Best Movies of 2007

2007 might end up being one of my favorite years for movies in recent memory. I can’t recall another year in which so many films touched me in so many profound ways. Maybe I’m just getting more emotional as I age, but I also think filmmakers are responding to our current world with more stories that reach for deep emotional connections.

I had a difficult time narrowing down my top movies of the year. The top few spots were fairly easy, but there were several options for the rest of the list. Ultimately, I chose the movies that will most likely stay with me in the years to come.

The following are my Top 10 Movies of 2007, with notes at the end about those that barely missed the cut and others I have yet to see but have high hopes for.

10. Lars and the Real Girl
Ryan Gosling gives another performance showing exactly why he’s the best young actor in movies. As I’ve written previously on this blog, Lars is a touching portrait at loneliness and how life can be affected by one person, even if it happens to be a sex doll.

9. Grindhouse
Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez wrote and directed this double-bill homage to shoddy action/horror flicks of the past, and the mainstream public was grossly underwhelmed. Those who managed to catch the three hours or so of stylized mayhem caught was easily the most inventive movie of the year. Planet Terror‘s military-created zombies brought fun and action, and Death Proof again proved that Tarantino can do no wrong (other than acting).

8. Atonement
The book is one of the best things I’ve ever read, and I ended up rather pleased that the movie adaptation is as faithful as it could possibly be. Scenes are brought to vivid life, thanks to director Joe Wright and a fantastic group of actors, including Kiera Knightly, James McAvoy and Saoirse Ronan. A tracking shot along a beach littered with wounded men from the war has already established itself as one of the greatest in cinema history, and the story itself is one for the ages. As the romance builds, the conclusion’s heartfelt honesty will stay with you long after leaving the theater.

7. Superbad
Jonah Hill makes me laugh. Every word that comes out of his mouth seems unscripted, making him even funnier as a comedic actor. Combine that with the perfect under-the-breath lines from Michael Cera, who has entertained me since Arrested Development, and you have the makings of my favorite comedy of the year. Sure, it was touching and sweet in parts, but mainly it brought the funny over and over again.

6. Juno
Every character in Juno is utterly believable, and for those who say no one talks like such a hyper-literate, allow me to introduce you to my friends. Pop-culture references litter our verbal landscape, and no topic is too mundane or obscure to mention. As for the movie, it has some of the most wonderful dialogue of the year, with snappy comebacks and tender, heartfelt moments blended into a great story for teens and adults. Ellen Page might very well win the Best Actress Oscar for her titular performance, and, once again, Michael Cera shines.

5. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
I’ve only seen a concert DVD of the stage version, and even it was a bare-bones reproduction of Stephen Sondheim’s masterpiece. That was enough for me to crown it as The Greatest Piece of Entertainment of All-Time. The music is the work of a genius, and the lyrics are brilliant. After watching that concert version, a friend and I played producers and cast our dream version of the film. We selected a Tim Burton film starring Johnny Depp. And now, that’s just what we got, and the results are sheer (or is that shear, for the Demon Barber of Fleet Street?) perfection.

4. Once
I went in not knowing what to expect. I left with tear-stained cheeks. It’s really a pretty simple plot. Boy meets Girl (the characters’ names are never revealed, so the capitalization isn’t a typo), Boy writes music, Girl helps write music, beautiful music (literal and figurative) follows. As the music swells, so does this film. It never settles for the cliché, and the ending is both heartbreaking and uplifting. It’s a tiny miracle of a film.

3. The Darjeeling Limited
Wes Anderson is in the business of making Wes Anderson Movies, and there’s not a damn thing wrong with that. Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman and Owen Wilson play three brothers traveling across India in an effort to locate their mother. Instead, they find out the true meaning of themselves as individuals and as brothers. It’s pretty much a perfect movie.

I had a hard time picking my favorite film of 2007. The next two films are each perfect in their own way, and I can’t justify putting one ahead of the other. I walked away from both knowing I’d seen true works of art, so I have no choice but to have them share the top spot. (On a related note, 2007 also proved to be a fantastic year to see amazing books adapted into stellar movies. That almost never happens).

1(a). No Country for Old Men
The Coen Bros. know how to make quality films: Blood Simple, Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink, Fargo. No Country tops them all. Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bordem, Josh Brolin and Kelly Macdonald give career-defining performances in a script the brothers adapted from the already-brilliant Cormac McCarthy novel. No less than three scenes continue to haunt me more than a month after watching it, and the ending just grows in stature the more I think about it.

1(b). Into the Wild
Jon Krakauer’s book is one of the best things I’ve ever read, and I thought it would damn well be unfilmable. I was wrong. Sean Penn has adapted the book into exactly what it needs to be: a quiet, reflective look at one person’s personal journey as told by a filmmaker also exploring his own growth. Emile Hirsch’s starring role is one of beauty and work in sweet perfection with the supporting performances by Brian Dierker, Catherine Keener and Vince Vaughn. But veteran Hal Holbrook steals the movie with his emotional portrayal at a man hiding his hurt before eventually reaching out and seeking help, all while giving love of his own.

Others that barely missed the cut
Charlie Wilson’s War
Across the Universe
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
Sicko
Paris, je t’aime
Knocked Up
Talk to Me
Hairspray
Michael Clayton
American Gangster
The Simpsons Movie
Hot Rod
(I know you scoff at this, but other than Superbad and Hot Fuzz, this movie made me laugh harder than anything else I saw all year)
Hot Fuzz

Others I have yet to see
There Will Be Blood
The Kite Runner
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

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11 thoughts on “Best Movies of 2007

  1. I can’t offer much in the way of commentary, as I have all but stopped going to the theater in my old age. However, I’ll be the first to point out that anything prominently featuring Hal Holbrook is worth watching. He’s one of those guys that can’t necessarily play any part in a film, but when you have a part that calls for Hal Holbrook there’s really no one else to get.

    I’m not even remotely kidding when I say that I’ve watched movies without Hal Holbrook and thought, “Surely they could have found a spot for Hal Holbrook in here.”

    Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to catch a few episodes of Designing Women before setting up camp outside of Best Buy in anticipation of the Evening Shade Season 1 DVD set. You’d better get in line, it’s going to get crazy!

  2. My top ten movies of 2007!

    10. End of Days, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. In an Orwellian, totalitarian, society, it is up to one man (Oscar Wilde) to stop the evil Carnal Cult from drilling a hole into a meteor in space, thereby fulfilling an ancient prophecy that stretches back into the ancient era of ancient Egypt. Set in modern day Egypt (which is in Arizona), End of Days is a rollercoaster ride into heck and back. (Note, I have not seen this movie and it did not come out in 2007)

    9. CSI
    Set in the distant year 1998, CSI is the story of three people: Charles, the headstrong but soft-hearted captain of the Subspace Emissary, Samuel, the naive but skilled new recruit, and Ingmar, the hilarious young hustler from the streets. Together they battle the treacherous Mobhobbles from District XXVII.
    (Note, I have not seen this movie, and it is a television show, not a movie. And I have not seen the television show).

    8. Mitsubishi Galant
    In this famous film, the Grinch kidnaps Santa Claus and pretends to be him or some shit, and Die Hard busts through the window and has to step on glass but then drops the terrorist off the roof
    (Note: I don’t think this is a movie either, and I don’t think it came out in 2007)

    7. Olympia Dukakis
    This seven-hour epic needs no introduction. Arnold Schwarzenegger makes his directorial debut with a film about the war in Iraq. In it, Julia Roberts plays the same sort of bitch she always plays, and she actually has sex on screen with an EEL. It’s fucking nuts, and gross.
    (Note: Julia Roberts takes it like a champ, though)

    6. When Harry Met Sally
    In this stunning rollercoaster heartbreaking fuckfest, Banana Republic, a popular clothing line, plays a woman at the end of her rope trying to decide on whether she should keep her child or have a costly, and dangerous, underground abortion. I don’t want to ruin it for you, but the ending will have you laughing for weeks (she gets the abortion. That was a SPOILER).
    (Note: )

    5. Burt’s Bees lip balm
    When I was watching this film, I actually fell asleep through all of it, but when I woke up everyone around me was in tears. I was like, “Shit!” So for the next couple of days I told everyone how sad the movie was. I later found out that I was at a funeral and not a movie. It had great cinematography though.

    4. Moscow on the Hudson
    In this film, Vladimir Ivanoff (Robin Williams) walks into a department store to buy blue jeans, walks out with a girl friend, an immigration lawyer and a buddy. His life and theirs will never be the same again!
    (Note: You can’t make that shit up!)

    3. NONE
    There was no film deserving of the coveted NUMBER THREE spot on this list.

    2. The people who live in the apartment above me, who run the fucking vacuum cleaner at 5:30am.
    Seriously, these people are assholes. They are constantly yelling at each other, but just in casual conversation. As in, “SO TODAY I WENT TO DA STO’ AND BAWT OWNJ JUICE!” Also, my bedroom is directly below their’s, so I have to hear them fucking once a week. It’s awful

    1. Patriotism.

  3. I haven’t kept up with Aaron’s blog since he moved out of my state, and therefore out of my life, leaving me heartbroken, but there are some similarities there. Though I mostly disagree with it, the Radiohead entry is fucking hilarious!

  4. I was moved to tears on many occasions during “Olympia Dukakis,” but not on the level that I was moved by the sequel, “Michael Dukakis.”

  5. I’m so glad you gave mention to Hod Rod. I just watched it last night and it was quite possibly the funniest movie all year. I’ll even go so far as to say I thought it was funnier than Superbad. I can’t wait to watch it again.

  6. I’m so glad you gave mention to Hod Rod. I just watched it last night and it was quite possibly the funniest movie all year. I’ll even go so far as to say I thought it was funnier than Superbad. I can’t wait to watch it again.

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