This guy sure was. A solid three star film all the way, but nothing particularly special as far as I'm concerned.
On topic, it's probably a little immature of me to make this list now, being one of the forum's resident (Am I considered a regular if I spontaneously leave for week-long periods at random?) art-house geeks and having only seen 27 films made this year, almost all of them blockbusters. Oh, and I haven't seen Inglorious Basterds yet. Sorry fellas. Anyway, in super-reverse order, all 27 films I saw in 2009 from 2009. Here goes...
27. Terminator Salvation (3/10) - Okay, yeah, Transformers is technically a worse movie, but I saw that coming. Salvation's horribly stagnant mediocrity didn't, and it was like a slap to the face. I don't think I felt more betrayed walking out of a movie theater than I did after this stinker.
26. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (3/10) - So damn boring it hurt a little.
25. Public Enemies (4/10) - I believe I made a post in Last Movie about why I disliked this. Short version: Every formal element was at battle with each other for what kind of movie this should be, and it showed. Except during the woods shootout and Dillinger's death, both of which were the only things keeping this from being the worst of 09 for this guy.
24. X-Men Origins: Wolverine (5/10) - The very definition of average. I never really disliked it, but I wasn't really interested either. Until putting this list together I'd completely forgot about it, whatever that tells you.
23. Where the Wild Things Are (5/10) - Hey Jonze and Eggers, whine some more why don't you!
22. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (5/10) - Removed all I liked from the book and replaced it with tepid romance. Note to the film crew: Washed out cinematography does not equal pathos.
21. Humpday (5/10) - Some excellent painfully-awkward-in-a-funny-way sequences doesn't change the fact that most of the time Humpday takes its great premise into the wrong direction; pretentious mumble-core dialogue instead of actually interesting cinema. And pretentious it most definitely was; anyone who couldn't plainly see how stupid the leads were being from the second the plot got into motion is a goddamn idiot, and that goes for everyone involved with this one. Talk about giving the art house a bad name.
The Good (Runner's up Edition):
20. District 9 (6/10) - The finale took it down a notch; the first half is nice though.
19. Paranormal Activity (6/10) - A genuinely creepy finale can't make me forgive the utterly insignificant first hour.
18. The Men Who Stare at Goats (6/10) - I had the constant feeling that this could be funnier, but it never went for broke. It still was pretty funny, and a good time waster, but I can't help but fee likel it could've been great but played it safe. Oh well.
17. Duplicity (7/10) - Enjoyable but slight; once it shows its hands there's not much left to it. But that first viewing is a great time.
16. 2012 (7/10) - A Big, stupid action epic like only Emmerich could manage. I had a great time with this one, and was probably the only serious film person alive to not find the characters or dialogue insipid.
15. Star Trek (7/10) - Hell of a fun time, but lay off the lens flares next time JJ.
14. The Princess and the Frog (7/10) - Even if most of the running length could've been better used, it was still fun to watch and listen to. Still, the animation sure was purty, Facilier was the best villain of the year, and his death was the best single sequence. There's definitely something to that.
13. Knowing (7/10) - The doom is palpable, even during the silly ending.
12. Zombieland (7/10) - A great time with nothing holding it back. Bring on the sequel!
11. Bruno (7/10) - I never saw Borat, so this schtick is still new (and hilarious) to me.
The Good (Top 10 Edition):
10. Drag Me to Hell (7/10) - One of the only horror comedies to be a horror movie with comedic elements in it and not the other way around. Raimi's images are appropriately freaky in a way that makes squirm, laugh and go "ewwww!" instead of shriek. The 3rd best theater experience I had this year. (No. 2 would be 6, No. 1 is 5)
9. Sherlock Holmes (8/10) - Ritchie finally found the sweet spot for making his ADD directing effective, Downey made a great Holmes, the dialogue pops and the over-exaggerated grimy period detail is just perfect. Script problems? Bah, who needs a script anyway.
8. Watchmen (8/10) - Yeah, it's not perfect, but no other blockbuster this year aimed for such dazzling heights and occasionally managed to reach them.
7. Up (8/10) - Holy hell what an opening. The rest made mostly good on it, and was fun to boot.
6. Crank: High Voltage (8/10) - Compared to the first a worse thriller but a better comedy. It all evens out in the end; shocking and way over the top funny at the same time.
5. Avatar (As an Event: 10/10 / As a Movie: 6/10 / Average: 8/10) - I think my ratings sum it up. I dread seeing this on a small screen, without the benefit of booming speakers, a giant screen, and great 3D to suck you into Cameron's universe.
4. Thirst (8/10) - The beginning is a great romantic vampire awakening, and the end the best horror movie cum black comedy in years. The middle had problems switching between the two, but it all worked out in the end. This is the one movie from '09 that I think could end up looking better with a second watch, when I know what's coming.
3. The Informant! (8/10) - Maybe not the funniest comedy of the year, but certainly the most intelligent. Damon gives the best performance of the year, and Soderbergh is clearly having a good time putting this thing together. The voice-over was just genius.
2. Coraline (9/10) - Screw Avatar, this was 3D's coming out party. The most atmospheric movie of the year, combined with great animation and the before-mentioned use of 3D as a way to expand worlds, not just as a gimmick. Selick's masterpiece.
1. The Girlfriend Experience (9/10) - This was truly Soderbergh's year; TGE was by far the most thematically dense movie of the year, if not the decade, and one of the only 00 movies to make good on finding a purely cinematic way to tell its story; no other medium could've produced this crazy ball of experimentation and post-modernism. Not to mention the fact that the ending is actually kind of touching on the ol' emotions, something Soderbergh has never been good at, and you have one of the year's only two straight up masterpieces that I've seen.
That took a lot longer than I thought it would... I'm definitely skipping comments next year. Props to anyone who reads this entire post. That thing's a beast.