This year, like every year, has had its fair share of memorable moments in film. In 2006, we got a slew of memorable scenes like seeing Superman return to the big screen to save a jet in free-fall, we had a new James Bond doing physical feats that we had never seen 007 do before, and Borat ran through a hotel lobby in the buff. Looking back on the year that was 2007, what scenes or moments from films will live on? What will people be quoting a year from now — McLovin or Dewey Cox? Will people remember this as the year the Transformers made an impact on the big screen or will it go down as just another testosterone-fueled Michael Bay vehicle like Bad Boys 2 and The Island?
I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite scenes from 2007. Please note that at the time of this writing some films that I haven’t seen are There Will Be Blood, Charlie Wilson’s War, Walk Hard, and Sweeney Todd.
10. SiCKO — “Michael Moore takes 9/11 rescue workers to Cuba for health treatment”
Yes, it’s manipulative. But I’ll be damned if Michael Moore’s SiCKO isn’t entertaining. In his best documentary to date, Moore examines the state of healthcare in America. This all culminates in Moore taking rescue workers who helped during 9/11 (who all sustained lung injuries and other maladies) and can’t get proper treatment in the States to Cuba where they get free assessments and healthcare. Initially when Moore traveled to Cuba, he actually broke the rules of a trade embargo US has with Cuba restricting travel. Moore later claimed that he applied for a license to travel to Cuba but never heard a reply—so he went anyway. It’s because of this controversy and the emotional impact this portion of the film carries that lands SiCKO on this list.
9. Zodiac — “The Picnic”
I have a feeling Zodiac is going to get forgotten by a lot of critics’ lists because it was released so early this year and didn’t generate a whole lot of buzz. However, it is possibly David Fincher’s best work as a director and it had some great scenes. The scene that stuck with me after I saw it was the picnic scene where the man and woman get stabbed down by the lake. It starts off innocently enough and then the woman sees the Zodiac killer coming. That’s what was so interesting to me about this scene—the killer doesn’t pop out of nowhere, he strolls over to them. The killer then plays with their minds a bit and then attacks. It’s a really intense scene and actually made me feel really uneasy. The rest of the film starts to slide a bit when the Zodiac killer isn’t featured so much, but that scene is the film’s best.
8. Knocked Up — “Pregnant Sex”
Ben: Do you want to do it doggy style?
Alison: You are not going to f*ck me like a dog!
Ben: It’s doggy style. It’s just the style. We don’t have to go outside or anything.
7. The Bourne Ultimatum — “The Rooftop Chase”
This summer’s Bourne Ultimatum was a pretty good movie. I didn’t think it was as intense as the previous Bourne Supremacy nor did I think Matt Damon was as engaging this time around, but the rooftop chase about 2/3 of the way through the film was brilliant. It starts with Julia Stiles being chased through several buildings while Bourne watches from above. Then we see that incredible shot that was in the trailer of Bourne jumping from a rooftop through a window and in to a fight. The camera follows Bourne on his jump. It’s so cool, and it’s a tactic that I feel will be used quite a lot in action films for some time to come.
6. 300 — “Kill the Messenger”
When King Xerxes sends his messengers to Sparta to demand that the Spartans bow down to the Persian king, King Leonidus (Gerard Butler) thinks differently. Instead of reasoning or just turning down the messenger’s offer, Leonidus instead kicks the lead messenger square in the chest into a deep black pit. This shot was instrumental in the trailer, a great scene for jump-starting the movie, and it’s already being mocked by the Scary Movie folks who are releasing Meet the Spartans. This scene is the easily most iconic from this year and probably the most easily recognized.
5. Eastern Promises — “The Bathhouse Fight”
As I’m sure this will probably go down as one of the more memorable fight scenes of 2007 (list forthcoming), it’s no surprise that the bathhouse sequence of Eastern Promises is one of the more memorable scenes of this year. I chose it because I love how dedicated Viggo Mortensen is to his characters. He traveled by himself to various places around Russia and Siberia and studied his character’s origins and the importance of prison tattoos to that culture. That bathhouse scene was also filmed using very specific fighting styles that each character possessed. A lot of time and preparation went in to that scene and it paid off — Eastern Promises is one of the best movies of the year.
4. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters — “Steve Weibe plays at Fun Spot”
When his Donkey Kong record is challenged, middle school science teacher Steve Weibe travels to New Hampshire’s Fun Spot, the haven for legendary video games, to prove that he is in fact the king of Kong. While there he is met by Twin Galaxies founder Walter Day and challenged by fellow gamer Brian Kuh to a game of Donkey Kong. Sure enough Weibe has a terrific game and breaks Billy Mitchell’s record set back in the early 80′s. All is well, right? No. Uber-villain Mitchell delivers a videotape and invalidates Weibe’s entire struggle. Not only is this scene hilarious and deflating, it also inspired a “South Park” episode.
3. Once — “Falling Slowly”
This Indie musical set in Dublin took a lot of people by surprise. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova are absolutely winning and the scene from Once that seems to have stuck with most people I’ve talked to and myself is when they play “Falling Slowly” in the music shop. It is such a rich character-driven scene where we see two talents seamlessly coming together and, just maybe, falling for each other. It’s beautifully shot and carefully edited so that the focus is on the two discovering each other’s musical passion. It’s an inspired moment and can take credit for where a lot of the film’s appeal comes from.
2. Death Proof — “Zoe Bell Holds On for Dear Life”
Although it happens almost three hours into Grindhouse, when I saw New Zealand stuntwoman Zoe Bell on the roof of a 1970 Dodge Challenger while Kurt Russell’s Stuntman Mike continually plows into the car at high speeds, I had really genuine shivers going down my spine and got startled right out of my seat. It’s not just the fact that Bell is doing all her own stunts, but it’s also because much of the scene is shot wide so you see every nuance and every bit of the danger that comes crashing down on these girls. The entire scene is gripping and to top it off Zoe Bell is so damn charming that when you’re finally able to breathe a sigh of relief it’s coupled with a collective chuckle. And although I feel that Tarantino’s extended version of Death Proof is not nearly as good as the shorter Grindhouse edition, this scene is still very effective upon repeat viewings.
1. No Country for Old Men — “The Dog Chase”
There are several scenes in the Coens’ No Country for Old Men that could’ve made this list. The hotel shoot-out where Javier Bardem’s Anton Chigurh finally catches up with Josh Brolin’s Llewellyn Moss is notable. Llewellyn first finding the money, Anton’s scene with the gas station attendant who’s justifiably confused and scared, and the two men taking necessary steps to treat themselves for wounds are all great scenes as well. The scene that sticks out most for me, though, is early in the film when Llewellyn goes to bring water to the gunned down Mexican in the pick-up truck. He is then chased by some men and when he eludes them by diving into a river, they send in their dog to chase Llewellyn. At first I laughed at the site of this dog wagging its tongue and paddling after our hero, but soon the weight of the situation began to creep in. Llewellyn is going to have to dispose of this dog somehow. It’s a fantastic scene and showcases everything that’s good about No Country — the tenseness, the beautiful cinematography, and the subtle humor.
Honorable Mentions:Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Dumbledore vs. Voldemort; I Am Legend, poor Sam; Atonement, arrival at Dunkirk; Transformers, Bumblebee fights Barricade; Michael Clayton, Tilda Swinton gets her comeuppance.
Most Memorably Awful Scene from 2007:
Spider-Man 3 — “The Jazz Club”
I don’t really need to explain why this was awful, do I? Best line: “Now dig on this…”
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