My resistance to formulating these year-end lists has come to feel almost ceremonial, like a houseguest insisting she’s not hungry before polishing off three plates of stew. I continue to maintain that there’s something humiliating about the practice of holding up something as intimate as one’s deepest moviegoing pleasures for public approval and/or mockery. It’s almost like publishing a list of favorite sexual practices—what, she likes to do that? But once you get started compiling these things, they take on a momentum of their own. And, anyway, I can’t enjoy the fun of reading other critics’ lists till my own is done, so in alphabetical order, here are my favorite films of the year and decade.
BEST OF 2009
Adventureland: Greg Mottola’s comeback movie (forget Superbad) is everything a coming-of-age comedy should be, with an appealing young cast (Jesse Eisenberg is our next Dustin Hoffman) and a nostalgic yet utterly fresh-sounding soundtrack of late ’80s pop.