The Mixed Tape

Andy’s Best Films of 2009 by Andy Motz

Here is my Best films of 2009 list – Andy

1.Munyurangabo- a film that is not manipulative with its emotions, but truly organic in every sense of the word. It is a masterpiece about Rwanda and the affects that the genocide still have on the people to this day. Made by Rwandans and Missionaries this art contributes to the healing process. A thoughtful film that is very powerful and is the years best, it needs to be seen.

2. 500 days of summer- (500) is a delight to watch. It tackles the theme of love with such insight and originality. The split screens, the dance numbers, and the perfect chemistry between the two leads help complete a joyous film that gets better with repeated viewings.

3. A Serious Man- A film about God and bad things happening to good people. Thought-provoking and very funny A Serious Man is the Coen brothers at their peak.

4. Precious- An R rated version of an after school special is elevated to greatness by powerful performances and good direction. It is a harrowing journey, one that everyone should take this year.

5. Up- What do you know Pixar has done it again. They have created an original cinematic story with great characters and themes that address the harsh realities of life with insight and hope

6. Where the Wild Things Are- Just beautiful and emotionally compelling. Not a movie for children, but about childhood. It deeply connected with me and brought back memories/ emotions of my own childhood.

7. The Girlfriend Experience- It’s a sad movie about empty people. Looking in through doors or edges of seat Soderbergh, accompanied by Oscar worthy cinematography, makes us observers in a world I’ve never seen before.

8. Summer Hours- A subtle meditation on life and art, that asks the questions why art is important and how it carries on after death.  Touching story and acting.

9. The Road- There are some striking images in this film and a strong emotional attachment as well. A really good movie and adaptation.

Up in the Air and Antichrist both fought for number ten. Both were good, but had their cons.  Since I can’t decide between the award winner and provocative art house film. Guess what? There is no number ten slot!

Trevor’s Top Ten Favorite Films of the Year 2009 by jedismith89

-by Trevor Smith-

1. District 9

Newcomer Neil Blomkamp really impressed me with his compelling storytelling in District 9. Amazing performances by an unknown cast and a great Special Effects Department who made the most out of a small budget.

2. UP

Pixar never disappoints and with another addition to their perfect track record, Up is  a must see adventure movie and an Old man and young boy.

3. The Road

Viggo Mortensen gives an Academy Award worthy performance for this tale of father and son set in Post-Apocalyptic America

4. Adventureland

Set in the 80’s Greg Mottola’s follow up to Superbad takes a more dramatic tone and draws from his past to bring a version of himself stuck at a lame summer job

5. Star Trek

J.J. Abrams doesn’t disappoint with the best reboot of a series ever. He brings a fresh look and feel to a dying universe

6. Up in the Air

Jason Reitman, in his third feature, shows some major directing chops with this gem starring George Clooney.

7. Avatar

James Cameron’s 12 year in the making epic adventure starring Sam Worthington suffers from a weak script but might be the most visual appealing movie of all time.

8. Inglourious Basterds

Hitler in a cape, violence, and Quentin Tarantino. Do I need to say more?

9. Moon

Be on the lookout for another young director, Duncan Jones, with his sci-fi dramatic thriller starring Sam Rockwell. His performance is worthy of a Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor nomination.

10. Zombieland

I had to squeeze this movie in. I have never had so much fun in a theater. It had likable characters, engaging and hilarious dialogue, and of course zombies.

Honorable Mentions:
A Serious Man
Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Hurt Locker
The Informant

-Trevor Smith

The Visuals of The Road by jedismith89
November 24, 2009, 8:33 pm
Filed under: Film, Thoughts | Tags: , , , ,

As Nolan said up next are the visuals of The Road.

I might throw out some “film geek” terms when talking about The Road but I cannot help myself. This film is on a level that most films never make it too. It shows us more that just the action and “cool shots”.

You feel like you are in their world for every minute and you believe it. Most of the film is shot on real locations in the United States which gives it an authenticity that is lost in most post apocalyptic films who create their worlds with green screen and CGI *cough* 2012 *cough*

The film features stunning Oscar worthy production design.

Courtesy of

Everything felt dirty (the good kind of dirty) not just because of set dressing and costuming and make up (which where amazing) but because of the cinematographer, Javier Aguirresarobe, did a fantastic job with lighting the debris and dust. The air felt dirty.

The trailer is not the best representation of the movie. This is not your typical “end of the world” movie.  It is a story about a father and his son, and this is evident in the choice of shots. There are many tight shots and two shots. Focusing on the characters rather than the destruction of earth and it proves effective. The cinematography brought the relationships to life.

-Trevor Smith

The Characters of The Road by Nolan Wilson Goff

The most startling and mind blowing aspect of The Road is without a doubt the characters. Drawing from the foundation Cormac McCarthy provided, screenwriter Joe Penhall and the cast created vivid performances and lifelike characters. Here is a look at three of the characters:

The Man (played by Viggo Mortensen):


It is an archetype seen often on the silverscreen: a father protecting his loved ones. What is different about this father? The difference lies in the man behind the character. Viggo Mortensen‘s emotionally driven performance is the best of his career and the best of the year. The Road’s central characters, The Man and The Boy, are on a journey to an unknown place specified as the coast. The Man repeatedly proves his love for his son, despite the adverse circumstances. Many of the conversations in the story are real life conversations Cormac McCarthy had with his son.

Picture 1The secret to Viggo’s moving performance is his eyes. His eyes communicate everything the audience (and his son) need to know. Everything one feels in this film, is because of Viggo’s eyes. He will do whatever it takes to protect and prepare his son to “carry the fire.”

The Boy (played by Kodi Smit-McPhee):


What would it be like to be born into a post-apocalyptic world? With innocence and his childhood lost, The Boy is lost, and Smit-McPhee behaves just so. Smit-McPhee’s performance was good (not great), but his chemistry with Mortensen is what is extraordinary. They were truly a father and son. The Boy’s arc from innocent and afraid to carrier of “the fire” is a direct reflection of Mortensen and Smit-McPhee’s relationship.

The Earth:


Wait. Can the earth ACTUALLY be a character? Yes. Much like the deterioration of our protagonist father and son, the earth is also deteriorated. It is empty, void, and gruesome. Just like the main characters, at times, the earth’s disgusting underbelly is revealed. The sky, is gray and dark, a mirroring of the character’s faces and emotions. As they reach the coast, a place that should be a place of refuge, peace, and tranquility, they witness more of the same. The deteriorating earth is every bit as large of a character as The Man and The Boy.

Further evidence of the fantastic characters is Robert Duvall’s short, but Oscar worthy performance as an old man along the road.

Carry the fire,

– Nolan Wilson Goff

P.S. Next up: The Visuals of The Road

The Road. by Nolan Wilson Goff

Last night we had the chance to catch a pre-release screeening of The Road, starring Viggo Mortensen. Following the screening, Viggo, director John Hillcoat, and screenwriter Joe Penhall participated in a Q&A, which brought further clarity to the film.


The Road is the best film of 2009 (so far), in large part due to its emotional density and characters. The film has its flaws, but no other film (The Lovely Bones, Invictus, and Brothers could be exceptions) will reach the emotional levels of The Road.

There is no way we can discuss the density of Cormac McCarthy’s masterful story in just one post.

Therefore, over the next week we will take an in depth look at the various astounding elements of The Road.

First up: The Characters of The Road – The Man, The Boy, and The Earth

– Nolan Wilson Goff



Trevor snuck a picture of Viggo, from the 3rd row.