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The Films of 2007

[ 119 ] October 17, 2012 |

I just finished watching California Dreamin’, which is an absolutely outstanding movie you all should see.

Now, I am a list oriented person, for whatever reason. So I keep a list of my favorite movies of any given year, up to 15. Here is my list for 2007, as it currently stands:

1. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days
2. There Will Be Blood
3. Silent Light
4. No Country for Old Men
5. Juno
6. Katyn
7. The Edge of Heaven
8. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
9. California Dreamin’
10. Persepolis
11. The Savages
12. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
13. Eastern Promises
14. Knocked Up
15. In the Valley of Elah

That’s a list that so far bounds beyond anything else in the 2000s, or really probably anything since the 1970s, that it’s kind of crazy. I know some people didn’t like Knocked Up, but I liked it a great deal despite the sexism at its core, and it’s only #14 on my list. In the Valley of Elah is a really good movie and it is #15. And everything in the top 13 is basically a really outstanding film.

It’s my belief that 30 or so years down the road, 2007 is going to be a year that film critics are going to look to as a time when the stars aligned.

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  • Lev

    2007 was indeed a great year for film, probably the best of my adult lifetime. Though 2009 had a seriously thick quantity of great sci-fi and genre fare as well.

  • jeer9

    No Zodiac? For shame!

    • Meh. A decent film. Clearly far below any of these 15.

      • John

        Clearly far below Juno and Knocked Up? Clearly far below them? Really?

        (I’d also put Michael Clayton ahead of those two movies.)

        • Anonymous

          Look if Loomis thinks Juno and Knocked Up are real artistic achievements, he might need to show his work. I mean I mildly enjoyed both in the theaters, despite their utterly unrealistic portrayal of men, women, and unplanned pregnancy (or any pregnancy for that matter), and since I didn’t think of them as anything other than brief diversions, I forgave them their formless structure, their stock comic relief sidekicks, and their utterly unbelievable pat and unambiguous Hollywood endings. Did I miss something? Seriously, Erik, what did I miss in these movies that makes them even worthy of a second viewing? Or are you just trolling your own blog?

          • Anonymous

            In fairness it’s worth noting that Loomis is only defining these as his “favorite” not the “best”. I am still interested in his defense of Juno on the grounds of personal taste, though.

          • John

            Loomis has the right to like whatever movies he wants to, and both of those movies were, at least, reasonably enjoyable (although I found Juno kind of intolerable, and there were deep flaws in Knocked Up.) It’s when he claims that those movies are just obviously way superior to Zodiac that I start to get annoyed.

        • Michael Clayton got knocked off when I watched California Dreamin’.

      • YankeeFrank

        Juno sucked. The lead was totally and utterly unbelievable as a teen. She was way too self-possessed and confident. It was an adult’s fantasy of a teen.

        • Films are not made to be realistic depictions of real life. An adult’s fantasy of a teen is an entirely fine premise for a film is well-executed.

          • John

            And obviously, in all respects, way superior to Fincher’s best movie?

          • Anonymous

            That’s a weak dodge: the movie is supposed to be about a teenager facing adult decisions. If she’s depicted as essentially a wry, savvy adult in a teen body, it kinda kills the whole movie’s premise. Obviously movies don’t have to be any thing other than fantasies, and that’s all Juno is: a superficial fantasy about phony and not very sympathetic caricatures.

            • Aaron B.

              I’m not sure that’s true. I think it’s clear from her reactions leading up to the climax that she very clearly is NOT capable of dealing with what she’s gotten herself into – not just the van-by-the-side-of-the-road scene, but in her interactions with Jason Bateman’s character, and her lashing out against Michael Cera. Which makes me suspect – very strongly – that her confidence and snark is just bluster, and she has a core of deep emotional vulnerability and inexperience.

              All I’m saying is, I think there’s a reason why this movie resonated with a lot of people when it came out, and why it won a bunch of Oscars. I’m not leaning on that, but it is worth pointing out.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Gotta agree with jeer9 on this. Zodiac was terrific.

      • bob mcmanus

        Meh. I’ll watch it again, but didn’t stand out, not memorable.

        I like every movie on the Loomis list that I’ve seen, 11, better than Zodiac.

  • Aaron B.

    You know those things you like? Well I don’t like some of them! Rarrrrr!

  • My favorite movie that year was Ratatouille.

    • GFW

      That would make my top 10 of 2007.

    • Very good film, no question. Although the rats in the kitchen concept does kind of gross me out.

      • Emily

        I think that’s one of the best things about that movie. When it’s just Remi or it’s just rats talking to each other, it’s easy to think of them as cute cartoonified characters. And then along comes a scene where a bunch of rats are shown as a seething mass of plague vectors. It keeps things grounded, if that’s possible.

        • I don’t disagree at all. Still, I hate rats. In any case, a fine film for sure.

          • CaptBackslap

            You realize you probably just started a blogwar with Gin & Tacos, don’t you?

            • So long as that war results in me getting gin and tacos, I’m cool with it.

  • I used to care about the legal protection of unions, but ever since I learned Erik Loomis puts Juno on his “best of 2007” list I think the NLRB is unconstitutional.

    Seriously though even ignoring all of its aesthetic crimes, there’s still Jason Bateman’s character. How does his turn to villainy at the end, outside of all sense and recognizable human behavior, not sink the whole thing? Or at least knock it down a few pegs? Even a hamburger phone can’t make up for that.

    • John

      Note that he also said that Juno was obviously far better than Zodiac. Lesson: Loomis’s taste in movies is questionable.

    • First, Juno is an incredibly witty and sweet film that tells an old story in ways that really no one had done before.

      Second, a lot of people who talk bad about Juno suffer from knee-jerk anti-hipsterism. This is silly.

      Third, I don’t think Bateman’s character was a villain. He was a selfish man who felt trapped in a marriage and bailed. That’s hardly shocking.

      • 1. Honest to blog I don’t find it witty but hey pretty subjective

        2. If you don’t accuse things with no anti-hipster bias in them of anti-hipster bias I won’t accuse you of saying all criticism of the movie stems from anti-hipster bias

        3. Ellen Page comes over to Jason Bateman’s house. Bateman invites her to dance. He gazes into her eyes and rubs her belly and pulls her as tightly to him as he possibly can and whispers “I’m leaving Jennifer Garner . . .” and Page is all huh? and Bateman is whispering sexily “I’ve got it all planned out, this is something I’ve wanted for awhile” and Page backs away and is all no! and Bateman is all surprised and like oh, no? and says “But I thought . . . .” and Page is all Marriage is about Love C’mon Try Harder.

        This is all shot with tight framing with Bateman in a dominant position and with a smokey look in his eyes.

        Then the script reads Bateman “suddenly sees Juno for what she is — a teenage girl” and he says “I’m such an idiot. I can’t believe what an idiot I am.” And the spell is broken and the shot’s wider and he turns and kicks something.

        That’s subtext that’s trying really really hard to be text. Bateman wants to bang Page in his new bachelor pad and thought she’d be down with that.

        If that weren’t there, that scene’d be more like what you describe. But it’s there. And it doesn’t seem like any amount of pleading about heightened narrative or an adult projecting herself into a child’s situation can save a man in his thirties getting caught up in plans about banging a sixteen-year-old whose child he was going to adopt. It’s crazy, it’s not in character, it’s not that kind of movie.

        Cody’s newest movie Young Adult apparently does a similar thing and goes really dark at the end of a shopworn plot (the Popular Girl returns home). I haven’t seen it but it’s supposed to work. At least more than “Jason Bateman gets caught up in planning statutory rape” does.

        • Anonymous

          Young Adult was fearless in its bleak depiction of the self-absorbed, heartless main character. And Theron was in Monster mode, though without all the weight gain. Not a great film, but bracing in its own way.

          • jeer9

            Sorry. That was me.

        • witless chum

          I guess I disagree it violates Bateman’s character. He seems to still view himself like he’s 24 or so, which would be weird for him to bang a 16 year old, but significantly less weird than for a 35-year-old or so. That’s what he’s waking up to, that he’s an adult. As much as he’s waking up to the fact that she’s not.

          It’s a fun switcheroo, between him and Garner’s characters, where we first see him as much more reasonable and her as crazy.

          And I also think Juno’s whole plan to keep the baby and give it up for adoption to a yuppie couple she found in the Penny Saver is pure teenager-type thinking.

          • Agree with the penny saver, agree with the Garner inversion (although her craziness is nowhere near Bateman’s in the end), agree Bateman thinks/wishes he’s at an earlier stage of his life and realizes a bunch of stuff about himself/Page in that scene.

            But holy moly. “I’m married to a shrew who doesn’t respect me and I wish I was younger” is a pretty common resentment. How does that result in “so I guess shacking up with this sixteen year old seems like a good idea, we seem to have the same taste in music”? It’s just bizarre.

            Plus that’s the only way Bateman acts out? He acts normal until he springs his sex plans on a sixteen year old in the third trimester? If that’s not just completely outlandish and incongruous, what would be? If he ran away to join the circus? If he said his home planet needed him and he had to go and we were informed he died on the way back?

            A different movie, maybe with more of an exploration of Bateman’s anguish and about a tenth of the twee, could have made that work. Juno is not that movie.

            • Aaron B.

              Missing in all this seems to be the fact that Bateman does not, in fact, shack up with the sixteen-year-old, although obviously, it’s in the subtext. I think there’s a world of difference between a character who seduces a 16-year-old (Humbert Humbert), and a character who fantasizes about seducing a 16-year-old but, when confronted with the realization of his fantasies, suddenly becomes aware that he’s made a terrible mistake.

              Only one of those characters is a villain.

            • witless chum

              He doesn’t act normal all along, though. He forms a somewhat odd seeming relationship with Juno leading up to the scene in question. They have the previous scenes where they hang out and talk about music when Garner’s not there and there’s just something ever so slightly off about it.

  • Warren Terra

    I think I’ve actually seen none of those films. This is either sad, or it means I might eventually have a treat in store.

  • Leeds man

    I nominate Gone Baby Gone as the film which has most made me want to inflict serious damage on the lead character, possibly ever.

    Bridge to Terabithia was good, and I loved The Golden Compass.

    • I love the seen in the dive bar where Casey Affleck pulls the gun. It felt authentic in the way mooks yell at each other.

      Who do you consider the main character?

      • Leeds man

        Affleck.

    • JL

      The Golden Compass was an excellent book. The movie didn’t quite suck, but it was mediocre at best.

      I know that book fans whining about the movie adaptation is a trope as old as movies, but normally I’m eager for movie adaptations and I was excited to see the movie when it came out.

      Unless what you actually loved The Golden Compass for was it making you want to hurt the lead character, in which case my comment is entirely irrelevant.

      • Leeds man

        Unless what you actually loved The Golden Compass for was it making you want to hurt the lead character

        Lord no! Luckily those films are few and far between. I think what I liked about TGC was the look, if that makes sense. I didn’t expect it to approach the excellence of the books, which always helps.

  • Pts

    No Hot Fuzz? No 3:10 to Yuma?

    • Warren Terra

      Wait, Hot Fuzz was in 2007, and didn’t make the list? There is no justice.

      • GFW

        Man, I thought that was further back, but it was indeed 2007. Definite top 10. “Have you ever fired two guns whilst jumping through the air?”

    • John

      Both obviously inferior to Juno, which features Michael Cera and Ellen Page singing an annoying song together.

  • I doubt I’ve seen fifteen movies made in 2007 (I’ve seen three of the ones on this list, and I wasn’t wild about any of them). And that is the entirety of my insightful comment.

  • Not really disagreeing with anything you said, but I have long had a pet idea that 1999 was a nearly unbeatable year for movies. This is a bit more focused on U.S. production, but you’ve got Being John Malkovich, Election, Fight Club, The Matrix, American Beauty, Sleepy Hollow, Talented Mr. Ripley, Galaxy Quest, Go, Three Kings, Cider House Rules, Dogma, The Insider, Girl, Interrupted, Iron Giant, Magnolia, Summer of Sam, Bringing Out the Dead, Boys Don’t Cry, Cookie’s Fortune, Office Space, All About My Mother, Run Lola Run, Dick, Topsy Turvy, The Straight Story, The Limey, American Movie, After Life, Mr. Death, Toy Story 2 — plus highly interesting or noteworthy movies such as Phantom Menace, The Sixth Sense, Eyes Wide Shut, Blair Witch, American Pie. You can also count Rushmore as a 1999 release because they did a late December release to get Bill Murray nominated but its true run in theaters was in early 1999.

    You can quibble about foreign releases actually being made earlier, and a lot of people positively despise e.g. Fight Club or American Beauty and a couple others. I am *not* saying that all of those movies are great or even necessarily good. But collectively, it’s a powerful bunch of vigorous American (mostly) movies.

    • Walt

      This is right. I remember thinking at the time that everyone would remember 1999 as one of the great years for movies, but it seems to be forgotten.

    • CaptBackslap

      Man, that is a lot of good movies. 1999 was also an outstanding year for music, but that’s another thread.

    • 1999 was a good year.

    • witless chum

      Also 1999 has Ride With the Devil, the most underrated movie of the 90s. Skeet Ulrich was apparently born to play a southern aristocrat for Ang Lee. Tobey Maguire was good, Jewel was acceptable, Jeffery Wright was excellent. Jonathan Rhy-Myers, Zach Grenier, Simon Baker and Jesus Caviezel were all great in small roles. Dude named John Ales turns in a very memorable scene as William Clark Quantrill.

      Has a nuanced portrait of Confederate guerillas in Missouri that’s sympathetic in the best sense without entertaining any kind of actual romanticism about the Confederacy. Mainly it accomplishes that by having Maguire play a German wannabe southernor who’s accepted more so than Jeffery Wright’s freed slave who bushwhacks our of personal loyalty to his friend who freed him, but still not one of them.

  • Jonathan

    What the shit is Knocked Up doing on your list?

  • brandon

    Of the ones mentioned that I’ve seen, I’d rate them No Country For Old Men, There Will Be Blood, Persepolis, Hot Fuzz, Ratatouille – these are all very close – then Juno (Juno’s gotten a lot of shit for lolhipsterish reasons but is a quite good movie overall) and Knocked Up (which is pretty decent).

    I’ve seen the 1999-great-year-for-movies thing elsewhere – maybe there was an AV Club article about it?

  • 2007 was indeed a great year, Erik, though I think you’re mixing a couple of junkers with a bunch of otherwise terrific films on the list you’ve given us (fortunately, the commenters are correcting you, with Hot Fuzz and Gone Baby Gone). And I agree with Martin about 1999 as well. But I actually wonder if the landmark year, in (my) recent memory anyway, still doesn’t have to be 1993. The Piano, Searching for Bobby Fisher, The Age of Innocence, Carlito’s Way, Schindler’s List, Farewell my Concubine, In The Name of the Father, True Romance, Falling Down, In the Line of Fire, Naked, Philadelphia, what’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Remains of the Day, The War Room. Oh, and Jurassic Park, if you’re so inclined. Pretty tough to beat all that.

    • I don’t know. A lot of those films you list from 93 leave me pretty cold.

      • Which? Searching for Bobby Fisher, In the Name of the Father, Schindler’s List, Falling Down, and Carlito’s Way are all, admittedly, fairly committed to banging you over the head with their conventional messages, but that doesn’t take away from the skill with which they were acted and shot. And The Piano, The Remains of the Day, Farewell my Concubine, True Romance, and In the Line of Fire all in different ways broke all sorts of story-telling rules, and did so superbly.

        • I’ll just say that I like the latter group of movies a good bit more than the former group. Not that I dislike any of them.

        • Scott Lemieux

          I really love In the Name of the Father. Sheridan is my favorite middlebrow filmmaker.

  • Eric

    I really think you’re going to have to write a post in defense of your opinion of Knocked Up, Erik. It’s mediocre at best, even setting aside the sexism.

    • I don’t care about a film’s politics when judging it’s quality. Knocked Up is an extremely funny movie in the first half, even if it does bog down some in the second half. Also, comedy is harder to make well than any other genre of film and it has to be weighed as such.

      • Sherm

        If you want a comedy on the list, Superbad was funnier than Knocked Up.

        • Scott Lemieux

          If you want a comedy on the list, Superbad was funnier than Knocked Up.

          I can’t agree. As Erik says, the first half or two-thirds of Knocked Up is very funny, although as an Apatow non-TV project it falls apart in the last act. Superbad isn’t as consistently funny, and the entire keystone cops subplot is completely unwatchable.

          • Sherm

            Superbad absolutely destroyed me. But comedy is so damn subjective, much more so than any other genre. The well-reviewed and big blockbuster comedies often bore me, while the lesser known ones crack me up. Prime example — Rodney Dangerfield’s Easy Money still cracks me up whereas Caddyshack does not.

          • Right; without the cop sequence (or maybe with some serious editing it could work), the film is funny, but it goes on forever and isn’t very good.

            • Sherm

              goes on forever

              That’s an odd critique from someone who prefers the Apatow directed film. I liked Knocked Up as well, but Apatow needs to learn that comedies have to be a little shorter in length than say, the Godfather.

      • Sherm

        Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story was a pretty good comedy that year as well.

        • That kind of fell apart in the 2nd half, but the first half was pretty damn funny.

          • Aaron B.

            You don’t want none of this shit, Dewey!

      • Eric

        Huh. I didn’t think it was very funny, and I like a lot of Apatow’s stuff. Maybe I need to rewatch it.

  • MacGyver

    Glad to see Eastern Promises get some love. Great flick.

  • strategichamlet

    Erik you’re crazy. 2006 absolutely blows the doors off of 2007:

    Brick
    The Fountain
    Tideland
    The Proposition
    Lake of Fire
    Idiocracy
    Perfume
    Children of Men
    Crank
    Inside Man
    Pan’s Labrynth
    The Prestige
    Casino Royale
    The Departed
    Slither

    • djw

      Yeah, that’s crazy talk. There’s three, maybe four movies from 2006 that would crack the top 20 the next year.

      • Scott Lemieux

        Djw is correct.

      • bob mcmanus

        I only see two, Tideland and Pan’s Labyrinth.

        Brick, Fountain, Proposition, Prestige…I don’t feel like defending these movies. Just ok.

        • Warren Terra

          You’re unkind to Children Of Men, which was solid Sci-Fi (or better) with awesome cinematography.

      • bob mcmanus

        But you know 2007 was weak but 2006 rocked for Asian films

        Syndromes, Still Life, Koreeda’s Hana (underrated this is Koreeda!) Blood and Bones, I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone, Election 2, on and on and on

    • Yeah, there’s no way. The Departed is massively overrated first of all. Not even one of Scorsese’s 10 best films. Maybe not one of his 15 best films.

      Even the best films on that 06 list (Pan’s Labryinth for instance) would at best be 10th or so on the 2007 list.

      • Ed

        I don’t know that The Departed was “massively overrated.” It was well received but the reviews were not absurdly over the top (hello, There Will Be Blood) and there were a fair number of naysayers.

        It did win the Oscar for Scorsese and Best Picture but it’s not unusual for people to be honored at the Oscars later rather than sooner and for work that isn’t their best and as I remember that was generally acknowledged at the time that The Departed was no masterpiece. Saw it again recently and it looks better than some of those on your list, not to mention some other Best Picture winners.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Yeah, the thing is that while The Departed is a subpar Socrsese film it’s very superpar for an Oscar winner.

          I also can’t agree that it’s not one of Scorsese’s 15 best films; the backlash has become excessive. Raging Bull, GoodFellas, Taxi Driver, King of Comedy, Mean Streets, The Last Waltz, The Age of Innocence — I’d slot the Departed in around there, ranked at the bottom of his top 10 with the more interesting but less well-executed Gangs of New York. And I’m thankful that he won for The Departed rather than The Aviator.

          • I would also include The Last Temptation of Christ and maybe Kundun above The Departed.

            • Scott Lemieux

              LTofC is arguable. Kundun, nah, Chistopher Multisante’s review notwithstanding.

          • Anonymous

            Shouldn’t that be ABOVE par for an Oscar winner? Some fairly recent Oscar winners include Million Dollar Baby, Crash, Gladiator, The King’s Speech, and Chicago. I’ll take The Departed over any of those.

            • Anonymous

              Oh wait you said SUPER par: this is the hazard of reading on my phone. I am glad we agree! Just looking at how very few great movies of the last decade were even in the running is yetanother indictment of the Oscars as just a weakass prize for The Best Moderate to High Grossing Middlebrow Dreck That Most Appeals To Nostalgia and/or Token Liberal Beliefs.

    • Slither? Dude, my wife is in love with Nathan Fillion just like every other middle-class nerd’s wife is too, but come one. A standard sci-fi gross-out with a couple of good jokes. A B- movie, at best.

      Happy that you put Brick and Inside Man up there, though. Both absolute first-rate cinematic story-telling, and the latter was Spike Lee’s first really good movie in well over a decade.

      • witless chum

        The deer says that grade is too low.

        • Okay, I’ll give you that the minute or two with the alien-possessed deer trying to impregnate Nathan Fillion was definitely in the A range.

  • Jberardi

    Once again, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford does not get the recognition it deserves.

    • bob mcmanus

      Agreed. And going through another list where’s

      The Lives of Others ???

      And my personal taste is for smaller indies, so I wouldn’t argue hard for Once, The Lookout, or Waitress but I liked them better than Knocked Up. Away From Her? I wasn’t knocked out

      There are lots more, although little stands out from Japan and Asia that I have seen. Mourning Forest. Everybody loved Rebirth more than I did. Retribution isn’t top Kurosawa. Koreeda missed 2007.

      But I can always find one good watch a week from any given year, and one good watch every day from a century of film.

      • bob mcmanus

        TLoO may be 2006.

    • That film is bullshit. I hated that movie.

      • Scott Lemieux

        I wouldn’t say I hated it, but it was certainly unmemorable; I found the hosannas it received baffling.

      • Vance Maverick

        Indeed. Not just overrated but misprised. (The tell for me was the classical-music subplot, but others will have caught on sooner.)

    • Aaron B.

      Perhaps this says nothing about the quality of the film, but I was SO BORED throughout the entire thing. I’d rather watch The King’s Speech any day.

  • Leeds man

    Since Favourite Years in Film is popping up, I’ll put in a word for 1954;

    Seven Samurai
    Executive Suite
    Them!
    The Belles of St Trinian’s
    The Caine Mutiny
    On The Waterfront
    the film in which Tony Curtis did not say “Yonda lies da castle of my fodda”.

  • bob mcmanus

    Anyway, thanks for numbers 1 and 7, and I have got to get around to the Reygadas

    Secret Sunshine

    I haven’t seen Lust, Caution

  • JREinATL

    Also forgotten – Grindhouse (at least the Death Proof section, which actually was released stand alone outside the US), I’m Not There, Joshua, and My Kid Could Paint That.

    And Zodiac definitely needs re-consideration by the host.

  • Bloix

    Another 2007 film that could be on your list is Beaufort.

  • njorl

    I don’t think there has been a year in which there were 15 movies made which I would want to watch.

  • Walter

    I definitely agree 2007 was a great year for movies(after which it has been kinda downhill), while offering a variation on its best movies:

    1. Once
    2. Offside
    3. There Will Be Blood
    4. A Mighty Heart
    5. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
    6. Persepolis
    7. Into the Wild
    8. Gone Baby Gone
    9. After the Wedding
    10. The Wind that Shakes the Barley

    • witless chum

      Into the Wild was one of those movies that was received a lot differently than I saw it. I felt like it was neutral on the main character, but a lot of people seemed to think they were being asked to hero-worship Chris McCandless.

      • I felt that way about what the film was trying to do to McCandless. I strongly disliked that message on both aesthetic and professional grounds, as I deal with students who think that kind of selfish anti-social behavior is something to emulate. The book was also bad in this way. On the other hand, the performances of Hal Holbrook and Catherine Keener in supporting roles were outstanding.

        • witless chum

          I really disagree about the book, but I suppose I was bringing pretty skeptical pre-concieved attitudes about anything hippyish to both.

    • djw

      Totally forgot Offside was that year; would comfortably make the top 10 for me. That was where Panahi surpassed Kiarostami for me. I think I tend to forget about it because thinking it might be the last film he’s able to make makes me too angry and sad.

  • CaptBackslap

    No love for Superbad? That was fucking hilarious.

    • Sherm

      Agreed.

    • witless chum

      I would be on the Superbad > Knocked Up train, but the ensemble of stoner roomates and hangers-on in Knocked Up is just too good. Two separate Freaks and Geeks actors, after all.

      McLovin is pretty classic, though.

      • Sherm

        the ensemble of stoner roomates and hangers-on in Knocked Up is just too good

        And Jonah Hill was one of them, ironically.

  • No Atonement?
    For shame

  • They Live By Night

    I’m happy to see Silent Light ranked so high. To me it’s more of a 2008 film since it didn’t have any kind of commercial release in the US until then. More to the point, I saw it in 2008 and consider it the best film of that year. No matter.

    Two other films I would like to mention. The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford which was my favorite new film of 2007; and Killer of Sheep, the incredible first feature by Charles Burnett which had never seen any kind of wide (and I’m using “wide” liberally) distribution until 2007. I consider it one the 10 greatest American films of all time.

    • I agree that Killer of Sheep is great, but I don’t think we can really call it a 2007 film. For 1977 or whenever it was originally released, it is right at the top for sure.

      • They Live By Night

        It was the best film I saw in a theater in 2007 but no, it’s not a 2007 film.

        However, that it finally got a commercial release in 2007 is another reason to celebrate that year in film.

  • CaptBackslap

    Come to think of it, 1998 was also swell:

    Saving Private Ryan
    The Big Lebowski
    Dumb & Dumber (better on repeat viewings)
    Happiness
    Rushmore
    Out of Sight
    Pi
    A Simple Plan
    Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels
    The Truman Show

    • Saving Private Ryan means instant disqualification of the rest of the list.

      • CaptBackslap

        It wasn’t an all-time classic (that list wasn’t in any particular order), but it had a lot of terrific sequences, even if none of the rest could quite match the opener.

        But I basically have the crude opinions of unpracticed men with regard to movies (you would probably not agree with my requirement that movies with subtitles also include sword fights and/or kicking, for instance).

        • brandon

          Agreed – SPR gets a lot of reflexive shit for its cheesy overarching plot – and, yeah – but it still has at least three of the best sequences in war movies (being, the Omaha Beach landing of course, the death of Giovanni Ribisi’s medic, and the knife fight in the tower)

    • Sherm

      You know, CaptBackslap, just when I think you couldn’t possibly be any dumber, you go and say something like this, and totally redeem yourself!

      Dumb and Dumber was 1994.

      • CaptBackslap

        So it was. And I couldn’t possibly have been thinking of the horrible sequel, so I dunno what I was thinking.

        • Sherm

          Who cares. It was a funny movie irrespective of its year of release.

  • partisan

    Let’s see, I haven’t seen 5, 6, 9, 11, 14 and 15, and would have preferred Away from Her, Zodiac, Michael Clayton, Ratatouille, My Winnipeg, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and Paranoid Park to 3, 4, 5 and 8. I’ll also say I have a real problem with Coen Brothers movies. The only one that really works for me is “Miller’s Crossing.” People like “The Big Lebowski” but I think it’s “Cutter’s Way” reshot by the murderer in that film.

    2004 is arguably underestimated:

    1. A Very Long Engagement
    2. The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    3. The Incredibles
    4. The Weeping Meadow
    5. Kings and Queen
    6. Tropical Malady
    7. Vera Drake
    8. 2046
    9. I (Heart) Huckabees
    10. Innocence
    11. Kung Fu Hustle
    12. Nobody Knows
    13. Moolaade
    14. The Intruder
    15. The World
    16. Keane

    And arguably so is 2008:

    1. Ponyo
    2. Wall-E
    3. A Christmas Tale
    4. Hunger
    5. Synecdoche, New York
    6. Of Time and the City
    7. Happy Go Lucky
    8. Waltz with Bashir
    9. Gomorrah
    10. Red Cliff, Part One
    11. The Beaches of Agnes
    12. Summer Hours
    13. Ballast
    14. Wendy and Lucy
    15. Rachel Getting Married
    16. 35 Shots of Rum

    • CaptBackslap

      I enjoyed Kung-Fu Hustle, but I was also vaguely disappointed in it for some reason. I think my expectations were just ridiculously high. But it’s definitely worthy of inclusion.

      I would put Downfall, Sideways, and House of Flying Daggers (yes, I love wuxia) on the list before I Heart Huckabees, though. It was interesting, but didn’t quite connect for me. Also, I saw it in a theater on Election Day 2004, so maybe I just associate it with bitter disappointment in humanity.

  • andrew long

    Yes, and the stars aligned around Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and J.K. Simmons (if you include Spider-Man 3!).

    Truly A Year For the Ages.