Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My Best (and THE Worst) of 2007 - Updated!!!!

First of all, what a freakin' year. Wow. Some truly great films happened in 2007. Now, I've numbered my top 10, but with me at least, depending on my mood, a list like this could change over time. And will.

Also, it should be noted that while we did have a great year of movies, nothing came close to my Children Of Men experience from 2006. Still love the hell out of that film.

Here we go:

Not on my top 10 - Chuck Wilson's War. Saw it, thought it was good, but considering the material, not much happened story-wise. He decided to help, then he helped, and that was it. Barely any conflict, and what little there was (possible drug scandal) was barely a blip. Interesting story, not a great flick.

Honorable Mentions:

The Hunting Party - Richare Gere, Jesse Eisenberg & Terrence Howard lead this funny but important film about journalists looking for a brutal Serbian terrorist. It's a pretty smart script, with great performances by the above-mentioned trio. Check it out.

The Ten (Funny, but kinda gets old).

The Bourne Ultimatum (a nice bookend if they stop, decent story and kewl action).

I Am Legend - Yeah, I liked it. Sue me.

Superbad/Knocked Up - Really funny stuff. Loved both.

Trade - Powerful stuff. Didn't amaze me though, the trailer was incredible, but it was still a good movie, and well worth seeing.

The Mist - Holy shit. A fine creature feature with a little social commentary thrown in. But that damn ending. It actually rips your heart out, pours gasoline on it, lights it on fire, then puts it out by taking a nice, long piss on it. Messed me up, man.

Here's what I HAVEN'T seen, that might have made my list:

Rescue Dawn, Atonement, Rendition, The Savages, Before The Devil Knows You're Dead, American Gangster, Ratatouille, Zodiac, Into The Wild & Eastern Promises.

Oh, and here's the worst of the year - Ghost Rider. Oh. My. God. What a piece of crap. Worst thing about it - Wes Bentley. I love this guy, too, but what a shittily written part and really really poorly acted, full of "Bwah! Bwah! Bwah! I'm going to take over the whole world!!!" Bullshit. Ugh.

Finally, here's the best:

10. The Lookout - Loved this movie. A nice caper, kick-ass writing and tight direction.

9. Once - A sweet little gem of a love story. I think it's a tad overrated, and some of it did drag, but it had some truly emotional scenes, and I loved the last shot. Loved it.

8. The Darjeeling Limited - It was no Royal Tennenbaums, but I liked the cast and think Wes Anderson did a nice job here.

7. Gone Baby Gone - Ben kicked some ass directing & co-writing this. Good for him. He really captured these neighborhoods, the people, their language. And Casey is on a freakin' role.

6. Juno - Smart & witty, sure. It's a fun script, however, Cera, Garner, Bateman, and Page are the ones that ground it, the dialogue, its emotion. Some of the dialogue is actually a little to show-offy, but the actors make it work. And kudos to Jason Reitman, he did a fine job here.

5. No Country For Old Men - Great movie. It has some incredible scenes and great performances. But Bardem is a little overrated in this role. While he kicks ass, don't get me wrong, and makes a skin-crawling creepy killer, he's pretty emotionless and one-note. I would actually nominate Tommy Lee Jones over him, thought he was excellent (Brolin did fine, too). I liked the ending but didn't love it. Fargo was better.

4. There Will Be Blood - Daniel-Day Lewis is the movie. His performance is astounding. Paul Dano was wonderful as the preacher, and I think this is the best thing Paul Thomas Anderson has done.

3. The Assasination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford - Casey Affleck should win the Oscar in my book. Brat Pitt was great as JJ, and Sam Rockwell was also damn good as always. Loved the direction and smart writing, but the cinematography blew me completely away. Roger Deakins should win the Oscar for this. And not just for the amazing landscapes he captured, but for the intimate scenes as well. Incredible, breathtaking stuff.

2. Sunshine - Wish more people saw this. Really amazing film. There's something that goes down approx. 3/4 of the way through the movie that I thought did not work real well, and that kept it out of the #1 spot. But for the most part, I thought this was fantastic. Haunting.

And at #1 - A Tie!

1A. 3:10 To Yuma - Great, great stuff. Bale & Crowe are superb, and the last 10 minutes is thrilling stuff. I can't describe it without spoiling, just see it. Best western since Unforgiven (not as good as Unforgiven, but came close - this is a damn fine film).

1B. Michael Clayton - For me, this movie kicked ass. The acting, crisp writing & direction, all of it came together for me. Clooney was superb, as were Pollack and Wiltkinson. Tony Gilroy rocks.

What were your faves?


Tavis said...

Two to add:

Sweeney Todd

A lot of people have been writing-off Atonement. I only saw it because I had free passes. I wasn't expecting much, but damn-- I was floored by that film! It stayed with me for days.

And Sweeney Todd-- the last shot in that film is superb. It's the one moment where the film really rises above the stage production. There's just no way that shot would work from the back row.

Christina said...

I happened to see all of the movies in the original screenplay category - Lars and the Real Girl, The Savages, Ratatouille, Juno and Michael Clayton. If I were an academy member, I think I'd vote for Michael Clayton. However, the other ones (you haven't seen) are all worth seeing.

deepstructure said...

bourne was number one for me. followed closely by charlie wilsons war. but omg, you loved sunshine?? agggghhh! :)

Emily Blake said...

The worst movie of the year was Lions for Lambs.

Yes, it was worse than Ghost Rider. At least Ghost Rider had some action in it.

Matt said...

Well, Lions for Lambs wasn't an action movie. So that explains that. It was actually a solid movie, just not what people expected it to be.

I would have to agree with Patrick that Ghost Rider was the worst of the year. Of course I avoid a lot of films (norbit, Wild Hogs) that could be worse.

Good list, Patrick.

Patrick J. Rodio said...

Deep - Loved Bourne. sorry to hear you thought Charlie was #2! :)

Lions For Lambs did look incredibly dumb, shame with all the talent involved.

Emily Blake said...

Sorry Matt, but Lions for Lambs was bad no matter what the genre.

By action I mean ANY kind of action, not just the kind with guns. Like something happening or people moving around.

Even the "action scenes" were mostly of the two soldiers stuck in the snow yards away from each other.

It was a play on film, not a motion picture.

Matt said...

"Sorry Matt, but Lions for Lambs was bad no matter what the genre."

If it's okay by you I'm going to keep my original opinion. It was a good movie.

Another movie that was a "play on film" was Glengarry Glen Ross. No action, mostly people in a room talking to each other. Terrific movie. You don't need action, of any kind, for a movie to be good.

Lions for Lambs isn't near as good as Glen Ross, but it was good.

Anonymous said...

Tony is my man too... reading his new one Duplicity right now. Page one

"This will not be a happy reunion of peers. Both men yelling -- screaming -- as they draw closer. Words lost beneath the roar of the turbines. Waving their arms. Faces flushed. Toe to toe. The Finger In The Face. The Belly Bump. The Huff and Puff. The Touch Me One More Time and...

Now they're swinging.

It's a fight. An ugly playground brawl."

Now how fucking cool is that? He grabbed me by the balls on the first page and didn't let go.

I think I am in love.

Tavis said...

I'm gonna rent Sunshine on your recommendation-- but I also feel obligated to see Danny Boyle's films since I got to be in one.

Matt said...

Anybody wanna share the Duplicity script? I love Tony Gilroy.

Patrick J. Rodio said...

Tavis - Sounds good, let me know what you think.

My wife saw Atonement over the Summer and thought it was very well done. I'll check it out when I get a chance.

Sweeney Todd I'll see, but I honestly wasn't real excited about it.

Also, I think Emily & Matt will have to agree to disagree.

Oh, and on my list of "haven't seen but might make my top list" would also be The Savages and Before The Devil Knows You're Dead.

Patrick J. Rodio said...

I had to add The Hunting Party to my honorable mentions. Really fun, screwy but thought-provoking film.

Emily Blake said...

Who says we have to agree to disagree? I don't agree to anything. My opinion is the only correct one.

Come around to my opinion or die!

(seriously though, LFL made me want to stab somebody just to give my brain something to do.)

Matt said...

"{seriously though, LFL made me want to stab somebody just to give my brain something to do.)"

I had a similar reaction to Baz Luhrman's Romeo + Juliet and Crash. Except I wanted my stabbing victims to be whoever greenlighted those pictures. Different strokes for different folks, heh.

Eddie said...

DDL was brilliant in There Will Be Blood. I was worried with the slow start. 20 mins or so, but damn, that was a fine flick.

I don't get Michael Clayton. The guy does nothing the entire movie. Nothing. The main character does nothing. Nada. Are the Clayton lovers just dialogue junkies, or what? I didn't read the screenplay, might've been brilliant. But toss some action in once in a while. Like, I don't know, maybe have Michael Clayton do something. Just sayin'.

Patrick J. Rodio said...

Eddie - You can't be serious. So Clayton did NOTHING? Did you actually see it? You're entitled to your opinion, but you can't tell me he did nothing. He spent the whole film DOING SOMETHING.

Plus I loved how he actually had layers. Had plenty of problems. And that we didn't need to get hit over the head with dialogue that babies the audience.

Emily Blake said...

Your movie sucks and my movie is better!

Matt said...

Wow...just, wow...

Eddie said...

I sat through the entire painful movie, PJR. I notice you didn't point out one thing Clayton actually did. Think about it. He was supposed to be a fixer. Do whatever it takes to fix shit. But he didn't do much except make some phone calls, drive around, and watch stuff happen.
I will respectfully admit that I recognized what was being shot for; it just wasn't executed well, and wasn't a good movie. IMO, at least. I'm glad you liked it. And I realize I'm in the minority on this one, as far as other scribes go. But no one I know, outside of the aspiring screenwriter world, cared for Michael Clayton at all.
Besides the lack of action, I found the predictability annoying. I've been more surprised watching my local weather on the "eights" for twelve hours straight on the Weather Channel.
Boy, that feels better. I'm done now. Really. It's like they say -- art is subjective. Unless otherwise stated by Emily. :-)

deepstructure said...

eddie, i agree with you to some degree. i was very surprised by the love shown for michael clayton. i didn't hate the film, but im surprised both by the accolades for clooney and the praise heaped on the film. it was o.k, but wasn't anything special to me.

Tavis said...


I feel I have to back you up here with Michael Clayton-- it's a great film, but it took me a few days for it to sink in. And then I read the screenplay and was blown away-- Gilroy's writing style opened me up to a whole new set of possibilities. But I suppose that's something only of interest to other screenwriters.

As for what Michael Clayton actually does-- I think he makes a lot of choices. And unless I was reading the movie wrong, the one big choice he makes is to leave the poker game early. That act alone saves his life-- in more ways than one.

Scott the Reader said...

Worst movie of the year -- Mr. Woodcock.

Just saying.

Emily Blake said...

art is subjective. Unless otherwise stated by Emily.

I'm not sure everyone picked up on the fact that I was making a joke. So many people, including me, were touting one movie as good and another as bad when art IS subjective. Hell, Matt went through the trouble of looking up the movies I like just to tell me he hated them since I didn't like a movie he liked.

I just thought the whole conversation was interesting since there is no real right or wrong. Except for the people who went to see the Spartans movie. They're clearly wrong.

So I responded by my blanket statement that everybody but me is wrong.

It was a joke.

Matt said...

I knew you were joking at certain points. And it really wasn't much trouble to look up those film, one click was all it took.

To be honest, this was the line that bothered me:

"Sorry Matt, but Lions for Lambs was bad no matter what the genre."

That clearly wasn't meant to be taken as a joke. It's also a clever little maneuver, stating an opinion as if it was a fact.

Eddie said...

My comment was meant as funny, too, Emily. Tone gets lost sometimes in comments, I guess.
Plus -- teachers is dumb.
See what I mean.
Anyone know where a free version of the Michael Clayton screenplay resides. Might check out the first ten pages so I can understand the Gilroy hangers on.

Tavis said...


Simply Scripts

Emily Blake said...

Matt, you seemed in your first comment to think I was talking about Lions for Lambs being a drama and that's why I said it had no action. I was trying to clarify that I think it's a sucky movie no matter what genre it is.

And it only took one click, but you still took the time to do it.

My joke was AFTER that, when I laughed at myself and everybody else because there were two conversations going about whether or not a movie sucked when it's all subjective anyway.

And Eddie, I knew you were joking. That comment wasn't really directed at you.

Matt said...

And you took the time to reply to me, many times. So what point are you trying to make about me checking out your movies? If I'm going to accuse somebody of having bad taste, I want to know for sure what their tastes are.

I don't think you have bad taste necessarily, but the fact that you love Crash and R + J clears a few things up for me. I honestly don't mean that as a dig, it's just like I said, different strokes for different folks.

Again, I knew where the joke was.

Emily Blake said...

Matt I didn't realize you were looking to accuse me of having bad taste. I was saying I didn't like a movie you do like, not that your judgement on all films was bad.

I guess you took it a little more personally. you seem very offended that I hated a movie you liked.

I guess that's why you felt the need to look up the films I like. Instead of talking about this one movie, you tried to make it about someone's taste overall, as if one film choice is a reflection of you as a person.

You don't like a couple of movies I do. It doesn't bother me nearly as much as it seems to bother you.

I'd love to discuss the merits of various films in a drama free setting without any personal attacks if you'd like.

Patrick J. Rodio said...


If you kids don't knock it off I'm turning this car around!

Clayton Haters - He's making choices throughout the whole story. No, I'm not going to list them because I don't want to, I'd rather go work on my script. But he does make them, and he's also a very deep character (shaped by desperation, his family problems, work issues, etc) that we hardly ever see in films.

Tavis said...


Have you seen Rocket Science? It was just released on DVD. It was a cool little film-- and it took place in New Jersey!

Check out the trailer here.

Patrick J. Rodio said...

Tavis - Yeah, I have heard of that and wanted to see it. Go Jersey!

gizmorox said...

Yay for Sunshine! I agree :)