This Week's Cover: The Best and Worst of 2009 -- movies, TV, music, books and more

From the good (hooray for Modern Family!) to the bad (Jon and Kate’s reality TV-fueled flameout) to the Gaga, Hollywood offered no shortage of entertainment worth talking about in 2009 — so much, in fact, that we could only fit about half of the year’s noteworthy stars and characters on our cover. And after weeks of debates, throwdowns, and an admirable lack of name-calling, EW’s writers and editors have put together a complete guide to the year in entertainment. Inside you’ll find:

Best and Worst Lists: EW’s critics name the biggest achievements — and embarrassments — in movies, TV, DVD, music, books, games, and stage. (Spoiler alert: We’re mad for Mad Men, on a high about Up, and bowled over by Keri Hilson’s “Knock you Down.”)

Entertainers of the Year: EW talks to the 15 performers who made us laugh, dance, and think drinking blood could actually be kinda hot. Here’s a sneak peek: After a year that took him from Wicked to worldwide superstar, Adam Lambert says he’s learning to take the ups and downs of celebrity in stride: “This is what I asked for. I’m not complaining.” Meanwhile, big screen funnyman (and part-time superhero) Ryan Reynolds tells EW that out of all of his 2009 accomplishments (Wolverine, The Proposal), his proudest moment just might have been hosting Saturday Night Live. “Standing behind that door when they announce your name is a pretty amazing moment.” And True Blood creator Alan Ball knew his show had made it “when I saw the Team Bill and Team Eric t-shirts on some website — that was really fun.”

Top Trends: A photographic look back at the triumphs, tragedies and talents of 2009 — a year when it was good to be named Taylor, Hollywood learned to live and die by the tweet, and geezer pop ruled the charts. (Congratulations, Ms. Boyle!)

Breakout Stars of 2009: A look at the fresh faces who made their mark in movies, TV, and music, including Glee diva Lea Michele, new Star Trek captain Chris Pine, and actor-turned-rapper Drake.

For more coverage of the Best and Worst in 2009—including Soundbites of the Year, a 2009 Style Report Card, a special year-end Bullseye, and more—pick up the new issue of
Entertainment Weekly, on stands December 18.

Comments (156 total) Add your comment
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  • UGH

    Please tell me New Moon made the cut for “Worst Of”….

    • Vivi

      LOL! We can only wish.

    • aleksa

      Yes please.

    • Aprilcot26

      Get real…this is Entertainment Weekly. It will probably be #8 on the best, behind all six Harry Potter films and Twilight. We all know by now how obsessed EW is w/ these two franchises. Ugh.

      • Jordan

        except harry potter is actually critically acclaimed and the biggest phenomena of our time… please do not compare the two.

      • Summer

        Twilight’s so much better than Harry Potter. Harry Potter is so BORING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Eric

        Twilight is published by the same people as Entertainment Weekly. Mystery solved.

      • Oliver

        Harry Potter is much better than Twilight both critically and box office wise. Oh, and Summer. Twilight is so BORING!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Candice

        Mind you I haven’t been on here a lot, but when HBP came out the HP stars got a cover but after that nothing. HBP did not get the same love Twilight is getting.

      • disneycharacterblog

        EW is a magazine. Twilight is a huge deal right now, and teenage girls into it will buy any and EVERY magazine that has Edward or Jacob on the cover (several copies of the same week, if alternate covers come out). EW is making money. Can’t blame them there. A few years ago we had several Harry Potter covers in the same year for I’m sure the same reason.

      • Michele

        Wow, Summer, spoken like a true Twihard.

        Twilight isn’t even in the same caliber as Harry Potter.

      • paige

        EW pushes Twilight much harder than it has ever pushed Harry Potter. I hardly even get on EW anymore, and stopped reading the magazine, just because everywhere I looked there was something about Twilight. EW has slowly become more and more about things like Twilight, than things that should be discussed.

      • Ryann

        Twilight isnt even in the same league as Harry Potter, they shouldnt even be compared.
        HP doesnt need the extra publicity because it stands on its own as an excellent series.

      • movieloversmatch

        I loved Twilight singlechristiansmatch

      • avery

        ok i dont love twilight and the movies are horible and so are the actors but OH MY GOD HARRY POTTER SUCKS and is soo much worse than twilight

    • Jager

      god I hope so!

  • Elizabeth

    Looks almost as much fun as SI’s NCAA Tournament cover with all 64 teams.

    Poor Jay-Z and Beyonce: separated by Gilly.

    • Gilly


      • Jeff


      • Bobby’s Robot


      • Cardsgal

        Too funny!

      • Vanessa

        OMFG. That is hysterical.

  • crispy

    Very nice. The zombie Jane Austen was a good call.

    I look forward to reading these best-of lists.

  • Philip Coogan

    Interesting to see the return of the Entertainers of the Year. Strange that it comes a couple of issues after the Entertainers of the Decade though!!! lol

    • Gilly

      I didn’t know it had gone anywhere. I thought I remembered Robert Downey Jr. winning it last year.

      • Ceballos

        Oops…I forgot to change my handle back to normal after leaving that other comment.

  • Frank Anderson

    Awesome! I love lists, just because they give you a ton of different topics, and this cover is not just another boring glamor shot!

    Way to go EW!

    Now I just have to see if it passes the ‘Gossip Girl Test’ once it comes.

    What is the ‘Gossip Girl Test’, you ask?

    Well, as soon as you get an issue of EW, look through each page to see if Gossip Girl, Melrose Place, Vampire Diaries or 90210 is mentioned. Add up each mention- if that issue has mentioned these shows anything more than a combined three times, then that issue has failed the ‘Gossip Girl Test.’

    You will be amazed at how many fail.

    • Lucy

      It should be the ADAM LAMBERT test. They could find a way to tie him into a story about yogurt.

      • Frank Anderson

        I guarantee they talk about these shows more. They do talk about Adam a lot though.

      • Jane

        No. Twilight; more ubiquitous than words without the letter E for this magazine. If we did the Twilight Test (bonus points for alliteration), then it would fail epically every week.

      • Frank Anderson

        Ok, Lets see who wins. Next week on the cover announcement, we will all three see whats gets mentioned more, Adam Lambert, my shows, or Twilight.

        I have a feeling this time you guys might take it, but make sure you look closely- EW is good at slipping my shows I am sick of in every stinking section- especially the TV listings and style section.

        This should be fun!

      • David

        I’d say the same could be said about “Precious.”

      • Lisa

        That’s what happens when you are one of the most interesting people in the US.

      • paige

        Agreed. You can’t read the magazine or get on the website without seeing Adam Lambert or Twilight everywhere.

      • Frank Anderson

        Well, I counted four separate mentions of Gossip Girl and Melrose Place.

        I did count any full pieces as one thing instead of two- so not counting one page of 10 Adam Lamberts as 10 separate mentions.

        And while one of the Melrose Place comments was decidedly negative, as the saying goes- no press is bad press.

        I think the Gossip Girl thing drives me crazier than the rest because it has been going on for two years non-stop… and the show gets just so-so ratings.

        At least Twilight is a big franchise.

    • Ben

      Shame 90210, Melrose, Vampire Diaries and Gossip Girl are some of my favourite TV Shows. Dang.

  • HD

    Adam! Adam! Adam! Adam! Adam! Adam! Adam! Adam! Adam! Adam! Adam! Adam! Adam! Adam! Adam! Adam! Adam! Adam! Adam! Adam! Adam! Adam! Adam! Adam! Adam!

    • Hatedon44

      You forgot to mention Adam.

  • Michael Perkins

    Where’s the love for “Lost”?

    • bill

      I agree! This last season was one of the best. original television and very thought provoking, hopefully they just ran out of room on the cover but mentioned it inside

    • Michele

      Definitely agree! Season 5 was one of the best season season 1!

      • Michele

        the best SINCE season 1, I mean.

  • katie

    You guys need to SERIOUSLY get over Adam Lambert. The rest of us have.

    • Ellie

      Two years from now, people won’t even remember his name…

      • TorontoTom

        Two years from now, HE’LL BE EVEN BIGGER!!!

      • Lucy


      • Lucy

        (not about the bigger part) he will be forgotten. And if he is remembered, it won’t be for anything good.

      • Andrea D

        Ellie, relax. Can you appreciate the spirit of pop culture? Most of it doesn’t last (many of us, myself included can’t wait for Twilight etc to be OVER)
        That said, I unabashedly jumped up and down on my couch with delight every Tuesday night as I experienced Adam Lambert during American Idol. I am 45 years old, a mother of two, a physician, and Christian.
        I hadn’t had that much enjoyment from an artist in YEARS. I hope it lasts forever.

      • iWoman

        You’re funny.

    • Not me!

      Love him!

      • Mariel

        I love Adam too.. two years from now he’ll be huge, ten years from now he’ll be an ICON.

      • Hatedon44

        Who do you think you are ANDREA, Tom Cruise????

    • HD

      Even if you’re right, I’m all about the moment and he’s rocking it for me hard!

    • iWoman

      Adam Lambert is bigger than ever. But go ahead and keep to your delusions.

      • DJ

        Yeah, he’s so big that his CD fell out of the top 20 one week after release.

    • TM

      Hahaha Is you last name Allen by any chance?

    • Lisa

      Maybe you have. The rest of us love him. He stole SYTYCD last night. One of his amazing performances.

    • Lisa

      Lucie you sound jealous to me. Mad that he overshadows Kris.

    • paige

      I completely agree. When I see him, I only see someone that is trying to get fame.

  • John

    These new EW end of the year covers are so cheesy. They look like something a junior high school girl would cut out of Teen Beat and hang in her locker. I miss the ones where it was just the entertainer of the year.

    • Celia

      I know right. I was just looking at the entertainer of the year cover from 2007 with JK Rowling and the one from 2008 with Robert Downey Jr. Both are excellent covers. They used to be so creative…and now….

    • Ellie

      You’re right…it totally sucks. Plus, I think it’s so cowardly to not pick an Entertainer of the Year. It’s like EW wants to make everyone happy, so let’s pick like 12 Entertainers of the Year!

      • Celia

        Now that I think about it…Johnny Depp was the entertainer of the Decade, so maybe that includes 2009 as well?? Either way, that cover was boring compared to previous years. But they do these collage covers every year so this is not new.

      • Kelsey

        Actually, Depp wasn’t named the “Entertainer of the Decade.” He was one of the top 15, but it never referred to him as THE entertainer. Yeah, he got the cover (and my subscription copy had multiple inside covers with Beyonce, etc. on them), but even on there, it said he was just one of the 15.

    • Andrea D

      Hate to bring HIM up again, but I think EW chickened out by not naming Adam Lambert and putting him alone on the cover. It seems that is their choice. We get an eight page photo shoot of him- do we get the same from the others?

      • Frank Anderson

        Please, no photos. I hate photo features… they offer nothing of substance.

      • Sara

        And whhhhyyyyy should he have this cover to himself?

  • Jon

    I personally hate “worst-of” lists. Don’t whine to us about directors and writers “wasting your time” when you get paid to watch movies and TV shows and read books. If someone who paid for the experience wants to complain, then go right ahead, but for them to gripe and weep about all the precious hours they threw away on a movie — like the people involved deliberately made something bad just to upset them — drives me crazy.

    • Kelsey

      I’m not against worst lists, per se, but I am curious to see what made EW’s worst list, considering that they actually LIKED a fair number of godawful films that are on OTHER critics’ worst lists.

      • David

        Agreed. “Worst-of” lists can be interesting because of how often entries on such lists appear on others’ “Best-of” lists. I feel like the truly “worst-of”s don’t stick in our memories enough to merit inclusion in any list.

  • James

    I’m glad they saw fit to include Tiana from “The Princess and the Frog” on the cover. Even though it’s probably because of the media attention the film received, it’s still nice. That movie is the second-best family movie of the year (“Up” is the best, and both are far better than the overrated “Fantastic Mr. Fox”).

    • Ambient Lite

      Where the Wild Things Are has to be up there.

      • Donknottz

        Defintely the best movie of the year and inglorious basterds a close second

  • Celia

    Yay I see Harry Potter, Glee, The Hangover, Star Trek, The Princess and the Frog, Lady Gaga, and DEXTER!!
    All of which are under the BEST list I’m sure! :D

  • Sandra


    • Agustin

      Taylor needs a rhinoplasty STAT!

      • rocknmovies

        He really does. That pug nose is really horrible, plus the small squinty eyes. Not a good face at all. And those bulky OTT abs, not normal for a 17 year old.

      • Lette411

        I wonder what you look like. What a stupid thing to say.

      • erf

        That’s true-everyone would be saying it if he was a girl.Double Standard!!!

      • Ambient Lite

        He’s a minor. Awfully small of you to pick on a child’s facial features.

    • DJ

      Yeah, I’m sure you’re just the kind of girl he’s looking for…

      • Hatedon44

        Well sorry Ambient, but there are a lot of ugly children walking around.

    • Michele

      They don’t. That’s why he’s not REALLY a werewolf.

    • paige

      Did you even read what you were writing? Grow up. When you write something like that, you tell the entire world that you are a complete idiot. You are never going to marry him- he would get a restraining order placed against you if he ever met you. Think about what you say before you write things like that.

  • Juan Art

    I am not sure I liked these Year End covers. They are too crowded. Adds more clutter to cut through in newsstand and mailboxes….

  • Sarah

    Glad to see some love for The Big Bang Theory on the cover! :)

    • Sue1

      Me too. :D

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