2009 was a fine year for cinema. It brought us so many timeless classics that are still just relevant and groundbreaking today, even though it’s been a mind-boggling ten years since their release. But alas, not all of 2009’s blockbusters were able to stand the test of time. For an unbelievable list of films that are turning 10 in 2019, read on!
Believe it or not, Taken, the first installment of the popular Taken trilogy is already ten years old. It stars Liam Neeson as a retired CIA operative named Bryan Mills, whose daughter Kim, played by actress Maggie Grace, is taken while on vacation in Paris. To get her back, Mills must rely on all the abilities he picked up in his black ops days.
A decade later, many people still recall the epic scene of Mills’ phone call with one of the men who kidnapped his daughter, in which he threatens to find him with his ‘particular set of skills.’ Many have called this film a turning point in Neeson’s career, sealing his status as one of the baddest action film stars in the industry.
2. The Hangover
Written and directed by Todd Phillips, 2009’s The Hangover was the first installment of the ever-so-popular Hangover trilogy. Bradley Cooper stars as Phil, alongside Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis and Justin Bartha as Stu, Alan and Doug. The story follows the trio collectively known as the ‘wolf pack’ as they travel to Las Vegas for Doug’s bachelor party.
When Phil, Stu and Alan wake up with no memory of the previous night’s events, they must find Doug and get him back in one piece before his wedding. The film is filled with hilarious one-liners, like the one when Alan thought that Julius Caesar lived in Vegas, and who could forget his ‘man purse?’ Fans loved the film so much, it went on to have two just-as-popular sequels.
3. Inglourious Basterds
Inglourious Basterds is a German-American drama, written and directed by legendary filmmaker Quentin Tarantino. The film, starring Brad Pitt and Christoph Waltz, follows two plots to take down Nazi Germany’s political leadership. The first plot is planned by a young Jewish cinema proprietor. The other plot is by a team of American soldiers, led by Pitt’s famously all-American First Lieutenant Aldo Raine.
The film was hugely successful at the box office when it was released in August 2009. It also turned out to be Tarantino’s highest-grossing film at the time. Even today, many say that Inglourious Basterds remains one of the best adventure dramas out there.
4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The sixth film in the Harry Potter franchise, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince turns 10 this year. The film was directed by David Yates, and stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson. It is based on J.K. Rowling’s novel bearing the same name, in which Harry starts his sixth year at Hogwarts, receives a mysterious textbook, falls in love, and tries to retrieve a memory that holds the key to defeating Lord Voldemort.
While many felt the film wasn’t the best in the series, it was still 2009’s second-highest-grossing film behind Avatar. As a matter of fact, when it was released, J.K. Rowling herself called it her favorite film of all the Harry Potter movies at the time.
Avatar, the James Cameron film that took the world by storm also turns 10 in 2019. The film stars Sam Worthington, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez and many more. Set in the 22nd century, the story follows an ex-marine named Jake Sully (Worthington), who is dispatched to an exotic alien planet called Pandora. Sully is drawn into a battle for survival for himself and a humanoid species known as the Na’vi.
Avatar was hugely successful and even became the highest grossing film of all time, with Cameron beating his very own film, Titanic. The good news is that fans will soon be treated to a sequel. In fact, Cameron has signed on to produce four more sequels, with the first set to release December 18, 2020.
6. Fast and Furious
Believe it or not, it’s been 10 years since the fourth installment of the Fast & Furious franchise. This time, Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, and Jordana Brewster from the original installment are back reprising their roles as Dominic Toretto, Brian O’Conner, Letty Ortiz and Mia Toretto. This may also been the film where you were introduced to Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot, who plays Gisele in the franchise.
The story follows ex-con Toretto (Diesel), who teams up with Brian O’Conner (Walker) to apprehend a drug lord. The film was a prequel/sequel to the series, and was set after the second film, 2 Fast 2 Furious, but before the third film, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. And if you still cant’t get enough of the franchise, do we have some news for you — it’s set to have two more sequels coming out in 2020 and 2021.
7. Sherlock Holmes
Before Robert Downey Jr. put on the red and gold suit for Iron Man, he starred in Sherlock Holmes as the famous detective and his companion, Dr. John Watson, was played by Jude Law. In the film, the duo engages in a battle with a nemesis whose plot is a threat to all of England. The sequel, titled Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows followed the successful adventure/crime period film in 2011.
Fun fact: According to Express, Downey Jr. was actually knocked out cold while filming a fight scene. That sure takes dedication to another level, don’t you think? And for those who need their Holmes/Watson fix, Warner Bros. studio has the third film scheduled for a 2021 release, with Downey Jr. and Law set to reprise their roles.
8. Star Trek
The Star Trek reboot is another fan favorite turning 10 this year. Back in 2009, the film introduced a whole new generation to the beloved franchise. The film stars actors Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto taking on the iconic roles as James T. Kirk and Spock. Directed by J.J. Abrams, Star Trek also featured original cast member, Leonard Nimoy as Spock Prime.
The 11th film in the Star Trek franchise explores the back stories of James T. Kirk, Spock and Leonard McCoy before they unite aboard the USS enterprise to fight Nero, played by Eric Bana. The film was a box office success, grossing $385 million. Overall, many got the impression that the film did a good job revitalizing the franchise.
9. Law Abiding Citizen
Law Abiding Citizen is a 2009 American crime action thriller, starring Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx and directed by F. Gary Gray (think Straight Outta Compton). Butler plays Clyde Shelton, who takes justice into his own hands when he targets not only his family’s killer, but all those who have supported the corrupt criminal justice system. Foxx plays a prosecutor who cuts a deal to send one killer to death row while setting the other free.
The film took second place in its opening weekend, scoring $21 million dollars and grossing $126 million worldwide. You may not know this, but Butler was initially set to play the prosecutor instead of Foxx, but after talks, the actors ended up trading roles before shooting began. Nevertheless, we think it turned out great.
10. The Blind Side
In The Blind Side, actor Quinton Aaron plays Michael Oher, a homeless African-American youngster from a broken home. He’s taken in by Leigh Tuohy and her husband Sean Tuohy, played by Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw. His new family helps him realize his potential as a student and football player, as they learn new insights about themselves at the same time.
While Sandra Bullock is largely known for her comedic roles, particularly the Miss Congeniality franchise, audience saw a whole different side to her in The Blind Side. The movie, a fan favorite to this day, was critically acclaimed and Bullock earned her very first Oscar for Best Actress.
11. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
X-Men Origins: Wolverine is another film turning 10 this year. Gavin Hood directs the fourth installment of the X-Men film series and the introductory film in the Wolverine spin-off trilogy. It stars Hugh Jackman, who also produced the film. The story follows the violent past of the Wolverine and the relationship with his half-brother, Victor Creed, played by actor Liev Schreiber.
The cast received praise from critics, and in particular, Jackman and Schreiber’s performances. The second film, The Wolverine followed in 2013. The final film Logan marked Jackman’s last portrayal as Wolverine. It was highly praised by critics, with some calling it one of the best superhero movies ever.
12. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
The sequel to the 2006 film Night at the Museum is another film turning 10 in 2019. It stars Ben Stiller, Amy Adams, Owen Wilson, and of course, the great Robin Williams. This time, security guard Larry Daley, played by Ben Stiller, infiltrates the Smithsonian Institution to rescue his friends, museum exhibits Jedediah and Octavius after they are mistakenly shipped to the museum.
The film grossed $413 million worldwide and was followed by the third and final film in the franchise, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. The final film was dedicated to Robin Williams, who, sadly, passed away four months before the film’s release.
13. I Love You, Man
Paul Rudd takes the leading role in I Love You, Man, a comedy film about Peter, a friendless man, who must find a best man for his upcoming wedding. When his new best friend Sydney, played by Jason Segal, comes into the picture, it starts putting pressure on his relationship with his fiancée, Zooey.
I Love You, Man marks the third collaboration between Rudd and Segal, who previously starred together in the 2007 comedy, Knocked Up and the 2008 film, Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Some sources say the movie’s script sat on the shelf for as long as 11 years, originally titled as Let’s Be Friends.
Gerard Butler stars in Gamer, a 2009 science fiction action thriller set in the near future. The story is centered around an online video game called ‘Society’, where the gamers can control human beings as players. Butler plays Kable, a guy imprisoned in a first-person shooter game who is controlled by a 17-year-old boy.
You may also recall Michael C. Hall’s appearance as Ken Castle, the main antagonist and genius computer programmer who invented ‘Society’ in the movie. As the film turns 10, that demented dance number between Kable and Castle set to the tune of Sammy Davis Jr.’s ‘I’ve Got You Under My Skin’ still continues to play in our heads.
15. The Twilight Saga: New Moon
In 2008, the world was divided into Team Jacob and Team Edward over the hugely popular Twilight saga. The second film in the series, titled The Twilight Saga: New Moon is based on Stephanie Meyer’s 2006 novel bearing the same name. Kristen Stewart reprises her role as Bella Swan, who falls into a deep depression after the love of her life, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) leaves her.
10 years later, Pattinson sat down with USA Today and revealed that he re-watched New Moon. According to the actor, it’s a lot easier to appreciate the films now that the media frenzy has died down. He was even quoted saying how the films’ soundtracks were quite ahead of their time.’
16. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Directed by Michael Bay, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is the second film in the Transformers series. Sam Witwicky, played by actor Shia LeBouf, leaves the Autobots for a normal life. After he begins having strange visions of Cybertronian symbols, he becomes a target of the Decepticons under the orders of an Ancient Decepticon named ‘The Fallen.’
Critics largely considered it to be inferior in comparison to the first film, Transformers. On the bright side, it become the highest-grossing film to win the Worst Picture Award at the Golden Raspberry Awards, after grossing $836 million worldwide. Many consider the dogfight between the Autobots and the Decepticons one of the films highlights, and we couldn’t agree more.
17. District 9
Directed by Neill Blomkamp, District 9 was adapted from Blomkamp’s 2006 short film Alive in Joburg. The film tells the story of an alien spaceship which appears in Johannesburg, South Africa. When a population of sick, malnourished aliens is found, the South African government locks them in an internment camp known as ‘District 9.’
The films exploration of topics like xenophobia and segregation led to critical acclaim, being called one of the best science fiction films of the 2000s. This begs the question of whether we’ll be seeing a sequel. Blomkamp has previously expressed his desire to make a District 9 sequel, although some say that it’s a great standalone film.
18. 500 Days of Summer
Back in 2009, many audience fell in love with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel’s quirky onscreen romance in 500 Days of Summer. The film is based on a screenplay written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber. The stories centers around a woman who doesn’t believe in true love (Deschanel) and the young man who falls for her (Gordon-Levitt).
The film won awards for Best Original Screenplay and Best Screenplay at the 14th Satellite Awards and 25th Independent Spirit Awards respectively. To commemorate the film as it turns 10 in 2019, Deschanel and Gordon-Levitt met up exactly 10 years and one week after the indie rom-com’s Sundance Premiere to re-watch it together. Isn’t that just adorable?
Several years before The Walking Dead TV series premiered, Zombieland did a great job to freshen the zombie genre at the time. The post-apocalyptic horror comedy stars Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Little Miss Sunshine‘s Abigail Breslin. In the film, Jesse Eisenberg plays a geeky kid who gets caught in a zombie apocalypse. Along the way, he meets three new allies and takes an extended road-trip to escape the zombies.
Zombieland did a good job in seamlessly blending gore and humor, making it the highest-grossing zombie movie until World War Z came along. As the film turns 10 in 2019, there’s some good news for fans — The original cast will be reprising their roles in a sequel, titled Zombieland: Double Tap, set to be released in October 2019.
20. 17 Again
Who can forget Zac Efron showing up to school with that jacket and those sunglasses? 17 Again tells the story of Mike O’Donnell, who isn’t happy with how his life turned out at the age of 37. So he makes a wish and becomes his 17-year-old self after a chance accident.
17 again was one of Efron’s first films after his success in High School Musical as Troy Bolton. The film arguably demonstrated Efron’s leading-man potential on the big screen. It debuted at number one and went on to make almost $140 million, with some people saying how the movie helped cement Efron’s status as a Hollywood superstar.
21. Couples Retreat
Vince Vaughn teams up with Iron Man director Jon Favreau to star in Couples Retreat, a comedy about four couples who head to a tropical island resort for a vacation. One of the couples go to work on their marriage while the other three enjoy some fun in the sun. However, they soon discover that participation in the resort’s couple’s therapy isn’t optional and hilarity follows.
Despite receiving generally negative reviews from critics, Couples Therapy was a box office success and ranked first for its opening weekend back in 2009. Many funny moments come to mind, but who can forget the scene with Salvadore, the Speedo-clad yoga instructor? 10 years later, we still haven’t got it out of our heads.
Back when we all though the world was going to end, we got a film called 2012 to show us what it might feel like. The film follows a novelist named Jackson Curtis, played by John Cusack, and his efforts to bring his family to safety as the world is being destroyed by a series of catastrophic natural disasters.
Upon its release in 2009, the film received mixed reviews. On the upside, it was notably praised as the ‘mother of all disaster movies’ by film critic Roger Ebert and Claudia Puig of USA Today. Entertainment Weekly reported that a planned spin-off television series called 2013 was in the works but the plans were cancelled due to budget concerns.
Watchmen is yet another fan favorite to turn 10 in 2019. Filled with dark themes, adult situations and moral complexity, the film takes place in 1985, where superheroes existed before the U.S. government banned them. Jackie Earle Haley plays an active vigilante named Rorschach, who starts a sprawling investigation into the murder of a colleague which could change the course of history.
Looking back on Watchmen 10 years later, some say that it was a pivotal spark that elevated the superhero genre to new heights. Some say the film sets itself apart compared to other superhero movies from that era with a darker and a more mature narrative. If you’re a fan, get excited because a Watchmen series is officially set to premier in the fall of 2019 on HBO.
Invictus stars Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon as former South African president Nelson Mandela and then-South African rugby union team captain, Francois Pienaar. The film, directed by Clint Eastwood, follows a unique venture by Mandela, who enlists the South Africa national rugby union team on a mission to unite the apartheid-torn South Africa and win the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
The film was the largest opening for a rugby-themed film, earning a total of $122 million. Freeman was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor, but ended up losing to Jeff Bridges for his role in Crazy Heart. Despite losing the Oscar, it’s safe to say that fans adored Freeman’s portrayal of Mandela.
25. Bride Wars
We can’t believe that Bride Wars celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. The romantic comedy stars Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway as two best friends that have planned every aspect of their weddings since childhood. After they both schedule their weddings on the same day, what do you think happens? The ‘Bride Wars’ begin.
The film wasn’t well received by critics, with Time magazine naming it one of the top 10 worst chick flicks. Despite this, 10 years after its release, some say the authenticity of the female friendship struck between the Hudson and Hathaway in the film taught people some relatable life lessons about friendship.
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