Before the film geeks among you point out that the photo above is from a movie released in 2005, please note the asterisk. See, our deal is that we didn’t really get out to the theater much this year—blame Microkhan Jr. and the economic decline, both of which conspired to keep us at home much more than we would have liked. So, alas, the bulk of our movie-watching this year was done in the living room, which means we’re ill-equipped to comment on 2009’s celluloid bounty.
But we did make our way through a bunch of classics, overlooked gems, and flicks we just plain missed during their theatrical runs. Our list, then, is a collection of the best movies that flared across our headquarters’ LCD screen this year, thanks to the magic of Netflix. In no particular order:
Pusher 3: I’m the Angel of Death By far our favorite entry in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Pusher trilogy, due to a truly terrific performance by leading man Zlatko Buric. No need to have watched the two preceding films in order to enjoy this one. One caveat, though—it gets ridiculously grisly in the last 15 minutes.
Stray Dog Our first Kurosawa crime flick, but hopefully not our last. The baseball scene alone is worth the price of admission.
Tyson Having grown up smack-dab in the middle of Iron Mike’s reign, we couldn’t resist James Toback’s shamelessly one-sided documentary about our generation’s most feared pugilist. Hearing the ex-champ describe his sexual preferences is something we’re unlikely to soon forget.
Little Dieter Needs to Fly We caught this on the tail end of a Werner Herzog binge. We still have mixed feelings about Dengler—it’s never quite clear why he wanted to return to the scene of his darkest hour. Was it therapeutic for him to recreate his forced march through the Laotian jungle?
Waltz with Bashir Hallucinogenic and haunting, with a particularly memorable turn by the composite character who made a fortune selling falafel in Amsterdam.
Rachel Getting Married We’re a tough audience for tearjerkers, but this one works. Anne Hathaway gets all the accolades here, but the real revelation is Tunde Adebimpe. Go ahead, Tunde, quit your day job.
Chop Shop If there was an Oscar for “Most Alternately Creepy and Endearing Brother-Sister Relationship,” this would win hands-down.
There Will Be Blood Sorry, took us a while to catch up with this one. An absolute beast.
Things We Re-watched and Loved Again Das Boot, Apocalypto, Bridge on the River Kwai, Fitzcarraldo, GoodFellas, Paths of Glory
Utter Nonsense Redbelt, Cruising, Smart People, Broken Flowers
Please leave your own picks and pans in comments. Microkhan Jr. is still a couple months shy of two, so we reckon 2010 will again involve an considerable amount of Netflixing. We could thus use some recs.