January 1, 2010, - 4:30 pm

DebbieSchlussel.com Best Movies of 2009

By Debbie Schlussel

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This was going to be my list of the Best AND the Worst Movies of 2009.  But I literally wrote down the names of about 50 movies I absolutely hated, this year, and didn’t feel like using my self-imposed semi-day off trying to whittle the list down to 10 or 20–there were simply so many that were, indeed, that bad.  I may do so on Sunday or Monday.  But for now, here is my list of the Fifteen Best Movies of 2009 (each movie is linked to my complete review):

DebbieSchlussel.com Top Fifteen Movies of 2009:

inglouriousbasterdsdepartures

1)  “Inglourious Basterds“:  Quentin Tarantino’s comedy-thriller about a special unit of Jewish American soldiers during World War II sent to Europe to kill Nazis, while a French Jewish woman has her own plans for Hitler and his gang.  Worth every minute of the nearly three hours.

2)  “Departures“: This was released around the world in 2008, but wasn’t released in most of the U.S. until 2009, when I was sent a screener.  A Japanese cello player and his wife sell his cello and return to his small hometown, when his orchestra goes bankrupt.  Thinking he’s applying for a job as a travel agent, he accepts a job performing Japanese funeral rituals and uplifts mourners, while at the same time mourning the father who left when he was young and undergoing ridicule at his new profession.  Ultimately, he learns his father was a different person than the propaganda.  In Japanese with English subtitles.  Absolutely one of the most moving films I’ve ever seen.  Also worth every minute of the three hours.

3) “The Hurt Locker: A U.S. soldier in Iraq is an expert at defusing bombs.  Every second is life or death, and it’s an excellent look at the hard work our soldiers do and the risks they take every single second, in service of our country.

4)  Taken:  The new Dirty Harry, only better.  Liam Neeson stars as a former CIA agent, who goes to France to rescue his daughter from a Muslim sex-slave ring who has sold her to a Gulf state Arab sheikh.  Definitely the best action film of 2009 and an added bonus is that it isn’t politically correct.

5)  Drag Me to Hell:  The best horror-thriller (and it’s also a comedy), this year, this Sam Raimi flick follows an ambitious bank teller who is befallen by a curse from a Gypsy woman to whom she refuses to give an extension on her overdue loan.

6)  Up:  A terrific, charming 3D, animated movie about a boy who dreams of meeting his explorer hero, Charles Muntz, and grows up to dream with his wife of visiting a South American paradise.  Ultimately, she dies, and he finds himself surrounded by developers who want him out of his house.  But he and a boy get caught flying into space with helium balloons attached to their house and ultimately land in South America where they meet Muntz, but things are not as they dreamed.  Only drawback to this movie:  far-left, self-hating, anti-Israel Jew, Ed Asner, is the voice of the main character.

7)  The Informant!:  In this hilarious comedy, Matt Damon stars as a top executive at Archer Daniels Midland Corporation, who is an informant to the FBI, reporting on price-fixing.  But all is not as it seems, as the slightly nutty, know-it-all informant narrates with his “thoughts” throughout the movie.

8)  Moon:  Sam Rockwell plays an astronaut at the end of his tour of duty on the moon.  But, just as he is about to return home to Earth, he discovers something is terribly wrong.  Best sci-fi flick of the  year (even liked it better than “Star Trek”).

9)  Defiance:  I screened this in 2008, but it was not released widely in the U.S. until 2009.  Daniel Craig and Liev Schrieber play two of the real-life Bielski Brothers, Jewish partisans who fought back against the Nazis, lived in the forest, and saved many Jewish lives during the Holocaust.  Terrific movie, even if its Jewish director, Ed Zwick, is not quite so defiant (at least, publicly) against Islamic terrorists.

10)  Zombieland:  Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson play two of the few survivors in an America infested by flesh-eating zombies in this apocalyptic comedy-thriller adventure.  Funny and enjoyable, with a great cameo by a hilarious real-life celebrity.

11)  Coraline:  This fabulously creepy eye candy is an animated 3D thriller about a young girl whose parents are too busy to pay her much attention.  She soon learns that through the walls and tunnels of her new home, there’s an alternate universe of her parents and life that seems fabulous.  But things are not as they seem, as she soon learns.

12)  Duplicity:  This was the best caper movie of the year.  Fun, light, and entertaining, Clive Owen and Julia Roberts set out to bilk their employers out of billions and a formula for a new chemical that will change lives.  (Also co-stars my friend from high school, Rick Worthy).  Can you figure out the twist?

13)  The Stoning of Soraya M:  Shohreh Agdashloo plays the aunt of Soraya M, a woman who is stoned to death after her Islamic sharia-dominated Iranian town declares her an adulterer in trumped up, phony charges meant to appease her cheating, lying husband who wants to dump her without paying alimony or child support.  A great view of the reality of what Islam is really like, how it is anything but a “religion of peace,” and why we need to fight it at all cost.

14)  The Uninvited:  Second best horror-thriller of the year.  You can hardly tell this terrific nail-biter is a low-budget flick.  A young girl is released from a mental hospital, where she’s been held after being accused of accidentally killing her mother in a fire.  She and her sister believe the real killer is actually their father’s gorgeous new wife, Elizabeth Banks.  Can you guess what’s really going on here?  Well done in its eeriness and creepitude.

15)   Paul Blart:  Mall Cop:  Best non-animated family movie of the year.  Kevin James plays Paul Blart, a mall cop who lives at home with his mother and daughter (whom he fathered with an illegal alien who dumped him).  He gets no respect at the mall, but ultimately becomes the hero in this light, funny, relaxing, and entertaining flick.

Best U.S. History Lesson:  “Spirit of ’76“:  Sirius Patriot Channel 144 host Mike Church produced, directed, and even voices several characters in this animated, thoughtful movie.  It’s a great history lesson in the drafting of the Constitution, and how our Founding Fathers tried their best to draft a document that would reserve rights for the states and keep the federal government from the ultimate power and size it now has.  It’s long, but I learned a lot, and so will you.

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39 Responses

Inglourius Baterds was a hoot. Brad Pitt as the redneck trying to pass himself off as an Italian at the movie premiere was hilarious.

tempus fugit on January 1, 2010 at 7:45 pm

IB was the movie of the year for me, followed closely by Taken. I didn’t know Liam was such a badass.

Happy New Year!

El Fishing Musician on January 1, 2010 at 8:08 pm

And the worst the most disgusting and sickest movie that anyone could ever think up:

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Bob S. on January 1, 2010 at 11:03 pm

Debbie your top ten movies list of 2009 has 15 movies? Happy New Year’s!!! :)

CS: Oops. I was in a hurry to get this up b/f the Jewish Sabbath. But now that it’s over and I’m back, I see that I didn’t fix that. Fixed now. DS

CaliforniaScreaming on January 1, 2010 at 11:16 pm

Why wasn’t Star Trek on there? YIKES!!!

MS: I liked “Star Trek” and gave it a great rating (FOUR REAGANS), but compared to the others it didn’t make my top 15. It would have made my top 20. DS

Michael Smith on January 1, 2010 at 11:43 pm

My husband and I saw “Departures” – we were only people in theater, but it was a true gem. Debbie, thanks for mentioning it.

Lee Merrick on January 2, 2010 at 12:21 am

Paul Blart? I saw it last year and just thought it was okay. Anyways Debbie, I wish you a Very Happy New Year!

Matthew on January 2, 2010 at 12:59 am

Yeah… I don’t know how Paul Blart made that list but the rest was good.

Entourage Streams on January 2, 2010 at 4:44 am

Debbie – Thx for all the great movie reviews and commentary this year. Keep up all the good work in 2010. Your many followers here rely on you to cut through the BS to give us the real facts about the local and national news. All the best!

Ed H on January 2, 2010 at 12:09 pm

I stopped going to the movies about 12 years ago, and when I do it’s in support of a conservative actor, director and/or writer. I have seen only two of the 15 mention above because they showed up on Starz or other premium cable channels.

Having study film and television in college it’s very hard for me to sit through any movie because the are always so predictable, Hollywood cookie cutter movies (there are generally about 10 to 15 themes that reused millions of times, depending on the write, producer and Director the film is successful or a bomb. Most become bombs).

I generally know what’s going to happen before a film is done showing the titles. My friends have asked me not to go to the movies with them because I ruin the experience for them by saying what’s going to happen.

The Uninvited was one that surprised me, one of the most predictable film genre is horror. Why I believe it was successful can be attributed to it’s young star, actress Emily Browning. She plays the character Anna as vulnerable until the very end. She can play creepy sociopath as well, maybe its her eyes.

The other film is Paul Blart which was surprisingly very entertaining and certainly tame enough to bring the children too. The language was fairly tame, just a few s**t words were in the film. I didn’t see a bare ass, bare women breast or two horn-toad humping in the back of a car, hotel room, etc.

I was prepared to hate it, since it was released from Adam Sandler Production Company, who I think makes stupid movies now. He’s replaced Pauly Shore in the department.

Anything that you can take your children too is all right in my book.

Eileen on January 2, 2010 at 3:01 pm

I finally saw “Inglorious Basterds” in DVD few days ago. It’s a great movie, totally worth every minute of it. The actor who played the lead SS officer is really fantastic in that role, convincing and downright unnerving.

Bobby's Brain on January 2, 2010 at 5:14 pm

“IB” tops my list also; I wonder what we will see from Tarantino in the next few years. No one clamors for more Woody Allen movies-he’s been coasting for decades-but people want what Tarantino makes, or Christopher Nolan creates.
As much as I enjoy good films, I’m also looking forward to Debbie’s list of stinkers (cinema variety). I’m still looking for the “Roller Boogie” of the new millenium. Stuff so bad it makes life under Obama seem sweet by comparison.

Douglas Q on January 2, 2010 at 6:23 pm

You didn’t list Sandra Bullock’s ‘The Blind Side’. Over the holiday I (grandmother) went to see it with son and wife (pretty strict Christians) and their 2 children, daughter and husband and their 5 children (also very moral parents) ages 78 down to 10, and we ALL loved this movie. Normally I am suspicious of uplift movies, and in fact see very few of any type, but there were a lot of laughs and some tears in this movie, and it left a good feeling amongst us all. Great family film!

JS: Read my review: http://www.debbieschlussel.com/12434/weekend-box-office-skipworthy-new-moon-blind-side-precious/
They couldn’t just show a White family saving this Black kid’s life. Instead, they had to portray her friends and the other kids at the school as racists, and her family as the lone “good White” family. That’s the obligatory liberal backhanded portrayal in all such cases. Plus, the way too cutesy kid brother was soooo annoying, beyond saccharin. DS

Jamie Shafer on January 2, 2010 at 7:08 pm

I liked “An Education” a whole lot.

Ripper on January 2, 2010 at 8:56 pm

Debbie…I’m surprised. Not ONE “chick flick” or romantic comedy? Maybe they’re just too “saccharin” to make your top 15, or did you not find ANY of them worthy?

I know there were a lot of duds in that catagory, but for the number of them that are made I find it curious you would pick “Paul Blart” over “The Proposal” or even “Definitely, Maybe”.

D: The Proposal was awful. Definitely, Maybe was not released in 2009. It’s much older, and I found it annoying. Sorry, but most chick flicks and romantic comedies–especially in 2009–stink. The only decent one was “500 Days of Summer.” But it wasn’t good enough to make my top 15. Top 20, yes. DS

Dave on January 2, 2010 at 8:58 pm

I loved Inglorious Basterds and Taken. With IG, it was a strange thing sitting there. I am laughing while these Nazis are getting scalped. Maybe it was the leadup to what Brad Pitt’s character was telling them. “Now I don’t want my Nazis to….”

Liam Neesen’s character made Jack Bauer look like a girl scout. I wanted to see “The Stoning…” but it has a very limited play in my town. In fact, I don’t think it even got here. Seems to happen to a lot of good movies made on a shoestring.

Still trying to find the Hurt Locker…The Mall Cop did nothing for me but then YMMV ;-)

Bill Brandt on January 2, 2010 at 10:52 pm

Debbie,

I can’t believe you liked “Uninvited” that much.
I saw it in the theatre, then later rented it, having no memory of it.
I think it is one of the worst horror movies ever.

Frank on January 3, 2010 at 9:07 am

Fine selection, Debbie. I was especially pleased by your unorthodox inclusion of Moon (and agree with you that Rockwell deserves best actor award, too). All of your choices have merit, I think (except Mall Cop).

I was disappointed, though, that you didn’t include White Ribbon (which I drove a great distance to see yesterday). I’m no great fan of Haneke and expected nothing more when I entered the theater than one more preachy reprimand against conservative strictness in raising children (something similar to Virgin Suicides, maybe). Instead what I found was the most searing and unsettling critique of German-Nazi twisted cultural fascism I can ever remember. It’s a masterpiece. (And it attacks the Nazi mindset and culture without asking the viewer to get a tingly thrill in watching torture as Tarantino’s recent films do.)

B: I did not see “White Ribbon” and am not familiar with it. But on your recommendation, I will try to see if I can purchase or rent it. DS

Burke on January 3, 2010 at 10:00 am

Debbie, I rented Inglorious Basterds on DVD and my only complaint was the complete distortion to historical facts that Quentin Tarentino used in his plot. If the second half of the movie was turned into a dream sequence I could accept the placing of Hitler, Gobbels and the leadership of the Nazi Party all in a movie theater that blows up and kills them all, but it was played straight and that ruined my appreciation.

The movie Paul Blart – Mall Cop was plain stupid. I get no enjoyment watching stupid people do stupid things.

Defiance and Taken would have been my best picks for top movies. Since I look forward to good SciFi, I also enjoyed Star Trek and Transformers 2, but that is my personal bias.

Nelson on January 3, 2010 at 2:56 pm

The Examiner link posted by Dave Coe is anti-semitic in general and includes a link to the Holocaust denying IHR

SK: I agree, and I have removed it. Thanks, DS

Sultan Knish on January 3, 2010 at 3:51 pm

Should have looked before emailing you on Defiance. Very thought provoking movie. The actors looked nothing like the real brothers though. Naturally. Interesting how they dealt with questions of “politics”. I can see how Israel gravitated towards a socialist model though, given the demands of survival on the run.

JLin on January 4, 2010 at 11:36 am

Sultan Knish. The examiner is a mainstream news outlet it is not anti-semitic. The article just points out the inglorious basterds in propaganda based on leftist lies.

DC: Actually, the Examiner lets pretty much anyone write something and post it on their site. And one of its regular columnists in Denver wrote an openly anti-Semitic column, calling me a Zionist, repeatedly, and lying about what I wrote. There is very little supervision of what goes up on the Examiner site. And, sorry, but IB was not “leftist lies” or propaganda. DS

Dave Coe on January 4, 2010 at 6:41 pm

The article that was posted by Dave Coe was also posted on the website of notorious neonazi David Duke.

The article itself tried to say that Jews bassically the same as Nazis so yes that is anti-semitic. It is realyl disturbing when mainstream outlets become an outlet for anti-semites. It is the same as MSNC hiring Buchanan. Liberal outlets like to hire racist Jew Hating right wingers to make all conservatives look bad.

Allan P. on January 4, 2010 at 7:34 pm

The Examiner is user edited, this particular author misrepresented Sack’s book and derives his material from IHR, which is the Institute for Historical Review, a neo-nazi and anti-semitic organization.

This particular Examiner writer, Robert Stark (unsurprisingly a Ron Paul supporter), is rather obviously obsessed with the Jews as his list of articles testifies, most of which seem to be about the Jews.

One of his articles defends Holocaust denier Frederick Toben. He also promotes left wing nutjobs like indicted Congressman Trafficant and Cynthia McKinney as heroes, mainly because they’re anti-Israel. And there’s the usual stuff about Jewish bankers running the world as part of a globalist conspiracy. And as a fully consistent Ron Paul supporter he wants to legalize marijuana too.

This isn’t about disagreeing with him. The man’s got a bug up his ass when it comes to Jews, and he believes in all the usual crazy things that his circle believes in. If he’s not personally a neo-nazi, he sounds just like them.

Sultan Knish on January 4, 2010 at 7:52 pm

See I think these liberal outlets want to promote right wing anti-semites to make conservatives look bad. I disagree about Traficant being a leftist. He is an old fashioned right-wing Jew hating Xenophobe like Pat Buchanan, Father Coughlin, or Charles Lindbergh.

A: Exactly. Right on target. DS

Allan P. on January 4, 2010 at 7:56 pm

So what if he had Simcox on. Simcox was also on the political cesspool which is an openly white nationalist program. Most of Stark’s articles blame everything on the Jews. Typical Ron Paul/Pat Buchanan supporter. Traficant who Stark considers a hero defended a real Nazi John Demanjul. It pisses me off that all these neonazis are infiltrating the conservative movement. Why does Sean Hannity still have Pat Buchanan on as a regular guest?

Allan P. on January 4, 2010 at 8:12 pm

Ron Paul is certainly a bigot, the newsletters proved that. Much as the mainstream media gave him a pass on that, which they certainly would not have given to any legitimate Republican candidate.

Pat Buchanan has found more good things to say about Hitler, than about Jews. Both men are pretending to play the middle ground between putting on sheets and burning crosses.

Sultan Knish on January 4, 2010 at 8:42 pm

As for Robert Stark, let’s see links to Jeff Rense, Buchanan, Alex Jones, Sobran, Kevin MacDonald and Vdare.

Only one not listed is David Duke. And Kevin MacDonald is just Duke with a degree.

Sultan Knish on January 4, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    Robert Stark’s articles are frequently posted at Rense.com and Whatreallyhappened an anti-Israel 9/11 truth site and have been posted on david duke.

    Allan P. on January 4, 2010 at 8:59 pm

Being conservative and critical of Israel does not automatically make one anti-semitic but it does seem that most conservatives that are not pro-Israel are anti-semites.

Allan P. on January 4, 2010 at 8:56 pm

Ron Paul didn’t write the newsletters which had his name on it and were written in the first person with details of his private life inside them?

And not only didn’t he write them, but he had no idea what was inside them?

Come on, that’s not an excuse any reasonable person can swallow. And the fact that the mainstream media swallowed it, while they crucified Trent Lott for an offhand remark, should tell you all you need to know about Paul.

“It seems when ever there is a conservative who is critical of Israel they automatically get labeled anti-semitic.”

There’s a difference between being critical of Israel and blaming Israel and the Jews for everything that’s wrong with the world. I’m critical of Israel. No one calls me anti-semitic.

Sultan Knish on January 4, 2010 at 8:58 pm

So in essence you’re defending a guy, Robert Stark, who is a fan of far leftists like

Trafficant

Cynthia McKinney

Marcy Winograd

simply because they’re against Israel?

Is that really what you consider a legitimate conservatism to be, backing the likes of McKinney or anyone so long as they’re appropriately anti-Israel?

Sultan Knish on January 4, 2010 at 9:45 pm

Uh huh. Look closer. He’s one of Winograd’s fans on Facebook.

Sultan Knish on January 4, 2010 at 10:20 pm

Or he would support whoever is the most anti-israel regardless of other considerations… which is exactly what he’s doing.

Sultan Knish on January 4, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    Yeah, it seeems anti-semitism brings together the far-left and far-right,

    Allan P. on January 4, 2010 at 11:19 pm

Why does Israel need to dictate America’s entire foreign policy?

DW Lane on January 5, 2010 at 5:56 pm

If Israel did get to dictate America’s entire foreign policy then explain why Iran has been allowed to become the regional threat it is today?Why the U.S. dosen’t expand it’s drilling of oil in Alaska to reduce ,or possibly end, it’s need of middle east oil which indirectly finances terrorism world wide agaisn’t non-muslim(Especially agaisn’t Jews,Americans,And other anglo nationalities)?And why the US has encouraged muslim immigration in great numbers to their soil who would then use there votes in favour of anything that would be agaisn’t Israel?
Why?

gordito on March 7, 2010 at 5:43 pm

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