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End of the Year Countdown

It’s the end of a long, shitty year, so what better way to finish it out than with a few posts of top ten lists?

Today:

Avitable’s Top Ten Movies of 2007

(in no particular order)

Of course, I only chose movies I actually saw, and I usually pick my top movies based on re-watchability. When I buy it on DVD, am I going to sit down and watch it again, or is it going to sit in the wrapper for a year? How many times will I re-watch it? Do I get excited to have other people watch it, too? Et cetera.

  1. The Bourne Ultimatum – This is one of the only trilogies I can think of where the third movie is actually discernibly better than the first two. I enjoyed all of the Bourne movies, even though they are huge departures from the entertaining books, but this one is taut, only contains about ten lines of dialogue, and is viscerally realistic.
  2. Grindhouse – Ever the avant-garde filmmakers, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez gambled with their joint love letter to the exploitation films of the 70s. While each film (Planet Terror and Death Proof) watched separately suffers, the experience of watching them together, with fake previews sandwiched between them, in an audience of movie fans, was tremendous. Once these two come out on one DVD as the experience was intended, I plan on having a Grindhouse moviefest just so people who didn’t watch it the way it was intended can truly appreciate it.
  3. Superbad – Unlike the cringe-worthy crapfests like The Heartbreak Kid, Meet the Fockers, and others that built plot around devices, this is a comedy that is funny because it’s genuine. It’s realistic. It’s something that doesn’t rely on a deus ex machina or cliched plot contrivance to reach a climax. And it’s one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in the last few years.
  4. Knocked Up – Also coming from the Apatow-helmed team of comedy geniuses, Knocked Up was funny, touching, and very, very horrifying. Seth Rogen showed that you can headline a movie without being a pretty face from the WB or CW, and Paul Rudd is one of my new favorite actors when it comes to supporting comedic roles. I was worried about this movie because I think that Anchorman is one of the stupidest films to ever come from people who are usually funny, but I think this is definitely the year of Apatow.
  5. The Simpsons Movie – Even if this movie was a complete pile of utter shit, a year where we finally got a Simpsons movie would have been a good year. It’s even better that the movie is sharp, funny, and felt like the Simpsons of the old days, before all the good writers went to work for Conan, the Daily Show, The Office, and 30 Rock. Maybe someday, they’ll attract new writers again, and we’ll get some more good Simpsons on TV, but I’m fine watching and re-watching this movie in the interim.
  6. Live Free or Die Hard – The fourth installment of the Die Hard franchise is excellent because it doesn’t take itself seriously. Bruce Willis’s John McClane gets the absolute shit kicked out of him. He gets shot and beaten and burnt and blown up and battered and bruised, and he weathers it like a champ, laughing to himself as he barely makes it out of one ludicrous situation just to land in another. Justin Long does an admirable job as McClane’s hacker sidekick, and the computer plot wasn’t too hackneyed or convoluted, so even sheeple can follow it. This is a movie that I’ve seen four or five times now, and it never fails to entertain.
  7. Transformers – It wasn’t because of the CGI (even though it was fantastic). It wasn’t the plot, or the huge, city-destroying action. It was all thanks to Shia LaBoeuf’s character, Sam, that I consider this to be one of my favorite movies of the year. If they had gone with a dud as the human backbone to the entire plot, the movie would have been nothing but brainless robot-on-robot action. But Shia managed to inject a genuine sense of humor and comedic timing that made it enjoyable and allowed me to overlook the movie’s shortcomings (a lifeless though hot Megan Fox, a scene where urine is supposed to be funny, the hacker scenes). For something based on a toy line, it’s come a long way.
  8. Ocean’s 13 – Another third chapter of a trilogy makes it into my top 10 for the year. Sorry Spider-man 3, but you’re out of luck. And let’s get it out there – Ocean’s 12 sucked. It sucked big hairy gorilla balls and was clearly just a way for the group of actors to hang out at Clooney’s European villa and joke around. But they got their act together, and Ocean’s 13 manages to recapture the fun and glitz and shallowness of the first one without feeling like a clone or copy. That’s difficult to do, and while 13 isn’t quite as fun as 11, it’s a close one. It’s also one of those movies that I know I’ll watch straight through whenever it’s on TV, just like Ocean’s 11.
  9. Juno – Ellen Page is an amazing actress. If you haven’t seen her in Hard Candy, go check that out. In this movie, she dominates a movie filled with strong actors (Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, J. K. Simmons, and Allison Janney) and manages to pull off snarky, confident, and vulnerable. It’s another comedy about pregnancy, but it’s more of a tragicomical look at how a teenager’s life can completely change in an instant of stupidity.
  10. 300 – 300 was just a stylized marvel of amazingly choreographed mayhem, violence, and warfare. It’s fun, thrilling, and I almost went gay from all of the hotness. What else can I say?

Honorable Mentions – these are ones that I mulled over, but didn’t quite make it:

  1. Hot Fuzz – It just didn’t quite live up to the tremendously satisfying Shaun of the Dead. It’s funny and smart and I’ve seen it a few times, but I think my expectations were just a bit too high. Let’s call this one #11.
  2. Breach – Tremendous movie. Chris Cooper and Ryan Phillippe did amazing jobs. It just doesn’t have the same rewatchability as the others in my top 10.
  3. Sweeney Todd – Another close one. I’ve only seen it the once, and maybe a few more times will change my mind, but the slowness in the beginning and the fact that they cut out Anthony Head’s part so that he only had one short line just doesn’t make it quite in my top ten.

And here’s the list of ones that I haven’t yet seen, but they might have made it in my top 10, if I had. I’ll see many of them over the next few months, I’m sure:

I am Legend
Charlie Wilson’s War
Disturbia
Into the Wild
Gone Baby Gone
3:10 to Yuma
Alpha Dog
Elizabeth 2
Enchanged
The Kingdom
Michael Clayton
No Country for Old Men
Ratatouille
Southland Tales
The Ten
Walk Hard
Zodiac

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41 Replies to “End of the Year Countdown”

  1. Amanda

    I love all those movies… except 300. Heh. I’d just switch it out for Hot Fuzz.

    Also, you really need to see I Am Legend, Enchanted, Disturbia, Ratatouille, and The Ten.

    I am a big fat slacker and I haven’t seen Juno or Sweeney Todd yet.

  2. Michael

    Great list, I have the 4th Die Hard movie playing on one of my screens and have watched it several times. The DVD I got even has a digital version you can download to your PC.

    300 is another one I have watched several times and I have all three of the Bourne movies sitting on my desk.

    I would add The Departed and Kingdom to my movie list, both great flicks. No Country for Old Men isn’t bad, weird ending.

  3. Jay

    I don’t normally go see movies at the theater. I live in a small town and there is only one theater here and it sucks balls. So, I just wait until movies come out on DVD and get them through NetFlix.

    I have Bourne Ultimatum sitting on my counter right now and plan to watch it tomorrow. So no spoilers people! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Superbad was a really good comedy.

    Also enjoyed 300 and Departed.

  4. Kylah

    I just saw Knocked Up for the first time this morning, and I kind
    of already want to watch it again.

    When I saw Grindhouse it was great, people started smoking in the theater and some people almost got into a fight. I thought it completed the Grindhouse experience.

    This is pretty much my list too, except for the few I haven’t seen.

  5. Dan

    I’d agree with most of your choices there, but I’d switch Hot Fuzz for Transformers.

    I also haven’t seen Grindhouse and have no real wish to do so, but I’m not the biggest gore fan so recognize that I’m biased.

  6. Mr. Fabulous

    I haven’t seen Juno yet, but I’ve seen the rest and I can’t quibble.

    We saw No Country for Old Men this past weekend–Awesome! And we also saw Charlie Wilson’s War (Phillip Seymour Hoffman is excellent) and Walk Hard (very funny) both of which we enjoyed.

  7. Poppy

    Fab, if you like Philip S H you should really go see Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead if it’s still in any theaters around you. It’s really good.

    No Country was so good I bought the book after. As soon as I’m done with the book I’ve been intentionally-slowly-reading-to-savor-every-last-word I will be reading it.

    Seeing Juno today in France if you and Mrs. Fab wanna come!

  8. hellohahanarf

    holy hell, i need to get out (of the bars) more often! i can’t believe the number of movies that i missed.

    i’m all kinds of curious where kylah lives that smoking in the theater was tolerated. way cool! (and i don’t even smoke)

  9. Avitable

    Amanda, you didn’t like 300? I’m also looking forward to seeing Gone Baby Gone, too.

    Michael, yeah, my DVD of Die Hard 4 was like that, too. Was the digital version any different? The Departed actually came out in 2006; otherwise, it would have definitely made the list.

    Jay, you should just Bit Torrent and download all of them when they come out in theaters!

    Poppy, I hope you like it.

    Kylah, did you like Knocked Up or Superbad better?

    Dan, you didn’t like Transformers? Grindhouse is fun, cheesy gore, and Death Proof has the best car chase I’ve seen in any movie from the last twenty years.

    Boy Blunder, me too.

    Girl, Dislocated, that is impressive, for you!

    Mr. Fabulous, I need to get caught up on my moviewatching!

    Todd, are they always airtight?

    Mike, I’ve heard that people either love Zodiac or hate it.

    Metalmom, nothing overrules The Simpsons!

    Poppy, I’ve heard that No Country is good, but the biggest complaints seem to revolve around the ending.

    Robin, I enjoy everything from independent films to blockbusters. Juno was good, but Superbad was even better.

    Hello, there are movie theaters where you can drink, you know.

  10. Hilly

    Ooooh, with the TV being crap due to the strike, I just restarted my Netflix membership yesterday! Some of these I have seen but most are going on mah list.

    Hard Candy was one of the most disturbing things I’ve seen, btw.

  11. Wayne

    I’ve seen Transformers probably more than a dozen times now, as it’s Jaden’s favorite movie. We also play the PS2 game almost every day.

    Agree on 300, Live Free or Die Hard, and Ocean’s 13. It’s hard to agree to the Simpson Movie cuz I was let down, but I’d probably end up agreeing with you that a year with a Simpsons Movie is a good year.

  12. Amanda

    Oh my gosh you have to see Gone Baby Gone… it’s excellent.

    Sorry I thought 300 was a little overdone and if I saw one more slow motion attack with slow motion blood splatter my head would have exploded

  13. Avitable

    Poppy, I’ll definitely check it out.

    Robin, it’s out on DVD now, isn’t it?

    Hilly, yeah, it was disturbing, but awesome.

    Kylah, yeah, me too.

    Wayne, the Simpsons movie wasn’t all that it could have been, but it was still pretty damn funny.

    RaeJane, yeah, get yourself to a theater!

    Amanda, I loved the book by Dennis LeHane, so I’ll have to check out the movie very soon.

  14. Summer

    I just saw Juno today and loved it. Ellen Page stole the movie. Minus being pregnant I would like for my daughter to be like Juno if I had one. She came across as strong willed yet not snotty. Confident in who she was and didn’t care what others thought of her. But I’m glad I have boys, they’re easier. Try parenthood, you might like it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Sybil Law

    I have not seen a single one of those movies.
    I get waaay antsy in theaters. Really. Can’t get comfortable, move around, have to pee eventually, won’t go for fear os missing something… it’s awful!
    BUT I do want to see a few of the ones you mentioned….

  16. Sybil Law

    The theater doesn’t make a difference, trust me. I think it’s kinda like your bladder when you drive. No matter how prepared I might think I am, I still have to go.
    Oh wait! I also saw Ratatouille, and it’s really good. I have a 6 year old, and we saw it in the theater. I had to pee, but I waited. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Jared

    not bad sir. oceans 13 was trash (the ocean crew got away with the money at the end, whoaaaaaah!!!) but the rest of the list i enjoyed.

    and the ones you haven’t seen, gone baby gone and zodiac (new edition out tuesday) are top 10 worthy.

    oh i forget to tell you, i downloaded the Ten. it’s nowhere near as great as Wet Hot, as only really 3 of the 10 stories are good, but those 3 are sooo funny that it kinda makes up for the rest.

  18. Avitable

    Jared, Ocean’s 13 was almost as good as the first one. They got away with it in the first one, too. Gone Baby Gone is definitely one I want to see very soon, and Zodiac is one I’m on the fence about. I’ll have to check out The Ten, too, just for all of the cameos, especially Paul Rudd.

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