Another foray into the non-musical, my post on the best films (that I saw) in 2007. Bonus: My lists aren’t snooty!
THE TOP 10 FILMS (THAT I SAW) OF 2007.
10. Transformers. Yeah. I frickin’ loved it. Deal with it.
9. American Gangster. Yes, it was too long. Yes, it skipped over some of the most fascinating parts in the lives of its protagonists. But it was still great.
8. Rescue Dawn. Werner Herzog’s P.O.W. based-on-a-true-story film starring the increasingly amazing Christian Bale.
7. No Country For Old Men. Would’ve rated higher if they’d tightened up the third act.
6. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. It was long, but no film this year has left such an indelible visual impression on me.
5. 28 Weeks Later.
4. The Simpsons Movie. Admit it, even if it wasn’t as good as any episode from the first 5 seasons, it was hysterically funny to see Bart naked.
2. Eastern Promises. It’s not David Cronenberg’s best, but its close, and I often find myself thinking of the menace lurking under the conversations outside of the Russian restaurant. Much more than the bathhouse knife fight, those scenes were impressive. They managed to convey all of the intimacy of a Sopranos scene, but with characters the viewer didn’t know nearly as well.
1. Michael Clayton.
Top Two Films that were Much Better Than I Thought They’d Be: 1408, 30 Days of Night.
TOP 5 SEQUELS/REMAKES
5. The Bourne Ultimatum
4. Spider Man 3
3. Live Free or Die Hard
1. 3:10 to Yuma
TOP 5 POINTLESS AND STUPID FILMS OF 2007
4. Hostel 2
3. The Hills Have Eyes 2
2. Wild Hogs
1. Rush Hour 3
Most Not-As-Good-As-The-T.V.-Show-It-Was-Based-On: Reno 911: Miami.
Most Not-As-Good-As-The-T.V.-Cartoon-It-Was-Based-On: Alvin and The Chipmunks.
Most Better-Than-The-T.V.-Cartoon-It-Was-Based-On: Transformers.
Most Somewhat-Better-Than-The-T.V.-Cartoon-It-Was-Based-On, Much Better Than The Films It Was Based On, And Not Nearly As Bad As It Could Have Been: TMNT
Best Movie Released Too Late To Be Considered In My List And I Haven’t Seen Yet But Really, Really, Really Want To: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Biggest Disappointment: Ghost Rider. Granted, the comic book was light on premise, light on story, and mostly managed to get almost 100 issues based solely on the fact that Ghostie looked so damn cool. Why, then, did the movie take almost an hour to unveil him? Almost the entire film is about Johnny Blaze. There’s a reason why secret identities are secret: They’re boring!
Best Movies I Have No Desire To See: Juno; Margot’s Wedding; Atonement.
THE TOP 5 WORST FILM ENDINGS OF 2007.
5. Gone Baby Gone. I defy you to explain what the hell happened at the end, and how Casey figured it out.
4. No Country For Old Men. And I’m not talking about the Tommy Lee Jones closing scene, that was fine. This movie broke down when it never explains who or how or why the Brolin story ended the way it did, but even that was forgivable. It was when Javier gets hit by a car that I just got angry. Such a cliché. Every time you see a driver-side shot like that, the guy gets T-boned. It’s almost as predictable as the black guy dying in the horror film. Then Javier wanders off, leaving the viewer to imagine not what happens next (make-your-own-endings are fine) but what should have happened at the end of this film.
3. The Mist. This film easily could have been one of my favorite movies of the year: An old-fashioned (read: non-CGI) monster flick with plenty of humor, suspense, and cool action scenes. But it should have ended when the jeep drove off into the fog. As I understand it, that was the way it was when Stephen King wrote it. The tacked on, silly, “ooh I gotcha” irony of the last five minutes of the film ruin the story, and subject you to an unnecessarily brutal and nauseating version of Sophie’s choice.
2. The Bourne Ultimatum. He lands in water? Really?
1. Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer. Let me get this straight. We’ve been threatened during the whole movie that Galactus is gonna show up and eat the Earth, but we never get to see him? I thought we waiting for Galactus, not Godot.
Runner up: The Brave One. Good thing Terrence arrived when he did! They say it’s all in the timing, after all.
Most Underrated Film: Mr. Brooks. Kevin Costner makes a great, unassuming villain, putting his real-life superiority complex to very good use.
Runner up: Shoot ‘Em Up. The critics missed the point of this satirical, nonstop thrill ride that name-checked or otherwise referenced just about every action star in history, from Dirty Harry to Bugs Bunny (Clive is eating carrots when he’s introduced). Plus, it had Paul Giamatti as a villain!
Best Actor Portraying Himself: Robert Downey, Jr., as the self-righteous know-it-all brilliant alcoholic in Zodiac
Best Anti-Colonization Film Made By A Racist: Apocalypto. This film also gets my award for Most Overly Hyped Violence. It was a great ride, but it
was hardly as violent as all the critics noted/complained. Basically, the film is Death Wish in ancient times.
Most Overly Praised Film: The Host. As my list probably shows, my affection is for violent, action-heavy films. Horror is an often promising and just-as-often disappointing (see Hostel 2, Hills Have Eyes 2) genre in this respect. But critics know nothing about horror. The Host, the Korean version of Toxic Avenger, features a monster that, inexplicably and indiscriminately, kidnaps or kills. It certainly had its moments, and was a step above most horror movies, but it was hardly a masterpiece. And I’m sick of critics talking about horror that “transcends its genre.” Plenty of horror films are great. I can reel off half a dozen or more in a heartbeat: The Exorcist; Halloween; Nightmare on Elm Street; the first King Kong, Dracula, Frankenstein, etc. . . If you want to see a better action/monster movie, go see The Mist.
Runner-Up for Most Overly Praised Film: Ratatouille. I saw it with my kids, and zzzzzzz.
Title Most Repeated By Folks Watching the Movie: Are We Done Yet?
And, the answer is yes. We’re done. Looking forward to next year, with all the writer-strike damage.