My 2009 List of Lists

I’ve been avoid­ing mak­ing any year-end “Best of 2009” list and have been wait­ing for the flood of other people’s lists to pass me by, but now, goaded by TSS co-founder and now-just-occa­sional con­trib­utor Jay Kerr, I’ve decided to draw atten­tion to some of the best films I saw in 2009 in my own unique way. No simple Top Ten for me. No way. I’m far too afraid of get­ting the order wrong, and besides, I’m not a pro­fes­sional film critic. I don’t see most of the major releases. In fact, if I don’t want to see a cer­tain film, I don’t see it. And if I see it and don’t feel like review­ing it, I don’t review it. So I’m not really qual­i­fied to come up with a com­pre­hens­ive list. Instead, enjoy a whole bunch of non-ranked lists from my filmgo­ing exper­i­ences of 2009. Films marked with an * actu­ally appeared on my 2008 list as well.

P.S. I also get con­fused as to which films are actu­ally eli­gible for these lists. Some films I saw in 2009 haven’t been released the­at­ric­ally yet, while oth­ers that were released the­at­ric­ally I actu­ally saw in 2008 or before. And some­times things that come out in the US have dif­fer­ent release dates in Canada, or vice versa. It makes my head hurt.

Favourite Documentary Films of 2009

Favourites from TIFF 2009

Favourite Non-Festival Films from 2009

Favourite Films from 2008 That Are Appearing on a Lot of 2009 Lists

Favourite Undistributed Films of 2009 (no known dis­tri­bu­tion in US or Canada)

Perhaps this next list is most import­ant, because it tells you that I’m far from qual­i­fied to judge 2009’s best films when I haven’t seen many which are being con­sidered for awards and are on other crit­ics’ lists.

Biggest Omissions in My Filmgoing in 2009

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2 Responses to My 2009 List of Lists

  1. Bob Turnbull says:

    Hey James! Happy New Year sir!

    Good lists…Yeah, I’m sim­ilar to you in my approach — I have no inten­tion of see­ing everything that is awards worthy. There’s just too much good stuff from past years I’ve missed and other hid­den gems that I try to only see films that I expect I will enjoy (I’m nowhere near 100% accur­ate on that front by any means) or that I think will chal­lenge me in some way. Otherwise, it just feels like home­work and I don’t want that.

    I’ve seen 4 of your list of “haven’t seen yet” — “Inglourious Basterds” is great fun if you can get past the icky-ness that is Eli Roth. “Up In The Air” is 3/4 excel­lent and final quarter dis­ap­point­ing, but still worth it. “The Informant!” was a dis­ap­point­ment at TIFF, but I feel like I missed some of the rhythms of the film and would like to see it again (though that may just be the Soderbergh apo­lo­gist in me…B-) ). “Public Enemies” was some­what inert.

    Mr. Fox is one of my faves of the year (my own year lists should be going up today or tomor­row — I put up my dec­ade ones up over the week­end). And I was sur­prised by how much I really liked (and seem to be grow­ing fonder of as time passes) 500 Days Of Summer. I expec­ted some­thing too self-con­sciously quirky, but got some­thing very dif­fer­ent. I just saw “Lorna’s Silence” over the hol­i­days (noth­ing says Christmas like illegal Albanian refugees, eh?) and I thought it was pretty ter­rific. I liked it a greal deal more than The Dardennes’ more well known “L’Enfant”.

    And you just reminded me of how much I enjoyed “Big River Man”. Insanity cap­tured on film.

    As for cat­egor­iz­ing things by years, I have avoided any attempts to be accur­ate — so I just use IMDB as my guide. I have one single place to look and I stay away from the vaguer­ies of release sched­ules. Of course, then I miss the chance to plug a film from 2007 that gets released in 2009, but so be it.

    Hope to catch up with you soon…

  2. Jay Kerr says:

    Finally! Thanks for post­ing this. I’m always look­ing for recom­mend­a­tions and yours are some of the best!

    I wasn’t sure if you liked Bad Lieutenant or not. Crazy movie.

    I really have to see Food Inc. A lot of people have been rav­ing about it. I should have seen Fantastic Mr. Fox instead of Up In The Air for a second time (this time with Lissa). Daniel saw FMF and loved it.

    Thanks for the list. I may have to bor­row a few screen­ers.

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