5 Movies That Mattered

The biggest year on record for domestic Box Office receipts was also one of the most forgettable years in memory for the movies. 2009 may have seen us forking over more money than ever to go to the movies, but it also shortchanged us with films that often felt altogether unwatchable. (2012 anyone?) But from amidst the muck and mire of underwhelming, overproduced Hollywood stinkers, came a handful of truly good films to remind us that not everyone behind a camera assumes their audience has the intelligence of a rutabaga. And so, since everyone has a best of list this time of year,  The Pictorial has selected five of what we feel to be the few … the proud … the movies that mattered.

The Hurt Locker

The Hurt Locker © Summit Entertainment 2008

Why it mattered: Because it’s rare that press-fed hyperbole like “Riveting,” “Gut-Wrenching,” and “Unforgettable” are accurate. Kathryn Bigelow’s war epic is all of that and more.


Precious © 2009 Lee Daniels Entertainment

Why it mattered: Because heartbreak has never been more heartening. And because Mo’Nique gave one the year’s most extraordinary perforamances.

The White Ribbon

The White Ribbon © Sony Pictures Classics, 2009

Why it mattered: Because evil has rarely been quite so beautifully explored, so thoughtfully weighed, so skillfully rendered as in Michael Haneke’s dark study of a small German town.

An Education

An Education © BBC Films, 2009

Why it mattered: Because Carey Mulligan’s Jenny was a reminder of just what a bravura performance can do—in this case turning an old worn-out shoe of a story into something fresh and funny and new.

500 Days of Summer

500 Days of Summer © Fox Searchlight, 2009

Why it mattered: Because it’s a love letter to Los Angeles that doesn’t involve Hollywood, and because it’s a movie about love that is in no way a love story.

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Film writer and social media marketing professional. 2019 Social Ambassador for the 10th Annual TCM Classic Film Festival. Previously: social media associate at Warner Archive and script writer for Turner Classic Movies. Working on a Montgomery Clift biography due late 2020.

One thought on “5 Movies That Mattered

  1. 500 Days of Summer was such a nice treat this year and has instantly become one of my favorite films featuring Los Angeles. I have not heard of The White Ribbon but I need to look that one up – sounds great! I agree that we were definitely shortchanged in good films this year, but one of the few good films I would include in my list this year would be the stop-motion film, The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Great story, great talent, excellent soundtrack, artistically done – too bad nobody went to see it 😦

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