Friday, January 1, 2010

Top Ten Underappreciated Movies of 2009

Every year around this time a lot of smaller films get attention from the media because they are part of the Oscar Buzz. It’s the all-powerful buzz that boosts ticket and DVD sales. Unfortunately this golden treatment doesn’t happen to a lot of films that really deserve it. That’s what I’m here for! I’m going to shine a light on ten films this year that deserve more attention by the general public. Starting with…


One of the best romantic movies of the year is the unconventional story of a man with Asperser’s Syndrome and the woman he meets at his apartment complex. This trailer played at my art house theatre for two months straight, but I haven’t met anyone who actually went to go see it. The two leads (Hugh Dancy and Rose Byrne) are truly incredible and the script always plays fair, which is difficult with this premise.

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call, New Orleans

Remember way back when to the days when Nicolas Cage was a respectable actor? That day may finally be coming back if he keeps picking roles like this. In the latest Werner Herzog crazyfest, Cage plays an incredibly immoral police lieutenant who has to solve the murder of an entire family. It’s more of a comedy than a mystery because the memorable scenes include Cage staring down hallucinatory iguanas. It’s so much fun.

The Box

On this site, you can find my full review of The Box but I need to bring it up again because this movie is HATED. There are some stats saying this was one of the worst audience received movies of the year. Are we all in crazy town? This is a very fun thriller that actually equipped an element of mystery to it. I think people didn’t like the answers to the mystery, but the whole movie was such a unique experience that I enjoyed every second of it.

Drag Me to Hell

This is the widest released movie of the year, but it still wasn’t seen enough in my opinion. Its PG-13 rating put off a lot of the horror buffs and a lot of the mainstream public didn’t recognize that it was as much of a comedy as it was a horror movie. Sam Raimi has a very unique sense of humor and it hasn’t been on this much display since Army of Darkness. Check this out so you too can join the chorus about how poorly this movie was advertised.

Easy Virtue

This is the most flawed movie on my list, but there are so many redeemable parts to it. This is based off the Noel Coward play that was made into a movie once before by Alfred Hitchcock during his British years. It’s about a son of a prestigious British family returning home suddenly with his new American wife, played by Jessica Biel. The pacing is all over the place at times, but the performances by Biel and Colin Firth are so great that it makes up for it.


For a while now I’ve been against the mumblecore movement. I had seen a few of the films and really didn’t like them. Then Humpday came along. This is the story about two straight men who decide to make a gay porno staring themselves to enter into an art festival. First of all, it’s remarkable that this premise actually works. Second of all, this premise allows for one of the most heartfelt and occasionally suspenseful movies of the year. This is the kind of movie that is bringing more credit back to the independent movie scene.

Shall We Kiss?

What a loveably strange movie this is. It’s reminiscent of the French New Wave as it has a creative and unique storytelling device at its center. After a lovely date, a woman refuses to kiss a man out of fear of what would happen next. The woman tells the story of her two friends who, after one kiss, had their romantic lives thrown into turmoil. The movie is thought provoking, sexy, and constantly entertaining.

Sita Sings the Blues

There are some movies that make your face hurt because you are smiling too powerfully. A lot of things are happening at once in this movie. The director tells her own story of her break-up in parallel with the Ramayana, a classic Indian story about a princess who has to fend on her own during troubling times. In addition to this we also have three Indian narrators who are constantly bickering about how the story goes. Also the princess breaks into 1920s American show tunes as escapism from her situation. Now here’s the amazing bit: It all fits together brilliantly.

Trick r Treat

This is a horror movie for those who love horror movies. Director Michael Dougherty obviously knows all of the typical horror clichés for he puts his own twist on them in this Halloween anthology. Each story is filled with obvious adoration for the genre and that brings fresh life into what would be tired stories. He knows when we’re expecting the jump-out scares and he plays with those expectations. This is how you make a horror film.

World’s Greatest Dad

The last film in my underappreciated list is not one for everybody. This is a dark comedy. Robin Williams plays a lousy poet teacher who has the worst son in the world. Truly any natural sympathy you have towards youth shall evaporate when you see how this kid behaves. About halfway through, the film has a dramatic plot turn that has a lot of ethical questions attached to it. Yet the film never loses its tone or emotion center and with this film that’s rather impressive.

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