It's been quite an amazing decade for lovers of film. While Hollywood pumped out monstrosities like Transformers and G.I. Joe, real filmmakers continued to make both large and small masterpieces, both inside and, more often, outside the Hollywood system.
So, below are my picks for the best 100 films of the past 10 years. However, instead of one list I've decided to make five: 70 Best Films, 10 Best Comedies, 12 Best Documentaries, 5 Best Animated Films, and 3 Best Musicals.
My Picks For The Best Films of 2009... and late-2008
Ok, people, this year I'm making two separate lists. Rather than mixing the Best Films of 2009 together with all the great films that were released in late-2008 that I never had a chance to see before posting my Best Films of 2008 list, I'm simply dividing them into two different lists: "Best of 2009" and "Best of Late-2008".
And of course, as is the case every year, there are a few late-2009 releases that I have yet to see that could very well have made this list had I had a chance to see them, most prominently Up In The Air, A Serious Man, An Education, Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire, The White Ribbon, Broken Embraces, Bad Lieutenant, and Crazy Heart.
So, here they are, my picks for the best films of the past year:
TOP 15 FILMS OF 2009
In the room where fortune falls
On a day when chance is all
In the dark of this exile
I felt the grace of your smile
Honey you're my lucky day
- Bruce Springsteen, "My Lucky Day"
Lucky day indeed. Yesterday marked not only the release of Bruce Springsteen's new album, Working On A Dream, but also the release of Woody Allen's wonderful Vicky Cristina Barcelona on DVD. And it sure made for one heck of a terrific day for all us fans of great music and film.
As for the Bruce album, after six good listens I can now say with quite some certainty that Working On A Dream is one of his greatest albums of the past two decades, if not his whole career.
The "Eternal Sunshine of Charlie Kaufman's Mind" Rave (Featuring My List of The Top 5 Comedies of All Time)
There are lots of good, even great, films out there, even a few amazing ones, but what's especially exciting, at least for a film buff like myself, is when you come across a completely original piece of filmmaking. Which is exactly what "Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind" is - completely original AND totally amazing. I just watched it again, for the first time in four years, and, like so many other great films, it blew me away even more on second viewing.
1 Most Favorite and Hilarious Christopher Guest Film:
1. Best In Show
2 Favorite Michael Ondaatje Books:
1. The English Patient
2. In The Skin of A Lion
3 Greatest Angry Bob Dylan Songs:
1. Idiot Wind
2. Positively 4th Street
4 Favorite Woody Allen Movies (in no particular order):
- Crimes and Misdemeanors
- Hannah and Her Sisters
- Annie Hall
You may have seen on the news 2 or 3 nights ago that the Queen was celebrating yet another 80th birthday and the British taxpayers were footing the bill for yet another elaborate celebration. That last one in April, it seems, was simply her "real birthday". This one, it turns out, was her "official birthday". Oh the joyous occasion.
Anyhow, as I was watching this on the news I kept waiting for someone to shout out, like that peasant to King Arthur in "Monty Python and The Holy Grail", "Who elected you anyway?" But, alas, no one ever asked the question.
Believe it or not, Woody Allen turns 70 today. So Happy Birthday Woody and thanks for all the classics. Whatever you may think of his personal life, we're talkin' about one of the greatest filmmakers of all time here, a living legend, a genius, a master. We're talkin' about the creator of not just the all-time classics "Annie Hall", "Manhattan", "Hannah and Her Sisters" and "Crimes and Misdemeanors", but also the man who wrote "What's New Pussycat?" and "Play It Again Sam" and both wrote and directed all of these fantastic (or at the very least, great) films: