15 Widely Released 2009 Movies We Bet You Won't Recognize

Every year, a few dozen or so movies hit theaters and make a real connection with fans. They carve out their little niches and immediately enter a life of long-term relevance. Think Frozen or The Wolf Of Wall Street. No matter what happens, a large gang of fans will pop those films in and give them a re-watch, at least now and again for the next thirty years. They’ll never really leave the public consciousness completely. Reference "Let It Go" or the Quaaludes scene and a solid percentage of people will probably get it.

Unfortunately, beyond that relatively small group, there are hundreds of widely released films that don’t stick in our collective minds quite so well. Despite billions of dollars spent on advertising, memories of their existence become fuzzier and fuzzier by the year.

A few months back, we challenged Cinema Blend fans to come up with the names of 10 wide release 2008 films with a picture, a plot description, a cast list and an excerpt from a movie review. Since it’s now officially 2014, we decided to play the same game for 2009, except we’ve upped the number to 15 in order to add in a few more challenging tests for those who found the first quiz a little on the easier side.

Head over to YouTube and blast "Right Round" by Flo Rida, hide from the H1N1 Flu Virus and get re-shocked by Tiger Woods’ laundry list of mistresses, we’re turning the clock back to 2009. Here are 15 widely advertised, formerly famous films from a half decade ago. See how many of them you can recognize....

Round #1

Release Date: December 18, 2009

Worldwide Box Office: $85,280,250

Stars: Hugh Grant, Sarah Jessica Parker, Elisabeth Moss

Plot: Pissed off at each other and separated, Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker witness a murder and are forced to enter the witness protection program. Not surprisingly, the Manhattan power couple doesn’t fare overly well in Wyoming. They spend most of the movie trying to allude a contract killer and get into a surprising number of skirmishes with wild animals.

Excerpt From Cinema Blend’s Review: You like to assume that no one sets out to make a mediocre movie, but with __________, its utter blandness and predictably seem to be precisely the effect the filmmakers were going for. You can anticipate every beat, every joke and Hugh Grant shrug, every time Sarah Jessica Parker will get all shrill and every time she'll gaze at him like Carrie Bradshaw at a pair of Manolos.

I know that bear looks familiar to you...

Round #2

Release Date: September 25, 2009

Worldwide Box Office: $122,444,772

Stars: Bruce Willis, Radha Mitchell, Rosamund Pike, Ving Rhames

Plot: Years into the future, a nervous population has taken to using remote controlled androids in order to interact and communicate. Bruce Willis, an FBI Agent with hair, is a whole lot less down with the status quo than those around him. He and his partner begin investigating a string of bizarre deaths in which people are killed through their robots, and a conspiracy theory emerges amidst a mess of robot parts.

Excerpt From Cinema Blend’s Review: Sometimes there's nothing better than an exciting sci-fi premise, a take on our future that resonates nicely with the present and doesn't feel like a thin variation on what we've seen before. But there's nothing worse than seeing that premise squandered, which is exactly the fate of ___________, a movie that is handed a fascinating concept and slaps onto it a generic conspiracy plot that's as boring as it is impossible to follow.

I know this one is probably on the tip of your tongue. It was popular. You can get it…

Round #3

Release Date: April 24, 2009

Worldwide Box Office: $73,830,340

Stars: Idris Elba, Beyonce Knowles, Ali Larter

Plot: Idris Elba is a businessman just trying to live his life in peace with his hot wife (Beyonce). Unfortunately, a hot temp employee at his job gets real excited about his swagger and repeatedly attempts to seduce him. Some shenanigans go down on a business trip, and Beyonce eventually has to step in and defend the man she won fair and square.

Excerpt From Cinema Blend’s Review: I’d like to call ___________ a miserable failure, but that would imply this lazy waste of time had some sort of goal it failed to reach. It has nothing. No purpose, no drive, no direction. It just shiftlessly ambles forward buoyed by the assumption everyone will stop to watch a catfight.

Come’on, you remember this happening. Beyonce. Ali Larter. Fisticuffs.

Round #4

Release Date: January 16, 2009

Worldwide Box Office: $117,000,198

Stars: Emma Roberts, Jake T Austin, Lisa Kudrow, Kevin Dillon

Plot: Two foster kids with a love for dogs try to save animals from the pound by keeping them inside a hotel and secretly feeding them. Their no-good guardians and animal control officers continually try to foil their plans, but with enough hard work and creative ideas, they’re able to maintain the ruse long enough for the movie to run 100 minutes.

Excerpt From Cinema Blend’s Review: As with so many dog movies, the film is laced with not-so-subtle hints that dog pounds are cruel, animal control officers are dog-hating Neanderthals, and euthanizing the ever-growing stray dog population isn’t the answer. Of course it negates all of that to go for the giggle by showing two of the strays sporting a very cute but very large litter. Bob Barker will be furious.

It's not an episode of Letterman's stupid pet tricks, but it could be...

Round #5

Release Date: October 23, 2009

Worldwide Box Office: $44,093,014

Stars: Freddie Highmore, Kristen Bell, Nathan Lane

Plot: Where to begin? Basically, the film takes place in a futuristic location called Metro City. Its citizens are heavily reliant on technology and are aided in many tasks by robots. Those robots that don’t work or aren’t of use anymore are discarded and thrown down onto the surface. It’s here that a robot named Toby gets involved in a series of robot fights and gets set on a path that will alter the entire world.

Excerpt From Cinema Blend’s Review: The movie is a retread of many great children’s stories, jokes, and plot devices, but it’s not a quality retread. Instead, it’s executed lazily and in many cases, unusually. It’s like a robot that just doesn’t work that well, even though it’s made up of pieces from all of the most expensive, fancy robots on the market.

Random hint. There’s an unusual fixation on colors in this film.

Round #6

Release Date: November 6, 2009

Worldwide Box Office: $67,348,218

Stars: George Clooney, Jeff Bridges, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey

Plot: A little disorganized but also a whole lot of fun, the film follows a bizarre United States military unit that specializes in invisibility and psychic spying. Ewan McGregor is sent to investigate these claims and long story short, he encounters a hive of weirdos who make outlandish claims about their own abilities.

Excerpt From Cinema Blend’s Review: No amount of Clooney mugging or priceless Spacey glowering can fill in the gaps left by this meandering screenplay that, like the confused souls at its center, seems constantly in search of a purpose.

This movie has a 6 word title that explains just how ridiculous the whole concept is.

Round #7

Release Date: September 4, 2009

Worldwide Box Office: $40,105,542

Stars: Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, Thomas Haden Church

Plot: A socially awkward crossword puzzle maker goes on a blind date and immediately falls for the man. He, unfortunately, is a whole lot less interested and makes up an excuse to leave. So, she does what any emotionally unhinged woman in a movie would do, she follows him around the country, eventually finding herself in a sketchy situation involving a mine disaster.

Excerpt From Cinema Blend’s Review: Clearly everyone involved in this was embarrassed even before their careers took off this summer, and even Fox seems to be hoping that everyone is too busy grilling out for Labor Day to remember to see it. It's easily the worst comedy I've ever seen with such normally top-shelf talent in it. Hopefully they'll forget about being part of this as quickly as I plan to forget seeing it.

Fun fact: this movie came out after The Hangover and The Proposal but still couldn’t find a large audience.

Round #8

Release Date: September 4, 2009

Worldwide Box Office: $40,828,540

Stars: Gerard Butler, Michael C Hall, Logan Lerman

Plot: Prisoners and death row inmates in the future appear in a series of battles for the amusement of the general public in which they’re controlled by gamers who have access to their fine motor skills. The inmate played by Gerard Butler is named Tillman, and he, of course, just wants to get back to his wife. A larger conspiracy emerges, however, when a human rights group starts spreading a rumor that the game’s creator can control anyone’s mind.

Excerpt From Cinema Blend’s Review: So did you see Death Race around this time last year? You know, the movie where Jason Statham is a death row inmate forced to participate in a brutal game in order earn his freedom, and is desperately trying to get back to his wife and daughter on the other side? Good. You can completely skip _______, a movie in which Gerard Butler is a death row inmate forced to participate in a brutal game in order to earn his freedom, and is desperately trying to get back to his wife and daughter on the other side.

You probably at least have a weird little memory of Michael C Hall and a really weird accent.

Round #9

Release Date: February 6, 2009

Worldwide Box Office: $48,808,215

Stars: Chris Evans, Dakota Fanning, Djimon Honsou

Plot: It would take me 106 minutes to properly explain what the hell this movie is about, but I’ll do my best in a few sentences. In short, the government conducts experiments on people who possess psychic abilities, and a father and a son are on the run from these shady forces. Ideally, they’d like to eventually overthrow the organization, called "The Division", but to do that, they need to find a girl who appears in visions.

Excerpt From Cinema Blend’s Review: Director Paul McGuigan’s movie takes the idea of super powers and attempts to set them in the real world by ditching the spandex costumes and coming up with a standard, they’re hiding among us, secret society plot. Hiding doesn’t mean never doing anything exciting, and the film doesn’t shy away from letting its characters do cool stuff with their abilities. Because of that _______ is a lot of fun, even if it’s not always well thought out.

I still don’t think I really understand what the hell this movie is about.

Round #10

Release Date: July 24, 2009

Worldwide Box Office: $205,298,907

Stars: Katherine Heigl, Gerard Butler

Plot: Heigl plays a morning television show producer who believes in true love. Butler players a brash, on-air commentator who has no use for anything overly optimistic or touchy-feely. Obviously, they’re at each other’s throats initially, but once they get to know each other, the formerly tense relationship starts softening and gasp, getting a little bit flirty. Does she stay with the man of her dreams? Does she leave him for the man who is, on paper, out of her nightmares? You’ll have to watch to find out.

Excerpt From Cinema Blend’s Review: But _______ forgets that, even as audiences want to be coddled with the familiar, they want to at least pretend they're seeing something fresh. Instead the movie is entirely concerned with staying inside the lines, making sure the eternally single girl lives with a cat and the dream date has perfect white teeth, and the familiarity soon grows tiresome, not comforting. It's not tremendously bad, but it's entirely unoriginal, which is almost worse.

Remember when we all thought Heigl was going to be the next Meg Ryan? About that…

Round #11

Release Date: December 18, 2009

Worldwide Box Office: $53,998,806

Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Kate Hudson

Plot: An Italian filmmaker has writer’s block. To try and coax himself out of his predicament, he interacts with a long series of women, each of which bring something different to the table. There’s dancing, singing and a ton of unfulfilled Oscar dreams.

Excerpt From Cinema Blend’s Review: Daniel Day-Lewis’s attempt at an Italian accent makes his vocals sound like something from Jason Segel’s Dracula rock opera in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Except I’m fairly certain I’d have rather spent two hours watching a feature length version of an all puppet Vampire musical than to sit through an equal amount of this. At least that’s fresh, this feels like the leftover parts of everything that’s come before.

Seriously, this movie had huge Oscar aspirations. It was released in December, and before anyone saw it, they were assuming the Academy would love it.

Round #12

Release Date: $126,690,726

Worldwide Box Office: October 16, 2009

Stars: Jamie Foxx, Gerard Butler, Bruce Mcgill, Regina Hall

Plot: Gerard Butler plays a man who watches his family get murdered. Rather than drink himself to death or go to counseling, he decides to take revenge on everyone associated with the murder, including the entire justice system who he blames for not punishing one of the murderers more. An insanely violent game of cat and mouse begins between Butler and Jamie Foxx, very little of which has any connection to reality.

Excerpt From Cinema Blend’s Review: __________ is a movie with no use for logic, or realism, or basic rules of what is and is not possible within our world. It's so gleefully out there, in both its violence and overcooked sense of right and wrong, that it can be fun despite itself, with its grim attitude and humorless lead performances. Anyone enjoying this movie at face value needs to have their head examined, but watching ________________ can be like giggling behind the back of the bloviating law professor-- with the added benefit of explosions and insane violence.

Multiple appearances on this list probably shouldn’t be taken as a victory, Gerard.

Round #13

Release Date: April 17, 2009

Worldwide Box Office: $136,267,476

Stars: Zac Efron, Leslie Mann, Thomas Lennon, Matthew Perry

Plot: A middle aged man stuck in a rut reminisces about the decisions he made in the past and how his life ended up where it’s at. Following an encounter with a weirdo janitor, he’s suddenly made younger and given the chance to both bond with his children and put to rest many of the what-ifs that have dogged him his entire life.

Excerpt From Cinema Blend’s Review: Whether or not _________ is a hit, it is proof positive of Efron's starpower, a triple-threat dreamboat for a new generation of squealing girls and their equally smitten moms. The 21-year-old High School Musical star coasts charmingly through this by-the-numbers comedy, helping to gloss over the more awkward sections of the script and even some gaping plot holes.

I actually remember this movie very well because EFRON!!!!

Round #14

Release Date: February 13, 2009

Worldwide Box Office: $108,333,222

Stars: Isla Fisher, Hugh Dancy, Krysten Ritter, John Goodman

Plot: A young woman who whips out her credit cards at every turn fudges her resume and lands a job at a magazine. In between manhunting and trying not to get fired, she decides to sit down and take a long hard look at her spending habits in an effort to get out of debt and figure out a tangible plan for the future.

Excerpt From Cinema Blend’s Review: "Everyone in the movie overacts wildly, with the exception of cool British Dancy, but especially grating are Ritter and the always-hyper Joan Cusack, both of whom bug out their eyes at least twice a scene. The mugging is almost preferable,to the blank presence from so many other actors, including Lithgow, John Goodman as Rebecca's dad, and Scott Thomas, whose customary restraint gets swallowed by the movie's frenetic pace."

I know this one is probably on the tip of your tongue. It was popular. You can get it…

Round #15

Release Date: November 20, 2009

Worldwide Box Office: $105,647,102

Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Jessica Biel, Justin Long, Gary Oldman

Plot: The Rock plays a human who lands on an alien planet. The inhabitants, green people who behave much like humans, mistake him for an invader and a long series of misunderstands transpire that lead to the Rock being held captive and a group of young teens deciding to rescue him.

Excerpt From Cinema Blend’s Review: If your child is under eight, he or she will likely be mesmerized by the bright colors and bubbly animation. On the other hand, the filmmakers completely underestimate the pre-teen crowd. Ages nine and up will be as aware of the lack of ingenuity as adults and might even find it condescending. As long as you’re accompanying younger kiddies you should be safe with just enough amusement to keep them entertained throughout the film.

I know this one is probably on the tip of your tongue. It was popular. You can get it…

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Editor In Chief

Mack Rawden is the Editor-In-Chief of CinemaBlend. He first started working at the publication as a writer back in 2007 and has held various jobs at the site in the time since including Managing Editor, Pop Culture Editor and Staff Writer. He now splits his time between working on CinemaBlend’s user experience, helping to plan the site’s editorial direction and writing passionate articles about niche entertainment topics he’s into. He graduated from Indiana University with a degree in English (go Hoosiers!) and has been interviewed and quoted in a variety of publications including Digiday. Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, a great wrestling promo and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.