Well, it’s that time of year. And while most critics seem to be bemoaning to one degree or another the expectation that they compile year-end top ten lists, I still relish list-making, even though any list I might make is going to woefully incomplete. This year I saw 182 movies, which is roughly double my normal average. Not having a job is a big help. ;) And enough of them were released this year for me to be comfortable making a Top Ten of 2007 list. It’s still incomplete, but hey. It’s a fair working list, I think. After the released-in-2007 list are a bunch of more subjective I-watched-in-2007 lists of both films and books.
Top Ten 2007
(A few of the top 2007 films I actually saw early in January before I posted this. I thought it prudent to include them here, but they don’t appear in my favorites-that-I-watched-in-2007 list because, well, I didn’t watch them in 2007).
Links lead to my original review or reaction post; I tried to get anchors to work in the reaction posts so that the link would take you straight to the relevant part of the post, but I was unsuccessful. Sorry.
No Country for Old Men – The Coen brothers are back, and as good as ever, blending creepy atmosphere and dark humor perfectly.
Once – I almost put this on top, simply because I love it so much, but NCFOM deserves to be number one.
Juno – Clever, snarky, human, and Ellen Page being brilliant.
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly – A film of great beauty and sensitivity that I never wanted to end.
Eastern Promises – Not as edgy as Cronenberg often is, but an extremely solid crime film nonetheless.
Hot Fuzz – Probably the most enjoyable film of the year; part action, part comedy, all pop-culture-referential, and pretty much all perfect.
Away from Her – Simple and perfectly acted and directed drama; Julie Christie is quietly sensational as a woman diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
3:10 to Yuma – One of the first westerns I’ve seen recently to successfully use and update the genre conventions.
Ratatouille – Not Pixar’s best, but that’s hardly an insult; the added bonus of a Parisian setting had me at go.
Waitress – The sweetest film of the year has enough sarcastic bite in the script to keep it from going completely off the rails into sentimentality. My major faux pas of the year, apparently, was forgetting to include Waitress in my monthly recaps.
Atonement – Extremely faithful adaptation; well-done, but also more literary than cinematic except for a few virtuosic steadicam shots.
Paris, je t’aime – Not all the short films in this compendium are good, but many of them are excellent, and how could I not love 18 films about Paris?
Enchanted – Amy Adams (and James Marsden) elevate this from what could have been pure cheese to a delightful fantasy/comedy.
Zodiac – Hits a sweet spot between serial killer thriller and ambiguous character study.
The Darjeeling Limited – Doesn’t reach the dizzying heights of The Royal Tenenbaums, but still an evocative, entertaining Wes Anderson-esque road film.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street – A bit on the gory side, but beautifully shot, acted, and yes, even sung. Macabre is the word.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – The Harry Potter series keeps getting better; great supporting work gives this one an extra edge.
The Lookout – This little crime film must have gone under a lot of radars, because it deserved more attention than it got.
The Bourne Ultimatum – Another solid entry in the already solid Bourne series, proving that action franchises can be both exciting and smart.
Paprika – Dreams and reality start to mix with potentially world-ending results in this visually inventive anime film. I *heart* reality-blurring stories.
Avenue Montaigne – Unassuming and enjoyable little French film of interlocking relationships in the vicinity of the Parisian concert hall.
Across the Universe – The melding of Beatles music with a 1960s love story/political scene doesn’t completely work, but much of it is lovely.
Films which have been on lots of critics lists or are otherwise notable, and thus might be on my lists somewhere, but I haven’t seen yet.
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Persepolis, I’m Not There, There Will Be Blood, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days, This is England, Rescue Dawn, Lars and the Real Girl, Margot at the Wedding, Sunshine
edit 5/5/08 – The Diving Bell and the Butterfly has moved up to second place, 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days is in 4th, but constantly threatens to move up to second or third, The Assassination of Jesse James is now 6th, and Lars and the Real Girl and Sunshine are in the low twenties. I hated There Will Be Blood, so it’s down at #32. Sorry.
After the jump, my favorite films I watched all year, regardless of release date, as well as favorite books I read.