It's not too much of a stretch to suggest that most awards-season movies are a bit on the safe side. They come from famous novels or are based on some very serious topic, and they usually come with lots of familiar stars or at least a respected director. Many of these films are good, but very few of them really go very far in breaking the rules or opening up new horizons. So let's remember some of the nuttier films from 2009 while we can, before they're forgotten in the Oscar rush.
Spike Jonze's Where the Wild Things Are (235 screens) may not have been so wild, but you have to admit, it was a bit crazy to adapt a classic children's book into something not quite definable. I'm sure some parents took their kids to see it and perhaps some kids liked it, but it was decidedly not a children's film -- or at least not one with the familiar "kids movie" sights and sounds that we've come to expect. (Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox achieved roughly the same thing; what a great double-bill!)