Here are five more great movie experiences I had in 2009, with all of the movies mentioned now available on DVD. By the way, I hope you don't mind that I'm not doing official "top ten" lists here in the taproom, choosing instead to throw at you lots of enjoyable books and movies from the past year as they occur to me. It's more fun that way, isn't it?
The Soloist Amid playing bigtime screen characters Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes, Robert Downey Jr. took on a memorable, normal-sized role: newspaper columnist Steve Lopez (a real-life figure), who makes it his mission to give a hand to a genius-level homeless man effectively played by Jamie Foxx. The film is intelligently understated, shunning big movie moments in favor of quiet truths and shaded exchanges.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine A derivative, second-tier superhero adventure, but a damn good derivative, second-tier superhero adventure. I mean, how can you not love a movie that says the real cause of the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster was two Marvel Comics characters battling it out on top of one of the plant's cooling towers?
The Hangover Smart laughs, dumb laughs, decent story, lots of cleverness. Get this if you haven't seen it yet.
Whatever Works Woody Allen's latest showcases Larry David, Evan Rachel Wood, and Patricia Clarkson in a fun little story about a naive girl who tries to make it in the big city, and the crazy family members who one by one follow her there. Funny and touching.
Shrink The always interesting Kevin Spacey stars as a Hollywood psychiatrist with more emotional challenges than his patients. Good drama laced with dark comedy came and went in theaters, but it's worth seeking out on DVD.
One or two more lists to come...