Thursday, December 27, 2007

My Top Movies & TV Shows of 2007

Picking this year's selection of my favorite movies of the year was a pretty easy process because, thankfully, there were quite a few stand-out films that immediately sprung to mind as I sat down to compile my list. I must confess, I did not see as many movies as I would've liked this year ... I heard amazing things about Once, Lars and the Real Girl and, most recently, I Am Legend but I wasn't able to see any of them. But I did see my fair share of flicks this year ... and here are the 10 that I liked the best.

My 10th fave movie of the year was Into the Wild:

I read the book Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer when I was in graduate school and then again right before the movie came out and I remembered how much I didn't care for Christopher McCandless and his egotistic attempt to conquer the wild Alaskan landscape. So I went in to see the movie with a big chip on my shoulder ... but everything that I saw on the screen just wiped away my ill feelings towards McCandless and I gained a huge appreciation for the wilderness scenes shot by director Sean Penn. The movie is beautiful and it does much to soften the egotistical nature of McCandless (played by Emile Hirsch) and it won me over. I still think he kinda got what he deserved in the end, but I felt a lot more sorry for the outcome having watched the movie.

My #9 fave movie of the year was 300:

Hello! 300 half-nekkid soldiers running around in front of green screens, successfully recreating an epic historical battle ... and the world was fooled into thinking it wasn't gay porn? What isn't there to love? Frank Miller's amazing graphic novel absolutely came to life in his movie version ... and it was my introduction to Gerard Butler. My only regret was that I didn't see it in IMAX.

Coming in at #8 is 28 Weeks Later:

I am such a fan of 28 Days Later that I was a bit worried that the sequel wouldn't measure up to the original. While I wouldn't go so far as to say that this sequel was better, I think it was a bit more gory ... and depressing. The things that happened to the poor mother in this film stuck with me for days after I saw the movie. The hyper-intensity action scenes were fun and really gross. It was, by far, my fave "horror" movie of the year.

My #7 fave movie of the year was Hairspray:

As much as I feel that the original John Waters version of Hairspray is far more entertaining, I can't deny that the musical version is really, really fun. The staging and production of the movie version of the musical was handled perfectly. The colors, the choreography and the casting really all came together to craft a great movie. My one complaint is John Travolta. His Edna Turnblad was really bad, IMHO. His singing was really, really bad and I wish they had cast someone else in the role who could actually do the part rather than just have a big name.

#6 belongs to Stardust:

I love Neil Gaiman and everything he writes ... but that doesn't necessarily mean that movie versions of his work will be just as good. I am happy that Stardust turned out exactly as I hoped it would. Funny and smart, Neil's characters came alive on the big screen just as I hoped they would. I was hoping against hope that Tori Amos's cameo in the book version would be kept for the movie version but, alas, it wasn't meant to be. Even still, Stardust managed to turn out as a pretty awesome movie all by itself.

My #5 fave movie of the year is The Simpsons Movie:

What can I say ... I laughed from beginning to end of this entire movie. I don't remember ever laughing so much at a movie before ... and the Spider-pig gag wasn't even the funniest joke for me. The Simpsons has been on the air for more than a decade now because the writers for the show really know what they are doing ... the same can be said for the movie. It wasn't the best movie of the year but it was, by far, the funniest -- hand's down.

Coming in at #4, No Country For Old Men:

This movie is all about the writing. I am os in love with Cormac McCarthy's book The Road that I ravenously read as much of his other work after I finished that book. I had read No Country for Old Men before I saw the movie and I became anxious to see how the movie version would turn out. I didn't think the suspense from the book would be salvaged but I was wrong. I was held rapt thruout this entire movie. It's one of those movies that you have to pay attention to, it doesn't hit you over the head with the message and meaning. I remember hearing a few folks grumbling that they didn't "get" the movie as they were exiting. Sad for them, they really missed out on seeing an amazing film.

My third fave movie of the year is Elizabeth: The Golden Age:

Cate Blanchett rules the world. This sequel to her amazing film Elizabeth may not have been as critically acclaimed as the first film but I felt it was just as good. The lush costuming and scenery really made the film for me. Cate's performance was stunning and I am really hoping that she wins an Academy Award for her performance. I'm also hoping they will follow-thru and make a final Elizabeth movie so that she can do it all again.

The #2 movie of year for me is The Kite Runner:

Just as I laughed all the way thru The Simpsons Movie, I pretty much cried all the way thru The Kite Runner. The book is so haunting, so sad, depressing and finally uplifting. The movie amends the tale a bit to keep the overwhelming depression in check. Normally, I'm very upset whenever a movie changes a book's ending but I was SO HAPPY that a change was made in the movie version of The Kite Runner. I'm actually very surprised that more isn't written or talked about regarding this film ... it was the most touching, poignant thing I saw all year.

And my choice for the #1 movie of the year is Beowulf in IMAX 3D:

I saw Beowulf in regular 2D and didn't really find it all that remarkable. I saw it again in IMAX 3D and was completely blown the eff away. I kid you not, it is the coolest movie I've ever seen in my entire life. The IMAX 3D makes all the difference in the world. The movie is good but you really cannot appreciate it unless you see it in IMAX 3D. One day, all movies will be this amazing ... but Beowulf is where it all begins. I cannot stress enough ... see this movie in IMAX 3D while you still can ... it will blow your mind away ... more than any other movie this year.

The Top TV Shows of 2007:
  1. Dexter: By far, Dexter is the best TV show on the air right now. The writing is excellent, the acting is excellent and Michael C. Hall as Dexter is excellent. I became a new fan of this show just this year. I watched all of season 1 in one afternoon and then never missed an ep of season 2. I'm not a huge fan of pay cable series shows but I will be a Dexter fan until it goes off the air for good ... which I hope is never.
  2. The Hills: I hate to admit it, even still, but I could not get enough of The Hills this season. I tried to resist but it was futile ... the crazy drama of this third season was just too much to deny. Whitney's faces, Justin Bobby and the She-Spencer?! This season had me hooked from beginning to end ... AND we get to enjoy bonus eps this Spring! The show may be fake as hell but so is Dexter. I heart them both!!!
  3. Heroes (2nd Half) Lost (2nd Half): I figure if you take the second half of Heroes and the second half of Lost you have yourself a pretty good season of TV. Lost almost went to shit in its third season but it managed to do a 180 in the second half of the season (which aired this year) ... the same thing happened to Heroes. The producers tried to get cute and change the shows too much and the audience got pissed ... and vocal. In the end, both shows were salvaged because the producers listened to the audience. I just hope the producers of 24 will be listening to the audience when it returns in 2008.
  4. Gossip Girl: This was the best new show of the year. Gossip Girl is a success cuz they kept it simple ... cast pretty kids, make them fight and sleep with one another ... throw in some backstabbing ... and then make them all make up again and voila! You've got yourself a hit! I'm sold.
  5. Moonlight: Some Vampire TV shows are really good (like Angel) and some are really bad (like Blood Ties) so it could've gone either way with Moonlight. I'm happy that it turned out to be a good Vampire show with some great characters and some interesting storylines. I got hooked pretty quickly, which is telling since the show airs on Friday nights and I never stay home to watch TV on Fridays. Moonlight has the potential to be on the air for a while ... I hope that more people pick up the show when new eps return cuz I'm gonna want many more seasons of Moonlight.
  6. Pushing Daisies: Pushing Daisies has to be the most inventive show of the year. It's a little bit Amelie and a lotta bit Big Fish but on the small screen. Any show with Swoozie Kurtz is Aces in my book (and she's only a small part of the show). I'm interested to see how long Pushing Daisies can run for ... the show seems a bit limited to me in that the over-arcing storyline isn't very prominent. I hope the producers have a plan to make it more central to the show ... this series is too inventive to meet an early end.
  7. Project Runway: Heidi Klum, Tim Gunn, Nina Garcia, Michael Kors and weekly bitchy drama generated by no-name diva designers = hit show. Granted, there isn't as much drama this season as I'd like, I do have faith that the show will get even better.
  8. LA Ink: I never had any interest in watching Miami Ink but something about Kat Von D fronting her own tattoo shop seemed intriguing to me. I watched one ep and then had to watch the previous 4 that I had missed ... and then never missed an ep since. I just love the show ... and I really want Hannah to do my next tattoo. I'm on a list somewhere ... I'm hoping to get 'er done sometime in 2008. The show is such a hit, tho, I can understand why the waiting list is so long.
  9. Flipping Out: This show was so annoying and yet so amazing ... I couldn't help but watch. That Jeff guy is a total freak ... is it wrong that I loved watching him scream at his employees week after week after week?
  10. America's Most Smartest Model: This reality TV competitive show is just pure genius. I know there are new model shows coming out because this one was such a hit but the idea to make pretty people also compete in intelligence challenges is PURE BRILLIANCE. This has to be the best show that many people missed seeing. I'm glad I didn't miss it!!