In 2009, we spent so much time putting together our retrospective of the last decade (click here for our "Best of the 2000s" series) that we almost forgot about all the memorable things that happened this year. Well, 2010 ain't here yet, so we're spending the last week looking back at all our favorite stuff, including albums, movies, girls, video games, sports moments, books, style trends, and websites.

By now, we figured the recession would have d-bag directors and their sniffling starlets reeling, eating butter sandwiches on the unemployment line. Alas, in 2009, Hollywood made more than $10 billion at North American box offices, so they're still living it up, distracting us from our effed up reality with their professional endeavors and personal fuckery. Fortunately, many of the movies that came out this year were legitimately worth lightening our pockets to fatten theirs (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, we are NOT looking at you). As the year comes to a close, Complex revisits the reel to reel (and keeps it real) with our top 25 movies of 2009...

notorious
#25: Notorious

DIRECTOR: George Tillman Jr.

STARS: Jamal Woolard, Derek Luke, Angela Bassett, Marc John Jefferies, Naturi Naughton, Anthony Mackie

PLOT: The story of legendary Brooklyn rapper Christopher "The Notorious B.I.G." Wallace (Woolard), from his childhood to his Life After Death.

THE COMPLEX CO-SIGN: As the rapper Gravy, Woolard can get the meatloaf, but as an actor portraying Biggie, he proves that he really should quit his day job (way less people get shot in the ass on movie sets—with bullets, at least). We can't co-sign the head-scratching decisions to cast Jefferies as Lil' Cease and Mackie as Tupac, but Luke nails the Puffy dance, and we can forgive oft-naked Naughton for having considerably more, um, talent up top than pre-surgery Lil' Kim. Suspension of disbelief, people!

[CLICK HERE TO BUY THE DVD NOW!]


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awaywego
#24: Away We Go

DIRECTOR: Sam Mendes

STARS: John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph, Catherine O'Hara, Jeff Daniels, Maggie Gyllenhaal

PLOT: A nervous, unaccomplished couple (Krasinski, Rudolph) expecting their first child visits friends and relatives in search of the perfect place to settle down and start their family.

THE COMPLEX CO-SIGN: Many of us are still dicking around, working shit jobs, getting hammered constantly, and leaving our progeny on our jumpoffs' faces, so we can relate to Mendes' funny, insightful, low-key take on the fear of becoming a parental figure. Someday we may grow up, too, but only if grownups are still allowed to splash off in a nostril every once in a while.

[CLICK HERE TO BUY THE DVD NOW!]


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#23: Coraline

DIRECTOR: Henry Selick

STARS: Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, Ian McShane, Keith David

PLOT: A young girl (Fanning) who feels bored and neglected by her mom and dad discovers a parallel world where her button-eyed parents are attentive and sweet...but may be looking to steal her soul.

THE COMPLEX CO-SIGN: Like Selick's The Nightmare Before Christmas, this stop-motion gem adapted from Neil Gaiman's novel might look like it's for kids, but it's darker and more horrifying than the lil' buggers would expect. We suggest you tie the tykes down and sew their eyelids open when you force them to watch.

[CLICK HERE TO BUY THE DVD NOW!]


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movies_adventureland
#22: Adventureland

DIRECTOR: Greg Mottola

STARS: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader

PLOT: High school grad James Brennan (Eisenberg) learns about life and love while reluctantly working at a rundown amusement park to help pay for college.

THE COMPLEX CO-SIGN: We'll watch anything Kristin Stewart is in that doesn't suck vampire balls. Besides, we haven't experienced a theme park coming of age this good since we got dome on a carousel for the first time. Also: Lisa. Fucking. P.

[CLICK HERE TO BUY THE DVD NOW!]


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thehouseofthedevil
#21: The House of the Devil

DIRECTOR: Ti West

STARS: Jocelin Donahue, Tom Noonan, Mary Woronov

PLOT: An old couple (Noonan, Woronov) lure a cash-strapped college student (Donahue) to their creepy old house to babysit (for a child they don't have) and trap her with the intention of using her in a Satanic ritual.

THE COMPLEX CO-SIGN: West throws it back to the slasher, haunted house, and Satanic cult films of the 1970s and '80s without spoofing or ripping them off. He creates slow-building suspense and chills masterfully without all the gore that's become commonplace in horror flicks. If you need buckets of blood to turn you on, time your booty calls to a menstrual cycle.

[CLICK HERE TO BUY THE DVD NOW!]


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CLICK NEXT TO SEE THE TOP 20 MOVIES OF 2009!

 

movies_sugar
#20: Sugar

DIRECTORS: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck

STARS: Algenis Perez Soto, Rayniel Rufino

PLOT: Recruited to play in the U.S. minor leagues, Dominican pitching phenom Miguel "Sugar" Santos (Perez Soto) struggles with culture shock, competition, and his own drive as he attempts to go pro and pull his family out of poverty.

THE COMPLEX CO-SIGN: With all the baseball movies out there, this is the first we've seen that explores the plight of players trying to make it out of developing-world slums. On-field performance aside, do you have any idea how fucking hard it is to find a chick in corn-fed Iowa with culo who can cook arroz con frijoles y pollo and dance merengue?

[CLICK HERE TO BUY THE DVD NOW!]


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movies_up
#19: Up

DIRECTOR: Pete Docter

STARS: Ed Asner, Christopher Plummer

PLOT: To avoid going to a retirement home and fulfill a promise he made to his deceased wife, a lonely old man uproots his home with balloons and flies away, accidentally taking a young boy scout with him on his adventure.

THE COMPLEX CO-SIGN: Like Wall-E in 2008, Up is proof that animated movies aren't just for kids. It'll keep you riveted with stunning visuals and a moving story (that maybe possibly could have blown some dust in our eyes), so if you're looking to finger blast a MILF while her kid stares at some family-friendly junk, take 'em to see an Eddie Murphy flick.

[CLICK HERE TO BUY THE DVD NOW!]


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bruno
#18: Brüno

DIRECTOR: Larry Charles

STARS: Sacha Baron Cohen

PLOT: After his career and love life flame out in his home country, flamboyant Austrian fashionista Brüno (Baron Cohen) moves to the U.S. to become a star.

THE COMPLEX CO-SIGN: The shock factor of Baron Cohen's Da Ali G Show and Borat may have worn off, but we don't need homoeroticism and dick jokes to creep up on us from behind to find them hilarious. You may wear out your remote's pause button watching S.B.C. push people's buttons.

[CLICK HERE TO BUY THE DVD NOW!]


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moon
#17: Moon

DIRECTOR: Duncan Jones

STARS: Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey

PLOT: While wrapping up a three-year contract to collect a valuable lunar energy resource and send it back to Earth, an isolated astronaut (Rockwell) begins to hallucinate and wonder if he is indeed the only man on the moon.

THE COMPLEX CO-SIGN: One of the smartest sci-fi films in years, this low-budget homage to the spaceman films of the 1970s and early '80s captures the claustrophobia and lonely vastness of space, and also probes interesting issues of scientific and corporate morality. After this Moon, we may need to come up with a new term for the cheap flashing of ass cheeks.

[CLICK HERE TO BUY THE DVD NOW!]


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blackdynamite
#16: Black Dynamite

DIRECTOR: Scott Sanders

STARS: Michael Jai White, Salli Richardson, Arsenio Hall, Tommy Davidson, Mykelti Williamson, Bokeem Woodbine, Cedric Yarbrough

PLOT: Former CIA agent and Afro-American badass Black Dynamite (Jai White) fights The Man from the ghetto to the "Honky House" to pay him back for killing his brother, pumping heroin into orphanages, and messing with the black man's malt liquor.

THE COMPLEX CO-SIGN: Lots of films have spoofed blaxploitation, but Black Dynamite gets it all right and outta site—unlike the boom mic. If you can't dig Arsenio Hall and Brian McKnight as co-op pimps Tasty Freeze and Sweetmeat, brother, you need to get a bigger shovel.

[CLICK HERE TO BUY THE DVD NOW!]


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CLICK NEXT TO SEE THE TOP 15 MOVIES OF 2009!

 

movies_observe
#15: Observe and Report

DIRECTOR: Jody Hill

STARS: Seth Rogen, Anna Faris, Ray Liotta, Michael Peña, Jesse Plemons

PLOT: Ronnie Barnhardt (Rogen), a bipolar and professionally impotent mall cop who lives at home with his alcoholic mom, competes with real police (Liotta) to catch a flasher who's throwing his junk around the shopping center parking lot.

THE COMPLEX CO-SIGN: After playing several harmless, well-intentioned slackers, Rogen goes to the comedic dark side like Travis Bickle with the jokey-jokes. Date rape has never been so hilarious! (Hey, we didn't make it #1.)

[CLICK HERE TO BUY THE DVD NOW!]


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paranormalactivity
#14: Paranormal Activity

DIRECTOR: Oren Peli

STARS: Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat

PLOT: A couple haunted by a ghostly presence that has followed the chick since she was a young girl, sets up a camera to document the strange happenings in their new home.

THE COMPLEX CO-SIGN: The latest in the "found footage" films (see: The Blair Witch Project, The Last Broadcast, Cloverfield), this $15,000 fright fest uses simple sounds and tricks of light to fill you with anticipation and terror. We had to drop transsexual hookers down a rung on our list of "things we love that go bump in the night" for this one.

[CLICK HERE TO BUY THE DVD NOW!]


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fantasticmrfox
#13: Fantastic Mr. Fox

DIRECTOR: Wes Anderson

STARS: George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Willem Defoe, Owen Wilson

PLOT: Chicken-thieving Mr. Fox (Clooney) matches wits with the pissed off farmers who don't take kindly to him stealing all their goods.

THE COMPLEX CO-SIGN: We suspect it's some sneaky socialist propaganda, but Anderson's stop-motion animated adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic children's tale fills out the story and is fantastic fun for kids and grown folks. It's so perfectly hip for the director that we wonder why this marriage took so long. And hey, if it justifies us "sharing" your chick, all the better.

[CLICK HERE TO PRE-ORDER THE DVD!]


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thehurtlocker
#12: The Hurt Locker

DIRECTOR: Kathryn Bigelow

STARS: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Guy Pierce, Ralph Fiennes

PLOT: An adrenaline junkie (Renner) placed in charge of an Army bomb squad unit in Iraq leads them as they navigate explosive devices, insurgents, and internal strife.

THE COMPLEX CO-SIGN: We've been watching war movies about Iraq and Afghanistan for as long as U.S. troops have been in country, so war fatigue is understandable, but this thriller stands out from the pack. The tension that Bigelow and company manufacture is so palpable and nerve-jangling that it might give you PTSD. Seriously, it's THE BOMB! (Sorry.)

[CLICK HERE TO BUY THE DVD NOW!]


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movies_iloveyouman
#11: I Love You, Man

DIRECTOR: John Hamburg

STARS: Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones, Jaime Pressley, Jon Favreau, Andy Samberg

PLOT: Peter Klaven (Rudd), a man so disturbingly pussy-whipped that he never took time out to develop male friendships, goes on a series of man-dates to find a Best Man for his wedding.

THE COMPLEX CO-SIGN: With a mix of sappy and sleazy, Rudd and Segel are two halves of the best bromance ever that doesn't involve Brody Jenner and/or anal penetration in a tent on a mountain.

[CLICK HERE TO BUY THE DVD NOW!]


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CLICK NEXT TO SEE THE TOP 10 MOVIES OF 2009!

 

thehangover
#10: The Hangover

DIRECTOR: Todd Phillips

STARS: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zack Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, Heather Graham, Mike Tyson

PLOT: After waking up with no recollection of their wild Las Vegas night, or how they lost their groom-to-be buddy (Bartha), three groomsmen (Cooper, Helms, Galifianakis) retrace their steps to find him in time for his wedding.

THE COMPLEX CO-SIGN: For those who've experienced all the drugs, strippers, prostitutes, gangsters, and washed-up stars (Mike Tyson!) that Sin City has to offer, this male bonding smash is a hysterical walk down memory lane. For the rest of you, this is the official must-do itinerary.

[CLICK HERE TO BUY THE DVD NOW!]


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movies_tyson
#9: Tyson

DIRECTOR: James Toback

STARS: Mike Tyson

PLOT: Tyson talks about his wild life experiences, from first-round knockouts and fortune to ear-biting and face tats, as each memorable moment is revisited in archival footage and photographs.

THE COMPLEX CO-SIGN: Iron Mike is the only person who knows what the hell is going on inside his head. You may still not fully understand even after he speaks on it, but it's without a doubt his most convincing knockout in years.

[CLICK HERE TO BUY THE DVD NOW!]


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movies_taken
#8: Taken

DIRECTOR: Pierre Morel

STARS: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen

PLOT: When Euro-thugs abduct, drug, and sell his teenage daughter into sex slavery, an ex-secret service agent (Neeson) uses his investigative and kill skills in a desperate attempt to save her and savage the shit out of dudes.

THE COMPLEX CO-SIGN: Out of nowhere, Neeson single-fistedly brings back the badass Charles Bronson brand of violent vengeance. Disagree with this selection and we'll stab you in the brain with your nose bone! We already took out a couple corns who questioned its inclusion on our best movies of 2009 at the halfway point list. There's blood on our hands. Try us.

[CLICK HERE TO BUY THE DVD NOW!]


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movies_sinnombre
#7: Sin Nombre

DIRECTOR: Cary Jôji Fukunaga

STARS: Paulina Gaitan, Edgar Flores

PLOT: A Honduran teenager (Gaitan) in search of a better life and a runaway Mexican gangbanger (Flores) who's being hunted by his old homeboys cross paths while riding atop trains to the U.S. border.

THE COMPLEX CO-SIGN: Fukunaga's debut doesn't focus exclusively on life in La Mara Salvatrucha, one of the world's most notorious gangs, but it's still the best movie about bangin' that's been made in years. Menacing face tats, homemade shotguns, and machetes—trust us, you want to get jumped in for this one.

[CLICK HERE TO BUY THE DVD NOW!]


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movies_dragme
#6: Drag Me To Hell

DIRECTOR: Sam Raimi

STARS: Alison Lohman, Justin Long

PLOT: When loan officer Christine Brown (Lohman) publicly shames a gypsy, the old hag curses her with an evil spirit that will drag her to hell in three days if she doesn't figure out a way to save her soul.

THE COMPLEX CO-SIGN: Nobody does legitimately scary LOL horror like Raimi, creator of The Evil Dead trilogy. After years caught in the web of the Spider-Man franchise, he pops up like a ghoul hand from the ground to show these lames how it's done. (Boo, bitches!) It may not be the best movie of the year, but in the horror genre, it makes the competition piss itself.

[CLICK HERE TO BUY THE DVD NOW!]


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CLICK NEXT TO SEE THE TOP 5 MOVIES OF 2009!

 

funnypeople2
#5: Funny People

DIRECTOR: Judd Apatow

STARS: Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann, Eric Bana, Jonah Hill, Jason Schwartzman

PLOT: When he's diagnosed with terminal cancer, successful and intentionally isolated comedian George Simmons (Sandler) tries to build a genuine relationship by returning to his standup roots and taking an aspiring comic (Rogen) under his wing.

THE COMPLEX CO-SIGN: It's not that difficult to find the hilarity in a 40-year-old virgin or a disheveled stoner slacker who accidentally knocks up a hot one night stand. But Apatow is serious as cancer about finding the real-life humor in tragic circumstances. Dare we say it's funnier than his previous work? We dare. The official king of comedy is sick with his.

[CLICK HERE TO BUY THE DVD NOW!]


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district9
#4: District 9

DIRECTOR: Neill Blomkamp

STARS: Sharlto Copley

PLOT: A bureaucrat (Copley) in Johannesburg, South Africa learns the true nature of ghettoized aliens and his own multinational corporation when he's exposed to extraterrestrial biotechnology while trying to relocate them from one refugee camp to another.

THE COMPLEX CO-SIGN: Made for a relatively measly $30 million with Peter Jackson shielding Copley from movie studio fuckery, D9 is the kind of low-budget, intelligent—yet action-packed—sci-fi film that we all need more of. Michael Bay can go stick an enormous explosion up his ass.

[CLICK HERE TO BUY THE DVD NOW!]


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avatar3
#3: Avatar

DIRECTOR: James Cameron

STARS: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Giovani Ribisi, Michelle Rodriguez, Joel David Moore

PLOT: On a mission to help humans strip natural resources from the eco-centric Na'vi race on Pandora, a paraplegic marine (Worthington) controlling a human-Na'vi hybrid becomes torn between the two sides.

THE COMPLEX CO-SIGN: We're always suspicious anytime a director spends over a decade developing an epic pet project (ahem, Oliver Stone's Alexander, ahem) but Cameron's wait for proper 3-D and CGI technology was well worth it (if you don't peep it at least once in IMAX 3-D, you must really hate yourself). An entire, rich world was created around a handful of actors working with green screen, and you hardly notice except to marvel at how seamless and beautiful it all is. Plus the eco-friendly story is almost enough to make us stop burning trees.

[CLICK HERE TO PRE-ORDER THE DVD!]


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#2: Inglourious Basterds

DIRECTOR: Quentin Tarantino

STARS: Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Mélanie Laurent, Diane Kruger, Eli Roth, BJ Novak

PLOT: "The Basterds," a unit of Jewish-American soldiers that terrorizes Nazis by brutally murdering or branding them, and a French-Jewish survivor of a massacre (Laurent) independently plot to cripple the Reich with violence.

THE COMPLEX CO-SIGN: "The Jew Hunter," Standartenführer Hans Landa, is easily one of the top 20 movie villains of all time, thanks to both actor Waltz and writer/director Tarantino. Gassed about his ability to write dialogue (especially for women), QT splattered verbal diarrhea all over Death Proof, but he atones for that with the brilliant opening scene of this WWII spaghetti western masterpiece alone. It's a huge diarrhea-lief.

[CLICK HERE TO BUY THE DVD NOW!]


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movies_startrek1
#1: Star Trek

DIRECTOR: J.J. Abrams

STARS: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Eric Bana, Zoë Saldana, Karl Urban, Anton Yelchin, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Leonard Nimoy

PLOT: James Tiberius Kirk (Pine) and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise fight to protect the universe from the time-traveling Romulan terrorist (Bana) who killed Kirk's father and altered the time-space continuum.

THE COMPLEX CO-SIGN: It's damn near impossible to make a movie that appeals to longtime devotees, newbies, and everyone in between (see: Watchmen and Terminator Salvation—or, better yet, don't see them). Abrams pulled it off with a blockbuster that has the perfect balance of action and intelligence, comedy and drama, insider references and accessibility, and actually left us amped to see sequels. Star Trek was our number one at the halfway point and holds tight despite some tremendous films dropping in the second half of the year. We can only hope that in the sequel we'll actually get to see intergalactic playboy Kirk invade more alien chicks' inner space.

[CLICK HERE TO BUY THE DVD NOW!]

RELATED:
• Complex's Best of 2009: The Top 25 Albums
• Complex's Top 100 Movies of the Decade!