The movies that came out in 2009 are a diverse bunch. The year was stuffed with many different styles, from zombie-bashing action movies to family-friendly titles. No matter the genre, the best thing about the movies from 2009 is their sheer quality.

“Up in the Air” In this 2009 movie, George Clooney stars as Ryan Bingham, an expert in corporate downsizing who essentially fires people for a living. Bingham meets his match in Alex Goran, played by Vera Farmiga. Ryan sees Alex as his perfect match, and he must decide whether to continue his lifestyle or chase true love.

“Avatar” The biggest of the movies that came out in 2009, this blockbuster was nothing short of a phenomenon. James Cameron directed this sci-fi epic about the Na’vi, an alien race on the distant world of Pandora. With its abundant natural resources, Pandora is a ripe target for corporate greed, and the Na’vi engage in a climactic fight for their planet.

“Up” As adorable as it is original, this movie broke new ground for animated heroes when it came out in 2009. Ed Asner provides the voice of the unlikely protagonist, an old man trying to get his house to South America by way of helium-filled balloons. He runs into trouble along the way, but finds help in the form of a pint-sized sidekick named Russell.

“Watchmen” With its alternate timeline, this 2009 movie provides an imaginative take on world events. The film occurs in 1985, when superheroes have been driven underground thanks to a government crackdown. When one of their own is murdered, the heroes reunite to try and track down the killer.

“Star Trek” In a reboot of the iconic franchise, director J.J. Abrams injects some much-needed youth into this 2009 movie. Chris Pine stars as James Kirk, a wild young cadet at Starfleet Academy. When the planet Vulcan sends out a distress call, Kirk and the rest of the franchise’s familiar characters respond, setting the stage for a wild and action-packed plotline.

“The Hangover” In this 2009 movie, Justin Bartha stars as Doug Billings, a groom-to-be who spends a wild night with his pals in Las Vegas. When Doug goes missing during the debauchery, the other characters have to retrace their steps, find him and make it back in time for the wedding.

“(500) Days of Summer” One of the most inventive movies that came out in 2009, this romantic film follows a nonlinear plot. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel as co-workers and lovers, the plot takes place at random points during the couple’s relationship. This unconventional storytelling style provides a fresh take on the boy-meets-girl premise.

“Zombieland” Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson star as survivors of a zombie apocalypse in this 2009 movie. At first, the guys don’t get along, and only agree to a temporary relationship. When they meet up with a pair of devious sisters, Eisenberg and Harrelson’s characters realize that they need to stick together for companionship and survival.

“District 9” As a fresh take on the standard alien movie, this 2009 release is disturbing as well as effective. Sharlto Copley stars as a corporate operative charged with relocating a population of aliens who have made their home in South Africa. When Copley’s character encounters a strange compound that turns him into an alien, his allegiances quickly change.

“I Love You, Man” In this 2009 movie, Paul Rudd plays Peter Klaven, a man who doesn’t have any male friends. At the urging of his fiancé, Peter starts hanging out with the fun-loving Sydney, played by Jason Segel. At first, their friendship is great, but when Peter’s career is put in jeopardy, he must find a way to balance the two.  

-Andrew Jett