#2 - 500 Days of SummerThe narrator warns at the very beginning that, "This is not a love story." And it isn't. But still is.
The makers of 500 Days of Summer took a lot of chances. They tried a bunch of little tricks throughout the movie. I can totally understand if someone were to watch this movie and say that they didn't work. But for me, they were excellent.
Some examples include the little movie montages, as if you're watching an old documentary. They throw in a little bit of a Ingmar Bergman parody (combined with its IKEA scenes - makes we wonder if I liked it only because I had just returned from Sweden). There's a great split screen scene showing Expectations vs. Reality.
One of the best parts of the movie is that isn't out of chronological order. Now this isn't unique, but they do it for all the right reasons. They lay out a series of expectations that they slowly shatter as the context is revealed. The order of the scenes is very carefully and beautifully choreographed.
My absolute favorite scene of 2009 (just ending out the opening of Inglourious Basterds) brings out the full cheesiness of Hall and Oates You Make My Dreams. For those of you who have seen it, I'm embedding the video of this scene below for you to relive its glory. If you haven't seen it, go watch the movie instead. Save the scene for the context of the movie.
To be honest, not every bit of this movie works, which is probably why it hit #2 instead of #1 on my list. I'm not a huge fan of the supporting cast. And there are a few bits of dialogue that are too sit-com for me. But the leads, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel, are perfect. The story is perfect. And the 95% of the movie that does work is excellent.