Better late than never...
Being away over New Year and then coming back to a massive backlog of emails and then making the Lord of the Rings RPG announcement has meant that I’ve been rather busy of late. I was originally intending to post my “Best of...2009” upon my return to the UK, but better late than never I guess.
I’ve run my ‘Top xx’ of the year since 2004 on Live Journal, and this year it will also feed into my Facebook account for friends there to see too. It’s been an interesting look back at the year of film and music for me and something I like checking previous years out to remind me of possibly forgotten gems.
2009 was a strange one because it was my first year not living in London. This caused some rebalancing of things. Gigs went way, way down whilst cinema trips and DVD viewing went pretty much through the roof. I saw less live bands during 2009 than in pretty much any previous year since my mid-teens, hopefully 2010 will be better in that regard...we’ll see...
Anyway, enough chatter and on to my “Tops XX’s of 2009”!
Top 20 Films of 2009
20. Sunshine Cleaning
19. New Moon
17. Dorian Gray
14. District 9
13. Terminator: Salvation
12. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans
10. (500) Days of Summer
9. Avatar 3D
8. Star Trek
7. Inglorious Basterds
6. Let The Right One In
5. The Time Traveller’s Wife
4. Red Cliff
3. The Watchmen
1. Slumdog Millionaire
2009 saw a massive increase in the number of films I saw on the “Big Screen”. 2008 saw a low of 21 trips (30 in 2007, 25 in 2006, 34 in 2005 and 35 in 2004). 2009 ended with me having been to the cinema 42 times during the course of the year. Apart from having more time on my hands there were a lot of films that I wanted to see that came out in 2009. Indeed many of the films in the 20’s and even low 30’s could have gotten into some of my previous years lists. On the whole I was very lucky with the films I saw, although 2009 also saw some really terrible flicks too.
I think some people will be surprised at some of the films in my Top 20 (I know Terminator: Salvation and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans weren’t to everyone’s tastes for instance) and also be surprised at the lack of some others that I saw that seemed to go down well with friends (Sherlock Holmes was at #26 for instance).
Whereas choosing the order of my top six films of the year was very tricky, choosing the worst four of the year wasn’t hard at all. Transformers 2 probably rates my biggest disappointment of the year as I really loved the first film, but even that was eclipsed by three other films that I liked even less.
Worst films of 2009 in descending order have to be:
4. Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen
3. Blood: The Last Vampire
2. Observe and Report
1. The Spirit
I saw 42 films at the cinema this year (21 up from 2008!). Out of these trips I actually saw Star Trek and The Time Traveller’s Wife twice each. The above list is only taken from films I actually saw on the 'Big Screen'.
Top 6 Live Bands of 2009
4. Kommand + Kontrol
1. The Eden House
2009 was a terrible year for live music for me. I thought 2008 was bad when I only managed to see 26 live acts (which was, in turn down from 34 in 2007 and 88 in 2006). 2009 saw me only see 19 live acts (and I saw one of those – Maleficent – twice!).
On the plus side, I’d never seen any of the bands I saw in 2009 before – so they were all brand new experiences for me. On the downside one of the reasons I’ve cut this section to a Top 6 this year is because I can really only say that these five are the ones I still remember and thought were good. I think The Eden House, Innerpartysystem and (possibly) Imprint would get into most of my previous years Top 10’s – with Eden House certainly pushing for a top 4 spot as they were very good live (and I hope to see them again this year).
I’m not even sure I can list my “Worst Bands of 2009” to be honest. Several of them I can’t remember properly – just a vague recollection that they were ‘ok’. I remember being disappointed by The Men They Couldn’t Hang and also saw a fairly poor covers band called Brimstone. Not sure which way round I’d put them though...
Top 10 Books of 2009
10. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
9. Nekropolis by Tim Waggoner
8. The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks
7. God Emperor of Didcot by Toby Frost
6. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
5. Dresden Files: Turn Coat by Jim Butcher
4. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
3. New Moon by Stephanie Meyer
2. Space Captain Smith by Toby Frost
1. Century Rain by Alistair Reynolds
I just managed to beat my 2008 book tally by one. Which is good, if I beat my 2009 tally by one in 2010 I’ll be pleased and certainly heading in the right direction. Also, for the first time in a very long time, every book I read last year was something I’d never read before. I often reread old favourites (which is a bit silly considering how many books I have that I’ve never read once!) so getting through a whole batch of new material was great. Plus 90% of the books I read last year were from authors I’d not tried prior to 2009.
I’m sure some people will start foaming having seen that several of my Top 10 reads are from Twilight author Stephenie Meyer – but I found the series strangely addictive and did enjoy reading all four books. My favourite series of the year is Toby Frost’s “Space Captain Smith” which is a brilliant read and fantastic setting. I was also very pleased to have read the utterly brilliant “Century Rain” by Alastair Reynolds and will certainly be hunting down some more of his books in the coming months.
Top 10 DVDs of 2009
9. 30 Days of Night
8. Dead Snow
7. Marley & Me
6. Monsters Vs Aliens
2. American Psycho
(Any film that I had previously seen on DVD or at the cinema was not eligible for the Top 10)
I, like in 2008, did incredibly well on the DVD front last year. I actually watched one less DVD in 2009 – but blame that on the number of TV series I watched seasons of on DVD as opposed to single films. I can’t believe that it’s taken me so long to see Schindlers List, American Psycho or Almost Famous! I’d not actually even heard of Almost Famous until I watched it – which amazes me as it is such a good film! What the above list doesn’t represent are all the films I’d previously seen on dvd or at the cinema before – which I disqualify from the list. The Top 4 films on this list would certainly hold their own and fight for top ten entries but I have a feeling that the others would end up slipping down the charts if I opened the floodgates. I still enjoyed them all though.
Anyway, that's my "Best Of's" from 2009. I wonder what the next 12 months will bring?
2008 Top 10 - http://angusabranson.livejournal.com/924087.html
2007 Top 15 - http://angusabranson.livejournal.com/804012.html
2006 Top 15 - http://angusabranson.livejournal.com/665806.html
2005 Top 15 - http://angusabranson.livejournal.com/447306.html
2004 Top 10 - http://angusabranson.livejournal.com/186008.html