2007: The Year in Movies
THE BEST MOVIES OF 2007
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (DreamWorks)
There is none more Burton than the story of a barber who kills his customers and makes them into meat pies. He should just retire, because it’s not going to get any better than this.
You have to give credit to any animated movie that features the finest work Peter O’Toole’s done in decades. In unrelated news, I’m redesigning my office so that it looks like a coffin when viewed from above.
No Country for Old Men (Miramax)
Had this movie been released a year earlier, Javier Bardem would have been a #1 seed in our Badass Bracket. And can we get a shout-out for Tommy Lee Jones and his impeccable comic timing?
The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (Picturehouse)
How awesome is this documentary about one man’s quest to own the world record at Donkey Kong, and the reigning champion’s determination to squash him? Trey Parker and Matt Stone have already aired a “South Park” episode modeled after the story (Episode 1109, “More Crap”). Billy Mitchell is up there with Darth Vader on the list of all-time great movie villains. And worse, he’s real.
Hot Fuzz (Rogue)
Quite simply, the only action movie you need to own. Bonus points to Cate Blanchett for taking a role where all you can see are her eyes.
Juno (Fox Searchlight)
Honest to blog, this movie is the smartest high school comedy since “Election.” Oh, and if you really want to drive From the Balcony’s Bill Clark nuts, say “Honest to blog” to him, and prepare for a “Scanners”-type moment.
The Mist (Weinstein Co.)
The Weinsteins did not make millions by being stupid, so why on earth did they decide to release this grisly horror movie on Thanksgiving weekend? Dumb, dumb, dumb. The movie deserved better than this.
Just watched this again, and I’m stunned that this movie tanked at the box office. It’s “The Princess Bride” with a libido, people! (Or, as the director calls is, “The Princess Bride” meets “Midnight Run.”) Don’t walk, run to the video store to rent this.
The Simpsons Movie (20th Century Fox)
“Sir, you’ve gone mad with power!” “Well, of course I have! Have you tried going mad without power? It’s boring, nobody listens to you.” Albert Brooks + Matt Groening = funny.
PASS THE POPCORN
Ocean’s Thirteen (Warner Bros.)
So good, and so fun – and Ellen Barkin is so smoking hot – that it almost makes me forget about that ridiculous moment in “Ocean’s Twelve” where Julia Roberts pretended to be Julia Roberts. Almost.
Live Free or Die Hard (20th Century Fox)
Twelve years between sequels is as risky a proposition as they come – though the “Indiana Jones” series will push that even further next year by going 19 years between installments – but “Live Free or Die Hard” works both as a “Die Hard” movie and a modern-day action movie. Not even the PG-13 rating could spoil the fun.
Is it just me, or is Michael Bay actually becoming a decent director? Not quite in the elite, despite his box office numbers, but not the devil he was once proclaimed to be.
Shoot ‘Em Up (New Line)
This movie is going to explode on video. Clive Owen as Bugs Bunny, Paul Giamatti as Elmer Fudd, and Monica Bellucci as a lactating hooker? Is there anything else you need to know?
Blades of Glory (DreamWorks)
He still has the rest of his life to prove me wrong, but at present, this is the only time Jon Heder has made me laugh. And that is because he had Will Ferrell to take the pressure off of him.
Somewhere, deep within the offices of Paramount, buried underneath a mountain of coke, some production assistant said, “You know what movie I love? ‘Commando.’ Fuck, man, why don’t we make a modern-day ‘Commando’?” And thus, “Shooter” was born.
THE WORST MOVIES OF 2007
Norbit (20th Century Fox)
Sweet Jesus, did this movie make me angry. Where did Eddie Murphy think the funny would come from? The fat suit? The geek suit? The story’s never-ending mean streak? No wonder Thandie Newton nearly walked off the movie.
Happily N’ever After (Lionsgate)
Worst, animated movie, ever. Poorly voiced, poorly written, poorly designed. Just poor across the board.
Code Name: The Cleaner (New Line)
Heaven help us, we had to watch this movie and “Happily N’ever After” on back-to- back nights. Those were dark days, indeed.
Reign Over Me (Sony)
Before the movie started, I said to myself, “So when is the part where Adam Sandler’s character sings the movie’s title at the top of his lungs?” In a courtroom scene, of course. Ye gods.
The Condemned (Lionsgate)
A movie about sensationalist reality entertainment that shames the viewer for seeing a movie about sensationalist reality entertainment. No wonder no one went to see it.
Because I Said So (Universal)
My dear friend Kristin Dreyer Kramer of Nights and Weekends liked this movie because Diane Keaton’s character reminded her of her own mother. I wanted to hug her after she told me that.
Hitman (20th Century Fox)
The movie was doomed the second they cast Timothy Olyphant, but they went to extra lengths to doom it when they included a “Saw”-esque ‘live or die, your choice’ scene and cast Dougray Scott as someone, anyone, in the movie.
Resident Evil: Extinction (Sony)
Yeah yeah, what do you want from a third “Resident Evil” movie, right? Hey, if a movie’s worth making, it’s worth making well. And this movie is not made well, not by a damned sight.
(or, Not a good year to be Nicolas Cage)
Great potential, poor execution
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (THINKFilm)
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Warner Bros.)
August Rush (Warner Bros.)
Sunshine (Fox Searchlight)
Sleuth (Sony Pictures Classics)
Smokin’ Aces (Universal)
Taking a bullet? Jason Zingale takes a six-shooter to the chest so I don't have to
Will Harris, meanwhile, takes a bazooka
Epic Movie (20th Century Fox)
Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt
From my review of “Shoot ‘Em Up”: “Roger Ebert will surely hate this movie.” As it turns out, Ebert loved it, giving the movie three and a half stars out of four. Whoops.
Shameless 2007 plot device: Dead children
It’s not as if Hollywood just now discovered the misery – oh, I’m sorry, heart-wrenching drama – that can be squeezed out of a story where a parent loses a child; “Mystic River” and “21 Grams” also delved (stooped?) to the same level in recent years. However, there were a disturbing number of movies made this year that involved dead or missing children. “Reservation Road” involves a lawyer that accidentally kills a man’s son, covers it up, and then is retained by the boy’s father, who wants revenge. “Death Sentence” involves the murder of a teenaged hockey prodigy in a gas station holdup, and his father’s subsequent lust for revenge. Handicapped newborns are thrown to their deaths in “300.” Pregnant women are killed in “Dead Silence” and “The Hills Have Eyes 2.” The lead characters in “Reign Over Me” and “I Am Legend” lose their children in airplane and helicopter crashes, respectively. Dead children also feature prominently in “1408,” “Across the Universe,” “Gone Baby Gone” and “In the Valley of Elah.”
Enough already. Are we so numb that this is what it takes to get us off? Threatening the lives of children is a cheap manipulation of people’s darkest fears, and no better than your run-of-the-mill torture porn flick. Besides, who the hell asked for a movie about a dead child? No one, so stop making hem, right now. What we need is someone to write the next “Back to the Future.” Any volunteers?
OVERRATED: All things connected to Judd Apatow
I liked “Knocked Up,” “Superbad” and “The 40-Year-Old-Virgin” and all, but none of these movies was the fall-down-laughing spectacle it was made out to be. Katherine Heigl is taking a beating for daring to call “Knocked Up” sexist, and while it does not look good for her to bash the director of the movie that raised her asking price six times over, she might be on to something. Apatow’s work is funny, but it’s not that funny. Good thing we already did an interview with him before he had the chance to blacklist us for life.