2007 at the movies

No Country for Old Men is one of the best films that Joel and Ethan Coen have ever made. That is very high praise considering the brilliant films the Coens have released in their storied career.

Best Movie

Winner:No Country for Old Men

No Country for Old Men is one of the best films that Joel and Ethan Coen have ever made. That is very high praise considering the brilliant films the Coens have released in their storied career. This film is thrilling, disturbing and thought provoking, with a genius technical craft that never distracts from the plot. The story rolls out slowly and deliberately and doesn’t rely on heavy-handed backstory to push it along. The movie builds upon itself, with climax after climax, and once it grabs you it won’t let go. It won’t be easy to shake the images in this movie, and it won’t be easy for the Coen Brothers to top it.

Runner-up: American Gangster

This year saw the release of another Ridley Scott epic, this time featuring a huge cast with more than a few recognizable rappers and of course Russell Crowe (with a terrible accent to boot). But Crowe’s bad accent notwithstanding, this true crime narrative is about as good as crime dramas get, with Denzel Washington turning in a classic (if fairly standard) performance as a prominent Black drug-dealer in the ’70s.

The throwback award
These are the films that remind us most of bygone movie eras.

Winner: Grindhouse

Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s double feature of gooey, violent delight was a nice surprise in a rather stale movie-going year, and that’s largely because it was a direct incarnation of a 1970s exploitation film. Planet Terror was a great traditional zombie movie, and Death Proof had the most brutal car crash in recent cinematic history. Between the two films, there wasn’t much to dislike. Also of note were the hee-lar-i-ous fake movie trailers in between the two films. Wait until the DVD is released as a whole package before experiencing these works again; the separate director’s cuts just aren’t the same.

Runner-up: Disturbia

This wasn’t as much homage to a past time as it was a direct rip-off of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window. Yes, we know Shia LaBeouf is so dreamy, but c’mon Hollywood, write your own story! (Oh wait…)

The three-quel award
For some reason 2007 saw a lot of movies that were the third in a series. Here are the best:

Winner: Ocean’s 13

There is nothing cooler than a movie about stealing things, and that’s especially true when George Clooney and Brad Pitt are running the show. The Ocean’s movies are so delectably fun and gorgeously filmed that we don’t even care if 12 kind of sucked. This new one was great, with the whole crew back in Las Vegas battling a weathered looking Al Pacino. If we’re ever repeat criminals committing grand larceny, we hope we look as stylish as these guys do.

Runner-up: Bourne Ultimatum

Matt Damon as an action hero? Who would have thought? In the third installment of the Bourne series, our boy-faced everyman keeps on kickin’ ass. And it is indeed very awesome (if a little surprising).

The letdown award
These are the films that should have been great, but instead just sucked.

Winner: Spider Man 3

What the hell happened? Spider-Man 2 was awesome. Why is Spider-Man 3 such utter shit? We think it had something to with dancing (Spider-Man shouldn’t dance) or haircuts (Spider-Man shouldn’t “go emo”) or any of the number of horrible mistakes that went into the creation of this film. These movies aren’t that hard to make: All Spiderman has to do is kick the ass of some gnarly bad-guy. And they wasted Venom on 10 minutes of tedium. Hey, Sam Raimi: Venom is cool, Sandman is not. Make your movies accordingly.

Runner-up: Shoot ‘Em Up

It seemed like a cool premise: Name a movie exactly what it is, and have 90 minutes of rollicking good fun. Instead, Shoot ‘Em Up was a bad cartoon of an action movie, with a horrible script and terrible directing. Not even the calm tone of Clive Owen could save this shitheap.

Best ensemble
This award goes to the movie that most successfully juggles multiple story lines and multiple sets of actors.

Winner: Zodiac

Following the intertwining stories of those on the hunt for the Zodiac killer, this procedural thriller showcased another dark masterpiece from director David Fincher. Jake Gyllenhaal was actually fascinating as the newspaper cartoonist who obsesses over the killer while his family falls apart around him. The never-confirmed identity of the killer looms large over the story, and the atmosphere is suffocating and creepy. Zodiac could have stood to be cut down a little though, as its 158-minute running time is a bit excessive.

The laugh-’til-you-pee award
These are the movies that made us laugh so hard we wet ourselves. People sitting next to us might have been disgusted by the smell of urine, but we didn’t notice; we were having too good a time.

Winner: Superbad
Funnier than damn near everything this year, Superbad is dirtier (but less smelly) than that bum who sleeps in Smith Center. Scenes of particular hilarity include a parade of penis drawings and one Michael Cera returning a compliment (to a girl) about the smoothness of her penis (if she had one). It’s like our awkward teenage years all rolled into a movie that we can at least kind of relate to. And who could forget McLovin! That kid is great. And so is Superbad.

Runner-up: Hot Fuzz
Most people probably thought the guys that made the inspired zombie-film satire Shaun of the Dead had peaked, but not so. Hot Fuzz beats that film in the funny and thrilling categories hands down.

The creepy creeperton award
These are the characters that got under our skin. Thanks to these performances, we don’t think we can walk down the street alone at night anymore.

Winner: Anton Chigurh from No Country for Old Men

Anton Chigurh, the unstoppable villain in No Country for Old Men, will haunt our dreams. His mop-top haircut, air bolt gun, silenced shotgun and disturbingly systematic killing style were so unrelenting that we had to turn away at times. No other character this year matched the fear that Anton Chigurh, expertly played by Javier Bardem, instilled in us.

Runner-up: Xerxes, the Persian king, from 300
With his creepy low voice and towering height, Xerxes, the Persian king in 300, played by Rodrigo Santoro, dominated every scene he was in. His weird man-slut costumes and awkward piercings made us very uncomfortable.

The floppy-cock award
In movies we see plenty of exposed ass and breast, but when male genitalia makes an appearance on screen, we take notice. Here’s the best in cock for 2007:

Winner: Lil’ Viggo Mortensen from Eastern Promises

There are plenty of thrilling and violent scenes in Eastern Promises, and the sauna fight scene is one of the best examples, or at least we think it is. We don’t remember because all we could look at during the lengthy naked fight scene was Viggo Mortensen’s exposed genitalia as he kicked, stabbed and punched his assailants, and in the process, inadvertently wagged his balls and penis at the audience. We didn’t want to look, but when his elephant-sized wiener (on the big screen that is) is flopping around, it’s impossible not to stare. 

Runner-up: Lil’ Bart Simpson from The Simpsons Movie
One of the greatest laughs in the The Simpsons Movie is an unexpected glimpse of Bart Simpson’s yellow member after the movie went out of its way to hide it from us during his nude skateboarding scene. It’s something we thought we would never see and hope we never see again.

The nightmare-giver award
Here are the films that inspired the most fear and dread in us:

Winner: 28 Weeks Later

28 Days Later was one of the greatest horror films of all time and 28 Weeks Later, while not as well-crafted, certainly matched its predecessor in scares. The film took the time to set up its characters and plot before pushing us into zombie outbreak horror and nonstop chases. We were on the edge of our seats as the small group of survivors slowly got whittled down by the horde of terrifying and fast zombies.

Runner-up: 1408

Coming out of left field was 1408, which seemed as though it was going to be terrible, but in fact was a great example of “No Exit” horror. The scares are real and rarely cheap.

The best unreleased-film award
These movies haven’t been released yet, but we are sure they are going to be great… Trust us.

Winner: There Will Be Blood

Paul Thomas Anderson’s films haven’t let us down yet, and There Will Be Blood shouldn’t either. The turn-of-the-century set movie about oil, greed and religious fervor starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano is beautifully shot and incredibly acted. It is likely to be one of the best, if not the best, film of 2007.

Runner-up: Juno

There are more laughs in the trailer of Juno than in most comedies released this year. Juno should be heartwarming and hilarious.