By 2009, the real world seemed... well, screwed. The last ten years weren't too kind to anyone (except maybe terrorists and investment bankers). Then, when all hope seemed lost, our old pal Quentin Tarantino dropped in and saved the day.
Well, he didn't really save the day. But he released Inglourious Basterds, a movie about some World War II guys who save the day. And, in times like these, it's nice to live in a world (if only for a couple of hours) where the brave and just triumph over the stupid and evil. As I wrote a few months ago, Basterds takes a simple story--good guys try to kill Hitler and end WWII--and tells it expertly. The cinematography and sound design are breathtaking. And Basterds is old-school--no CG (that I noticed, at least), no 3-D. Even watching at home on Blu-ray, the movie is visceral--it grabs you early and doesn't let go until the end credits roll.
Also, for what it's worth, Basterds is the best movie of 2009. From what I've seen so far. And don't forget about all the great characters--well-written and near-perfectly cast.
Honorable Mentions: Kill Bill, Death Proof
It used to bug me that Tarantino split Kill Bill into two movies (the first released in 2003, the second in 2004). But, as Bill is an over-the-top homage to kung fu flicks and spaghetti westerns, why not go over-the-top with the running time, too? And Death Proof (2007) might be flawed, but it features a brilliant Kurt Russell performance and a climatic car chase that must be seen to be believed.
Tomorrow: "This is a fish! You know what? Just shut up."