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.
So, 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)