Monday, December 31, 2007

Scooter & Hum’s Best Movies Of 2007!

As we bid adieu to 2007, it’s time to recognize my top five movies of 2007. We’ve already covered the finest books and the best albums in earlier incarnations of “The Scooties,” and now it’s time to rank the most worthy films of the year. I found it harder to delineate these movies in terms of when they were actually released, so I confined my choices to the pictures that I actually saw in the theater at some point during the year.*

And “The Scootie” goes to …

1. "Once"
Link to Scooter & Hum’s Review (July 30)
What I Said Then: “If you’re good with thoughtless, spoon-fed entertainment this summer, you’ll be sure to find a dozen movies that will fill that void for the requisite two hours and 15 minutes. But if you have 85 minutes to spare and a yearning for something moving and original, put “Once” on your list … without even realizing it, your laughing, crying and humming will chase you out of the theater and stick with you for hours.”
What Worked: A complete redefinition of the term “musical.”
What Didn’t: At times, the lack of acting experience—after all, these were musicians acting for the first time—was recognizable.
Why It Ranks Here: It may not technically be the finest film of the bunch, but the fact that it was brave enough to challenge the conventions of an entire genre, and the fact that it came out of nowhere to stun me into an inability to move, land it atop my list.

2. "Children of Men"
Link to Scooter & Hum’s Review (July 20)
What I Said Then: “The picture’s last half an hour is heart-pounding, moving and emotional, and the final 15 border on absolute brilliance. Cuaron succeeds in blurring the lines between today’s transgressions and tomorrow’s bills come due — breathing a landmark film into life in the process.”
What Worked: Re-envisioning an entire society and reinventing an entirely new moral subset was incredibly handled by Cuaron.
What Didn’t: The dark, stark, bleak portrayal could potentially wear on your average movie-goer.
Why It Ranks Here: Because of, basically, a coin flip. Just a stunning picture that didn’t catch me quite as off guard as the No. 1 choice, “Once,” simply because I was somewhat aware of the tale through P.D. James’s groundbreaking book of the same name.

3. "Last King of Scotland"
Link to Scooter & Hum’s Review (May 3)
What I Said Then: “Whitaker’s flawless performance does more than enough to cover up some of the minor flaws inherent in “The Last King of Scotland,” making it easy to understand why it has been lauded as one of the most memorable pictures in recent memory and one of the finest historical portrayals of all-time.”
What Worked: Forest. Freaking. Whitaker.
What Didn’t: Some of the violence seemed a tad gratuitous and one left feeling that part of the entire story hadn’t been told.
Why It Ranks Here: Bad luck, honestly. In any other year, I could have put this movie at No. 1 without a second’s thought. Whitaker’s unbelievable performance wasn’t enough to overcome two films that were more complete and edgy.

4. "Reign Over Me"
Link to Scooter & Hum’s Review (April 2)
What I Said Then: “Whether the Oscar juggernaut is brave enough to recognize Sandler, Cheadle, Binder and “Reign Over Me” and match the courage it took to make this film remains to be seen, so you may have to judge for yourself whether this is a landmark movie or just another take on a tragedy. The truth may lie somewhere closer to the middle, but this is among the more poignant and well-crafted films I have seen of late.”
What Worked: Cheadle is one of the finest actors of his generation, and his presence works well with Sandler’s bravest foray into serious, mature acting.
What Didn’t: Sandler’s character occasionally lapsed into some of his comedic caricatures, making it hard at times to separate the Sandler we know from the one he’s trying to become in this film.
Why It Ranks Here: Again, it had the misfortune of going up against three really, really strong films. But I maintain that this was one of the more underrated and overlooked pictures of the year.

5. "Hurricane On The Bayou"
Link to Scooter & Hum’s Review (January 29)
What I Said Then: “The final version is a moving, visually stunning, educational, thought-provoking, involved, musically sweeping film that touches on one of the many aspects of the hurricane that have gone underreported, or in many cases, even unreported. Environmental destruction can now join the long list of documented failures that led to the hurricane and have stymied recovery efforts as well.”
What Worked: The IMAX format fit perfectly with the subject matter, and like “An Inconvenient Truth” and any Michael Moore film, it educated as it entertained.
What Didn’t: It got limited run and very little marketing, so it just didn’t get out there enough.
Why It Ranks Here: Because it’s a niche picture that doesn’t really fit in any specific genre in a relatively strong year for movies. But it certainly deserved some presence on this list.

Honorable mention:Idiocracy” was good, but limited; “Thank You For Smoking” left you thinking that there was an opportunity missed, a chance not taken on a directorial level.

* To be perfectly honest and in the spirit of complete candidness, the top three are nearly interchangeable for me. They're all stunning in their own way, and the ranking of the trio would probably be different if you asked me on different days.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thx for sharing these. I find it hard to believe that there was any movie that was better then Children of Men this yr, but than again I didnt see Once. Good stuff