Like any good movie franchise, our look at 2009 movies ends as a trilogy. Here are the first and second parts, if you missed them. This final look includes movies with no set release date. Some are looking for a distributor, others a marketing campaign. Some will be released theatrically this year, some might go straight to DVD, and some might be on this list next year.
Notable Actors: Kat Dennings, Lauren Graham, Olivia Thirlby, Jeff Daniels, Tony Hale, Lou Taylor Pucci
Synopsis: A comedy/romance about a reclusive bestselling author of spiritual books who is tracked down for advice by a single mom and a young man just out of rehab.
Why It Made The List: Because two Grouches have crushes on Kat Dennings, one Grouch has a crush on Lauren Graham, one Grouch has a crush on Olivia Thirlby, and we all have man-crushes on Jeff Daniels. We’ve read many synopses of this movie, we’ll be honest, we still don’t really have a clue about it at all. It is apparently sweet, and maybe Lauren Graham and Lou Taylor Pucci fall for each other, despite their eighteen year difference in age. And it used to be called The Dream of the Romans, and it will be showing at Sundance.
The Boat That Rocked
Notable Actors: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Emma Thompson, Gemma Arterton, Kenneth Branagh, Nick Frost, Rhys Irfans
Synopsis: A Richard Curtis ensemble comedy about a 1960s British pirate radio station.
Why It Made The List: See synopsis. Also, see notable actors. Also, see trailer. Also, please release this movie soon.
Notable Actors: Paul Giamatti, Emily Watson, David Straithairn, Lauren Ambrose
Synopsis: Um. Go here, and we dare you to figure it out for yourself.
Why It Made The List: Our brain hurts just thinking about this movie, so naturally we can’t wait. Paul Giamatti playing himself, only he lost his soul, which had been deep frozen, transported, and can be used in trade? That is seriously messed up.
Notable Actors: Kristen Bell, Vince Vaughn, Malin Akerman, Jason Bateman, Jon Favreau, John Michael Higgins, Jean Reno, Kristin Davis, Faizon Love
Synopsis: A couple go to a resort island to work on their marriage, bringing along three other couples who don’t realize they’ll be subjected to therapy sessions as well.
Why It Made The List: Yeah, it sounds like a hokey relationship comedy, but it was scripted by Jon Favreau (who also wrote Swingers, of course) and marks the feature-length directorial debut of Peter Billingsley (who hopefully doesn’t shoot his eye out). It has attractive women who can all do comedy, and reteams Vaughn and Favreau. Plus, we’re absolutely expecting Jean Reno to steal the show.
Notable Actors: Emmy Rossum, Zach Gilford, Rooney Mara, Ana Gasteyer, Sandra Bernhard, Alan Cumming
Synopsis: Three extremely different high schoolers end up spending time together as they try to figure out what it means to transition into being an adult.
Why It Made The List: The Sundance preview claims the film is “sweet and sexy”. Plus, there’s always room for another quality high school drama. We’ll be honest, though, we were first drawn to the movie for its cast. Rooney Mara is Kate Mara’s younger sister. So, yeah. Zach Gilford is Saracen on Friday Night Lights, so we can’t wait to see him play a bad boy rich kid. And we enjoy being blow away by Emmy Rossum’s beauty. Plus we may have listened to her album once or a dozen times.
Notable Actors: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Adam Brody, J.K. Simmons, Amy Sedaris
Synopsis: A horror comedy about a cheerleader who get possessed (demonically speaking) and starts killing her classmates. But her best friend is the only one who realizes what is going on and has to clean up the mess.
Why It Made The List: We can’t tell if this movie is underhyped or overhyped. Maybe it averages out to hyped? The movie has to appeal to just about every twenty-something stereotype there is. Diablo Cody wrote it, so there’s the hipster vote, Megan Fox as a cheerleader takes care of pretty much every guy out there, Amanda Seyfried as a nerd will capture, well, the nerd segment, and Adam Brody gets the OC crowd. We’ve heard mixed reports about the movie, but it certainly has potential.
The Last Station
Notable Actors: James McAvoy, Paul Giamatti, Helen Mirren, Christopher Plummer
Synopsis: A biopic, of sorts, of Leo Tolstoy, focusing on his later years.
Why It Made The List: It sure looks like Oscar bait. And that cast of characters wouldn’t let us down, would they?
Me and Orson Welles
Notable Actors: Claire Danes, Zac Efron, Eddie Marsan
Synopsis: A teenager weasels way into starring in a young Orson Welles’ Broadway production of Julius Caesar. He can’t act, but Welles is too busy philandering to notice, and obviously problems start when a conniving woman with lofty aspirations is thrown into the mix.
Why It Made The List: Richard Linklater directed, although we are worried about its problems finding a buyer. It is supposed to be a interesting look into theater. And Orson Welles was kind of awesome.
Notable Actors: Sam Rockwell
Synopsis: A man has worked on the moon in solitude for the past three years. As the date of his return draws near, strange things start to happen.
Why It Made The List: Some of us are suckers for a good sci-fi/thriller. Details on Moon are relatively sparse, but we’re hoping that the film will strike a good balance (something in the Philip K. Dick mold would be nice, please), and we’re looking forward to seeing Sam Rockwell in the lead.
Notable Actors: Michael Cera
Synopsis: Partially true story of Michael Cera’s relationship with his girlfriend, actress Charlyne Yi.
Why It Made The List: When the Sundance lineup was announced, the internet buzz went crazy for this movie. Mostly because no one had heard anything about it at all before the announcement. So bravo to filmmaker Nicolas Jasenovic and everyone else with the production. Well-played.
Play the Game
Notable Actors: Paul Campbell, Marla Sokoloff, Andy Griffith, Doris Roberts, Liz Sheridan
Synopsis: A ladies’ man teaches his widowed grandfather the tricks of the trade, but do they actually work?
Why It Made The List: We stumbled onto this movie due to our unnatural obsession with Marla Sokoloff romcoms and are now desperate to see it released. Yeah, it is a fairly standard romcom plot, but have you watched that trailer? Andy Griffith going after the ladies in an old folks’ home, not to mention two of the more well-known TV mothers, is just comic gold.
Notable Actors: Jessica Biel, Ray Liotta, Patrick Swayze, Forest Whitaker
Synopsis: In LA, a stripper, ex-con, mortician, and a suicidal ex-priest all happen to meet up and…um…apparently do something that doesn’t involve walking into a bar.
Why It Made The List: We’re fairly certain this movie will be a trainwreck. The mob is involved, as is a transsexual prostitute. That said, there’s no way we’re missing with Ray Liotta AND the Swayze. Oh, and Hollywood? Whoever keeps greenlighting movies where ridiculously attractive women play strippers, keep up the good work.
Notable Actors: Kristen Bell, Justin Long, Meg Ryan, Timothy Hutton
Synopsis: A successful attorney finds out her husband is going to leave her. Naturally, she duct tapes him to the toilet.
Why It Made The List: Cheryl Hines is directing Adrienne Shelly’s final screenplay, so we are rooting for the film. Plus, we like that Kristen Bell and Justin Long are in a movie together.
She’s Out of My League
Notable Actors: Jay Baruchel, Alice Eve
Synopsis: An average guy somehow manages to snag an unbelievably perfect woman, but will the advice he receives on how to keep her from his friends and family erode his confidence and ultimately his relationship?
Why It Made The List: OK, a romcom from the writers of Sex Drive may not be the most inspiring premise in the world, but Jay Baruchel doesn’t make bad movies, right? Also, Alice Eve was quite fantastic (and pretty) in Starter for Ten.
Notable Actors: Matthew Lillard, Nora Zehetner
Synopsis: A socially-awkward guy nearing 30 still lives at home, until his parent threaten to kick him out on his 30th birthday, when it just so happens he meets a girl who might be the girl of his dreams.
Why It Made The List: Premiering at Slamdance 2009, Spooner has quirky indie drama written all over it. We love that Lillard is getting the chance to break free from the Shaggy type character, and remain captivated by Nora Zehetner.
When in Rome
Notable Actors: Kristen Bell, Josh Duhamel, Danny DeVito, Will Arnett, Jon Heder, Alexis Dzenia, Anjelica Huston, Dax Shepard, Don Johnson
Synopsis: An art curator who doesn’t believe in love accidentally swipes a few coins from a Roman fountain, only to find the men who threw those coins in start pursuing her. Aggressively.
Why It Made The List: It is a Disney romcom starring Kristen Bell. How bad could it be? We must say that given her list of suitors above, we completely understand how she wouldn’t believe in love, and are rooting for her to end up with Don Johnson.
And that’s the ball game. Happy New Year!