' ' Cinema Romantico: The 5th Annual Prigge's: Top 5 Movies Of 2009

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The 5th Annual Prigge's: Top 5 Movies Of 2009

So it has come to pass. The dreaded "best of" list. Woe is me. I find fewer details more irksome than taking inventory and formulating rankings based purely on personal preference. I loathe to make lists. My time is far too valuable. But ever since the gods decreed from the top of Mt. Olympus that film critics must make one at the conclusion of each and every year I find myself each and every year being dragged, kicking, punching, screaming, through the dark, disgusting mud to....

Whoops! Sorry about that, loyal readers! I had asked Karl Lozenge, the film critic at the Rock Island Pioneer Dispatch, to guest blog the intro to my annual Top 5 Movies list and this is what happened. I would have cut him off sooner but I had to take a few seconds to roll my eyes. My bad. Anyway....

The best way I can think to describe my film experiences for this past year is via the word Distorted. It was all distorted. The films which I anticipated the most never seemed to deliver the goods (at least to me) and films which I was not anticipating as much, or, in some cases, at all, made a mark. I saw a brilliant film set during a bleak Chicago Christmas on a warm Chicago afternoon in May. I saw a brilliant film about a Dominican baseball player that made my beloved home state seem like a foreign, desolate, frightening place. The two best times I had at a movie theater all year happened in genres for which I have never cared whatsoever (animation & zombie). I saw a brilliant film on DVD from the vantage point of my couch on a Sunday afternoon when it was, like, minus 14 degrees outside and so I didn't want to trek to the theater.

And technically the best film I saw all year was not a 2009 release. It was "Quiet City", a film from (when else?) 2007. I seriously considered cheating and making it my #1 movie of the year but refrained. It made my decade-end list, after all.

Also, I'm much more definite about my list this year than I was last year. I really, really love these movies.

1. The Merry Gentleman. My "Myth of Fingerprints" for the past decade. A small, somber, spiritual film that may not mean as much to anyone else in the whole world as it does to me.

2. Fantastic Mr. Fox. How often do you see a movie poster emblazoned with a quote from a critic you've never heard of (and may not actually exist) that says: "It's a thrill ride!" Well, "Fantastic Mr. Fox" is Cinema Romantico's definition of a thrill ride. Fast paced and often howlingly funny it is an absolute joy to both listen to and watch - every frame is a treat. I knew that eventually one day I'd find an animated movie I loved. Who knew it would come via Wes Anderson?

3. Sugar. Best baseball movie ever made? Oh, well, why the hell not? Even if it's less a "baseball movie" than a movie about a young man who just so happens to play baseball finding his way in a foreign world. A rich, patient character study with the best screenplay (by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck) of the year which means, of course, the Academy will neglect to nominate it.

4. Zombieland. I was reminded of the words The Beach Boys once sang: "And we'll have fun, fun, fun 'til daddy takes the t-bird away." Except at the showing I saw of "Zombieland" daddy never did take the t-bird away.

5. Goodbye Solo. Storytelling at its most graceful which is to say its storytelling at its most simple which is to say its storytelling at its most riveting.


Danny King said...

Really, really enjoyed Sugar, although I still like Boden and Fleck's Half Nelson a tad better, mostly because of Ryan Gosling's brilliant lead performance.

What I like so much about their films is the lack of compromise. They don't pull any punches. They tell their stories in a realistic way.

Castor said...

You really liked The Merry Gentlemen, don't you?!

Nick Prigge said...

I really don't think it's a stretch to say I like "The Merry Gentleman" more than any other human on this planet.