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Best Movies of 2007

When I wasn't watching TV series on DVD in 2007, I did see a few movies. Here are the best, in alphabetical order rather than ranked by quality:

Borat. Every bit as funny, and not nearly as offensive, as I expected from the hype and outcry. I do hope the nation doesn't become overrun with people imitating this type of filmmaking, but I admire Sasha Baron Cohen and associates for being the *very* bold pioneers in the field. And really, all boring realtor conventions need a pair of angry nude men running through the room.

The Devil Wears Prada. Meryl Streep rules as the worst boss ever, and yet gives the part enough nuance to make it riveting to watch. Also, I looked at my wardrobe and drooped in shame after seeing this film.

Frida. I expected pretentious artsy wankery, with a lot of annoying political posturing, so I was pleased to find how human, approachable, inspiring, and beautiful this film was. Considering I knew so little about Kahlo beforehand, it was educational too.

Jean de Florette and Manon of the Springs. Caught up to the film versions of these after reading the books in 2006, and found them just as wonderful. Major human drama disguised as a pastoral tale about groundwater, set in gorgeous Provence.

Lady in the Water. I tend to love M. Night Shyamalan's stuff, and this was no exception. It's mythological and weird and unique and scary and pretty, and it bugs me that people pick on his movies for being exactly those things.

Little Miss Sunshine. Wow, talk about well-drawn characters each with their own interesting arc, battling and interacting throughout, all in service to the story. And making it funny--really, really funny. The talent show scene had us on the floor laughing.

Marie Antoinette. I'll paraphrase what I posted when I first saw it: I gather it really didn't work for some people, putting '80s music to the glitz of the Versailles court, but to me it was something new, thank God; and anyway I loved the music. And how can I not love a director who intentionally had a rakish character costumed to look like Adam Ant? I smelled the wig powder and the fresh lilies, tasted the cream puffs, felt the silk skirts. Delicious.

The Prestige. A movie deserves to make the list if I lay in bed thinking over the plot afterward and making sure I understood all its tricky twists accurately. Goes to show that not all films are being dumbed down, and I applaud that. Also, it was fascinating to watch the characters fluctuate from seemingly good to seemingly evil and back again, as new information came to light. Plus, David Bowie as Tesla! All movies get extra points for David Bowie.

Stardust. Liked Gaiman's book as well, of course, but the film version had the eye candy of not only a beautifully realized fantasy flick, but of Charlie Cox in an adorable dork-turns-hero role. I think he's my new Orlando Bloom. The film had a lovely Princess-Bride-like humor throughout, too, keeping the mood light and charming.

Stranger Than Fiction. A novelist's whimsical dream of a movie! What if your characters were really out there, and you were really pulling the strings, and you didn't realize it? What if you were someone else's character? Will Farrell, as the probably-doomed character, manages to be sweet and human and serious, not at all his usual type of role, and it works. Really cool.



( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 19th, 2008 05:39 pm (UTC)
I definitely agree with you about The Devil Wears Prada, Marie Antoinette, The Prestige (which haunted me for weeks - I LOVE IT), Stardust and Stranger Than Fiction. Some amazing films there! :-)

It's cute that you mentioned Charlie Cox was your new Orlando Bloom. He reminded me of Orli, in some way....
Jan. 20th, 2008 04:39 pm (UTC)
You do have such good taste. ;)

I remember seeing some reviewer say that the film featured "Charlie Cox in full Orlando Bloom mode," which I think they meant as a slam, but I agree with it and mean it as a compliment. He looked every bit as cute as Orli in the pirate-like get-up, but is somehow more accessible, I think, like a person you could actually know and not just a Movie Star. And I *love* that.
Jan. 19th, 2008 05:44 pm (UTC)
I don't know how I've avoided watching Lady in the Water and Little Miss Sunshine thus far. Hm. Need to see those.

Word on The Prestige and Stranger Than Fiction. I loved the moral ambiguity of the characters in Prestige, and like you say it's nice that a movie assumes the audience packed their own brains. Emma Thompson is for the win in Stranger Than Fiction. Also Dustin Hoffman as the lit professor.
Jan. 20th, 2008 04:41 pm (UTC)
Oh yes, I loved Emma and Dustin in that film too! They're just pros, whatever they do, darn it. Some of her facial "weird author" expressions cracked me up, too.
Jan. 19th, 2008 06:10 pm (UTC)
Did you see the Casanova movie with Heath Ledger that came out a few years ago? Charlie Cox is in that one as well, even more adorable than he is in Stardust ;) My main reason for wanting to see Stardust was to see more of him. And I definitely agree, he is the new Orlando Bloom!
Jan. 20th, 2008 04:42 pm (UTC)
Yes! I think I may have put that on my best movies of 2006, in fact. He was so cute, and funny. I think I like him better than Orli, actually, since he grows on you more. Orli starts out too perfect and from there can only lose ground.
Jan. 19th, 2008 06:53 pm (UTC)
Great selection of movies, and I like your comments on them. :)

I do hope that you will, if you haven't already, take time to read the original Stardust graphic novel, with wonderful illos by Charles Vess, one of my fave fantasy and SF artists. :) The graphic novel came first, and the novel without pictures (alas) only came later. The graphic novel, in soft-cover or hardback, can be purchased or ordered from any book or comic store. :)

For more info on Charles Vess, see his site:

Jan. 20th, 2008 04:43 pm (UTC)
Ah, cool--I'd forgotten it was a graphic novel. Will see if I can track it down and see how the film's vision measures up.
Jan. 20th, 2008 01:22 am (UTC)
Little Miss was one of the best films I've seen in a number of years. We've watched the last 30-40 minutes of it at least 5 times. It is one of those rare movies I'll watch again and again.

The Prestige is also one of my favorite films. C. Bale is--just wow!. Plus it included the Tesla vs. Edison conflict I've been in somewhat obsessed with since I first heard the story from Dr. Walter Russell's widow when I was a kid.

You know I love Frida for obvious reasons. You may like The House of the Spirits for its own "magical realism". Meryl Streep is utterly wonderful in it.

M.A. was a breath of fresh air.

You need to see The Last King of Scotland... and The Departed

Jan. 20th, 2008 04:49 pm (UTC)
Oh yes! I did see The House of the Spirits a few years back, and it haunted me--especially her ghost walking in to that supper. Magical and chilling both. And I have to admit to swooning for Antonio Banderas a little no matter what I see him in. It's sad really.

I will make sure Last King and Departed get on my Netflix queue too.

Tesla might be feeling redeemed if he were still alive...seems like I keep hearing more and more mention of new electrical-technological advances that approach his theories lately. Really cool.
Jan. 21st, 2008 12:41 am (UTC)
This is totally off subject, but is your father aware of "The Doomsday Clock" that is featured in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists? I just recently started browsing the magazine, and I remembered your father is a somewhat well-known Nuclear Engineer. I don't know many in the field (even by proxy), so I may have some questions for you, if you will. :)

HoS is a beautiful film... there were many groovy swarthy men in it including Banderas. I watched Superbad today and enjoyed it: a bit vulgar but charming nonetheless (and FUNNY).

Jan. 21st, 2008 09:37 pm (UTC)
The Doomsday Clock sounded really familiar, so I looked it up--eek, chilling. (But I do find it somewhat comforting to know the clock was closer to midnight 50 years ago than it is now.) I bet my dad's aware of it, though I don't know what he thinks of it. I can forward him questions, no problem. I'm sure he'd be happy to hold forth!

Will add Superbad to my queue as well. Really found Knocked Up much funnier than I should have... :)
Jan. 22nd, 2008 01:20 am (UTC)
I'd be interested to know what he thinks about the Clock. I could even quote him in a project I'm working on. :)

Jan. 20th, 2008 04:07 am (UTC)
I haven't seen Borat because I didn't think it looked that great. Buuuut I might change my mind now that you recommended it! Thanks for the list. : )
Jan. 20th, 2008 04:50 pm (UTC)
Well, you have to not mind some really crass humor. :) A lot of my laughter was shocked laughter...
Jan. 20th, 2008 06:08 am (UTC)
Beside Jean de Florette and Manon of the Springs I've seen (mostly on DVD though and not in the theatre) all the movies you've mentionned and liked them more or less, too. I guess of your list Borat would be my favourite because of the pioneer bonus :D Well, I didn't like Stranger than fiction so much, it felt kinda constructed ...

I miss some movies on your list that would definitely be on my best of 2007: The Bourne Ultimatum, Casino Royale, Hot Fuzz, Das Leben der anderen. :)
Jan. 20th, 2008 04:51 pm (UTC)
Cool--I'll look those up too. Cheers!
Jan. 20th, 2008 07:37 am (UTC)
Since I just joined Netflix I really appreciate this list. *runs to add them all* :D

I felt the exact same way about The Devil Wears Prada, too!
Jan. 20th, 2008 04:52 pm (UTC)
Hurray! And if you ever feel the need to gawk at my queue, you can add me as a "friend" via my ladyirony address...
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )