November 18, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Posted in Decade One | Leave a comment

Like last year, I have put all 72 of the 2007 films I saw on the list.  My over all impression for the year: it was marked by amazing performances.  More than anything else, this was the year of great acting.  Two of the best performances I think I have ever seen occurred this year (see below) and several others were just breath taking to watch.  I would say that the top 7-8 performances this year were better than any performance you see most years.   Also, many more comedies made my list this year and made the top 10 (including the #2 spot), which is unusual for me as I don’ usually like comedies.  And, jesus, do I need to mention the musicals?  I fucking hate musicals and, yet, I saw 5 this year and I even liked 3 of them.  What is up with that?  Lots of foreign films, including 5 French, 2 Romanian, 2 Thai, 1 each from Korea, Ireland, Spain, Japan, and Singapore.  After a bad start, this ended up being a very strong year for films, in my opinion.  As best evidenced by the fact that I only saw 14 films I did not like this year, as opposed to 28 last year.  If that keeps up, I only see 7 bad films this year.  I can’t wait!


1.  No County for Old Men – While this was not as evocative a film as last year’s #1, it was grotesquely violent and deeply discomforting in really brilliant ways.  I was blown away by the performances.  Javier Bardem has created one of the great evil characters of all time.  From now on, any list of the greatest film villains will include him.  Tommy Lee Jones also gave a perfect performance.  There were scenes in this film that were flawless from start to finish (the meeting between Bardem’s character and the wife, for instance).  The final scene was controversial and the audience I saw it with did not like it.  But, they’re wrong.  It was exactly the right way to end the film; unsettled, just as the whole film had been.

2.  Romance & Cigarettes – The critics either loved this film or hated it.  I am not sure I could recommend it to very many people.  It was deeply weird and completely over the top.  It was also surprisingly foul-mouthed (for a musical).  It had a great cast (Susan Sarandon, James Gandolfini, Steve Buscemi, Eddie Izzard, Amy Sedaris) but Christopher Walken and Bobby Cannavale stole every scene they were in with their ballsy, crazy-ass performances.  Although the best line goes to Kate Winslet (“the elephant fucks the ant inch by inch”).

3.  Control – This was the film about Ian Curtis, the lead singer of Joy Division, who committed suicide just before they became famous.  The film is shot in grainy black and white and moves along slowly.  Other than an interest in the band, this film stood out because of the amazing performance of Sam Riley, a British singer with limited acting experience.  I loved everything about how he played Curtis; it was one of the top five performances of the year (but that would be another list).

4.  Superbad– Stupid.  Raunchy.  Adolescent.  I cannot justify why I loved this movie so much but I really did.  I just laughed my ass off the whole time.  How could you not love McLovin?

5.  Into The Wild – Why is Superbad higher than this film?  I guess just because I enjoyed it so damn much.  Incredible as this film was, I would not call it enjoyable.  However, I would say that everyone should see it, again, just based on a performance.

6.  Paris, Je t’aime – This film is a series of very short vignettes about Paris.  Some don’t work at all (Juliet Binoche’s, for instance) but most did on some level and several of them were clever, funny or wonderful (Gus Van Sant’s, Nick Nolte’s, Elijah Wood’s, Natalie Portman’s, just to name a few) and the last two are simply brilliant (worth watching by themselves).  This is one of the few movies I watched twice this year and I liked it even more the second time.

7.  Gone Baby Gone – Ben Affleck’s directorial debut.  Frankly, he should stay on that side of the camera.  His younger brother also does a great job in the lead role.  It is still too early in his career for me to tell if he can act or is well cast (he has always played this kind of sad-sack, worn down, seen-it-all guy).  Either way, he fits the character perfectly.  One thing the Affleck boys know is Boston and it shows here; the neighborhoods, the people, the lingo all feel authentic.  The community is as much a character in this movie as anybody is.  Add to that the suspenseful (and sometimes horrifying) story and an ending that will have you debating with your friends (“did he do the right thing or not?”) and you have a film that could have been the top of my list in other years.

8.  There Will Be Blood – This film reminded me that Daniel Day Lewis is on of the best actors alive, perhaps the best actor of his generation.  He inhabited his character in every way at every moment.  There were times when somebody would say something to him, his face would flush, the veins in his head would pop out and I would think, “holy shit, he isn’t just acting mad, he has actually gotten mad.”  The one of the best performances I have ever seen.  The film itself can be plodding, the plot wandered and sometimes it could be unnecessarily convoluted.  However, the musical score is unlike any I have heard before and that name… the title of the movie is itself a work of genius.  You wait the whole time wonder, “when?”

9.  La Vie en Rose – I resisted and resisted seeing this film because the subject matter did not interest me.  And it sounded so depressing (which it was) but I loved the film so much I watched parts over again several times.  Again, Marion Cotillard blew me away with how completely she inhabited Edith Piaf.  To see her outside of this character is to realizes how transformed she was, not just in appearance, but in every facial expression, in the way she carried her shoulders, the way she walked.  I would be hard pressed to think of a single example of better acting by an actress that I have ever seen.

10. King of Kong: Pocket Full of Quarters – There are far fewer documentaries on my list than in the past.  This one is a gem.  Touching and quite funny, it is about the quest for the highest all time score on Donkey Kong and the ridiculous (and unbelievably serious) battles that occur around the title.  I was very entertained by this film and, unlike most other film in my top 10, everyone else I know who saw it, loved it.


Other Movies I Loved:


Sweeny Todd– It is unfortunately a musical and the songs (mostly) suck but it is visually amazing.

Persepolis– Best animation this year.  Some have trivialized her story but I think her perspective has value.

4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days– Slow, bleak and minimalistic with scenes that will cut right through you.

Lars and the Real Girl– Some found it trite but I was touched by a realistic look at a delusional disorder.

Juno– Sarcasm in spades.  Almost too clever for its own good but I laughed out loud a lot.

The Diving Bell & The Butterfly– A story of unbelievable resiliency with scenes that will break your heart.

Waitress– A feel good movie without being saccharine.  Quite funny but gentle, not crass.  Very sweet.

The Host– Korean horror film w/slapstick humor.  Only a couple of scary scenes but fun and a good ending.

Eastern Promises– Armin Mueller-Stahl is sooo creepy.  And you get to see Viggo’s penis.  Very violent.

Wristcutters: A Love Story– What can I say?  Really weird comedy with Tom Waits.


Movies I Really Liked:


Glue– South American film.  Coming of age story.  Teens having sex in various gender combinations.

Starting Out In The Evening

Once– Cinema Verité musical.  Don’t believe me?  See it.


The Lookout– 3 years in a row, the “3rd Rock” kid pulls out a great performance.

Death at a Funeral


Charlie Wilson’s War

Michael Clayton 

Rick & Steve: the Happiest Gay Couple in All the World– Stop motion Lego animation.  With Lego sperm.

Killer of Sheep– First release of a film made in the 70s.  No plot.  Bad acting.  Beautiful camera work.


A Mighty Heart

Zoo– Half acted/half documentary on men who love sex with horses.  Sensitive and penetrating.

Rocket Science– Quirky little indie comedy.  Very quirky, very indie.  It worked sometimes.



Movies I Am Glad I Saw:


I’m Not There– Bob Dylan film.  I didn’t get it but I get that there was definitely something to get.

Rescue Dawn

12:08 East of Bucharest– Romanian film. Very slow.  Almost funny.  Insightful idea.


Small Town Gay Bar- Poignant personal stories.  Inspiring enough but nothing I did not know.

Tears of the Black Tiger– Weird ass Thai film.  Visually stunning.  Not so clear on the plot.

Alexis Arquette: She’s my Brother– Fascinating documentary about being transgendered in a famous family

American Gangster

The Wind That Shakes the Barley

First Snow

The Savages

Hot Fuzz– Funny but not as good as “Shaun of the Dead.”

In the Shadow of the Moon– Documentary on the Apollo missions to the moon.  Really beautiful footage.

Jesus Camp– Jesus Christ!  Them evangelicals can sure be fuuuucked up.

15– A nonlinear poetic ramble about 15 year old street gangs in Singapore.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

The Simpsons’ Movies– Bart’s penis.  HA HA

This is England– British punk scene in the early 80s.  Felt true to life with some natural performances.

Talk to Me


Big Bang Love, Juvenile A–  Weird Ass Japanese movie.  Seriously.  Gay prisoners.  No sex.


Movies I Could Have Skipped:


The Orphanage– Spanish film.  Should have been scarier.

Syndromes & A Century– Thai film.  Highly praised.  Too slow for me.  Way too slow.


The Golden Compass


The Bourne Ultimatum


Spiderman 3– A frenzied mess.  All superhero movies should stop at #2.

The Ten

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead– Unrelentingly grim and cynical.  Mind you, that’s coming from me.

The Darjeeling Limitied

Into Great Silence– Booooooring.  Seriously.  Bor-fuck-ing.


Youth Without Youth– pretentious shit.  It reminded me of Barney’s movie from “The Simpsons.”

Ocean’s 13– Vapid, contradictory writing and self-congratulatory acting

300- Yeah, I’ll give it cool visuals but it was deeply bigoted.  Despite the fact that, historically, the Spartans were known for open same sex relationships, they had to make homophobic remarks about the Athenians to make the audience comfortable.  That way the safely sanitized hetero frat boys could go off and fight the evil Persian forces, who were lead by a drag queen, with a court full of queers, whose informant was a hunchback and whose army was composed of every possible ethnic group except Whites (including those who could not have possible been there, like the Japanese).  Disgusting.





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