This is definitely one of the most daunting "end-of-year" lists to come up with in the world of entertainment.

It's not that these are bad movies -- in fact, most of them are actually pretty great, and at least somewhat deserving of most of the critical and/or commercial praise they received throughout the year. But there's just something about these films that makes them not quite deserving of all those kudos -- something that, if we watched the movie a second time, might become even more apparent and make us realize that the film in question might not be all that. Yes, still pretty good ... but perhaps it didn't quite deserve all of that fuss.

And, of course, there are always a couple that are actually truly awful and somehow tricked everyone into thinking they were great.

And, with that, here are this writer's picks for Top 10 Most Overrated Movies of 2009 ... This is definitely one of the most daunting "end-of-year" lists to come up with in the world of entertainment.

It's not that these are bad movies -- in fact, most of them are actually pretty great, and at least somewhat deserving of most of the critical and/or commercial praise they received throughout the year. But there's just something about these films that makes them not quite deserving of all those kudos -- something that, if we watched the movie a second time, might become even more apparent and make us realize that the film in question might not be all that. Yes, still pretty good ... but perhaps it didn't quite deserve all of that fuss.

And, of course, there are always a couple that are actually truly awful and somehow tricked everyone into thinking they were great.

And, with that, here are this writer's picks for Top 10 Most Overrated Movies of 2009 ...

10. 'Drag Me to Hell'
Sam Raimi's return to the horror genre is a scary, funny, mean-spirited and goofy roller coaster ride that unfortunately suffers from having a lead actor (Alison Lohman) that isn't as adept at the Raimi madness as, say, Bruce Campbell. Lohman seems genuinely confused in several scenes, which gives the film a sense of self-consciousness that starts to make the whole thing feel like a lark -- which maybe it is. 'Drag Me to Hell' definitely feels like a catharsis for Raimi, especially after the train wreck that was 'Spider-Man 3,' but he's trying a little bit too hard to prove to us that he's still the hungry kid in the woods with a camera and a few bucks that made 'The Evil Dead' back in the day -- but that kid is long gone.


9. 'The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call -- New Orleans'
Yes, this movie is just so crazy, and Nicolas Cage is bonkers, and there's iguanas and an alligator and a dying man's soul dancing to the music from director Werner Herzog's 'Woyzeck.' But there's been crazier, both from Herzog himself (anything he did with Klaus Kinski back in the day trumps this by a mile) and from Nicolas Cage ('Vampire's Kiss' and 'Kiss of Death' both come to mind). 'Port of Call' is an entertaining and unpredictable film, but its "craziness" always feels somewhat anchored -- you keep waiting for it to really explode, and it never really does. However, it is great to see Cage in a role where he can do more -- a lot more -- than just be intensely earnest (and earnestly intense).


8. 'A Serious Man'
The Coen Brothers definitely have a knack for casting a spell. Every now and then, they'll come out with a movie that's considered by critics and audiences alike to be the film that will save us from all the other dreck that's out there. It happened with 'Fargo' in 1996 and happened again just a couple of years ago with 'No Country For Old Men.' Those are great movies. And, yes, 'A Serious Man' is a great movie. But, as Johnny Caspar might say in 'Miller's Crossing,' "They ain't that great." And that's really the only thing going against 'A Serious Man' -- in a few months, we'll revisit it on DVD and realize that it's sometimes a little rough around the edges in telling its story of a 1960s Midwestern professor watching his life spiral out of control.


7. 'Star Trek'
Now just hold your horses before you start screaming to the heavens in protest of J.J. Abrams' pretty-great reboot being on this list. Yes, 'Star Trek' is an exciting sci-fi adventure romp and definitely a much-needed dose of adrenaline and youthful energy for the franchise. It's also fun to see the beginnings of these much-beloved characters and watch them forge their bonds and alliances. But you also get Eric Bana as only a so-so villain, a little too much wink-wink "fan service" (including Karl Urban's over-the-top impersonation ... er, performance as Bones) and a strangely awkward performance by Leonard Nimoy as the older Spock, who seems like he doesn't really understand what's going on or why he's involved.


6. 'Adventureland'
'Adventureland' gets a lot of things right, from its portrait of a dead-end amusement park/summer job, to amusing 1980s period detail (in look and dialogue), to a surprisingly enjoyable and underplayed performance by Ryan Reynolds. Actually, the only thing that really works against 'Adventureland' is the big shadow of director Greg Mottola's previous film, 'Superbad.' That film was transcendent in its portrayal of two high school friends on the verge of a nervous breakdown due to girls, impending adulthood and good old fashioned separation anxiety -- 'Adventureland,' while clever, pleasant, sometimes touching and frequently hilarious, never quite blows you away like 'Superbad' did.


5. 'Paranormal Activity'
Oren Peli's nifty and clever no-budget horror film was made with blood, sweat, tears and a whole lot of love. There's only one problem: like with its big brother, 'The Blair Witch Project,' once you get out of the theater and start thinking about it and put aside all the hype and hullabaloo, it's actually not that scary. It's scary, yes, most definitely. But not as scary as it wants you to think it is.


4. '(500) Days of Summer'
An insightful tale of unrequited love, '(500) Days of Summer' unfortunately suffers from a little too much indie-movie preciousness, falling into traps like having a "hot" soundtrack and being randomly "quirky" -- stuff that just isn't necessary when you've got a good story and two fantastic leading actors. In fact, if director Marc Webb had just let Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel do their thing and not tried to be so damn "cool" like a Cameron Crowe wannabe, he would've had something of a mini-masterpiece here.


3. 'Duplicity'
A film that was made to let us know that Clive Owen and Julia Roberts are rich, attractive and probably fun to sleep with. Oh, and there's also a highly amusing slow-motion fight scene between Paul Giamatti and Tom Wilkinson at the beginning. Other than that, you get a tale of corporate espionage that folds in on itself with endless twists, flashbacks, flash-forwards and double- and triple-crosses to the point where it renders itself completely null and void. Writer-director Tony Gilroy hit a home run with 'Michael Clayton' in 2007 -- 'Duplicity' makes you feel like you're being told an inside joke that you're just not cool enough to understand.


2. 'District 9'
'District 9' benefited greatly from a profound case of "right place, right time"; it had been quite a while since we had a sci-fi film that packed such a punch -- and even had a few brain cells as well. However, director Neill Blomkamp, a discovery of producer Peter Jackson, had something of a rocky road in adapting his neat-o short film, 'Alive in Joburg,' into a feature-length film -- the scathing socio-political commentary only goes so far before the movie completely self-destructs with rampant cynicism and bloody mayhem. Yes, 'District 9' is most definitely "smart" science fiction. It's also crass and completely lacking in anything resembling subtlety.


1. 'The Hangover'
Director Todd Phillips' latest portrait of man-children trapped in existential panic suffers from a genuinely stupid premise followed by a forced and absurdly convoluted aftermath -- in other words, there's no way in hell any bunch of damn fools would party to the point of alcohol-induced amnesia, and they certainly couldn't bend space-time to get into all that trouble in just a handful of late-night/early-morning hours -- even in Vegas. Once again, women are to be feared in Phillips' world, and the only people you can really ever trust are your bros -- that is, until the third act, when everyone suddenly grows up and whatnot. A tiresome, obnoxious and exhausting comedy that somehow made almost $500 million worldwide. Sigh.


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