Bummer

Already I’m debating on changing my top ten list…

I forgot about such films as The Darjeeling Limited and Paris, Je T’aime.

I think I forgot about Darjeeling due to the fact that I didn’t see it until it came out on dvd. Nonetheless it was a 2007 movie and an awesome one at that.

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Top 10 Favorite Movies of 2007

Now that 2008 is almost ending, I’ve decided to finally make my long overdue list of favorite movies from 2007. I, obviously, should have done this much earlier but better late than never, right?

This was a very tough decision and I have six runners up. I put them in alphabetical order:

Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead

Sidney Lumet’s film about two brothers (played brilliantly by Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke) who are strapped for cash and decide to rob their parents jewelry store is magnificent. Wonderful performances and amazing directing. Sidney Lumet’s first film was 12 Angry Men in 1957. This film was made 50 years later. I can only hope to have a career as long and as successful as Mr. Lumet’s.

Grindhouse

It might be a shock to most that this isn’t in the top 10. I saw this film 5 times in the theater last year (the most out of any of the movies I saw that year). I love this movie and the experience but as a film I felt it couldn’t quite make it to the list. Perhaps for the experience it should. I’m still debating.

Hot Fuzz

From the makers of Shaun of the Dead. That’s all you really had to say to get me in the theater. It might be a blasphemous statement, but I think I actually might like Hot Fuzz more. If you haven’t seen it, it is to action movies what Shaun of the Dead is to horror films. It’s hysterical and action packed. Quite entertaining.

Lars and the Real Girl

This movie was actually on my top ten list but I had to eventually bump it. Ryan Gosling does an amazing job. His performance blew me away. The movie is sad and funny but heart warming. An excellent film. I should watch it again.

Transformers

I saw this movie four times in the theater and I don’t care what anybody says about it, I love it. LOVE it. It’s a complete rollar coaster ride and I enjoyed every second of it. I don’t hate Michael Bay like most people do. I know exactly what to expect from his films and I go in to the theater with those expectations. I never leave disappointed. I hear a lot of people bash this movie and I honestly can’t understand why. It’s fun.

Zodiac

I’ll see anything directed by David Fincher. After Seven, The Game and Fight Club he can do no wrong in my book. This movie is a bit long but it doesn’t matter. It’s suspensful, well acted, well written, well directed. This is another one that was originally on the top ten list but was ultimately bumped. If you haven’t seen it do yourself a favor and watch it.

Now on with the Top 10 Favorite Movies of 2007

10. American Gangster

Ridley Scott. Steven Zaillian. Denzel Washington. Russell Crowe. I’m there. It got a little bit of attention when it first came out. I don’t remember it receiving any Oscar nods but I’m sure this is a movie that might gain a little bit of a following over time.

9. Juno

The Oscar winner for Best Original Screenplay is quirky, fun, and just all around enjoyable. I’ll be honest, if I had read the script before watching the movie I would have thought the dialogue was weird and corny but the cast not only pulled it off but made it hysterical.

8. Michael Clayton

Tony Gilroy’s directorial debut. A smart thriller like any I’d ever seen. I’ve heard it compared to Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation but have yet to watch it. It’s hard for me to explain this movie. It’s a great movie and was nominated for Best Picture (among other things including Best Supporting Actress for Tilda Swinton. She won).

7. Sunshine

This movie is CRAZY. An awesome sci-fi thriller. It kind of changes genres to horror by the end but it doesn’t hurt the film. Not one bit. With amazing actors, an amazing director (Danny Boyle who directed this year’s Slumdog Millionaire) and an AMAZING score by John Murphy, this movie is close to perfect.

6. I’m Not There

This movie was not what I was expecting the first time I saw it. I saw it again in late January (after Heath Ledger died) and loved it. It’s another movie that is difficult to explain but it’s worth seeing for performances alone. Heath Ledger and Charlotte Gainsbourg story line was my favorite even before I saw it the second time around but the other story lines are all tremendous. Completely original and creative.

5. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

One of the slowest movies I saw that year but also one of the most beautiful. Casey Affleck was easily my pick for Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars. Fortunately he was nominated but he ultimately lost to Javier Bardem’s performance for No Country For Old Men.

4. No Country For Old Men

The Academy Award winner for Best Picture is easily one of the best Coen Bros movies to come out in a while. I’ve loved just about everything they’ve made (that I’ve seen) and this one did not disappoint. A great character study. Well written, acted and directed. Also the fact that it has no music in it and still manages to be incredibly suspensful should not be overlooked as amazing directing/editing (perhaps even amazing sound mixing).

3. There Will Be Blood

Daniel Day-Lewis won the Oscar for Best Actor for this film and it was well deserved. His amazing performance is mind blowing and this film is nothing short of brilliant. Paul Thomas Anderson proves he’s a master filmmaker.

2. Into The Wild

Sean Penn wrote and directed this film based on the true story of Christopher McCandless, a young college graduate who embarks on a journey to Alaska is breath taking and heart breaking. Beautifully shot and wonderfully acted, it’s one of the rare films of 2007 I’ve watched all the way through again since buying on dvd. I remember the day I bought it, I popped it in expecting to only watch part of it and ended up watching the whole thing. With as short as my attention span is and as long as this movie is… that’s saying something.

1. Once

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful film. Only saw it once in the theater but it’s one of those movies where I left the theater smiling. It was 2007’s gem of a movie. It also has one of the best soundtracks I’ve ever heard. This movie went on to win the Oscar for Best Original Song for “Falling Slowly”. It was definitely deserved. If you can only choose one movie to see off this list… See this one.

Synecdoche and Scripts

If I just sat down and focused I could finish the revisions on my script tonight. The script was originally 97 pages but now it’s grown to 105 and I’m currently on page 92 or 93. I would like to get through it tonight. I’ve got a few other things I need to work on (videos) so we’ll see. Hopefully.

I saw Gus Van Sant’s Milk and Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York the other night. Let’s start with Milk. I thought it was an excellent movie. Sean Penn was almost unrecognizable as Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected in to public office. If it doesn’t win him an Oscar I would be shocked. I really only have two complaints against the film. 1.) The beginning of the film felt a little slow but seeing as how this is a Gus Van Sant movie it could have been a lot slower. It honestly didn’t hurt the movie too much. It picked up later and I became engrossed with what was on screen and soon forgot that the beginning took a little while to get moving. 2.) Diego Luna. I’ve seen only a handful of Diego Luna movies (The Terminal, Open Range and Criminal are the only ones that come to mind. I never did get around to seeing Y Tu Mama Tambien) but he’s seemed like a fine actor. He was either trying way too hard in this movie or was badly directed. I don’t know. He just seemed like a straight man pretending to be gay. The first scene with Emile Hirsch felt this way too but after a scene or two it worked. I believed it. Not so with Diego Luna. I’m not sure what happened.

There’s more I could say about this movie. If you really want to know I’ll tell you in person or in an email or something.

Following Milk I went to see Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York. I was very excited about this movie. I’ve loved every movie I’ve seen written by Charlie Kaufman. I think he’s brilliant and has a fantastic imagination. Being John Malkovich, Human Nature, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Adaptation and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind are all incredible. If you haven’t seen Adaptation or Eternal Sunshine I suggest you rent them right now. I personally think Adaptation is one of the best scripts that’s ever been written and Eternal Sunshine is easily in my top 5 favorite movies ever. So needless to say, my hopes were high as I entered the theater. And I was severely disappointed. Don’t get me wrong the beginning of the movie was incredible. I was laughing and having a good time. Soon, the movie took a turn and I wasn’t able to follow along anymore. I soon became bored. Things here and there made me laugh but I couldn’t figure out what was going on in the movie. I began to fidget. The movie’s 120 minute run time ended up feeling more like 2 hours and 30 minutes or 2 hours and 45. I went to see it with my friend Sam, who kept turning to me throughout the movie and asking “What’s going on?” or “Help me!” She didn’t get it either. We would laugh when crazy off the wall things would happen that didn’t make any sense. It was not the best movie going experience I’ve had.

I did understand certain things. The movie dealt with death a lot and how people react to it, expect it, want it, etc. And watching the main characters relationships with all the other characters was very interesting but the story itself is what turned me off. I still really want to like this movie. I’m hoping maybe I’ll understand it after a second viewing. The first time I saw The Fountain I didn’t understand it and was disappointed. I did some internet searching to see if anyone had any thoughts or explanations on what happened and read one explanation that made perfect sense. I watched the movie again and ended up loving it. I’ve seen a few more times since then and have loved it more and more. I’m really hoping such a thing happens with Synecdoche

I’m still very much a Charlie Kaufman fan. I’ll still see whatever he puts out. I think I was hoping for another Eternal Sunshine but instead was given something much, much different that hopefully over time I’ll learn to love.