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The Ministry presents: Underappreciated articles of 2009

January 2, 2010 |  7:30 am

Cooper It's hard to tell which stories will catch the public's eye -- or its heart, or mind, or burning-with-rage-and-ready-to-spew-venom gut -- and in the course of doing business, a few of our favorite posts seem to have gotten lost along the way.

These have earned a soft spot with us for many reasons: We had them exclusively, they were funny, there was an interesting story behind them, or they were simply articles we thought you, dear readers, would appreciate.

Alas, as if they were tiny baby kittens trapped in a storm drain, mewling too quietly to be heard, the Web world passed them by.

So here, in no particular order, are 10 posts (OK, technically, 11) that we at the Ministry consider some rather underappreciated items from 2009: 

Secret to Bradley Cooper's 'Hangover' success? That hair: With "The Hangover," Bradley Cooper cut his leading man teeth. He'll be chomping through 2010 with his buzzed-about update to "The A-Team." "Hangover" director Todd Phillips told us he was the one who thrust Cooper into top billing with one simple command: Grow out that hair. Take note, because I suspect those long locks will be waving atop the A-list in the coming months. -- Matt Donnelly

Chelsea Handler, Jay Leno and Playboy, a magazine with naked people in it: This post is silly. The concept of the post is silly. I felt silly writing it. If you don't get it, you don't get where I'm coming from. Face it, this ain't rocket science. -- Christie D'Zurilla

'Hangover' Heather Graham: I want to be a pregnant stripper! Another tidbit from "The Hangover" ...

... was my chat with the bubbly Heather Graham, a perpetual ingenue who showed me she's got creative chops behind the camera. She suggested that her exotic dancing character, Jade, should be pregnant in the blockbuster's forthcoming sequel and still work the pole with her baby bump. I think director Phillips would be proud. -- Matt

Jason Segel offers himself up for your pleasure -- and would you bring a friend? When this video hit the Internet, I had only recently seen "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" (I know, I live in a box). Since I was sort of crushing on Segel at the time, I found this even funnier than it probably is. Plus, I can't sing but love making up my own improv lyrics, and this reminds me of doing that.  -- Christie

'A Single Man' director Tom Ford shoots Colin Firth, Matthew Goode and Julianne Moore for V mag: Designer-turned-director Tom Ford proved he's got style and substance this year with his film "A Single Man." The film itself is stylish to death, but check out these magnificent stills of the cast in character, from V magazine, including Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode and Nicholas Hoult. -- Matt

Neal McCoy & Brittany Murphy USO 2004Brittany Murphy and the USO: An exclusive appreciation [Pictures]: This post, which includes an exclusive photo gallery, came together through connections on Twitter and Facebook. Along the way to publishing beautiful pictures that show a side of Brittany Murphy not everyone knew about -- her work with the USO -- I wound up getting to interact with some really classy people. I'm also a big fan of the USO, so I welcomed the opportunity to write about what it does. Special thanks to Les and Dustin! -- Christie

John Mayer equates dating with shame, presses on somehow: Lovable cad John Mayer wasn't short on romantic blunders this year (ahem, Jennifer Aniston), but I'm a major fan of the duality in the boyish crooner. He manages to be a compelling singer-songwriter while simultaneously an attention-seeking serial dater. And then wonders why he's polarizing. -- Matt 

Tiger Woods slightly injured in car accident near his home, followed the next day by Tiger Woods, his wife, that odd little car accident -- and Rachel Uchitel: OK, these posts got plenty of reading, so I'm sort of busting the premise, but I want to call attention to them side by side. In the first, the day after Thanksgiving, all we knew officially was that noble athlete Tiger Woods (of whom I have been a huge fan) had been in an fender bender. By the next day, things were starting to hit the fan. It was a gut decision whether to blog about the stories that had been circulating since a couple of days before the accident. I got slammed in comments for daring to publish such trash in affiliation with the L.A. Times name -- but based on my own life experience, the initial stories about the accident didn't make sense; choosing to go along with the official word out of the Woods camp, while ignoring other information that was out there, seemed naive and a disservice to people who were following the events. Turns out that my gut must've dated the same people I have, and the decision to post was on target. -- Christie

Coaches group Arty or party? The stars divide at MOCA's 30th birthday: Call me sentimental, but this was my first post for the Ministry. It qualifies as one of our underrated gems IMHO, however, because of the considerable names in attendance. Although Los Angeles is packed with pretty faces, only a birthday like MOCA's can bring out a truly diverse showing of Hollywood, local politicos, art eccentrics and more. A truly fabulous Los Angeles night. -- Matt

USC-UCLA 2009 is decided -- now it's UCLA vs. USC vs. 'Glee': I love college football. I love "Glee." I laugh my butt off at totally nonscientific online polls. This post is about college football and "Glee," and includes not one but THREE totally nonscientific online polls. Life doesn't get much better. -- Christie

Top photo: Bradley Cooper accepts the Comedy Award during the 13th annual Hollywood Awards Gala Ceremony on Oct. 26 in Beverly Hills. Credit: Jason Merritt / Getty Images.

Middle photo: Brittany Murphy with country singer Neal McCoy on tour with the USO. Credit: Les Martines.

Coach photos, clockwise from top left: Patrick Gallagher as Ken Tanaka (credit: Fox via Facebook), Jane Lynch as Sue Sylvester (credit: Patrick Ecclesine / Fox), UCLA's Rick Neuheisel (credit: Kirby Lee / Image of Sport/US Presswire), Pete Carroll (credit: Don Ryan / Associated Press).

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