Well I, for one, am finally glad 2010 is around the corner.  Writing “2009” on all my checks is just getting so boring.  Wait.  What?  It is already May?!  That would explain a lot.  Anyway, even though there’s still plenty more I’d like to see, I’m drawing the line on 2009 movies.  The other Grouches think it is too ambitious, but I’m hoping to recap all 143 movies I saw with 2009 release dates (in a timely manner).  Let’s get started with #143-#134:

143. Powder Blue

My DVD player shows how much time has elapsed in the movie I’m watching.  I try to avoid glancing at it, but a good rule of thumb is that if I do sneak a peek, the movie has become kinda boring.  When I first looked at the timer while watching Powder Blue, less than 15 minutes had elapsed.  Just an awful, terrible, nonsensical film that Patrick Swayze, Forest Whitaker, Ray Liotta, Patrick Swayze, one scene of Kris Kristofferson and Jessica Biel’s naked breasts could not even come close to saving.  Ladies and gentlemen, your worst film of 2009!

142. Fame

I saw this film while flying out to Vegas, so I couldn’t really escape it.  I haven’t seen the original, but I shudder to think it is anything like this film at all.  The movie had no plot that I could distinguish.  Just none at all.  I don’t think there was any conflict, I don’t think there was any resolution.  There was some singing and dancing.  And Kelsey Grammer pretending to be angry or something.  Let me put it this way.  This movie is entirely about high schoolers, and I don’t even think it is deserving of the effort to work in a Brian joke.

141. The Girl from Monaco

Saw this French film with my parents.  Every description I read referred to the film as a romantic comedy.  Which is pretty baffling, considering the movie isn’t romantic and sure as heck isn’t funny.  Like any French film, there’s random sex, ennui, and lofty discussions about life.  Also, a schlubby dude getting with a fantastically hot chick.  A surprising amount of French films I see contain a schlubby dude getting with a fantastically hot chick.  But otherwise there’s just no coherent story.  I’m hoping the upcoming Dinner for Schmucks helps proves this point, but I think that based on what I’ve seen, I prefer (good) American absurdity to the French kind.   Also, I think my parents love me a little less for subjecting them to this movie.

140. The International

Ever wonder what an espionage film minus action or any actual spying would look like?  Just watch The International!  Granted, the shootout in the art gallery had some really cool shots.  But the rest of the film was a muddled mess of random corporate spy movie buzz words, and absolutely no reason to care about any of it.  Perhaps fittingly, the bad guy in the movie is: the banking industry.

139. The Box

What a horrible disappointment!  As a Twilight Zone junkie, I was really looking forward to the film, which was based on a Richard Matheson short story.  But Richard Kelly is quite clearly out of his mind.  As I told my brother, this film is one time where studio interference would have been welcome.  You probably remember the basic premise: A couple get a box with a button.  If they press the button, they get a million dollars and someone they don’t know dies.  That takes up maybe twenty minutes of screen time, the rest is some incredibly bizarre supernatural surreal gobbledygook that is never adequately explained.  Probably because there is no rational explanation for the insanity that occurs.  Pretty much no decision about this movie (e.g. casting, setting, direction) was correct.  Well, I suppose Frank Langella is kinda creepy.  Oh, and Britta from Community shows up.  So there’s that.

138. X-Men Origins: Wolverine

So bad that the presence of will.i.am may not even rank in the top ten things wrong with the film.  I haven’t really been too big on a lot of the superhero comic book films because I think they spend too much time working on references to the comics and not enough crafting an interesting story.  Clearly the case here as we see plenty of cool characters, but for no apparent purpose.  But all those characters means the supporting cast doesn’t get very much screen time.  Meaning they totally waste Taylor Kitsch, which is obviously a huge sin.  I also think Lynn Collins was miscast, which originally going to be a knock on her, but a movie we’ll get to a little later has revised my opinion somewhat.  Honestly, it is movies like this one, where bombast doesn’t translate into entertainment that make me appreciate Michael Bay that much more.

137. The Code

You’ll be forgiven if you haven’t heard of this direct to DVD film starring Antonio Banderas, Radha Mitchell, and this year’s Oscar nominee Morgan Freeman (I think it also may have been marketed as Thick as Thieves, if that helps).  Ready to play a little game?  Think of a crime thriller cliché.  Boom, so did The Code!  Twists you can spot before the movie even starts!  Russians as the bad guys!  An old veteran on one last job!  A young gun looking to make it big!  A female awkwardly shoehorned into the plot!  Things not being what they seem!  I stopped caring about the movie long before I didn’t care about the twist ending.

136. Crossing Over

The immigration pastiche no one needed.  About as subtle as a hammer.  Someone needs to tell writers, producers, and directors that showing a few (barely) interconnected stories doesn’t automatically make a movie interesting.  I blame Babel and Crash for making people think these kind of films about Important Issues are good.  Because so far, they aren’t.  Really, Crash: Race::Crossing Over:Immigration.   Does nothing to disprove my theory that Jim Sturgess only appears in crappy films.  Also, if you are somehow more in love with Alice Eve than I am (which is doubtful) there’s one scene in particular that might make this movie worth watching, though I’m too much of a gentleman to describe it.  I suppose Ray Liotta as a sleazy creep wasn’t the most difficult of casting decisions.

135. The Informant!

As you no doubt recall, I was much lower on this film than my fellow Grouches.  The humor didn’t really resonate with me at all.  Again, perhaps knowing the story ahead of time hurt, but I’d argue that speaks poorly of the film, because I know the general plot of plenty of movies before I see them.  To be honest, I think seeing the one in theaters hurt my impression.  Because sitting there wondering why people around you are uproariously laughing is a pretty miserable place to be.

134. Goodbye Solo

How indie does the old white guy befriends younger not white guy shtick.  I know I repeat it a lot, and I know it makes me the scourge of English teachers the world over, but I love plot.  For me, it is the most important element of a book or movie.  So sometimes the “art” gets lost on me.  Perhaps that’s what’s happening here, since the film was warmly regarded by most critics.  And it does a pretty good job portraying two characters and their changing relationship.  But I need a reason to care.  Doesn’t have to big or broad.  I need a film to justify why I’m watching it, and Goodbye Solo didn’t deliver.

Coming up next time: two Oscar nominees, soccer, and Richard Nixon