Well, there are still a couple of movies we haven't seen that stand a chance at cracking this list. Crazy Heart, with Jeff Bridges is getting great reviews. And The Bad Lieutenant, with Nicolas Cage, is getting some impressive buzz, too.
But other than these, there's not much chance of anything else cracking the top ten before Oscar time rolls around, so with that, I'll give you my own 10 favorite movies of 2009, along with encouragement to try and see them if you haven't.
But first, a couple of words about films that didn't make the list. September Issue, the documentary about the creation of a single edition of Vogue magazine is highly recommended, and nearly made the list. Other honorable mentions incliude Julia and Julie (Streep wonderful, slightly pedestrian script), District 9 (great unexpected sci-fi), and Star Trek (saw it twice, always a strong indicator of a good movie.)
Here, without further ado, is the Mercurious list of 2009's best movies:
10. Inglorious Basterds. This movie was expected to be huge, and it almost lived up to the hype. Finely crafted and wickedly funny. Could well have placed higher, but its expectations diminish its placement a bit.
9. Zombieland. Uproariously, incredibly funny. Ferris Buhler meets Night of the Living Dead. Outlandish commentary on American culture, with an incredible cameo appearance in the center of the film.
8. This is It. The documentary about Michael Jackson's farewell tour rehearsals. Unexpectedly moving and fascinating.
7. Paranormal Activity. Low budget, exceedingly effective horror. Not graphic, just tense. This made the list because I so admire the ability of a clever group's ability to do a good movie on $10,000 or $20,000.
6. Food Incorporated. Very good documentary about the American food industry. Will change how you shop for food.
5.Precious. Hard to watch, but bringing this to screen took an act of heroism on the part of many people.
4. 500 Days of Summer. A triumphant statement that a comedy need not be vulgar trash like The Hangover. Delightful, and also realistic.
3. The Informant. A sleeper of a Matt Damon film, that gradually causes you to grow more and more fascinated.
2. Up. Far better than Mr. Fox, I thought. Clever, moving, funny, visually stunning. If it doesn't vie for best picuture, it would be a shame.
1. The Hurt Locker. Almost no one knows about this documentary-style fictional story of Iraq bomb-diffusion experts. Amazing, amazing movie. Not gory, so you can see it without fear. The best movie of the year.