Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thankful in 09

In honor of Thanksgiving I've come to realize that whats great about this holiday is the opportunity it grants us to stop and realize all the little, subtle things we should be thankful for that we often overlook. Here is a list of cinematic delights that I'm thankful for in 2009. Warning VERY LIGHT SPOILERS to follow.

The dance number in (500) Days of Summer
I'm all for graphic, intimate sex in film but sometimes a clever cut can tell you everything you need to know about how the previous evening went. The number to Hall & Oates "You Make My Dreams Come True" is a highlight even if you thought the movie was too twee. Get Jospeh Gordon Levitt in a musical pronto.

Sy Ableman in A Serious Man
There are a number of Oscar worthy performances in this thought provoking Coen brothers flick. But anyone who saw the film instantly knows we're "talking about character" (to quote another Coen character) when you mention Sy Abelman as expertly played by Fred Melamed. Truly worthy of standing alongside Jesus Quintata. Big Dan Teague and Sydeny Musburger in the pantheon of great Coen antagonists.

The subtlety in Adventureland
It'd be so easy to make this into a dumb sex comedy with laughable losers, wry slackers and hiss-able jocks. Greg Mottola's script and direction never let it happen.

Paul Schneider's wardrobe in Bright Star
In this sturdy, period romance the moments of levity are few and far between. But every time Charles Armitage Brown makes an appearance you know something delightful is about to happen. If you ever wondered what it would be like if an un-mauled Joker let himself go in the time of romantic poets, look no farther.

That crazy vaginal canal/tunnel in Coraline
When Coraline is birthed into another world she is really birthed into another world.

The Godzilla fight in Crank 2: High Voltage
At this point the film had surpassed the original and was just now beating its predecessors corpse with sticks.

Cat food in District 9
Or as the Prawns call it...maise.

The goat in Drag Me to Hell
When I first saw that goat be led into the seance I turned to my man-date for the film and said excitedly "Oh man they are definitely going to do some crazy shit to that goat." I was not disappointed AT ALL!

The fun time for grown-ups attitude in Duplicity
Not all movies need to be marketed to thirteen year old boys. Sometimes a movie can just be cool and slick and tricky and fun. Duplicity is all this and more.

David Koechner in Extract
Has there ever been a better annoying neighbor in the history of cinema? No seriously, I'm asking, I may want to do a list.

Raaaaaaaandy in Funny People
Need I say more.

The Pit in G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra
Your inner ten year-old mind is blown. They've got a shooting range and an undersea training area, and a launch pad and a command center and a martial arts training area and an armory and....

The contents of the trunk in The Hurt Locker
Since the preview ruined one of the film's most arm-rest squeezing surprising, I was grateful for this reveal and the craziness that ensues.


Greg Levine as Hailey's Date in I Love You, Man
This young actor won audience hearts because, to quote the director's commentary, "He looked like a guy who would be on a blind date."

The English Language in In the Loop
For being used as a brutal weapon, to deceive, to inspire and to amuse. Also for gems like; "You know, if I could, I'd punch you into paralysis!" and "It's difficult, difficult lemon difficult"

Colonel Hans Landa's pipe in Inglourious Basterds
Its brilliant, intimidating, outrageous and silly all at once. Just like the movie.

Adam Brody in Jennifer's Body
Really wish they'd beefed up this part because he just slays with every line.

Danny McBride and Jorma Tacone's chemistry in Land of the Lost
When McBride says "Come on Chakka, lets go work on our business model" you laugh because he really means it.

Amelia Earheartt's "keester" in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
The rest of the performance is the only worthwhile thing in the film (obviously) , but the movie's best special effect is au natural.

That you believe in the new crew of the Enterprise in Star Trek
The fact that Star Trek succeeds based more on cast chemistry and cinematic alchemy then the script is a major miracle that I am grateful for. I only ask that they build something a bit meatier and sturdier in the next outing.

The "What Do Tiger's Dream of" song in The Hangover
Sure "We're the three best friends" got featured in the commercial ad nauseum but Ed Helms takes a low point for the characters in the film and turns it into an audience high with his delightful voice.

The score of the Informant!

The fact that Russell is kind of a pain in the ass in Up
Just like a real kid, you still like him anyway.

Discovering that Larry David is an ideal Woody Allen surrogate in Whatever Works
Two great tastes that go surprisingly well together. Though the part was originally written for Zero Mostel, David plays Allen's greatest crank in some time like a pro.

The fort in Where the Wild Things Are
It's going to be a place where only the things you want to happen, would happen. Also its going to have lasers that cut off the heads of people you don't like.

Twinkies in Zombieland
Because he hates sno-balls. Its the coconut. Its not the flavor, its the consistency.

That's my list. What are the little things in movies you're thankful for in movies from 2009? Tell me in the comments.

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