Seen in the right light, 2009 was a great year for movies; too bad you probably didn't see some of the best.

It's not your fault; many of the year's most overlooked movies barely made it past the festival circuit and into theaters, and even then, they may have been released only in New York or Los Angeles. Or only in art-houses. And with film critics losing their jobs by the dozens, there were few left to review these movies and give them the attention and publicity they deserved. As a result, none of the movies on this list grossed more than $1 million at the domestic box office.

In fact, several of them grossed under $100,000. (All sales figures are from Box Office Mojo.) Still, you may still be able to catch these movies in theaters or on DVD. Here they are, ten of the best movies you didn't see this year. Seen in the right light, 2009 was a great year for movies; too bad you probably didn't see some of the best.

It's not your fault; many of the year's most overlooked movies barely made it past the festival circuit and into theaters, and even then, they may have been released only in New York or Los Angeles. Or only in art-houses. And with film critics losing their jobs by the dozens, there were few left to review these movies and give them the attention and publicity they deserved. As a result, none of the movies on this list grossed more than $1 million at the domestic box office.

In fact, several of them grossed under $100,000. (All sales figures are from Box Office Mojo.) Still, you may still be able to catch these movies in theaters or on DVD. Here they are, ten of the best movies you didn't see this year.

10. 'Humpday'
In this bromance to end all bromances, two straight dudes make a drunken pact to act in a gay porn movie together, then refuse to chicken out once they're sober. Besides answering the question of whatever became of 'The Blair Witch Project''s Joshua Leonard (pictured, right, with costar Mark Duplass), this low-budget comedy has also earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination for the John Cassavetes Award, honoring the best features made for under $500,000. (Total gross: $407,377)


9. 'The Garden'
In the wake of the L.A. riots in 1992, locals in South Central turned 14 acres of urban wasteland into a thriving vegetable garden that nourished the community in more ways than one. A decade later, the city tries to evict the farmers, leading to a 2 1/2-year struggle captured in this gripping documentary. (Total gross: $26,931)


8. 'Downloading Nancy'
Last year, Maria Bello's 'The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor' sold $100 million worth of tickets here and another $300 million in the rest of the world. 'Nancy' made about .006 percent of that. "Either it's going to be really great, or no one will ever see it," Bello told Moviefone in June. Maybe no one wanted to see a harrowing drama about a depressed woman who leaves her husband in order to have a torrid affair with a man she met online. Still, Bello's harrowing performance was seen by enough of the right people to earn her an Indie Spirit nomination for Best Female Lead. (Total gross: $22,282)


7. 'Burma VJ: Reporting From a Closed Country'
A compilation of dramatic footage of anti-government protests smuggled out of Myanmar shows both the limits a repressive government can impose on a people and the hope that the digital revolution and the democratization of media (now, anyone can afford to be his or her own TV journalist) can surmount even those seemingly intractable barriers. (Total gross: $51,672)


6. 'Big Fan'
Comic Patton Oswalt gives an astonishing dramatic performance as the world's biggest New York Giants fan, one who runs up against the dangerous limits of his obsession when he crosses paths with one of his favorite players. The film earned a slew of indie-prize nominations from the Gotham Awards and the Independent Spirits, including a Breakthrough Actor nod at the Gothams for Oswalt. (Total gross: $226,008)


5. 'The Beaches of Agnès'
The great French director Agnès Varda is a master of the documentary as personal essay. This one covers her own career evolution, with a wealth of film clips, re-enactments, and meditations on how transitions in her own life have been like moments at the shore. For Varda, life really is a beach. (Total gross: $215,667)


4. 'The Stoning of Soraya M.'
Based on a true story of Iranian injustice, this docudrama focuses on a woman (Mozhan Marnò) wrongly and lethally punished. Everyone is implicated, including the viewer, forced to watch the agonizing, brutal stoning for about 20 minutes of screen time that seems endlessly longer. For Westerners, the entry points are familiar actors Jim Caviezel (as a reporter) and Shohreh Aghdashloo, playing Soraya's aunt. (Total gross: $637,421)


3. 'Anvil: The Story of Anvil'
This hilarious documentary, the true tale of two Canadian headbangers who were almost famous 30 years ago, trying again for one more shot at heavy metal stardom, is the closest we're likely to get to a real-life 'This Is Spinal Tap.' (Total gross: $667,991)


2. 'Treeless Mountain'
Heartbreaking Korean tearjerker about two little girls trying to cope with their apparent abandonment by their mother. The beautiful cinematography by Anne Misawa has earned a Spirit nomination. It also earned a Spirit nod for the John Cassavetes prize. (Total gross: $60,336)


1. 'The Cove'
One of the year's most talked-about (if least seen) documentaries is this story of illegal Japanese dolphin fishing, captured secretly on film by director Louie Psihoyos and dolphin trainer Ric O'Barry (famed for his work on the 1960s series 'Flipper'). The contrast between the gorgeous underwater photography and the reality of this ecological nightmare results in a striking film not easily forgotten. (Total gross: $848,220)