film up (Shoshanna's revenge and the Basterds) being so engrossing that the two and a half hour run-time felt more like 90 minutes. Christoph Waltz, who plays Col. Hans Landa the villain of the film, is already being buzzed about as a potential Oscar nominee. He deserves all the praise he gets, as he makes Landa absolutely chilling and even likable in a very weird way. I also feel the need to give props to Brad Pitt who plays Aldo Raine, the head of the Basterds the movie takes its title from. He's a live action cartoon character, but he gets puts himself into the role so much and has so much fun with it that you can't help but love the character. A little hidden man secret: we'd all go gay for Brad Pitt.

3. The Hangover

The Hangover took everyone in Hollywood by surprise when it came out this past June, becoming one of the most (if not the most, I forget) profitable R-Rated comedies of all time, and one of the most profitable movies of the summer. I had some trepidation when seeing this: sure, the trailer looked funny, but as an Old School hater, I was not a fan of the director and I felt like it could go either way. It feels good to say that not only did The Hangover exceeded my expectations, it slapped them in the face and pissed all over the handprint. This was the funniest movie of the year and one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. The laughs all hit, and from start to finish, you barely have time to breath. The thing is...even if you took the comedy out, the movie itself is actually interesting. The twists and turns it takes are inventive and cool, and The Hangover makes a great history film. You can thank the amazing chemistry of the three leads (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Gilafianakis) for this, as they really make the movie go with their rapport (not listed: Justin Bartha, who plays the missing groom and is super annoying whenever he's on screen. Leave him out of the sequel). Bonus points to the Mike Tyson cameo. Sure it was in the trailer, and had the potential to be embarrassing, but ended up being a standout part of the movie, with Tyson showing he has a sense of humor...when being paid.

2. District 9

Like The Hangover, District 9 had the potential to crumble under the weight of its own hype. In the beginning of the summer, it seemed like you couldn't turn on a TV or see a movie in theaters without the D-9 trailer playing. Add in the August release date, a usual graveyard for summer movies that aren't worth it (Mummy 3 anyone?), and that's a recipe for disaster. Neil Blomkamp, instead of making a trashy movie however, has made one of the future classics of science fiction and film as a whole.

District 9, simply put, is one of the most important films of the decade and will be regarded as one of the classic films of this decade. For a budget of 30+ million dollars, Blomkamp created a movie that felt very real, and was not only entertaining but thought provoking, using the slum life of the aliens as an allegory to the racism and apartheid that he had experienced growing up in his native land of South Africa (where the film takes place). District 9 is funny, sad, chilling, and exciting all in one, an absolute triumph that keeps you on the edge of your seat and even near tears. District 9 is a movie that is important and when we get older, we will see it on newer AFI Lists and TV specials.

And the Best Film of 2009 is...

1. Star Trek

After my typed out orgasm to District 9, you must be wondering how that could not end up as number one on this list. What could possibly beat a film that will undoubtedly become a classic? Two words, FC readers: Star Trek.

Let me preface this before I get into this to calm everyone's nerves: I am not, nor will I ever be (outside of sequels to this film) a Trekkie. The shows and films have been insanely boring to me and as much as my mom may have wanted me to get into the fandom, I couldn't. I was a Star Wars kid. This does not come from a guy wearing a Starfleet uniform, okay? Okay!

Star Trek floored me the first time I saw, floored me again the second time, and kept amazing me every time I would watch it on my breaks at the movie theater. Simply put, this was possibly the most flawless film I saw this year, and one of the most flawless films I have ever seen. From the story to the cast to the special effects to the music, everything came together to form "the perfect storm" of a film that I doubt will be replicated.

The cast for the iconic crew of the USS Enterprise could not have been more perfect. Somewhat newcomer Chris Pine, as Captain James Tiberius Kirk, has wrestled the character away from William Shatner and made his version the new definitive version. He took the comedic and sexual magnetism elements that Shatner had defined and took it to the next level, adding his own imprint to it. Pine deserves to be a star after this. Zachary Quinto's Spock is far and above better than I thought it would have been, not being a Heroes fan. He takes a lot from the Nimoy version and adds some touches of humanity that make the character three dimensional and complicated, unlike the Spock of previous films and TV. His romance with Uhura (Zoe Seldana) is touching and a definite departure for the character who used to be emotionless. His friendship/rivalry with Kirk has chemistry that Nimoy and Shatner didn't have and if they don't reappear for sequels, the franchise will be doomed. Seldana is sexy and smart as Uhura, a character that has long been the wet dream of fanboys everywhere, and she's a great actress and gives meat to the role.

If I were to pick the best casting of the film, it would have to be Karl Urban as McCoy. He embodies that role, from the look to the tone he uses when spouting dialogue...it's almost like watching the original series, if the original series was actually interesting. Urban plays the role pretty by the book, but he's so hilarious that you don't care. John Cho (Sulu), Simon Pegg (Scotty), and Anton Yelchin (Chekov) fill out of the rest of the crew and do amazing jobs, especially Pegg who is in need of a role that will actually suit his talents instead of How to Lose Friends and Alienate People. This is the USS Enterprise crew for the new generation.

The special effects are an absolute marvel in the sense that they don't look like effects at all. Everything looks eerily real, as if CGI didn't exist. Even my CGI hating self couldn't tell the difference between the real and fake. Technical awards, be ready to be in the hands of the Star Trek effects designers, no one deserves it more.

I admit some issues exist (namely Eric Bana's bland portrayal of villain Nero and the distracting cameo of Tyler Perry), but no movie this year (even D-9) came this close to perfection. Star Trek has all the ingredients a good film should have, and will forever be rewatchable. Star Trek is the Best Movie of 2009 and ever so deserving of the first ever Golden Duke Award. You go JJ Abrams!



01/08/2010 08:41

I'm a fan of your eclectic list. For a long time Star Trek was also at the top of my list too.

I'm not sure what it would be now. Hurt Locker? Avatar? They are opposites in many ways.


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