Top 10 Movies of 2009

1. Avatar (2009)

Avatar is another masterpiece from James Cameron which made huge impact on movie industry. After this movie 3D became a state of the art technology. This movie is one of the watch-in-3D movies. Despite of trivial love story storyline, this movie is one of the best movies of 2009. This movie is a number one in a all-time top grossing movie list with over $2.7 billion.

2. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Inglourious Basterds is a look at World War II through Quentin Tarantino glasses. Brad Pitt playing a Lieutenant of Jewish Allied soldiers is a biggest star in this movie. This movie is a Tarantino’s highest-grossing film to date. It earned over $320 million worldwide. This movie is a definitely one of the best Thriller movies of 2009.

3. Up (2009)

Up is an animation-comedy movie created by Pixar, which is a quality mark for animation. It grossed over $731 million worldwide, making it a 6th best grossing movie of the year. Up is a best animation movie of the year.

4. District 9 (2009)

District 9 is a science-fiction movie directed by Neill Blomkamp. It tells a story about pathetic alien creatures who had an accident in Johannesburg, South Africa. The story is told in documentary manner – an unexpected one for most sci-fi movies.

5. Star Trek (2009)

Star Trek (2009) is the eleventh film based on of the original Star Trek television series created in ’60s. If you are a fan of original series, you most likely love this film too. It is the thirteenth-highest-grossing film of 2009.

6. The Secret in Their Eyes (2009)

The Secret in Their Eyes is an Argentinian crime thriller movie and a best Foreign movie of 2009. It was also awarded the Goya Award for Best Spanish Language Foreign Film of 2009. Everybody who likes a non-Hollywood production must watch this film. You won’t find it in a top grossing lists, but it is really one of the best movies of 2009.

7. (500) Days of Summer (2009)

(500) Days of Summer is a nonlinear drama, romantic-comedy telling a story of relationship which end in 500 days. It earned over $60 million in worldwide returns, far exceeding its $7.5 million budget. The film received numerous awards and nominations. It is a best romantic-comedy of 2009.

8. Moon (2009)

Moon is a best British movie of 2009. It is a science fiction story about a frustrating three-year work in a moon base.

9. The Hangover (2009)

The Hangover is a best comedy of 2009. The movie storyline follows four friends who travel to Las Vegas for a bachelor party. Next morning friends wake up with a huge hangover not remembering a thing. The Hangover earned over $467 million worldwide.

10. Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

Fantastic Mr. Fox is a stop-motion animated-film. It is the first stop-motion animated film distributed by 20th Century Fox. The storyline follows an urbane fox who is returning to his home-farm and then helping his community survive the farmers’ retaliation.

Top 10 Tom Hanks Movies

Born on the 9th July 1956 in Concord, California Thomas Jeffrey “Tom” Hanks first started acting whilst attending Skyline High School in Oakland, California where he appeared in various school plays. It wasn’t until in 1980 that Tom Hanks made his movie debut in the slasher flick “He Knows You’re Alone” and although he appeared in various TV shows, including one episode of “Happy Days”, it would be four years before his next movie. And it would be Ron Howard from “Happy Days” who would offer Hanks his first major movie role in “Splash” although originally Hanks auditioned for the part of the brother rather than the central character of Allen Bauer.

In the same year Hanks also starred in “Bachelor Party” one of many less than memorable movies which he made during the 80s. And it would be fair to say that for every “Big” (1988) there was a “Volunteers” (1985). Although whilst such movies as “The ‘Burbs” (1989) and “Joe Versus the Volcano” (1990) were box-office flops they have got a little better with age.

It wouldn’t be until 1992 that Tom Hanks’ up and down movie career finally came into it’s own firstly with his performance as a washed up baseball star in “A League of Their Own” which was then followed in 1993 with “Sleepless in Seattle” the second of three movies which he made with Meg Ryan. But it was his portrayal of Andrew Beckett in “Philadelphia” (1993) which would show everyone what a great actor Tom Hanks was and he won his first of two Oscars for the breath taking performance. Interesting during his acceptance speech he acknowledged his high school drama teacher who was gay. It was this speech which was the inspiration for the 1997 movie “In & Out” featuring Kevin Kline.

Having just won his first Oscar Hanks would follow it up with his second for his performance in the hugely entertaining and memorable “Forrest Gump” a favourite of many people’s top movie lists. Hanks was now on a roll and in 1995 he appeared in two hugely successful movies, firstly reuniting with Ron Howard for “Apollo 13″ and then voicing Woody in the first of 3 “Toy Story” movies

With his next movie “That Thing You Do!” (1996) Hanks would not only act but he also directed and his behind the camera work continued as he produced, co-wrote, and co-directed the HBO drama “From the Earth to the Moon”. But he was back in front of the camera once more in 1998 firstly with what is widely praised as one of the best war movies ever made “Saving Private Ryan” and then teaming up with Meg Ryan once more for “You’ve Got Mail” a remake of “The Shop Around the Corner” which starred James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan.

And so it continues with Tom Hanks having starred in some of the biggest and best movies over the last decade with the likes of Stephen King’s “The Green Mile” (1999), his outstanding solo performance in “Cast Away” (2000), gritty anti hero in “Road to Perdition” (2002), stranded foreigner Viktor Navorski in “The Terminal” (2004), Robert Langdon in “The Da Vinci Code” (2006) and more recently reprising his role as Woody in “Toy Story 3″ (2010).

With more movies in production, and his continual work behind the camera as writer, producer and director it looks like Tom Hanks will be continuing to entertain us for many more years to come. And I wouldn’t be surprised if he got a third Oscar before long.

#10 Big (1988)
Tired of being small, Josh Baskin (Tom Hanks) wishes he could be big and when he spots a fortune telling machine at the travelling fair he wishes exactly for that. Well the next morning when Josh wakes his dream has come true, except instead of being a little bit bigger he now looks thirty something. With the help of his best friend Billy, they head off to the city in search of the machine in the hope he can reverse his wish but whilst there finds himself landing a job for a toy company. Forced to act as an adult yet with a childs mind, life is fun for Josh as he experiences freedom, except he still longs to be a child again.

#9 The Terminal (2004)
Having arrived in New York Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks) has got a problem, whilst in the air his country Krakozhia has been over thrown and America now doesn’t recognize it as a country. That means Viktor is in a state of limbo as he can’t enter America and he can’t be exported back so is forced to remain in the airport till things are sorted out. Forced to live in the airport Viktor makes the most of things and makes friends whilst there but becomes a pain in the butt of Frank Dixon whose job it is to keep things running smoothly.

#8 Apollo 13 (1995)
Based on the true story of the 13th Apollo mission which on its way to the moon ran in to some serious trouble. Astronauts Lovell (Tom Hanks), Haise and Swigert who having been bumped up from the 14th mission find themselves almost helpless as their stricken spacecraft orbits the moon, forced to conserve power whilst the team back at Houston try and work out not only how to get them back but more importantly get them back alive.

#7 Toy Story (1995)
For years Woody (Tom Hanks), the toy cowboy, has been young Andy’s favourite, and being the favourite means that all the other toys, which come to life when no one is about, treat him as their leader. But Woody’s world comes crashing down when Andy receives a new toy, the all singing and dancing Buzz Lightyear. Discarded in favour of Buzz, Woody becomes jealous and having let his jealousy get the better of him finds himself along with Buzz in the hands of Sid, Andy’s neighbour with a thing for mutilating toys. Despite being enemies Woody and Buzz are forced to work together to try and escape.

#6 Cast Away (2000)
Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) is not only a top manager for FedEx but also a workaholic whose life is ruled by the clock. But when the FedEx plane he is catching a lift on hits a massive storm and crashes somewhere in the midst of the Pacific, Chuck finds himself washed up on a desert island with just a few FedEx packages. Forced to learn how to survive, Chuck discovers how to make fire, catch fish and make a raft in the hope that one day he will get off the island. The only thing which keeps him going is a fading photograph of his girlfriend Kelly.

#5 Road to Perdition (2002)
Having kept secret his work as a hitman for suburban crime boss John Rooney from his children, Mike Sullivan (Tom Hanks) is forced to explain to his oldest son Michael Jr. what he does when he witnesses him killing another man. If that wasn’t bad enough Rooney’s own son Connor becomes jealous of how his father treats Michael like a son and in a pique of rage kills Michael’s wife and other son. Forced to go on the run to protect himself and Michael Jr., Michael seeks to avenge the death of his loved ones, which forces John Rooney to hire a new hitman to go after him before Michael gets his hands on Connor.

#4 Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
Following the death of his wife, Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks) and his young son Jonah relocate to Seattle in the hope of a new start, but 18 months later and Sam is still struggling to move on. Knowing that his father is so unhappy Jonah secretly phones up a radio talk show and pours out his heart about how his father is lonely. Sam’s story hits a chord with thousands of women who write in, including Annie who becomes infatuated by Sam despite being engaged to the very safe Walter and ends up writing to him proposing that they meet up at the top of the Empire State Building on Valentine’s Day. When Jonah reads Annie’s later he sets about trying to make it happen.

#3 Forrest Gump (1994)
Whilst Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) may have had dodgy legs as a child and is a little bit simple it never stopped him from leading an eventful life. He taught Elvis Presley the hip shake, served in Vietnam where he became a hero, played ping pong for his country, met some Presidents, ran back and forth across America as well as running his own shrimping business. None of which really matters to Forrest as all he cares about is Jenny, the young girl he made friends with as a child and who he keeps on thinking about through all his adventures.

#2 Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Having battled ashore to secure a beachhead during the Normandy landings, Capt. John H. Miller (Tom Hanks) is ordered to put a select group together from the 2nd Ranger Battalion to go on a rescue mission. Their goal is to find and bring home Private James Ryan whose 3 bothers have all been killed in action and his poor mother is about to receive all three telegrams informing her of their deaths on the same day.

#1 Philadelphia (1993)
Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks) is a successful associate for a prominent Seattle law firm, so successful that he is given the firms most important case to handle. What his bosses don’t know is that Andrew is gay and has contracted AIDS. But when one of them notices a lesion on Andrew’s face they put two and two together and fire him. Determined to prove he has been treated unfairly Andrew sets about suing his former employers with the help of Joe Miller, who despite being homophobic shows Andrew compassion and learns that whilst Andrew is gay and has AIDS is no different to him.

The Value of a Story

What is the value of a story? How can you measure it’s worth? Maybe not it’s worth in money, but it’s worth measured by the impact it has on the reader.

I have realized that my stories don’t have much worth. They are shallow. I think the messages in my stories are almost unattainable. My stories are interesting for a younger audience who seek to find an adventure. I suppose they are worth something to younger people. People that haven’t quite matured and are fascinated by the adventures of a protagonist. Whether that be surviving battles, riding eagles, spying on orcs, or surviving harsh climates.

Maybe there are themes in my stories, but they aren’t something I intentionally put in there. My story “The Prairie Fire” I think is probably the best story I have written. Probably the only story I actually intended to have a message or theme behind the words. The theme of sacrifice, and love, and acceptance of what you are.

I suppose there are themes mostly of love for others in my other stories, but they don’t resound easily. They don’t jump from the page and grip at the hearts of the readers. A story with a theme that is strongly portrayed pulls tears from its audience, makes them think, changes them somehow.

I want to look again at the story of AVATAR. That movie is the best movie I have ever seen. After watching it I had to question my own self worth. I had to look in myself and tell myself that I am not a bad person, that I am a good person, that I must love who I am, and that I must take care of what I have and be grateful for it and to respect the other cultures of my world. Protect the history of our people.

The worth of AVATAR is so great, I think, that it will probably go down in history as one of the great movies of our time. In my article “The Creation of World Heroes” I talked about how heroes are made. They are made when pioneering takes place. Well AVATAR and it’s creator James Cameron pioneered the hearts of many people. Look on the internet at any review of this movie and you will see incredible responses to the movie.

How did James Cameron create such a masterpiece of art worth more then the value of the dollars it brought in. I think it was a theme centered movie, with a story that swirls around it. And every moment of that movie leads up to the theme, and by the time you are finished watching it, it is like you came out of a dream world, wishing you could go back to experience more.

And as you leave the theater you began to think, and think, and think, and eventually you must reevaluate yourself. This thought about themes has changed my mind about the value of story.

I at first thought that my fascination with writing fictional stories was just a childhood dream. I wanted to write stories of great adventure, great mysteries, battles, beautiful forests. Later I decided I wanted to write great pieces that talked about ideas, theories, to write about things that would make people reevaluate themselves.

Now I realize that great stories that make people think, and writing articles that make people think are the same thing, accept that a story can do it better. Why can a story do it better?

Because people don’t like it when you outright tell them they should read something and think on it. Give somebody a bible and tell them to read it and go to church and they’ll probably tell you to fuck off. As an example we will use marketing.

If you are trying to sell a vacuum cleaner and go door to door and just tell people to buy it, they aren’t going to buy it. They will slam the door in your face and tell you to get lost. However if they see that their friends have the same vacuum cleaner and it does a great job, they will go and look for it themselves, and then therefore you hardly have to even sell it to them.

If you try to tell somebody to read something that will change their lives, they aren’t going to read it. People don’t like it when somebody tells them to change their lives. But do you know what a story acts as. A story acts as a friend. People love stories, they love reading them, watching them. If somebody enjoys a story, they want to know why they enjoyed it, they will think on it, and they will take something from it, a theme, an idea, and they will keep it close to them.

Don’t shove an idea in their face, show them that it works by showing them a world it applies to. It would be just like that vacuum cleaner on a carpet, cleaning it, applying its power. You story is the carpet, your theme is the vacuum cleaner, using it’s power to shape the story.

I believe that this is the value of a story. The value of a story is what you take from it and what you will use from it in your life. Anybody can write a story, but the stories people remember most are the ones that changed them somehow.

Sow how do you write a story with a strong theme that grips at the hearts of people and wrings the tears from their eyes? Well that is something I still need to figure out myself, but I think a big thing would be, before you even start a story, to write out a theme.

Not a cliche theme, make it deeper then that. A theme could be anything, but you don’t want vague, I think you want specific. Vague leaves for a shallow story. Specific means you need to go deeper, you need to show something more specific. And when you write your story, don’t say right out what you theme is, you need to let the reader find it, let it unconsciously enter their heart, then surprise them.

Here is what I will do for a heavy theme based story: I will write down a theme, then I will refine it over and over until it makes me want to cry, or makes me really mad, or strikes any other emotion hard. Rewrite your initial theme over and over again, changing it as you see fit until it strikes your soul with a clang. Until you vibrate, until you almost want to shout, until you cant stand it anymore and your mind dwells on the theme over and over again.

Take that heart wrenching theme and put it on a piece of paper. Now I’ll develop my world, I’ll develop the story notes, I’ll develop the story, write the story, do everything else to make this story alive, but the whole time I’ll have this theme staring me in the face, it’ll be somewhere that I can see easily as I write my story. That way every time I do anything with my story I’ll see this theme and make sure I’m writing everything so it fits the theme.

Now I believe there should be sub themes. A one theme story is probably possible, but I know myself I need structure, and one general theme for an entire story seems daunting, I would also like smaller themes spread throughout the story that I can work at achieving as well.

So find a major theme, and if you want, some sub themes and write your story to it. And I think the best way to know if your achieved your goal at writing a heart wrenching story is to find somebody to read it. Tell them to write an honest review, ask them questions about how it made them feel afterward. If they have strong answers about their feelings, that it made them think, things like that, you know you did a good job. If not, well maybe your next book will be better.

But this is what I have realized is that a story’s value is in the change it has made in peoples’ lives. That it made somebody think. I believe this is achieved my sending a strong message in between the lines called a theme.

I have found stories to be way more valuable then I first thought, and now I’m glad I have seen this and will now try to make my writing more meaningful, it will be more then just men on horses charging into battle. There will be a deeper meaning behind it that people will absorb from the words.