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The best movies of 2009 that you don't know about yet

Posted Thursday, January 15, 2009 at 6:47 PM Central

by John Couture

It's the start of another year and that means one thing. Time to make random picks about which movies are going to be great box office hits (coming soon) and which movies are those sleeper movies that aren't getting the big buzz now, but that you will be talking about come this time next year.

Think Tropic Thunder and Pineapple Express for 2008. And surprisingly, we did pick both of these movies for our 2008 list which we compiled around this time last year. Actually, we didn't do that bad of a job when you consider that picking sleeper hits is at best a hit or miss thing.

That's not to say we were perfect. I don't think anyone went to see City of Ember and we couldn't help it when He's Just Not That Into You got moved into 2009, but I digress.

So, without further ado, here is the list that Tim and I compiled. These are movies that you might not be that familiar with now, but you should be and you soon will be. Well, that is if we know what we're talking about.


The first movie on our list opens next month and the fact that it's not readily recognizable is really a shame. In fact, you've probably heard about it, but it's been shelved so long, some people might even forget that George Lucas made a prequel trilogy. OK, that will never happen. But, seeing Kristen Bell in the golden Princess Leia bikini should be enough to insure that this movie will be on movie-goers lips for a long time. Feb. 6.

Sunshine Cleaning

This quirky black comedy is set around a company that specializes in cleaning up crime scenes. Where CSI ends, Sunshine Cleaning starts. With Alan Arkin in the cast and a cute kid hanging around, the comparisons to Little Miss Sunshine will be more than just the one word that their titles share. Mar. 13.

Observe and Report

What is it with movies about Mall Cops this year? Well, we think this one will be the mall cop movie to see in 2009. And no, we're not just saying that because of our man-crush on Seth Rogen. But seriously, the first rule of sleeper picks is to not talk about sleeper picks. The second rule is to choose each and every movie that stars Seth Rogen. Until he bombs, we will continue to live by this rule. Apr. 10.


Can Sacha Baron Cohen capture lightning in a bottle twice? I know that pretty much no one believes that the awkward foreigner in America routine can work again, but I'm not one to bet on the lack of taste by American film audiences. If Borat can make money, I'm sure a gay fashionista in a mesh shirt can make a few pennies. May 15.

Year One

They say that comedy is primal, prehistoric even and this movie will put that theory to the test. Here, Jack Black and Michael Cera play a couple of lazy hunter and gatherers who are banished from their tribe due to their lethargy. Their banishment starts an epic journey through the ancient world where they meet a plethora of well-placed cameos. It's Bill and Ted for a new generation, but without all that history stuff. June 19.

Funny People

See Rule #2 about picking sleepers above. Besides the requisite appearance from Seth Rogen, this movie is packed wall-to-wall with top notch talent and some are saying that this might be the best Adam Sandler movie since the good old days. Oh, did we mention that golden boy Judd Apatow is writing and directing it? We didn't? Well, suffice it to say, this comedy about stand-up comics should find a nice little niche in the usual big action sequences of Summer. July 31.

Inglourious Basterds

It's hard to believe that a Quentin Tarantino movie wouldn't have a much higher profile, but this project has been shrouded in secrecy and then all of a sudden QT announced out of the blue that it will be out in late 2009. The cast is eclectic at best with show-stopper Brad Pitt at the top along with funnyman Mike Myers and David Krumholtz? It should be an interesting movie, heck, it might even be a great movie. Aug. 21.


Nothing says animated blockbuster like the words post-apocalyptic wasteland. This isn't a children's tale, but it does have all the makings of a classic sci-fi cult hit. Sept. 9.

Jennifer's Body

This movie enjoyed some buzz a few months back when star Megan Fox's nude scene pics surfaced on the Internet. Oh yeah, and it's the follow-up movie for stripper-turned-screenwriter Diablo Cody. You might remember her as the Oscar winner for Best Original Screenplay for Juno. Will the sophomore slump hit? Probably, but it will surely make for most see movie watching. Sept. 18.

Where the Wild Things Are

Spike Jonze's take on the classic children's book is certainly something not to be missed. A top-notch cast and a compelling story should make for a memorable experience. Oct. 16.

The Box

Richard Kelly has directed some of the most interesting movies in the last decade. His debut Donnie Darko is one of my personal faves and his follow-up Southland Tales was a critical failure, but has become a cult favorite. This little ditty about moral decisions involving money and causing deaths of complete strangers will surely make people talk. Nov. 6.

The Lovely Bones

Peter Jackson's follow-up to King Kong is this adaptation of an Alice Sebold novel. To say that the subject matter is bleak (a dead young girl watches over her family and her killer) is the biggest understatement of the year. But, if there's one person who can take the most "unfilmable" stories and bring them to life, Peter Jackson is that man. Dec.11.

So, how did we do? Are there other sleeper movies that you think should be on the list? Which movies on this list are you looking the most forward to seeing?