It's that time of year again.
To be clear I haven't seen as many movies as I would've liked to this year, with my son now VERY mobile, and mischievous, it's hard to find time to sit down and watch a two hour movie.
Let alone have the energy.
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my wife who is always very supportive, and has always encouraged me to see more movies even though I know it puts a big burden on her.
She doesn't have to be so accommodating to my silly viewing needs, so I appreciate that she puts up with my compulsion.
I'd also like to thank my friend Lon who is one of my few friends willing to catch an 11:30 P.M. film to accommodate my unusual schedule.
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Like watching a three hour film......at 11:30 P.M.
The movies aren't always good either, sometimes they are really shitty movies like Southland Tales and Spider-man 3.
So, before I begin, for some context of my movie tastes, if you haven't checked it out yet, here's my Favorite movies of 2005 and 2006.
So without further ado......
10. 3:10 to Yuma
I love westerns.
I know that this probably isn't on a lot of Top Ten lists, but I'm a sucker for the genre.
I even liked Seraphim Falls.
Which I think nobody saw.
The movie has a great showy performance from an affable Russel Crowe , and a solid anchor by my new favorite actor Christian Bale.
Great production design, solid directing, fun action pieces, the story is solid.
But the film for me falls apart in the end....badly.
Here was a chance to improve on the original, and they blew it.
It wants to feel important, when it should have just been a fun western.
It just loses focus..... and honestly really doesn't have a point in the end.
However still a good movie...and one of my favorites for 2007.
9. Sweeney Todd
I love Sondheim.
Pairing him with Tim Burton was genius.
I admit it's slightly jarring in the beginning, because it's a real musical. Mostly singing, maybe 10 percent dialogue. So it takes a little getting used to.
But this movie feels really fresh, and unique even though the play has been around since 1979.
It's a testament to all the creative people involved.
What's fantastic is that the film succeeds as an engaging piece of drama as well as a Broadway Musical.
Great performances by Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter.
One can argue that they don't have the strongest voices, there's little doubt that they would probably struggle with the piece on stage, but this is a film, it works enough for me.
It's nice to finally see a musical with some real bite.
8. Death Proof
I hated Planet Terror.
I kept looking at my watch, and wishing it would end.
It was especially painful because everybody else seemed to be enjoying it.
I was dreading the possibility that Death Proof would be the same.
To me Planet Terror wasn't a Grindhouse movie.
It was a big budget sci-fi parody, seriously....I saw this movie before...it was called Mars Attacks and it didn't have the wanna be scratch marks and bad splices...trying to seem cool or unique.
The movie defeated the purpose of The Grindhouse concept.
A Grindhouse movie isn't supposed to have big stars like Bruce Willis or crazy special effects.
CGI? Are you kidding me?
Thankfully Quentin Tarantino made a REAL Grindhouse film.
Complete with a limited budget, unusual casting, and retro production design.
He even had long dialogue scenes to compensate for the lack of action due to the small budget.
Obviously people didn't get it, much less appreciate it.
For me, Death Proof gave me a flashback to my youth.
Similar to the food critic in the movie Ratatouille.
I dropped my pen in shock and awe.
I remember watching movies like this as a kid.
They would come on late at night, when I wasn't supposed to be up.
Back then I didn't know shit about budget or storyline, or anything remotely resembling criticism.
I had no concept of a bad movie.
For me either a movie was boring, serious, probably important, and put me to sleep, or it had something fun, exciting and cool to see.
Most of the time when I watched a movie I just wanted to see something cool.
Sometimes if I was lucky, I'd stumble onto a movie that had something naughty that I wasn't supposed to see.
It was a certain type of flick, where I would have to wait, sometimes for what seemed like an eternity for the action, or the violence, or if I was really lucky the sex to happen.
When I got it...I wasn't disappointed.
Because it was usually over the top and fun.
I wasn't moved to emotional passion, or provocative thought.
I was moved to shits and giggles.
The question is why aren't there movies like that now?
7. The Bourne Ultimatum
There were lots of big action movies this year.
Big budgets, big casts, big robots, big ships.
None of them holds a candle to Bourne.
I wasn't a big fan of the Bourne Supremacy.
For me it was one of those sequels that destroyed everything that was great about the first one.
He spends the whole first film protecting the girl, and then she dies five minutes into the second film.
What the hell???!!!
What makes Jason Bourne so great, is seeing his expertise through another character's eyes.
You take that away and he's just another Rambo, or James Bond or John Mclain.
He's just like a dozen other action heroes out there.
Give him somebody to guard and protect...he becomes the ultimate hero.
Thankfully, he's in bodyguard mode here, and the results are fantastic.
The ending is a little anti-climatic. But it's still one hell of a ride.
Great action, tense suspense, wonderful sequences.
Best action film of the year.
This movie is disturbing on a bunch of levels.
The re-creations of the murders are beyond creepy.
So much care is taken into the details and accuracy.... it almost borders on worship.
But that's the point of the film.
People are constantly obsessed with details that they shouldn't be.
The film for me really takes off in the second half.
It takes on so many levels.
The audience starts to see themselves in the characters. Suddenly things that normally seem crazy start to seem rational and worthwhile.
We actually start sympathizing.
In the end we are left with nothing concrete.
The tag line said it all.
"There's more than one way to lose your life to a killer."
5. Eastern Promises
Viggio Mortensen is bad ass.
If there was any doubt before, it's beyond judgment now.
Wrestling naked, and stabbing a guy in the the eye sort of confirms that for you.
Russian Mafia, stomach churning suspense, engaging characters.
Violence, sacrifice, loyalty, deception.
This movie had it all.
I love the direction that David Cronenberg
is taking in his recent films.
Can't wait to see what he does next.
4. Rescue Dawn
Took me awhile to see this movie.
Really wanted to.
Don't know why I couldn't make it happen.
Had my favorite actor, one of my all-time favorite directors.
I guess a part of me was dreading the subject matter.
Not very fun stuff, imprisonment, starvation, and torture.
But like many of Werner Herzog's films, even in the darkest moments there's.... beauty and hope.
Amazing film, breathtaking images, heartbreaking performances.
Sadly, I'm noticing that it's being overlooked in award season.
Wake up people!!!!
Christian Bale and Steve Zahn deserve attention for their fantastic work.
3. No Country for Old Men
For god sakes get the hell out of the way.
If one values their life they'll run away....now!!!
Anton Chigurh is heading this way.
Seriously, I haven't seen anything this evil on screen since Anthony Hopkins brought Hanibal Lector to the life in Silence of the Lambs.
Except Anton Chigurgh doesn't tell funny, little, dirty, jokes to break the tension.
He shoots one in the fucken head with an air gun when one least expects it.
He doesn't even enjoy it.
Enjoy would imply that he cares on some level.
He doesn't care, people are just ants in his path.... ants that need to get out of the way or they'll be stepped on.
Chilling, and epic.
Truly one of the greatest characters in movie history.
It's that kind of performance.
It's a career defining role.
The ironic thing is that like Anthony Hopkins, when he did Silence of the Lambs Javier Bardem has been around for quite a long time.
He usually plays the leading man. The Romantic lead in foreign films.
I don't think that's going to happen anymore.
He's going to be forever remembered as the blood thirsty Anton Chigurh.
He's going to be the next great heavy...in the vein of a young Pacino and DeNiro.
Did I mention that this was a Coen Brothers movie?
Not a George Clooney, or Tom Hanks shitty kind of Coen Brothers movie.
This is Miller's Crossing, Fargo, Coen Brothers.
Thank you God...the return to greatness.
*********Note: The Final Two*********
Most years No Country for Old Men would be the best movie of the year.
But not this year.
It's a real testament of what a great movie year it was.
Now before I continue, I just want to stress that these last films have been going back and forth between number one and two.
Seriously if there was ever a year for a tie this would be it.
Even while writing this post it's gone back and forth in my head at least three times.
So in a way, this is sort of a tie for my favorite film of 2007.
I could take the easy way out, and leave it at that and say for posterity's sake I'm going to arbitrarily assign numbers to them but technically call it a tie.
But I don't want to wimp out.
So I'm going to choose, even though I'll probably change my mind again, and will continue to change and debate as the days go by.
So for my second favorite film of 2007.......
2. There Will Be Blood
Daniel Day Lewis is the greatest living actor.
Before this movie that point could be debated.
It's a fantastic performance full of wonderful, authentic, quirks and, multiple nuanced, levels.
Forgive me for being dramatic, but I hesitate to call it a performance...it's more like....a spiritual possession.
Before I saw this film, from watching the clips I thought he was doing a variation of his Bill the Butcher character from Gangs of New York.
But it's so much more deeper than that....so much more layered, his limp, his body language, the history of his soul, his stare is different.
It truly needs to be witnessed to be believed.
This is also an epic directorial turn by Paul Thomas Anderson.
Completely different from his other films, he now has established himself as one of the premiere directors of this generation.
The final scene will go down as one of the greatest scenes in film history.
It'll go down with scenes from The Godfather or Raging Bull in terms of quotability.
And my Favorite film of 2007........
1. The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford
Did I mention that I loved westerns?
I hesitate to call it a western really, it's more than that.
It's a drama in the west....with action...and suspense....and great performances.
The first thing one notices in the film is the look.
The production design.
The feel of the film.
It's almost as if each frame can be treated as a work of art.
The performances are all fantastic.
Brad Pitt has never been better.
Casey Affleck is a revelation.
All the smaller roles are casted perfectly.
The script is remarkable, that it is based on a true story is even more effective.
The movie is also incredibly layered.
What's interesting is that the movie touches on themes that the other films on this list did too.
The setting takes place in the west like 3:10 to Yuma.
The obsession motif in this movie hearkens back to the same themes in Zodiac.
The film explores issues of trust, loyalty, and deception, not unlike Eastern Promises.
The character of Jesse James is a cold-blooded killer not unlike Anton Chigurh.
Themes of dealing with greed, guilt, and ambition are explored like in There will be Blood.
There's even a musical number featuring Nick Cave.
What does it all mean?
Nothing really except that it all adds up to a wonderful representative for my favorite film of 2007.
What a great movie year.