A Slice of Fried Gold

Best of 2007 (Movies edition)

Monday, December 31, 2007
As this is the first of the three (or potentially four, depending if I get saucy and do comics) Best of 2007 lists that I'm going to do, I'm going to preface it with a bit of a warning. Anyone that knows me knows that I love things like that. I love lists. I love sharing my opinion (I am writing on a blog afterall). This is the logical step when you think about it. Which is why over the next two days I will be releasing my top 10 for movies, TV, and comics and a super impressive top 30 (!!!) list of CD's in 2007.

Of course I will not write about all of them, I was thinking top 3 on the smaller trio and maybe a top 5 or 10 on the CD one, but nothing too crazy. I just feel as if I have to do this. Feel free to share things you've liked this year. I love checking out new things, so go to town folks!

For movies, I kind of think it was a bit of a weak year. Last year had a number of absolute knockouts, starting with Children of Men, and moving on to other amazing movies like the Departed, Pan's Labyrinth, Little Miss Sunshine, and Letters from Iwo Jima. There was a lot to love last year. This year, there really wasn't a movie that I walked out of and felt as if I could immediately say "I think this is one of my five or ten favorite movies ever."

There was a lot to very much like, but not a whole lot to absolutely love.

However, I want to preface this with the fact that there are a lot of movies I still need to see before really judging that. I want to see There Will Be Blood, Atonement, Sweeney Todd. the Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and a number of others. Maybe the knockouts will be in that list or beyond. Who knows. But below are the movies I thought were the best of the year.

1. Sunshine (Directed by Danny Boyle; Written by Alex Garland; Starring Cillian Murphy and Chris Evans)

This and the following pick may not make the top 10 of my all time favorites, but they are definite top 15 contenders. This movie brilliantly combined sci-fi, drama, action, and bizarro psychological thriller all into one fusion genre. It was like 2001 meets Event Horizon, but without the boredom of the former and the ridiculousness of the latter. Even better, it improved in my mind thinking more of it, plus I have the feeling it will only grow with repeat viewings.

Cillian Murphy and the majority of the cast were predictably great, but the real surprise in the cast was Chris Evans of Cellular and Fantastic Four fame. He really stepped it up in this and proved that he could in fact really display different sides besides arrogance and incredulity.

One of the best parts about it as well was the music. The music set the ambiance perfectly, and the combination of electronic act Underworld and 28 Days Later composer John Murphy were absolute perfection.

For those interested, here is a brief plot synopsis by yours truly: The Sun is extinguishing. The Earth is dying. In a last ditch hope, Earth gets together a team to use a massive nuclear bomb to reignite the Sun (as implausible as it sounds, I actually read up on it and this is in fact possible...in theory). The first team fails mysteriously, so a second and final attempt is joined midway through their journey in the attempt to figure out what happened to the first team and to attempt to complete the mission.

That's some hot stuff right there.

2. Waitress (Directed and Written by Adrienne Shelley; Starring Keri Russell and Nathan Fillion)

This is just a simple movie about a woman who is living a life that is going no where with a terrible husband and who has a baby on the way whom she is terrified for (because it has to come into this life) and angry at (because it makes her have to stay with her husband). Her life is turned upside down when she meets the new OB/GYN in town, and from there the plot goes and goes into a brilliant coming of age tale (albeit one that takes place slightly later in life than usual).

There is one point that needs to be made before anything here. Keri Russell gives the best performance by any actress this year. No one is even talking about her for an Oscar this year, but she should be bandied about as much as anyone (especially considering the crap class of actresses this year!). She makes Jenna as three dimensional and real as this character could possibly be, and she's funny and touching and perfect.

Nathan Fillion is also fantastic (as always, Browncoats do it better), and the rest of the cast (including a terrifying Jeremy Sisto, an amusing Shelley and Hines, and a wonderful Andy Griffith) bring their A game as well. Shelley does an amazing job crafting a movie that could easily fall into the trap of sappy and overly saccharine, but she dodges that bullet entirely. Sadly enough, she was killed after the film was completed, so we can never see anything else from her, but at least she got this incredibly personal feeling film out before.

3. No Country for Old Men (Written and Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen; Starring Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, and Javier Bardem)

The third best movie this year in my opinion, but it had the best opportunity of any of them to be an all time great. It is absolutely perfect for 17/18ths of the movie. I loved every bit of it for that. But frankly, I did not grasp the ending. Someone explained it to me well, and I think on repeat viewings it could become my favorite of the year, but where I sit right now makes it the third best.

It's the story of a normal guy (Brolin) who finds a large stash of drug money, and the trail of death and destruction that follows him as the force of nature that is Anton Chigurh (Bardem) tracks him during every waking moment. When you get deeper, its about a lawman (Tommy Lee Jones, doing what he does) dealing with the changing nature of his job, and about how every person involved with the law is always surpassed by the ruthlessness of criminals. Its an extremely engrossing movie on the surface, and I feel as if (as I said) with repeat viewings it will just grow as the subtext is delved into more.

However, regardless of getting subtext or not, Anton Chigurh is pretty much the scariest villain ever and Bardem deserves the Oscar for the role, and the Coen Brothers once again have crafted a sickly funny and intense crime drama in the vein of their previous glories like Fargo. Fantastic movie.

4. Juno (Directed by Jason Reitman; Written by Diablo Cody; Starring Ellen Page and Michael Cera)

5. Stardust (Dir. by Matthew Vaughn; Written by Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn; Starring Charlie Cox and Claire Danes)

6. Enchanted (Directed by Kevin Lima; Written by Bill Lima; Starring Amy Adams and Patrick Dempsey)

7. The Bourne Ultimatum (Directed by Paul Greengrass; Written by Tony Gilroy and Scott Z. Burns; Starring Matt Damon (MATT DAMON!)

8. Zodiac (Directed by David Fincher; Written by James Vanderbilt; Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, and Robert Downey Jr.)

9. 3:10 to Yuma (Directed by James Mangold; Written by Hallsted Welles and Michael Brandt; Starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale)

10(tie). Ratatouille (Directed by Brad Bird; Written by Brad Bird; Starring Patton Oswalt and Lou Romano)

10 (tie). Once (Written and Directed by John Carney; Starring Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova)


Patty said...

Not a bad list, not your normal run of the mill, suck up critics list. Love the Waitress!

CresceNet said...

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