A Look Back…2009

Posted: 26th February 2012 by ben in movies/film
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  1. Inglourious Basterds
    Best dialogue of all time. Amazing how Quentin can make a simple conversation so tense that you’re on the edge of your seat for nothing but words. I’ll just say this was my favorite movie of the year and possibly my favorite Tarantino movie.
  2. The Fantastic Mr. Fox
    Best animated movie ever, best Wes Anderson movie ever. Most quotable movie ever.
  3. The Road
    Wins the “Only Movie Of The Year To Make Me Cry” Award. My favorite book in quite some time was actually made into an equally as good film. Perfect haunting atmosphere and cinematography. And even the ambiguous ending to the book is expertly executed on film.
  4. Moon
    Is scientific advancement so great that it comes at the expense of humanity? Sam Rockwell deserves a lot of credit here, basically acting by himself and a HAL- like Kevin Spacey robot. An epic film, and an amazing debut by the son of David Bowie. A movie like this only comes once in a blue moon!!1
  5. Watchmen – Ultimate Cut
    The unfilmable graphic novel, taken on by Zach Snyder so no one else would screw it up. The Ultimate Cut consolidates everything left out of the theatrical version, and the movie feels much more seamless and connected because of it. Malin Akerman sucks, but the rest of the casting choices were well done.
  6. Up
    I call for the abolishment of all CGI movies by companies not named Pixar. How can anyone watch garbage like Shrek and Madagascar when Pixar is pumping these gems out? The level of storytelling mixed with quality of animation is off the charts with these movies. I didn’t enjoy Up as much as Wall-E, but it is still an instant classic.
  7. Zombieland
    Best zombie comedy ever made, and Bill Murrays in it. Sucks for you if you haven’t seen it, that’s a huge spoiler.
  8. Big Fan
    I relate to this movie the most out of all movies of 2009. Patton Oswalt gives the performance of the year as a damaged New York Giants fan, spending every waking moment obsessing about the team. Bonus points for having an unexpectedly dark ending featuring everyone’s favorite actor, Michael Rapaport (The War at Home, Boston Public).
  9. Adventureland
    If I was a pretentious blowhard, I would say something like: “Adventureland is a melancholy voyage into the grey zone between adolescence and adulthood, school and career, lust and relationships and frivolity and responsibility.” But I’m not. Although, I did get to see where most of this movie was filmed at Kennywood amusement park in Pittsburgh, that was cool.
  10. The Brothers Bloom
    A neat little heist movie that ends up being much more than the sum of it’s parts. This movie started towards the bottom of my list but the more I thought about it, the more I decided I liked it. Very nuanced performances by the three leads and Rinko Kikuchi does a hilarious job as Bang Bang, the brothers associate. This movie cracks my ten.
  11. Duplicity
    A surprisingly awesome thriller/spy movie. As usual, Clive Owen steals the show and Julia Roberts actually doesn’t suck like she always does. A slick plot and fantastic supporting characters (Paul Giamatti/Tom Wilkinson) helped this movie just barely miss my top ten.
  12. The Hangover
    I’ve been a Galifianakis fan since the days of Late World with Zach, so I’m glad to see this young man finally find his calling in the movie business. Is there anything else to say about The Hangover? Everyone likes this movie. Although I don’t think it holds up as well on repeat viewings.
  13. I Love You Man
    Stands out uniquely in a sea of 2009 comedies. Love the supporting characters like Joe Lo Truglio, Andy Samberg, John Favrea etc. Best comedy from this group of people since Superbad. Also, it came out on my birthday.
  14. State of Play
    Kind of a current All the Presidents Men and probably the last movie to ever be made about the newspaper industry.
  15. Up in the Air
    Great script and performances, however the bleak subject matter given
    the economy and my lack of a job/huge student loan debt/terrible life made me depressed after leaving the theater.
  16. District 9
    Cool story, Neil Blomkamp.
  17. The Informant!
    Not the most exciting story of all time, but really well written and superbly acted by fat Matt Damon. The constant random narration by Damon’s other personality makes the film work even better.
  18. A Perfect Getaway
    I honestly didn’t expect to like this movie but decided to check it out after hearing a glowing podcast review. It probably falls into every cliché the genre has to offer and you can spot the end twist a mile away if you’re clever enough. But it’s just really fun to watch from start to finish and the acting is surprisingly good from Steve Zahn and Timothy Olyphant.
  19. The Hurt Locker
    Easily the best Iraq war movie made to date. However, I don’t think I was as blown away by it as most people were. Jeremy Renner definitely played his part brilliantly and the tension level throughout this film was off the charts. Not much more to say.
  20. Where the Wild Things Are
    This Spike Jonze flick is more a movie about childhood made for adults than a childrens movie. I’m not sure how the little kid version of me would like it and I certainly don’t know what book the script came from, not any I’ve ever read. But there’s something about it that feels magical and stays with you a long time after viewing it. It beat out some big name titles for my 20 spot (Star Trek, Avatar, Sherlock Holmes), mostly because it had more imagination.

Twenty movies this year, I must have been ambitious. Solid list though, I still appreciate everything on here besides maybe The Hurt Locker which seems terribly overrated in hindsight and Up in the Air (ditto, Jason Reitman). Basterds probably doesn’t make the leap over Pulp Fiction like I thought it may have at the time but I’m still pretty sure it’s #2. The Road is still hauntingly good and Duncan Jones sophmore effort (see: 2011 top ten) proves Moon wasn’t just a fluke. Another good list in a solid film year.

A Look Back…2008

Posted: 26th February 2012 by ben in movies/film
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  1. The Dark Knight

    -No other movie really had a chance to top this as my favorite of the year and being a Batman fanboy as a kid didn’t hurt. Walking through parts of the set of Rory’s First Kiss in 2007 in downtown Chicago made it even more memorable for me. Has anything else actually lived up to it’s own hype as well the The Dark Knight did?

  2. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

    -Wins the “Only Movie Of The Year To Make Me Cry” Award. This and my number 3 pick were very close but the emotional punch of Ben Button gives it the edge. I don’t think such a simple idea has ever been executed so well in a movie. An old man grows in reverse, that’s pretty much all it was but it felt like a lot more.

  3. Slumdog Millionaire

    -For me when it comes to watching movies, bigger is better. I stick to Tinseltown and stay away from Regal Interstate Park and their 62 inch screens. But I saw this movie in maybe the tiniest theater in existence, thrown at the end of a hallway at Cedar Lee and crammed with people. But I was so entranced by how upbeat and visually dazzling Slumdog was that it made me feel I was watching it in IMAX. One of the better tellings of the universal underdog story.

  4. Wall-E

    -Honestly the best flat out love story I’ve ever seen done in a movie. You know something is special when you can physically feel the emotions of pain and joy experienced by inanimate objects. Also, some of the most realistic CGI ever created.

  5. Speed Racer

    -Yeah it’s a kids movie and its up for a razzie but it was awesome. I’ve never seen anything so fun and colorful before. By the final race of the movie I almost felt like jumping up and down and pumping my fist in the air while crying tears of joy. Not my problem if it gave you a seizure.

  6. Role Models

    -I’m not sure why I liked this so much, everything about it just comedically clicked with me. It wasn’t mean spirited or overly sexual like most of the raunchy comedies that come out these days and I really enjoyed how the final LAIR battle brought together every character in the movie for a final hurrah.

  7. The Wrestler

    -Never saw much of Mickey Rourke until Sin City so I’m not big on the whole crazy comeback thing but it was a great performance nonetheless. Done just differently enough to keep it from falling into feel good sports movie cliche territory and has a great semi-cliffhanger ending.

  8. Nothing But The Truth

    -One of the better thrillers of recent memory, great all around casting in this story of how far journalistic integrity can take you. Matt Dillon’s prosecutor makes you hate his guts for just doing his job at the same time you’re filled with pity for Beckinsale. Great twist ending I don’t think anyone could see coming.

  9. City of Ember

    -The more I think about this movie the more I like it. A very cool fantasy tale along the lines of 1984. Is there a world outside of the City of Ember? The unique ending answers that question in satisfying fashion. Bill Murray and Tim Robbins bring some big names to the otherwise unknown cast.

  10. Tropic Thunder

    -An all star cast of comedians making fun of the industry they work in by spoofing a war movie. Consistely hilarious and suprisingly intelligent with special mention of Tom Cruises foul mothed film exec Les Grossman. Is it a vanity project for Ben Stiller? Maybe, but who cares.

This is the year I grew up. I started to be able to string complete sentences together into mini reviews and I actually picked good movies. The Dark Knight and Wall-E and probably both in my top twenty or so all time. I might not be as high on Slumdog Millionaire anymore and I could probably do without The Wrestler, but the rest of these are outstanding picks. Good job by me.

A Look Back…2007

Posted: 25th February 2012 by ben in movies/film
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  1. 3:10 to Yuma
  2. Charlie Wilson’s War
  3. Eastern Promises
  4. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
  5. Zodiac
  6. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
  7. American Gangster
  8. Ratatouille
  9. Once
  10. No Country for Old Men

Decent list. About half of these hold up well, I think. Don’t really care for No Country anymore and can’t remember much from a few others. Zodiac, Ratatouille and Asssassination are the standouts for me this year. Once was cute.

A Look Back…2006

Posted: 25th February 2012 by ben in movies/film


  1. Little Miss Sunshine
  2. Babel
  3. Bobby
  4. The Prestige
  5. The Departed
  6. Children of Men
  7. The Fountain
  8. Mission: Impossible 3
  9. Casino Royale
  10. Rocky Balboa

Little Miss Sunshine #1? Really? Children of Men is clearly the gem of this year. I still like the rest of this list, although Bobby seems kind of forgettable at this point. Solid entries from Nolan, Scorsese and Aronofsky on this years list.

A Look Back…2005

Posted: 25th February 2012 by ben in movies/film


  1. Walk the Line
  2. Batman Begins
  3. Crash
  4. Lord of War
  5. King Kong
  6. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
  7. Cinderella Man
  8. War of the Worlds
  9. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  10. Kung Fu Hustle

I hope this was a weak year for movies because this list is embarrassing. Batman Begins and Lord of War might be the only two respectable films on here. Oh wait, this was the Brokeback Mountain year, so yes, terrible year for movies.

A Look Back…2004

Posted: 25th February 2012 by ben in movies/film
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  1. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
  2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  3. The Aviator
  4. Kill Bill Volume 2
  5. The Incredibles
  6. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
  7. Collateral
  8. Hero
  9. The Manchurian Candidate (2004)
  10. The Phantom of the Opera (2004)

I like this list. Eternal Sunshine and Kill Bill are probably in my top 20 or so favorite movies of all time. The Life Aquatic, The Aviator and Collateral all hold up well, The Incredibles is great and Dodgeball is still funny. Could do without those last 3 though.

A Look Back…2003

Posted: 24th February 2012 by ben in movies/film
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  1. X2: X-Men United
  2. Kill Bill volume 1
  3. Big Fish
  4. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
  5. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
  6. Finding Nemo
  7. The Last Samurai
  8. The Missing
  9. The Italian Job
  10. The Matrix Reloaded/Revolutions

I don’t even remember what The Missing is and it was on my top ten this year. Only a few movies here I still think are worthy. X-Men, Kill Bill, LOTR, maybe Finding Nemo. Poor sequels ruined this Pirates movie and I can’t recall a single scene from The Last Samurai. Not my best work.


A Look Back…2002

Posted: 24th February 2012 by ben in movies/film
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  1. Gangs of New York
  2. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  3. Red Dragon
  4. Signs
  5. Narc
  6. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
  7. The Ring
  8. Minority Report
  9. Catch Me If You Can
  10. Austin Powers in Goldmember

Gangs of New York is still my favorite movie of this year. I could probably do without most of these movies now, however. The Ring still scares the shit out of me and the LOTR trilogy is a given. Other than that, poor list. I was dumb in 2002.

Comments Off on A Look Back…Top Ten Movies Through The Years (Intro)


This weekend I’m celebrating a decade of choosing the top ten movies of the year. I’ll be taking a nostalgic look back at my favorite films of each of the last ten years. Starting with my 2002 list shortly, I’m going to end with my top ten for 2011 on Oscar Sunday. About half of these come from Livejournal and the other half from Facebook. None of these picks represent my current, mature opinion on film but how I felt at the time. Observe my generic film related clipart below.

the myth and the legend

Posted: 23rd February 2012 by ben in misc
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The following is my submission to the memory book being made about my Grandmother.

When I was younger I had fairly bad motion sickness, particularly on long car trips. One weekend at Grams we had gone out to dinner. (I’m fairly certain we had eaten at Ponderosa and I had consumed way too much at the buffet.) Driving back to the house after dinner with gram in the car, the combination of overeating and my motion sickness started to take it’s toll. Grandma noticed my discomfort and quickly came up with a game to keep my mind off of how I felt. The goal was to name every animal we saw during the ride home, but backwards. It started slowly with one of us occasionally shouting Drib! or God! But after we added numerous Wocs, Esrsohes, Tibbars, Tacs and even a Raeb, I was completely invested in this new game and couldn’t have felt better. Grandma could fix anything.