Top/Bottom 5 Movies of 2007

November 27, 2007 at 4:06 pm 18 comments

I know it is only November, but I’m pretty sure this list won’t change in the next 30 days. In fact, the amount of quality movies I saw in the theatre this year was so low, a top 5 was no problem. The bottom five was the toughest list!

Living in Los Angeles presents a catch-22 situation: we get a lot more movies but they cost a lot more. In fact, all five movies on this list were either a limited run in only New York or Los Angeles, or I saw them during their limited opening a few weeks before they went wide. I’m sure there is something to be said about that. But I’m not gonna!

So, the list is after the jump:


5. The Darjeeling Limited directed by Wes Anderson

Rushmore is my favorite Wes Anderson film by far. However, even though I thought that The Royal Tenenbaums was good, I could feel something slipping. When The Life Aquatic came out, it was like a parody of a Wes Anderson film – and my faith in the director was lost.

However, I feel like Wes Anderson redeemed himself with The Darjeeling Limited. Yes, there are a few too many slow motion shots, and the soundtrack to the movie is sure to make its way into a hundred hipster’s hearts. But at the core of the film is a good story about family, travel, and life expectations. A little pretentious? Yes – but that’s par for the course. When Anderson finally decides to make another film about real people in a real world, perhaps it will make #1. Until then, we get The Darjeeling Limited (and Rushmore on DVD).

4. Sunshine directed by Danny Boyle

When you have a movie that is basically The Core in reverse, you know you need a talented director to pull it off. Danny Boyle does it in spades, with only a slight misstep at the end.

This is superb science fiction, as it takes an absurd premise and not only makes you believe, but makes you interested. There is tension, suspense, and most of all wonder. Without giving too much more away, I’d recommend it for any fan of Alien and 2001: A Space Oddyssey.

3. Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten directed by Julien Temple

As the DVD was being released in the UK, this finally got a stateside non-festival release. As a major Joe Strummer fan, this was the documentary I was waiting for. I love Temple’s previous punk doc The Filth and the Fury, and I thought that Westway to the World was solid, if a little flat. What really got me excited for this was Dick Rude’s documentary Let’s Rock Again. I’m a firm believer that Joe Strummer’s solo material outshines a lot of his Clash work, and Let’s Rock Again focuses soley on his work with the Mescaleros.

The Future is Unwritten goes from the 101’ers to his death – his time with The Clash, his ego and his strange trips, his 10 year hiatus, etc. Even though some of the “celebrity” interviews were distracting (Johnny Depp dressed as Captain Jack, anyone?), the film goes to great lengths to show the scope of Joe Strummer’s talent and reach.

2. No Country for Old Men directed by the Coen brothers

I had the great fortune of seeing No Country for Old Men when it was in its limited release here in Los Angeles. (Now it is in wide release, and I’m seeing it a second time this Saturday). Even though the theatre was almost full, there were times during the movie where you could hear people talking outside the theatre.. it was that quiet and that tense. No Country for Old Men takes us back to the Coen brothers’ Blood Simple – a taught, tense, introspective thriller that doesn’t try to be cool – but it just is.

It is hard to write about this movie because I went in without ever seeing a trailer or reading a synopsis. And I think that is the best way to see it. The “simple” story quickly gives way to something deep and introspective and haunting. Please go see this movie as soon as you can.

1. Control directed by Anton Corbijn

Control is the most fantastic movie I’ve seen all year. And I had really, really bad seats. So it’s that good.

I’ve talked about this a little before here, but I will add that this film is the best shot, best acted, most heartbreaking film of the year. Sam Riley becomes Ian Curtis in the film (and after seeing 24 Hour Party People, I’m convinced he was the best possible choice) and the Joy Division performances are amazing and sound dead on. But this film is more than an impersonation act – it fleshes out Curtis’ brief life and senseless suicide.

Finally, the black and white film is absolutely beautiful. I knew immediately after getting out of the movie that this would be almost impossible to beat. And it was. Control was only open in limited cities (I think Portland had it at Cinema 21), but I’m assuming this will be available on DVD in early 2008.

Honorable Mentions:

The HostSurprisingly entertaining Korean monster flick.
Live Free or Die Hard Unapologetic action throwback. Do yourself a favor though, and rent the “unrated” version on DVD.
Knocked UpAfter not liking The 40-Year Old Virgin, I was surprised at how funny this turned out to be.
Grindhouse (Death Proof)As the Silver Jews sing (and my tattoo sports), this movie is about “fast cars, fine ass.” The first half of Grindhouse was entertaining, but Tarantino’s love letter to 70’s car/revenge films had me as soon as Kurt Russel’s scarred face showed up.
28 Weeks LaterA worthy follow-up to my favorite zombie movie EVAR!!!!!!
This is England -Really tight little movie about skinheads in England.

Worst of 2007:

Transformers

Michael Bay made one entertaining movie, and it was The Rock. Transformers is the most asanine, pointless, barf inducing movie I have seen in the summer blockbuster season. Optimus Prime (hiding in a backyard, of course) steps on a doghouse and says “my bad.” I grew dumber by the end of this shit-on-celluloid crap fest.

300

Not much to be said about this movie except when I got out, I actually said “what a silly movie.” And it was. It was very silly.

Spider-Man 3

Nooooooo! What did you do to the most entertaining comic book franchise this side of X-Men?! Spider-Man 3 was like my stomach after Thanksgiving, overstuffed and a little upset. Almost unwatchable.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Not almost unwatchable.. completely unwatchable.

The Bourne Ultimatum

I might get beaten up for this, but the the story and writing is not what I had a problem with in the last two Bourne films. It’s the directing. The nonsensical shaking of the camera at every moment makes the film un-enjoyable.

Honorable Mention: Pirates of the Caribbean 3 Trailer

If I was more mathematically inclined, I would calculate how many smaller, better movies could have been made with the money spent on the marketing and creation of the 3 Pirates movies. But then I would probably look at the number (most likely in the hundreds) and just weep, weep, weep. I didn’t see the 3rd one, but I saw the trailer. And just because of that, it almost made the worst of 2007.

Anyway – there is my list. Agree or disagree? I’d love to hear from you in the comments. In the meantime, I can’t wait for 2008 – There Will Be Blood, Cloverfield, and Rambo are all on my first-to-see list.

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Entry filed under: garbage sacks, Movies.

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18 Comments

  • 1. aditive  |  November 28, 2007 at 2:06 am

    good list. don’t agree completely as I actually enjoyed Transformers:)

  • 2. Jenny  |  November 28, 2007 at 6:55 am

    I wish I had seen some of those. Mostly, Control and No County for Old Men.

    I bet if you had seen Lust Caution it would make that list too, or a least a top 6.

  • 3. Robert  |  November 28, 2007 at 11:13 am

    I’ll take that bet.

  • 4. Kiala  |  November 28, 2007 at 1:41 pm

    Margot at the Wedding. Best movie this year.

    Except Sunshine.

    And 3:10 to Yuma.

    And I agree about Transformers. Just total POOP.

  • 5. Robert  |  November 28, 2007 at 2:47 pm

    I forgot to add 3:10 to Yuma in the honorable mentions. And I haven’t seen Margot at the Wedding, but I did see The Squid and the Whale for the first time a few weeks ago.

    (MORE LIKE KIALA AT THE WEDDING)

  • 6. Dave  |  November 28, 2007 at 10:37 pm

    Wait a minute. We saw The Life Aquatic together and you liked it at the time. Remember, we had to sit in different aisles and had that thumbs up moment across the theatre when Gut Feeling started playing during the training sequence? Awesome. We also saw the
    Core together and agreed that it was pretty good for mindless summer trash. Man, I miss seeing movies with you and Charley. But what’s this shit about the Bourne movies? Don’t fuck with Bourne. BOOOOURNNNAAAA! The first two movies are absolute genius, and the shot in the arm that the spy genre needed. No amount of wanky camera work can change that. I’ll be seeing the new one tommorow at the cheap theatres. Five bucks for Bourne and a beer. Hell yeah! One entry that I totally agree on is 300. I had all these people tell me how awsome it was. Of course, I should have known better when all those people were under the age of 22. I rented it a couple of nights ago and I hated it. I hated the pathetic dialogue. I hated the dis-jointed plot. I hated the boring “action” sequences. But mostly I just hated the fucking Spartans. What a bunch of jock assholes. Their cockiness made it impossible for me to like them. And that damn voice-over. Some dick informing me of the dick ways of Spartan society including their practices of infanticide and the importance of never showing any weakness. There is nothing more boring than a character that doesn’t show any weakness. “But Dave” you might say, “That’s how Spartan society really was”. To which I would answer, “Yeah, I know. That’s why their all fucking dead, and their race has been wiped from the face of the earth. Because they were a bunch of stupid jocks.”

  • 7. Robert  |  November 29, 2007 at 12:39 am

    Whoa whoa whoa. First off… I liked the Core too. I watched that with you. I never slagged on the Core, but Sunshine was The Core in reverse.

    And with The Life Aqautic, I gave the thumbs up with the Gut Feeling, not to the entire movie. I think it had its moments, but the entire movie left me with a thought of “what am I watching, here?”

    And you’re review of 300 should be the headline on the DVD case. “They are all dead now because they are a bunch of stupid jocks”

    So yeah, I liked some parts of Life Aquatic, and I loved gut feeling, but the entire movie left me empty.

    Bill Murray ruled though.

    So did “Gut Feeling”

    Oh yeah, finally: the Bourne flicks. The first Bourne movie is untouchable.. the best spy movie of all time in my opinion. The other two were really, really good… if they were an audiobook. But that shaky camera makes it impossible for me to know what the fuck is going on! Two guys having a conversation? Shake the camera. Car chase? Shake that camera! It’s like the director has a cameraman friend with palsy and doesn’t have the heart to do a second take.

  • 8. Dave  |  November 29, 2007 at 11:38 pm

    What are you watching here? Well I’ll tell you. You’re watching awesome. Now, back to Bourne. I just saw Ultimatum, and I loved it. I thought it was better than the second one. But yeah, the shaky camera thing gets old for sure. There were a couple of cool parts that would have been even cooler if I could see what the fuck was happening. And that’s the fault of the director for Supremacy and Ultimatum who was different than the director for Identity. But still, I love those movies. The shaky camera isn’t anywhere close to ruining it for me. If the rest of Ultimatum totally sucked, the train station scene would have still sold the entire movie for me. But the rest didn’t suck. It just kept kicking ass with a relentless mix of momentum, action and creative problem solving on the part of Bourne. And I loved the way they overlapped the time tables of Supremacy and Ultimatum. And Julia Stiles manages to get increasingly hotter through all three films. I don’t even like Julia Stiles. And the Moby track used in all three films? Awesome. So in short, I thought Bourne Ultimatum was excellent. The only thing that would have made it better would have been a chase on those scooters instead of the city vehicle vs. government vehicle chase that was a little too reminiscent of Supremacy. We’re going to have to agree to disagree on this one, champ. I’m now going to go upstairs and watch This Is England which I rented yesterday. Have you seen You Kill Me? I rented it a few days ago. Not sure what I think about it.

  • 9. Dave  |  November 29, 2007 at 11:45 pm

    Oh yeah, 3:10 to Yuma was SAWEET. “Ahm Houn-gray”

  • 10. Dave  |  November 30, 2007 at 10:35 pm

    This is England= The most adorable skinheads ever. Except for that one guy.

  • 11. Robert  |  November 30, 2007 at 10:50 pm

    Yeah. Thay guy scared me. But really, it shows the division of racist skinheads vs. real skinheads. I hung out with a bunch of mexican skinheads on the last scooter rally I was on, they were great. You gotta get down here, Dave. At least for a visit.

  • 12. Robert  |  November 30, 2007 at 11:10 pm

    P.S. the making out sounds between the kid and the girl who looked like a koala bear crossed with sioux catwomen made me want to buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurf

  • 13. Kiala  |  December 1, 2007 at 10:47 am

    I would pay to see the 3rd Bourne movie again just to watch Matt Damon throw that little hand towel at that guy.

    Julia Stiles looked awesome as a brunette. But I’m biased.

  • 14. Kiala  |  December 1, 2007 at 10:48 am

    Oh, and Dave, I’m sending you an email about the wedding too.

  • 15. Dave  |  December 1, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    Totally. Bourne is always using some household item to kick some guy’s ass in those movies. The guy’s got a knife, Bourne’s got a whisk. The guy’s got a gun, Bourne incapacitates him with a place mat.

  • 16. Control on DVD today « shoes on powerlines  |  June 3, 2008 at 10:05 am

    […] favorite movie of 2007 is out today on DVD (finally). I hardly ever buy DVDs anymore, but I’ll be picking this one […]

  • 17. karan  |  August 14, 2008 at 9:15 am

    woh ho ho ho,
    So you have the sense to include darjeeling ltd in the top 5 and 300 and the bourne ultimatum in the bottom 5.
    May i have the pleasure of asking on “what the hell basis have you rated these movies”.
    whole of the world is crazy about B.Ultimatum and the 300. But whoo hoo, you wanna take the pride of including it in bottom 5.

    Dude you have to renew the list and your selection criteria as well.

    Hope to see a sensible list soon..

  • 18. Robert  |  August 14, 2008 at 9:38 am

    ‘May i have the pleasure of asking on “what the hell basis have you rated these movies”.’

    Well, I used the scientifically proven meter of “what I enjoyed” and “what I felt ridiculous.”

    But karan! I see your point! Please tell me what I should have enjoyed and what I didn’t enjoy for 2007. Never too late to update an almost year old post with a more “sensible” list.


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