Film Faves: 2007

The year 2007 was the worst year of the decade for movies.  There.  I said it.  Yes, it was the year that There Will Be Blood, No Country for Old Men, and Atonement all were released.  I understand those are great films; it's not that I hate them or fail to see their greatness.  But they are only three films out of a hundred or so and not exactly movies I'm in a hurry to watch again. 

Unlike 2006 or 2008, 2007 was a year that really lacked excitement.  I'm sorry, but I was never excited about another action epic based on a theme park attraction.  Spider-Man 3 failed to live up to expectations.  I barely remember the Harry Potter film.  And I cared even less about another cash-grab with that green ogre.  Honestly, with the exception of the Harry Potter film, none of these turned out to be very good films, yet they are what audiences payed paid the most money to see.

Even as I look through my dozen picks for my favorite films of the year, I really have a hard time conjuring up much more excitement than "Meh..." Yes, 2007 was a very difficult year for me to revisit.  I spent quite a bit of time staring at the list of movies released that year, trying to have anything to say about any of them.  Woe is me, right?

Well, I managed to dig up twelve movies I enjoyed most from 2007.  I had to jog my memory for some of these.  But they are all worth revisiting anyway.  Here are my favorite films of...

2007:

12. The Orphanage

Sort of a Spanish The Others (yes, I'm aware of the irony in that statement). This is another effective ghost story about a mom and her kid. This was pretty much overlooked everyone who isn’t a hardcore horror fan. The ending is sad in a way, but strangely a relief. Also noteworthy: this is one of those rare horror films that relies more on tension and perception than gore.

11. Enchanted

This was the surprise of the year. An incredibly funny balance between the Disney fantasy aesthetic and a parody of that aesthetic. Amy Adams proves herself capable of carrying a big-budget film.

10. Planet Terror

Some people really appreciate Tarantino’s motor-mayhem half of Grindhouse. Being the fan of From Dusk ‘till Dawn that I am, I adored this wildly over-the-top action gore-fest so much more. I’ll watch Marley Shelton in practically anything now. Also, how cool is it to see Jeff Fahey again?

9. Simpsons Movie

I’m a bit burned-out of this since my son watched it every weekend for a while. But this is the movie all the (reasonable) fans were hoping it would be. It’s hilarious, but also gets to what makes The Simpsons more than a slapstick pop culture satire: it has heart.

8. Juno

While this may be facing a bit of a backlash these days, one of the things that are great about it is that underneath all the sarcasm and wit, there’s a scared little girl there who doesn’t know how to better deal with her situation. Ellen Page is superb and so is the writing. I really should revisit this one soon.

7. Knocked Up

Hilarious movie! Seth Rogen does an excellent job balancing between unmotivated slacker and concerned father-to-be. Ken Jeong is hilarious as the doctor called in for delivery. What’s great about Knocked Up that many people don’t realize is it’s the antidote to the typical rom-com that features two perfect people falling in love; Rogen and Heigl are the opposite of perfect and therefore more relatable. A lot of people prefer 40 Year-Old Virgin, but Knocked Up is thus far Judd Apatow’s best.

6. 1408

Finally, a great Stephen King film and a great horror film. 2007 was a good year for the return of the Stephen King horror film. When was the last good adaptation of his horror works? Anyway, this may not end the same as King’s short story, but is a solid ghost story with another great turn by John Cusack.

5. Superbad

For me, this is a toss-up with Knocked Up as the funniest film of 2007. I expected this to another mediocre teen comedy that relies on profanity and obvious sex jokes to get by. Thankfully, this is not the case at all. Yes, it is profane and has a wealth of sex jokes (for crying out loud, it is about the quest to get laid!). But it doesn’t always take the obvious route and has more than its share of surprises. Jonah Hill really stands out as the central comedic figure here. But, like anything associated with Judd Apatow, it’s got more going on than just the next sex joke. I really enjoyed this one.

4. The Mist

The Mist edges out 1408 (the other Stephen King horror pic of the year) because it is much more about the horrors within ourselves than the horrors occurring outside. This is in many ways a morality play. Thomas Jane proves he can be more than a killing machine and Marcia Gay Harden gives one of the best performances of her career. I wish we could see more from Laurie Holden. But, oh, that ending…

3. Sunshine

Up until last year’s Moon, this was the smartest and best sci-fi film I’d seen in years. Directed by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, 28 Days Later), Sunshine is about a space crew sent to succeed where another crew failed and re-ignite the dying sun. Yes, Cillian Murphy is great, but so is Chris Evans, who gives the best performance of his career. It is a beautifully shot, intelligent, yet sadly overlooked film.

2. Waitress

What a refreshing little film! This is one of my few favorites of 2007 that I truly love. Keri Russell is spectacular as the anti-Hollywood mom-to-be. Nathan Fillion proves once again that everything he touches is gold. This is not a store-bought Plain Jane delight. It is a home-made rare delicacy. And one of the best stories about motherhood I’ve ever seen.

1. Transformers

Waitress almost knocked this to the number two spot. But I can’t lie: I enjoyed Transformers more than any other movie of 2007. It wasn’t a great movie, but then again 2007 wasn’t a great year for movies. Transformers had its weaknesses (ahem, John Turturro, I’m looking at you!). But coming from the much maligned Michael Bay, this was a far better movie than it had any right to be. Contrary to its reputation, it actually had a coherent, satisfactory story. You won’t find any depth or heart here. But what we do have is a fun, well-plotted action film – and the best film based on an action figure or cartoon to date! Yes, Michael Bay blew it with the sequel (despite all its financial earnings). But I prefer to enjoy Transformers for what it is as a stand-alone feature.


You see what I mean?  I'm kidding.  Those are my favorite films of 2007.  Interestingly, this edition of Film Faves really inspired me to watch some of these films again, as well as movies that didn't make the list like 300.  I hope it did the same for you.  Got any favorites from that year you'd like to share?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

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