The 11 Best Movies You Didn’t See in 2009

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 11:00 am

This post deals with the 11 best movies you didn’t see in 2009. Since most major release movies suck anyway, this list is meant to focus on those that received limited releases or were otherwise kept from the view of the movie going public. Some are currently available from online movie rental sites such as Blockbuster Online and Netflix, while others will be released in the coming months. With the Oscars getting closer and closer, you’ll want to be sure and watch the films on this list, as many will be getting their names called on the night of the awards ceremony. If you want to read even more about them, I’ve included a link to movie reviews for many of the listed films.

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The Hurt Locker – A tense journey with a bomb disposal unit stationed in Iraq. Roger Ebert has called it the second-best film of the last decade, and A.O. Scott of The New York Times regards it as the best film made about the war in Iraq. Destined for a Best Picture nomination, also expect recognition for director Kathryn Bigelow and star Jeremy Renner.

Precious – The anguishing story of Claireece “Precious” Jones, an obese, illiterate teen living in the projects and constantly subjected to physical and emotional abuse by her parents. As Precious tries to rise above her misery, life constantly conspires to lower her even deeper into despair. Critic Owen Gleiberman referred to the film as “a potent and moving experience.”

Antichrist – A controversial film from director Lars von Trier, Antichrist deals with a couple (Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg) trying to come to terms with the death of their child. Filled with sexual violence and bizarre imagery, it’s been called both “offensively misogynistic” and “truly exceptional.” See it and judge for yourself.

The Last Station – This German film tells of the final year in the life of Russian author Leo Tolstoy. Both Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren have received critical accolades for their performances. Also starring James McAvoy and Paul Giamatti.

The Messenger – Will Montgomery (Ben Foster), a soldier returning home from Iraq, is assigned to the military’s Casualty Notification service and teamed up with another soldier played by Woody Harrelson. As the two men deliver devastating news to family members of fallen soldiers, Will finds himself attracted to the widow of one of the recently deceased. Harrelson has been singled out for his performance in the film. Also starring Samantha Morton and Jena Malone.

A Serious Man – In this latest film from Joel and Ethan Coen, a Jewish family man is beset by various problems. Trying to make sense of his life, he consults various holy men with mixed results. Mixing dark comedy with drama, the film has been called “disquieting” and “haunting” by Time movie critic Richard Corliss.

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Up in the Air – George Clooney plays a corporate downsizer, which means someone who specializes in firing people. As he travels across the country trying to rack up 10 million frequent flyer miles, he becomes involved in different ways with a fellow traveler (Vera Farmiga) and a young woman who threatens his anonymous lifestyle (Anna Kendrick). In an article for Variety, Todd McCarthy called the film “ a slickly engaging piece of lightweight existentialism.”

Moon – This Sam Rockwell film deserves to be on any list of the 11 best movies you didn’t see in 2009. It’s essentially a one-man show, with Rockwell playing a worker who resides alone on the Moon and is rapidly approaching the end of his term of service. The movie takes a twist when he realizes that someone else is present, and the rest of the film deals with the repercussions of his shocking discovery. Kevin Spacey provides the voice of his computerized companion. The film’s dialogue has been called “sharp and individualistic” by The Hollywood Reporter.

Crazy Heart – A downtrodden country singer (Jeff Bridges) tries to get his life in order after falling for a much younger female journalist (Maggie Gyllenhaal). The formula has been seen many times before, but critics agree that Bridges’ performance is what sets this film apart.

Tetro – Francis Ford Coppola’s latest film stars Vincent Gallo and Alden Ehrenreich as two reunited brothers. A deeply personal work, Coppola won over critics by finding his “creative nirvana,” according to Todd McCarthy of Variety.

A Single Man – Based on the novel by Christopher Isherwood, A Single Man follows a gay college professor (Colin Firth) who plans on taking his life following the loss of his longtime partner. As the moment of truth draws closer, several chance encounters force him to reexamine his plan. A.V. Club critic Nathan Rabin called it “a film of tremendous style.”

Now that you’ve had a chance to peruse this list of the 11 best movies you didn’t see in 2009, go ahead and take a look at some of my other posts:

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 19th, 2010 at 11:00 am and is filed under Good Movies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

4 Responses to “The 11 Best Movies You Didn’t See in 2009”

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January 20, 2010


Ha, saw 2/11, okay that’s pretty pathetic. But my go-to movie partner saw 7/11, so that makes up for my poor numbers.


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