Here is one last, irreverent look at the movies of 2009:

Best offscreen death: In “A Serious Man,” a curve in the road, a left-hand turn signal and a blinking taillight.

Best opening sequence: A French farmer, a Nazi colonel and two glasses of delicious milk in “Inglourious Basterds.”

Best use of split-screen: The “Expectations” vs. “Reality” sequence in “(500) Days of Summer.”

Most harrowing moment: An abusive mother (Mo’Nique) goes nuts in a stairwell in “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire.”

Best explosion: The climactic bang in “Angels and Demons.”

Best special-effects demo reel: The implosion of Los Angeles in Roland Emmerich’s “2012.”

Best kiss: Ellen Page and Landon Pigg’s underwater makeout session in “Whip It”; hold your breath.

Worst kiss: Paul Rudd and Thomas Lennon in “I Love You, Man”; the perils of man-dates.

Best closing shot: Stormy weather approaches in “A Serious Man.”

Best closing line (tie): “This may well be my masterpiece.” – “Inglourious Basterds” / “Nice to meet you; I’m Autumn.” – “(500) Days of Summer.”

Best opening credits: “Watchmen.” Four decades of (revised) American history squeezed into five minutes, set to Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’.”

Best closing credits: “The Hangover.” Did I really just see what I think I saw?

Best rationalization: “Before you know it, you’ll be on to new opportunities,” corporate cleaner George Clooney, hired by companies to inform people they’re being laid off, in “Up in the Air.”

Best fight: A bank loan officer (Alison Lohman) and an old gypsy (Lorna Raver) get it on inside a car in Sam Raimi’s delirious “Drag Me To Hell.” Bring it!

Best shoot-out: Clive Owen fends off wave after wave of bad guys inside the Guggenheim Museum, until the walls look like they’re made of cheese, in “The International.”

Best example of getting to the point: The one-word title of “Fighting.”

Best proof all he ever wanted to do was animate: Director Wes Anderson’s endearing “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” the stop-motion cartoon he always had in him.

Most educational film: The British political satire “In the Loop,” which gives us 8 million new ways to curse, taunt and insult.

Biggest box office underperformer: Kathryn Bigelow’s searing war drama “The Hurt Locker.”

Biggest box office overperformer: “Paul Blart: Mall Cop.”

Most discomfiting use of nudity: A streaker runs amok in a shopping mall in “Observe and Report.”

Best career comeback: After fading somewhat from the public eye, Sandra Bullock returned big time with three movies (“The Proposal,” “All About Steve” and “The Blind Side”), two of them box office smashes.

Most unfairly maligned movie: The widely panned flop “Jennifer’s Body,” which has more than meets the eye.

Worst movie: “The Ugly Truth.”

Longest stretch of sustained suspense: A British film critic, a German movie star and two Basterds play a drinking game with Nazis for 25 nail-biting minutes in “Inglourious Basterds.”

Best hype: Paramount Pictures’ marketing strategy for the homemade hit “Paranormal Activity,” which grossed $107 million.
Worst hype: Sasha Baron Cohen’s disappointing “Bruno.” Where have you gone, Borat?

Best cinematography: The impossibly luminous black-and-white images by cinematographer Mihai Malaimare Jr. in Francis Ford Coppola’s “Tetro;” or, “Rumble Fish Redux.”

Best use of a hackneyed plot twist: The hunter becomes the hunted in “District 9. What’s wrong with his hand?

Best silent sequence: The depiction of a lifelong romance, from beginning to end, in Pixar Animation’s “Up.”

Most rousing use of sports-movie cliches: Drew Barrymore’s roller derby comedy “Whip It” (sports as slumber party).

Dullest use of sports-movie cliches: Clint Eastwood’s snooze-inducing “Invictus” (sports as politics).

Best proof all that numerology nonsense in “Knowing” may not have been so crazy: “9, Nine” and “District 9” were all released in — gulp — 2009.
Most phoned-in performance: Dennis Quaid in “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.” Because celebrities need to pay their mortgages, too.

Best justification to go through the trouble of seeing James Cameron’s “Avatar” in IMAX 3D: The brief but seriously awesome shots of mano-a-mano combat between the 10-foot-tall Na’vi aliens and human marines (reportedly the most expensive and difficult shots in the entire movie). More, please.

Best remake: “Star Trek.”

Worst remake: “Fame.”

Most redundant remake: All the unnecessary

Best sequel: “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” Bring on those deathly hallows!

Worst sequel (tie): “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” and “The Pink Panther 2.”

Most bloated sequel: “Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen.”

Most superfluous sequel: “Terminator Salvation.”

Best-kept plot secret: The big surprise in the evil-seed thriller “Orphan.” Didn’t see that one coming.

Best dunce: The slack-jawed male gigolo in Mike Judge’s “Extract” (played by Dustin Milligan) – a mouth-breather extraordinaire.
Best jump-scare: Death by exploding cellphone in “Law Abiding Citizen.”

Best example of a movie trailer giving away the whole show: Judd Apatow’s “Funny People.” You want to know why your movie flopped? Because people saw it for free the first time around, when you crammed the entire thing into three minutes.

Most controversial use of high-def cameras: Michael Mann’s love-it or hate-it “Public Enemies,” recreating the past using toys from the future.

Most effective use of high-def cameras: Steven Soderbergh’s “The Girlfriend Experience.”

Best musical number: “Best Morning Ever.” In “(500) Days of Summer,” a young man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) walks to work the day after spending the night for the first time with his new girlfriend (Zooey Deschanel) while the city around him celebrates him with a Hall & Oates song.

Best use of a music video within a film: Gael Garcia Bernal’s Spanish-language cover of Cheap Trick’s “I Want You to Want Me” in “Rudo y Cursi.”

Strangest third act: Richard Kelly’s supposedly mainstream “The Box,” unmooring itself from all reality in its final half-hour and wafting away on a cloud of wonderful weirdness.

Best example of a movie radically improved by extra footage on the DVD: Zack Snyder’s director’s cut of “Watchmen,” instantly rendering the theatrical cut obsolete.

Best one-two punch: Heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson, coming clean in James Toback’s documentary “Tyson” and air-drumming to “In the Air Tonight” in “The Hangover.”

Best surprise cameo: You-know-who in “Zombieland.”

2010 movie we are most anticipating: Christopher Nolan’s “Inception.”


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