As I wrote in my Best Movies list, when selecting my favorite films of 2009, I could not keep myself to just ten. Here, then, are the rest of my choices.
11. Where the Wild Things Are Spike Jonze brings Maurice Sendak’s wondrous world to life — with its rage, longing, and even depression.
12. The Hurt Locker Kathryn Bigelow’s adrenaline-soaked movie evokes both the charge and the terrifying disorientation of a war in which death can come from any direction at any time from anyone.
13. Goodbye, Solo Rahmin Bahrani is creating a new humanist genre in which the texture of real life is magically heightened.
14. Bright Star Jane Campion’s best. Romantic poetry has rarely been depicted with such rough immediacy and unwieldy passion.
15. Sita Sings the Blues Still awaiting a proper release (though available on DVD), Nina Paley’s whacked-out feminist animated parable combines three different visual styles, one a modern story of the filmmaker herself getting dumped by the love of her life. The heart, though, is the blues — as the kidnapped and then rejected princess, Sita, delivers gorgeous twenties-style jazz vocals (by Annette Henshaw). [UPDATE: Fabulous news! Sita Sings the Blues opens on December 25 at the expanded IFC Center in the Village. Go!]
16. Gentlemen Broncos Oh, if only we still had midnight movies, real ones ... With a few songs, Jared Hess’s surreal sci-fi sex comedy could have been the next Rocky Horror Picture Show. Even without songs, it’s crazier and better. And Fox Searchlight pulled it from release after sundry prudes and feminist Miss Grundys tsk-tsked. People who have a tough time saying a bad word about Jason Reitman think that Hess needs to get real.
AND THEN THERE WAS ...
Worst: The Lovely Bones
Most Overrated (three-way tie): Precious, An Education, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
Most Crazy Boring: The Limits of Control
Least Lovable: New York, I Love You