“Yeah…they said that would happen in health class.”
A lot of the year-end lists have anointed 2007 as the best year for films in a long time — which is partially true, but also a pretty typical case of a short memory. While I agree that it was stronger than the last couple of years, there weren’t any standouts — none of the films released this year would make my all-time top 20 or so. It’s very similar to me to 2002, another year without many standouts but a lot of good depth. That year brought The Pianist, Infernal Affairs, Catch Me If You Can, Adaptation, Spellbound, The Ring, The Bourne Identity, 8 Mile, Insomnia, Narc, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Minority Report and of course, Super Troopers. I never saw The 25th Hour, Far From Heaven, Y Tu Mama Tambien or Punch-Drunk Love, amongst others, but that’s a lot of solid B/B+ movies with a couple A/A- but none of those come close to my top 20.
Just for the record, in my lifetime, the two best years for me were 1999, which was just ridiculous (Fight Club, The Matrix, American Beauty, Three Kings, The Insider, Run Lola Run, Being John Malkovich, Go, The Sixth Sense, and even genre standouts like Office Space, Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels and The Thomas Crown Affair and others that I haven’t seen like Boys Don’t Cry, The Hurricane, Magnolia, The Red Violin and The Cider House Rules) & 1995, which has 3 of my top 20 (The Usual Suspects, Se7en, 12 Monkeys, Braveheart, Heat, Toy Story, Casino, Apollo 13 and Babe with films like Leaving Las Vegas, Dead Man Walking, The City of Lost Children, Richard III, and Dead Man that I never saw).
Now, no list can be complete, but these are some of the notable films from 2007 that I did not see that may have had a shot at being on the list – The King of Kong, Into the Wild, Atonement, The Kingdom, Hot Fuzz, Grindhouse, and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.
But here is my top 10 of 2007:
“When I love a film, I know it right away — there’s a feeling I get that’s hard to describe (and maybe you get it too) when the credits are rolling, a kind of stunning feeling of awe and amazement that is what really hits at the heart of what movies can do. Like other forms of art, a great movie can make you look everything a little differently after you’ve seen it — for lack of a better term, they can rock your world.
Sunshine rocked my world.”
“Jesse James is slow, long and meandering, but I never found it less than enthralling, thanks in part to the beautiful cinematography, deservingly the front-runner to win the Oscar, and the score by Nick Cave. It truly is a beautiful film and well worth seeing.”
“Given that I had a prior interest in the story, and that David Fincher (Fight Club, Se7en) is probably my favorite modern director, Zodiac is a movie I went in expecting to like. It did not disappoint. From the chilling opening scene all the way through the entire timeline of the case, Zodiac is captivating throughout, with Fincher taking a script that is mostly exposition and creating suspense and a consistent mood without overdoing it.”
4. 3:10 to Yuma
“In the year of the Westerns that weren’t really Westerns (No Country for Old Men, The Assassination of Jesse James, There Will Be Blood), 3:10 to Yuma, a remake of a 1957 film, was a throwback to the old-time Westerns, and while it did not have the same aspirations as the other films, it is as entertaining a film as any that came out in 2007.”
“Overall, There Will Be Blood is worth seeing and probably one of the better movies of the year, almost entirely due to Daniel Day-Lewis (Paul Dano is also good, but overshadowed). It is a flawed story elevated to greater heights by the acting, the cinematography and the excellent score composed by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood.”
A lot of people preferred the other Judd Apatow movie, Knocked Up, but I thought Superbad had a lot more heart and a lot more laughs – plus Michael Cera being awesome, and McLovin’. Although, both movies employed the old, “fat guy with hot chick” plot device that always throws me off.
After a rare misfire with Cars, Pixar came back with a vengeance with the story of a rat who proves that “anyone can cook.” The animation has never been better, the story was really good and Brad Bird established himself as the premier auteur in the world of animation.
My full review will coincide with the DVD release later this month, but Ridley Scott’s American Gangster was a straightforward, enjoyable cops&robbers flick with two solid performances from Denzel Washington & Russell Crowe. It’s a lot like season 1 of The Wire (though, of course, not as good) condensed into movie form.
“Ultimately and unfortunately, No Country For Old Men has to rank as one of the most disappointing films I’ve ever seen, if only because of how great the first 2/3rds are. And goddamn, was it great — with one of the best standoff sequences I’ve ever seen and some other tense, suspenseful, memorable scenes. If the film had finished the way it started, it would definitely crack my all-time top 10. It’s too bad that I’ll remember the film for what it could have been rather than for what it was.”
I’ve never been completely sold on Wes Anderson, and I really did not like The Life Aquatic, but The Darjeeling Limited has more in common with Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums than with its predecessor. While it’s definitely very Wes-Andersony, it’s not too Wes-Andersony, if that makes sense. It has its flaws, but the combination of Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody & Jason Schwartzman is fun to watch and it’s a good movie overall.
Michael Clayton – if you like watching George Clooney be George Clooney, then you’ll probably enjoy this movie. It’s very well-done, but ultimately a little cold without any standout moments.
The Bourne Ultimatum – the best straight action movie of the year, Bourne wraps up its trilogy (or does it?) with the strongest entry yet. Matt Damon is great as always and there are some really kick-ass scenes, as Paul Greengrass toned down his tight, hand-held look from where it was in The Bourne Supremacy.
Gone Baby Gone – Ben Affleck’s directorial debut fell apart at the end, but he showed a lot of talent and promise, and his kid brother Casey turned in another excellent performance, as did The Wire‘s Amy Ryan. There were a lot of holes in the plot and some weak acting, but overall a solid movie.
Worst movie of the year:
28 Weeks Later – I didn’t see a truly awful film this year, but 28 Weeks Later was a waste of time — the characters are so insanely stupid that you have no interest in them, the plot is ridiculous and inane and while the visuals and direction is good — they are a carbon copy of 28 Days Later. If you’ve seen the first, there is no reason to see the sequel.
Best Performances of the year:
Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
Brad Pitt, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises
Worst Performances of the year:
Shia LaBeouf, Transformers
Michelle Monaghan, Gone Baby Gone
Emile Hirsch, Alpha Dog
That’s all I have. I’ve love to hear feedback on the list or post your own favorites of the year in the comments. I’ve also posted my favorite scene of the year below, from Sunshine, but there is a SPOILER ALERT warranted.