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John Waters' Ten Best List of 2009

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood December 27, 2009 at 8:01AM

When John Waters submitted his Guilty Pleasures list to Film Comment, he included movies like Woody Allen's Interiors and Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries. So it's not entirely surprising that his 2009 Ten Best list, published in Art Forum, includes Lars von Trier's Antichrist and Pedro Almodovar's Broken Embraces. Waters knows what he likes. Here's his top five:1 Import Export (Ulrich Seidl) The most sorrowful movie of the year is also the best. The miserable lives of Ukrainian immigrants in Vienna make this agonizing but brilliantly directed opus the cinematic equivalent of slitting your wrists. A new genre? Depression porn? Hey, I got off.
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Thompson on Hollywood

When John Waters submitted his Guilty Pleasures list to Film Comment, he included movies like Woody Allen's Interiors and Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries. So it's not entirely surprising that his 2009 Ten Best list, published in Art Forum, includes Lars von Trier's Antichrist and Pedro Almodovar's Broken Embraces. Waters knows what he likes. Here's his top five:


1 Import Export (Ulrich Seidl) The most sorrowful movie of the year is also the best. The miserable lives of Ukrainian immigrants in Vienna make this agonizing but brilliantly directed opus the cinematic equivalent of slitting your wrists. A new genre? Depression porn? Hey, I got off.

2 Antichrist (Lars von Trier) If Ingmar Bergman had committed suicide, gone to hell, and come back to earth to direct an exploitation/art film for drive-ins, this is the movie he would have made.

Thompson on Hollywood

3 In the Loop (Armando Iannucci) A smart, mean, foulmouthed British satire about the struggle for global power that asks the all-important question: How do you debate the invasion of Iraq if your gums start to bleed in the middle of your presentation?

4 World’s Greatest Dad (Bobcat Goldthwait) Why, oh why, wasn’t this blackest of comedies a hit? Appallingly rude, decidedly family unfriendly, this autoerotic-suicide tale of a hateful son and his clueless father left the viewer gasping in surprise.

5 Brüno (Larry Charles) Don’t listen to the critics—it’s better than Borat. Imagine a hetero teen couple in a mall on a first date somewhere in Middle America watching Sacha Baron Cohen pantomime every known gay male sex act, ending in a joyous “facial.” Sometimes audiences get what they deserve.

This article is related to: Directors, Reviews, Lists


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.