2009 was a great year to go to the movies. It was a year of blockbuster blowouts, side-splitting comedies, heart-wrenching dramas, and supernatural domination. Although the year was filled with numerous movies well worth the price of a seat in the theater, the following is a list of five of the must-see movies that 2009 had to offer.
Arguably the best film of the year, Inglourious Basterds is the crowning jewel in Quentin Tarantino’s long resume of film successes. It is the story of an elite WWII fighting unit composed of Jewish-Americans – led by Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) – who pose as civilians in Germany, in order to ambush and kill Nazis. This dramatic, humorous, and equally violent film will make you grip the edge of your seat in nervous anticipation, and then make you want to stand and cheer.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Released worldwide on July 15, the sixth installment of the Harry Potter franchise is the most successful yet. It is the highest-grossing film of 2009, and made the list of the top ten highest-grossing films of all time.
Half-Blood Prince leads you deeper into the world of Harry Potter, and exposes you to more of the darkness of the wizarding world since Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters returned to power. As the Death Eaters begin to attack the muggle world, Harry returns to Hogwarts for his sixth year, which is slated to be his most difficult yet. In addition to a hefty class load, Harry must contend with a special assignment from his mentor Professor Dumbledore, as well as a budding romance this his best friend’s sister.
Arriving to theaters in June 2009, The Hangover is seen by many as the little comedy that could. Backed by positive word-of-mouth and critical acclaim, this film went on to become the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time, edging out Beverly Hills Cop for the honor.
Starring Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, and Justin Bartha, The Hangover follows the four men who travel to Las Vegas for Bartha’s character’s bachelor party. When the group awakes the next morning, no one can remember what happened the night before, or why the groom is missing. The trio embarks on a hilarious adventure to retrace their steps and find the groom before his wedding the next day.
Said to be the movie that will change the film industry forever, Avatar ushered in huge box office sales to make the Christmas weekend the highest grossing film weekend in history. In addition to the stunning visuals and creative storyline, one could argue that you should see this film just to support director James Cameron’s fourteen years of dedication to the project. Avatar had the highest weekend opening for a non-franchise, non-sequel film, and the largest second weekend box office sales in history.
Set in the 22nd century, Avatar takes place on a fictional moon called Pandora, which is similar to Earth, but lies in a different planetary system. Pandora is home to a human-like race of blue natives called the Na’vi. The Na’vi are opposed to, and threatened by a veritable colonization of their planet for a valuable mineral that the humans desire.
In an attempt to gain intelligence on the Na’vi race, the human security forces enlist the help of former marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) to become a human-Na’vi hybrid avatar. Jake becomes conflicted as he begins to enjoy his avatar life more than his human one, and falls in love with a native Na’vi.
As the highest-grossing zombie film of all time, Zombieland takes the viewer on a road trip through a quite literal hell as the main characters (Tallahassee, Columbus, Wichita, and Little Rock) try to find a zombie free location in post-apocalyptic America.
Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) guides the group, with the help of his rules for survival, on a journey to find Pacific Playland amusement park, which is said to be free of the undead. What transpires is a comedy-packed zombie killing spree full of wit, pop culture references, and even a little post-apocalyptic love.
Other noteworthy films from the year 2009 include Julie & Julia, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, Adventureland, The Hurt Locker, The Stoning of Soraya M., Whip It, Where the Wild Things Are, and Brothers, to name only a few.