Critics Choose Must-Sees and Worsts of 2009
Some of RT's distinguished critic friends share their choices with us.
RT is a great place to connect with other movie lovers, read up on the latest industry news, and stay updated on the hottest upcoming releases, but at the core of it all, what makes RT unique is our focus on the critics. With that in mind, we reached out to some of our friends and asked them to offer us their choices for the one film moviegoers must absolutely see this year, as well as the one film everyone should avoid. Some of the choices reflect what a lot of the awards nominations thus far have demonstrated, and it would seem that there is a relatively clear leader for "Worst Film of 2009." But we won't spoil any of the fun for you; read on to find out what some of RT's distinguished friends picked as the best and worst films of the year!
Claudia Puig, USA Today
Must-See: The Hurt Locker
The Hurt Locker is at once a profound psychological portrait and a spectacular action film which captures the complexities of the Iraq War with visceral suspense as well as explosive battle sequences and powerful performances. By taking a close look at a trio of courageous but also very human soldiers and exploring the line between bravery and bravado, it brings the conflict to life in a way that no previous movie about Iraq has managed to do.
Worst Film: All About Steve
All About Steve is a bonafide disaster movie: unbearably dreadful, off-puttingly creepy and cringingly unfunny. Sandra Bullock is supremely irritating as she flails about as a love-starved stalker blurting out terrible dialogue. The movie's attempted satire of the easiest target around -- sensationalized TV news -- is humor-free, toothless and tasteless. Only the worst kind of movie could position deaf children falling into a sinkhole as a laugh riot.
Alonso Duralde, IFC.com
Must-See: Fantastic Mr. Fox
Watching director Wes Anderson create an intricate and immaculately designed little world for this charming stop-motion animated feature, it no doubt occurred to many of us that we were witnessing an artist finding his perfect medium. What came off as airless and fussy in movies like The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou or The Darjeeling Limited suddenly became a perfect fit once every single thing on screen could be precisely art-directed by its auteur.
Worst Film: All About Steve
It was a terrible year for rom-coms -- Bride Wars, The Ugly Truth, Post-Grad, and so on -- but this one featured such pathologically unlikable characters and a total divorce from reality-based behavior as we know it. I'm happy that Sandra Bullock is enjoying a career renaissance for the popular but utterly conventional The Proposal and The Blind Side, but let this dud be a reminder to her that what might look good on paper can be thoroughly revolting by the time it hits the big screen.
Pete Hammond, Boxoffice Magazine
Must-See: Up in the Air
Dazzling dialogue delivered with precision timing and style by George Clooney, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick, sharp direction by Jason Reitman and a timely theme all add up to a film not easily defined as comedy or drama. It's simply a movie that for generations to come will serve as a primer on the way we were circa 2009. Who says they they don't make movies for grownups anymore?
Worst Film: Miss March
In a year when there were some really good comedies, there were also a large number that nearly killed the genre including Bride Wars, I Love You Beth Cooper, New In Town, I Hate Valentine's Day and Post Grad, but none was more excruciating to sit through than Miss March, an insipid waste of time about a guy who wakes up from a four year coma to discover his once demure girlfriend is now a hot Playboy centerfold. Watching it made me wish I was in a coma.