Top-5 films of the 2009-10 school year


Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio, left) and his wife Dolores (Michelle Williams, right) in the thriller, “Shutter Island.” (Andrew Cooper/Courtesy Paramount Pictures/MCT)

By Colin Walsh

It’s closing time, ladies and gents. Summer is just around the corner so that means it’s time to take a look back at the movies we all went to see when we needed a break from studying.

I know Dead Week is fast approaching, but you have one more assignment and that is to catch any of the following if you haven’t already. Before I begin with my top-5 films, remember this list only includes films that were released during the fall and spring semesters — sorry, “Hurt Locker.”

5. “The Road” — Among a sea of terrible end-of-the-world movies that were released last year, this one shines like a diamond in the rough. “The Road” is a film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize winning, bestselling novel about a father and son as they roam the desolate wastelands of a post-apocalyptic America.

Utterly depressing and ultimately uplifting, “The Road” grabs the us as we hold on for dear life and shows us the best and worst of humanity. There is a good chance plenty of people overlooked this gem, so be on the lookout for it when it is released on DVD May 25th.

4. “Inglourious Basterds” — If anyone is allowed to rewrite the history of WWII it’s Quentin Tarantino. “Basterds” is a righteous, absurd, and hilarious achievement; arguably his best film to date. This film showcases Tarantino’s unrivaled ability to immerse the viewer in long stretches of dialogue and shock them with stuff that is just plain awesome. “Inglorious Basterds” easily nabs the “coolest movie of the year” award.

3. “District 9” — A science fiction allegory about apartheid? Yep. South Africa’s racial dilemma gets a face lift as millions of aliens get stranded on Earth and are forced into internment camps. Writer and director Neil Blomkamp stunned audiences with his original and thought provoking sci-fi epic that was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

And if Blomkamp’s aliens had landed earlier, before “The Hurt Locker” or “Avatar,” who knows, “District 9” could have been first sci-fi film to nab the honor since ET phoned it home back in 1982.

2. “Shutter Island” — This psychological thriller of the highest caliber proves that the Scorsese-DiCaprio formula can’t miss, and that movie goers still enjoy using their heads. U.S. Marshall Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) must unravel a mystery at a hospital for the criminally insane while we unravel the mystery of Daniels. Many consider “Shutter Island” to be one of those movies you have to see twice to fully comprehend; however, you only have to see it once to enjoy it.

1. “Avatar” — If the visual grandeur and sheer scope of “Avatar” doesn’t make your jaw drop I bet this will — $2,717,023,267. That’s how much James Cameron’s colossal blue giant has raked in, and now people can start spending money on the DVD.

“Avatar” is a terrific film modeled after a fairly common story, but in the end it is the impact of “Avatar” that makes it so important. Like Cameron’s giant sinking ship that came before it, “Avatar” is not just a film, but a cultural phenomenon.