7. Funny People
While not as strong as his first two creations, Judd Apatow’s Funny People was a bold attempt in the dramedy genre. Close to 2 1/2 hours, the movie was a roller coaster ride of emotions. With the sensitive issue of death as a main component to the plot, many times the serious tone overshadowed the comedy element. But even though the movie struggled to find a balance, actors Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Eric Bana, and Leslie Mann displayed great chemistry together.
6. The Hangover
The sleeper hit of the summer starred a three-some of funny actors who were under the radar: Ed Helms, Bradley Cooper, and Zach Galifianakis. This buddy-mystery-roadtrip-party-movie had it all. I enjoyed the over-the-top situations thoroughly. Galifianakis stole the show from the other actors even though everyone was hilarious.
5. District 9
A message film hidden behind a sci-fi/action about aliens living in the ghetto of District 9 being mistreated by the humans. There is a lot to take from this movie. Whether it’s the blinding parallels to apartheid or just the sheer excitement of the suspense and action, this film left you with a lingering feeling. To me, I left the theater with satisfaction that originality still exists and how a summer film can challenge the audience to think. Although the film was a bit uneven, it was still effective and very well-made.
4. The Hurt Locker
This was an extremely intense and suspenseful film that excelled in its simple story structure. The film is about a group of three men who diffuse bombs in Iraq. I haven’t seen this perspective of the war yet and therefore that was refreshing. The theme of “War is a drug” was apparent as we watched the hero, William James, degenerate from a human to a war machine. There were a lot of things done right in this war-film. Very well done.
Pixar comes through with another home run with their most recent animated feature. This was the most emotionally invested film from the studio’s collection to date, which might play into how this ranks among my favorites. It’s truly brilliant how Pixar is able to create films that appeal to both children and adults at the same time. Up is no different as the wild colors, adorable creatures, and humorous characters entertained the kids. But for adults, the film told a tale of an elderly man coping with the death of his wife and the much-needed father figure of a little Asian-American boy. Aww.
2. Inglourious Basterds
Quentin Tarantino makes “cool” movies. So what did I expect when viewing a fictional World War II film about a group of Jewish Americans using guerrilla tactics with one mission only: to kill Nazis? I expected blood, action, and awesomeness. But Tarantino delivered so much more than that. Led by Christoph Waltz as Nazi Col. Hans Landa, his performance alone is worth watching Inglourious Basterds. Of course, the Basterds were nothing short of kick-ass, led by Brad Pitt and Eli Roth. This is one of those films meant for pure pleasure and entertainment, and Tarantino nailed it.
1. (500) Days of Summer
Just like my favorite films of last summer, I had high expectations that were exceeded by this movie. Joseph Gordon Levitt and Zooey Deschanel shine in this non-love story, romantic-comedy. You can really feel the independent approach in this film from the direction and the raw emotions expressed by the characters. And let me just add, this movie is very funny. On top of that, this movie is very heart-breaking (that’s not a spoiler). Overall, this was my favorite movie of the summer and is one I know I’ll watch over and over again for years to come.