The Noughtie List

Viva Videodromers!

Well, 2009 was quite a mixed popcorn bag, cinematically speaking. For every delicious fluffy nugget of yummy cinematic goodness, there were the films that stood in for the awful, tasteless shit they put on the popcorn that I have no difficulty whatsoever believing is not butter.

Avatar Nav've girl's eyeSo, in a year where PG-horror films still failed to get the point of why they suck (because you're trying not to be scary—and it's a scary movie, duh!); when Nicholas Cage continued to be moviedom's equivalent of a black hole that sucks up all subtlety, talent, and joy from the screen (I assume he made the same deal with the devil as Martin Lawrence); and Hollywood furthered its mission to cripple Australia's gene pool by stealing more of our handsome young men (seriously, the next generation of Aussies are going to look like wombats), which films stood out from the crowd like Keanu Reeves at a casting session for the lead role in PINNOCHIO?

(Note: Please imagine the following being read to you by Hugh Jackman.)

(Also please imagine that Mr. Jackman is naked at the time and using me as his podium.)

BEST FILMS OF 2009:

10. DEAD SNOW - Nazi zombies vs horny Norwegian snowskiers. So awesome, I'm willing to overlook Norway's fudging of alien First Contact later in the year. Also contains a sex scene (reverse cowgirl in an outhouse during a dump) that is just as gross, if not more-so, than the bodily fluids flying around like an Al Queida attack on the Playboy Mansion.

9. THE BURROWERS - Union soldiers fall afoul of subterranean mole-gopher-creatures usually found bursting from Sigourney Weaver's ribcage-hybrids that paralyze them with venom, buries and eats them alive. Shows that awful monstrosities not killing you can sometimes be worse—as anyone trapped in a Creed concert can tell you.

8. WERE THE WORLD MINE - Nifty gay film which takes a stage production of Shakespeare's A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM. Fairies, human lovers, and a love potion that makes Viagra look like Nyquil and gives it a queer twist, with a magickal flower making people a) gay and b) liable to break out into catchy musical numbers at a moment's notice.

WERE THE WORLD MINE - Fairies turned Faeries:

7. FAUBOURG TREME: THE UNTOLD STORY OF BLACK NEW ORLEANS - Black folks in New Orleans from Slavery through to Katrina. Great, feature-length documentary that shows just how badly Dubya and his merry morons mishandled one of the worst natural disasters of the C21st.

FAUBOURG TREME - Hurricane Katrina had nothing on Bushzilla:

6. VAN DIEMEN'S LAND - True story about the C19th Irish cannibal convict who escaped from Tasmania's ferocious prison system with 7 other convicts, whom he seemed to view less as cohorts and more as appetizers.

5. DISTRICT 9 - Brilliant allegory about Apartheid with aliens. A friend of mine suffers from both motion sickness and entomophobia. Given that a lot of the film is hand-held running about, and features realistic, cockroach-like aliens, when I saw this with her, the day was even more entertaining than I'd expected...

4. MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D - Splattery bodycount movie in which limbs, heads and assorted sweetbreads fly at your face, 80's horror legend Tom Atkins makes a welcome return to horror, and SUPERNATURAL's Jensen Ackles really should know better than to handle bladed objects found in a killer's grave on the 10th anniversary of his death at midnight.

MBV3D: Your place or Miner?!

3. MILK - Sean Penn doesn't so much as act the part of the slain gay politician, as become possessed by him. Penn is ably supported by James Franco, who, amazingly enough, doesn't let a truly awful 70's pornstache and a whiteboy afro get in the way of me wanting to play Spiderman games with him...

2. MARTYRS - Absolutely chilling French horror about abuse that comes back to haunt (literally) both victim and victimizer. Relentless, grim, harrowing torture porn for 90 minutes (this film would make the Jigsaw Killer from SAW vomit) and then a left-field turn into transcendental beauty at the end. Great, but you'll want to shower in bleach afterwards.

MARTYRS: Too late, you can't unwatch the film now:

1. AVATAR - Brilliant film that, even though it's basically DANCES WITH WOLVES with blue cat people, manages to transcend cliche—and presents a wholly immersive, fully believable digital alien world with jaw-dropping flora, fauna and scenery. Aussie actor Sam Worthington subtlely subverts being poached by Hollywood by slipping into his Aussie accent occasionally (I've been waiting for him to work blue for a while now!), Sigourney Weaver eats the scenery (CGI or actual), and George Lucas is so aghast at someone else making better CGI characters than Jar-Jar Stinks that he immediately freezes himself in carbonite for 1000 years.

DUMBEST SEQUELS 2009:

* LOST BOYS 2: The cinematic equivalent of waiting twenty years for a blood transfusion that doesn't take and is watered down anyway

* TRANSFORMERS REVENGE OF THE FALLEN: Strangely enough, watching gigantic CGI robots destroy CGI landmarks for 3 hours is strangely underwhelming.

* ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: THE SQUEAKUEL (a film about chipmunks so obnoxious and devoid of personality, not even Richard Gere would want to shove them up his arse)

BEST CINEMATIC DEATH SCENES 2009:

* Woman hit in face 25 times onscreen (count 'em!) by baseball bat; head resembles chilli dog dropped on floor from height (MARTYRS

* Man has intestinal tract sucked out through arsehole by pool filter...in 3D (FINAL DESTINATION 4)

*Screaming Baby in pram crushed by enraged, sentient Christmas Tree (TREEVENGE)

* Man fucked to death anally by disembodied, alien-possessed dick formerly belonging to Ron Jeremy (ONE-EYED MONSTER)

* Man set on fire during sex, jumps in ocean, decapitated by rescue boat's outboard motor (DONKEY PUNCH)

HOT ACTOR MOST LIKELY TO GET ME ARRESTED, PEE-WEE HERMAN STYLE, FOR SELF-ABUSE IN 2009 CINEMA:

* Seann William Scott (ROLE MODELS)

* Robert Pattinson/Taylor Lautner (TWILIGHT: NEW MOON)

* Jared Padelecki (FRIDAY THE 13TH remake)

FRIDAY THE 13TH - Jared Padelecki and assorted crew attempt to garner the Academy's vote for the "Best Impromptu Musical Number During a Splatter-filled Remake of a Classic Seventies Body Count Movie" Oscar category:

NICHOLAS CAGE COMMEMORATIVE AWARD FOR MOST USELESS CONTRIBUTION TO CINEMA, 2009:

* Jack Black (YEAR ONE), Megan Fox (TRANSFORMERS 2), Sandra Bullock (entire career, 1992-present)



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Agree, especially District 9. Film of the year for me is Up.... cried like a baby barely ten minutes in...

Gavin Pitt's picture

Thankees. Yes, UP is very good, and deals with some surprisingly mature themes for a G-rater. Dug the Dog is awesome. "Stop, dogs!"

I agree on the Avatar comment (even though I thought it was a great movie) it does resemble Dances With Wolves, but it also has a Ferngully: The Last Rainforest story line mixed in there as well. So I laughed at the cliches that happend in the movie.

Gavin Pitt's picture

True the storyline is familiar, but the world of Pandora is so breathtaking and realistic I forgot I was looking at CGI after 20 minutes. Plus Sam Worthington is much hotter than Kevin Costner *g* Thankees~!

Andrei Trostel's picture

Out of your main 10 list I have only seen Avatar. Although, I do agree it was definitely the best movie of 2009. Ignore everyone's complaining about the similarities with Dances With Wolves. See it in 3-D and if you are then still disappointed I would argue that you can save yourself a lot of time and money and just stop going to the movies full stop, because you will never be satisfied.

Gavin Pitt's picture

Yeah it's a breathtakingly beautiful movie, and if you don't see it in 3D you're doing yourself a disservice.

Thanks Andrei! You're the best! Your homework- watch every movie on the list so I can talk with you about them *g*

I disagree entirely, I seen Avatar in 3D and it just wasn't that good, i mean it was cool and stuff but the story just wasn't that good. I did however enjoy The Lovely Bones, Inglorious Basterds, District 9 and Where The Wild Things Are.

I dont like the choice of Avatar as the best movie of the year. advanced CGI has allowed people to recreate their imagination beautifully on the screen for a movie to tell the story, but that doesn't mean that a movie should made just to show you three hours of pure computer graphic. a movie's not a video game, i expect more than 3-d graphic in a movie. It should be more about presenting original and interesting story. Avatar's storyline resembles so much of jap anime films directed by miyazaki hayao, which has same theme - learning to live in harmony with the mother nature. the storyline was so predictable that anybody can tell what's gonna happen throughout the movie after 10 min or so. People saying "If you didn't see it in 3-D..." pretty much shows what the movie is all about, and what people liked about the movie. The Reader, State of the Play, Inglorious Basterds, Law abiding citizen were all IMO movies with better plot. They didnt have beautiful 3d graphic like Avatar. However I thought they were better "movies".

Court Sullivan's picture

In the future, when 3-D films abound, this will be a relevant argument. For now, revel in the novelty, Scrooge McEbert. And why the quotes on "movies"? Quoting something in that context indicates that it could flimsily be considered what is quoted at best. At the least, Avatar was a movie. Maybe you meant "plots."

Gavin Pitt's picture

Heh, Scrooge McEbert. Nice one, boss-man!

btw- Cameron's planning on restoring the sex scene between Jaiksali and Nitara (heavily trimmed for the cinematic release) for the AVATAR dvd-apparently features some impressive and equal opportunity CGI nudity. Finally a case of blue balls I can look forward too!

Andrei Trostel's picture

Hear hear Court!
I haven't seen a movie in a long time that has a truly original plot line that isn't ripped off from somewhere. Even the ones everyone heralds as the most original plot ever is usually a rip off of a foreign film. Saying CGI isn't a movie but a video game is like saying anything with special effects in it isn't a movie. Just because it isn't real doesn't make it any less of a movie. People don't die in movies for real, those aren't real aliens, often time the weather is even fabricated. Effects are effects, period, but it doesn't make it a video game. If AVATAR was a video game I would have been controlling Jake Sully and that sex scene with Neytiri would have gone on for hours leaving her WAY to exhausted to pull him anywhere let alone be able to walk! ;-P
Interesting to hear that it was cut though because my ONE complaint about the whole movie was during the sex scene when they DIDN'T connect their little hair USB port thingies together, and everyone around me heard me exclaim, "OH COME ON, THAT WAS JUST ALIEN DRY HUMPING!"

Gavin Pitt's picture

Andrei,

Heh. If AVATAR was a video game, my Jaiksuli Na'vi would just spend the entire thing caressing his naked body in the hospital wing *g*

Apparently Cameron cut the guts out of the sex scene because blue buttocks and mammaries (improbable as they are on an extraterrestrial, but that's a story for another day) endangered the film's PG-13 rating, thus potentially robbing the film of the all important "kids seeing the film and wanting their parents to buy the action figures" demographic.

Right there with you on the hair extension thing. "Oh sure- he'll plug into the six-legged horse-bug with lungs in its armpits, but not when he's sexxin' up catwoman?". Although maybe he did it because that way he'd know if she was faking?!

Gavin Pitt's picture

I'm rapidly becoming addicted to neo-3D. Beats the pants off the old red/blue cardboard specs!

Gavin Pitt's picture

YJ- I see what you mean, but it was just so beautiful and immersive I had to include it. INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS was great (Christopher Waltz' Landa goes straight into the pantheon of awesome villains, with Darth Vader, Hannibal Lecter and Freddy Krueger) but it was let down by a surprisingly weak performance from Brad Pitt.

Miyazaki is keen- I enjoyed PONYO ON THE CLIFF BY THE SEA too

Dear Gavin,
Thank you for including our documentary, "Faubourg Tremé: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans" in your best of 2009 films. We are extremely honored to have made your top ten.
All the best for 2010 and beyond.
Sincerely,
Lucie Faulknor
Producer

Gavin Pitt's picture

Dear Lucie,

You're more than welcome! Loved the film, as did the rest of the audience who saw it as part of 2009's Perth Revelation Film Festival- we all stood around afterward marveling at what a colossal botch-up job Dubya made of the Katrina tragedy. I particularly enjoyed the "Living Historians" in period costume, the elderly carpenter "bringing old houses back to life" and the wry news that, post-Katrina, one of the musicians interviewed was arrested for playing music in the street without a permit- typical Bush move~!

Great film!

Casey Freeman's picture

Ah for fuck's sake! I was going to do a top movies of 2009! Granted, it's a week and a half into 2010, but whatever. Maybe I'll do it just for shits and grins. Nicely done though Gav. Maybe you just saved me the trouble.

Gavin Pitt's picture

KC- Well, I am 12 hours in the future remember *g*.

And I urge you to see all the films on this list- or at least MARTYRS, so that I can talk about it with you and Andrei. My brother refuses to watch it and the only other person I know who has seen it made it about 30 minutes in and then vomited and switched it off...

Ugh... I didn't see any of those shitty movies in your list... Orphan was the best

Grasshopper's picture

Orphan sucked.

I'm not even going to point out the sheer idiocy in your comment. You're ignorance automatically makes your opinion null and void.

Avatar definitely raised the bar! A unique cinematic experience & beautiful & impressive work from the New Zealanders working behind the scenes - Weta. This country produces 5-star talent which has become undeniably recognisable worldwide (think Lord Of The Rings which I personally think is fantastic, and District 9). I bet every zombified person lucky enough to view it in 3D told another person of how it was amazing, a 'must see' movie, and so the snowball effect began - cinemas have and were fully booked when it was first released - you had to book a week in advance in some places. I've never been able to sit still and watch a movie for that long. I didnt even eat for throuhout the entire movie. I was deeply immersed into this magical cinematic world! I sound like Im high which Im not, but for me, this movie was a total high!

Gavin Pitt's picture

Avatarfan,

Yeah, Weta Digital do great stuff. Looking forward to their next offering, the movie version of UNDER THE MOUNTAIN. I enjoyed the Kiwi-made series as a kid~!

Where is Zombieland?

Gavin Pitt's picture

Tiffany,

ZOMBIELAND didn't open here in Oz until early 2010, so doesn't count for my 2009 list...

Avatar was very pretty, and entertaining.

It was not the best movie of the year.

Put looks aside, and look at the characters, the plot and the comparative length.

You've got your one-dimensional bad-boy who is reformed by...

Your hot native chick who teaches him the value of nature, which is going to be destroyed by...

YARRRR, I AM THE BAD GUY! I SOUND LIKE A PULL-STRING G.I. JOE ENEMY DOLL! (who is employed by...)

The one-dimensional corporate asshole who plays mini-golf in the office and doesn't care about the planet he's raping.

There was nothing novel about this movie beyond the looks. It was entirely predictable. There were so many opportunities for twists in the story, and they just weren't taken advantage of. Even one twist would have been welcome. A little one.

That was a long movie which WAS pretty, but definitely not worth the 3 hours.

Gavin Pitt's picture

Thanks for the input.

I thought AVATAR was better than HURT LOCKER, and HURT LOCKER got best picture!