Schubert. On Film.

DAN’S TOP TEN OF 2009

Posted in best of 2009 by schubertonfilm on February 16, 2010

It took me a while to get down to the business of this. Finding even ten movies that you really loved in today’s age is a tough task. I like a lot of a movies. But I rarely love a movie. These ten movies I loved:

10.  We Live In Public (Ondi Timoner)

Examining the effect of the Internet on modern society, Dig! director Ondi Timoner strikes gold again, documenting the exploits of Internet entrepreneur Josh Harris from the “fun” explosion of the Internet in the late 90’s to the sad state it’s in today. Technology addiction is a particularly fascinating subject for me and this film hit me right where it hurts. The more technologically “in touch” we are, the less the connection means. We Live In Public explains that point in shocking fashion and your eyes will not leave the screen for a moment.

9.  Big Fan (Robert D. Siegel)

Another performance that proves that, more often than not, comedic actors have more range than so-called  “dramatic” ones. Patton Oswalt is this movie. Kevin Corrigan, Michael Rapaport and the rest of the supporting cast are great, but Oswalt owns the film. Showing the depth of a veteran dramatic actor, Oswalt emotes with the best of them, pulling you into the sad mind of New York Giants mega-fan Paul Aufiero and simultaneously creating the most interesting silver screen loner since Travis Bickle turned on his cab light in 1976.

8.  The Informant! (Steven Soderbergh)

This movie is a great time. It isn’t overly heavy, it’s neither low budget or high budget, it’s just right. It’s the kind of mid-sized comedy Hollywood used to make until Dane Cook and Ashton Kutcher started butt-fucking the multiplexes. And again, it’s a one-man show: Matt Damon. He is pitch-perfect in the role of serial liar Mark Whitacre. I always knew Damon could be funny, but I never thought he could pull off a role like this. Another smart casting trick Soderbergh used was surrounding Damon with comedic actors in serious roles: Joel McHale, Tom Wilson, Scott Adsit, Tony Hale, Patton Oswalt, Dick Smothers. Scorsese used this idea in Casino as well with Don Rickles, Kevin Pollak and Smothers. Like I mentioned in the review for Big Fan, comedians have a lot to offer and it’s a shame that so few directors put them to good use.

7.  A Single Man (Tom Ford)


Is style really such a naughty word? It gets a bad rap when people say “style over substance”. I believe there is such a thing as style triumphing over substance and there’s a difference. When the style is so damn good and the visuals are as beautifully composed and appealing as they are in 1960’s-set A Single Man, it can make you forgive any shortcomings in its source material. But that’s not to say the screenplay for A Single Man is poor because it’s actually quite witty, even when it comes off as cold and distant. But it’s the look of the film that gets you and the amazing performance by Colin Firth. He won’t get it, but in my opinion, he deserves that Best Actor Oscar. And to think this is Tom Ford’s first film. Unbelievable.

6.  Drag Me To Hell (Sam Raimi)

A throwback to his classic style, Raimi brings it all back home with Drag Me To Hell. Seeing this movie was a relief. I both love and hate Sam Raimi; he can be an infuriating figure. He’ll give you campy brilliance with the Evil Dead trilogy and bring you a thoughtful, carefully-made moralistic drama like A Simple Plan. But then the bad Raimi can turn around and give you Spider-Man movies and For The Love of the Game. This time out Raimi hits an absolute home run. It’s a fun movie with no bullshit and no emotions. It tells its ghost story from A-Z and doesn’t let up from the first frame, thankfully using minimal CGI and, instead, installing the visual trickery that most horror movies utilized until computers took over the world. Thank you Sam Raimi for restoring my faith in you and, may I say, thanks in advance for not making Spider-Man 4.

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