The Ten Best Films of 2007 — Neil’s List

The year 2007 has finally come and gone. And with it’s departure, I now find myself having to deliver upon my post as the Editor of this site. Aside from keeping things organized around here, I am also obligated to give you my picks for the Ten Best Films of the Year. Looking back, 2007 had its share of good and bad films — but it was mostly the good that came shining through. And just like in 2006, it was a little Indie comedy that would rise to the top. We also saw plenty of delights for movie geeks, big dramas (most of which had very odd endings and very little score to them) and a few mammoth summer blockbusters that received a wide range of reviews from critics and fans alike.

So with all of the great movies that were released in 2007, how could I possibly narrow it down to just ten? It wasn’t easy, but I was able to finally narrow the list of over 300 releases down to the ten that were the most captivating, the most memorable and ultimately the most entertaining — because that is what 2007 was all about to me — finding movies that were entertaining on the most basic of levels. And whether they made me laugh or cry, whether they were relatable or freshly intriguing, whether they were a new story or a blast from the past, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that these ten films were my favorites — the best that Hollywood had to offer in 2007.

10. Transformers

Anyone who knows me would have thought that Michael Bay’s Transformers would be at the top of this list. But while it was the movie I saw most this year (12 times and counting — thanks HD-DVD), it is not where the list should end — but rather, where it should start. Sure there were other films that had great special effects, plenty of films that had more depth of plot, and even more films that had better performances — but there was nothing like seeing Optimus Prime transform for the first time. For a fan of Transformers from way back, there is no greater rush.

9. 30 Days of Night

Probably the biggest surprise entry into my Top Ten — even to me. I am not the sort of movie fan that loves horror flicks — in fact I generally steer clear of them at all costs. But there was something about David Slade’s graphic novel adaptation that struck a chord with me. It was dark, it was raw and it was intense — and for some reason, I loved every minute of it.

8. Hot Fuzz

I’ve struck up something of a love affair with Director Edgar Wright and his two pals Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. They got me into the zombie genre with Shaun of the Dead, then combined their brand of comedy with an affection for Michael Bay-esque action flicks to create Hot Fuzz. It was a comedy best shared with lots of friends over a pint of your favorite brew — and what could be better than being a little buzzed and watching an old lady get kicked in the face?

7. Waitress

There is no way to describe a movie like Waitress, the beautiful fairy tale-ish comedy written and directed by the late Adrienne Shelly, without being a little cliche. It was a sweet slice of life, a tasty treat and a wholesome helping of heartwarming cinema. Aside from making me hungry for pie, it also made me laugh and cry pretty profusely — it was altogether embarrassing.

6. Air Guitar Nation

As KISS said, “God gave rock and roll to you” — and some of you can play rock and roll back to him. For some of us though, it will just never happen. We will never play the guitar, never join a band and most certainly never be a rock star. But there is hope in Air Guitar — the topic that came front and center in Alexandra Lipsitz’ highly energetic documentary. Behold the rise of the next great thing — the most exciting new sport since Poker became televised. At first you will want to laugh at these wannabe rockers, but in the end they will have earned your respect, leaving us all laughing together.

5. Superbad

No film made us all laugh harder in 2007 than Superbad. In fact, I hadn’t laughed so hard since seeing Borat for the first time in the summer of ’06. Jonah Hill and Michael Cera, along with the no-longer unknown Christopher Mintz-Plasse were perfectly cast to play out the juvenile versions of writers Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and their good friend McLovin’. Other comedies brought the laughs this year — but Superbad brought the funk as well.

4. No Country for Old Men

It’s no surprise that the Coen Brothers’ film made my list, I’ve been a fan since Fargo. This time they’ve moved to the desert to weave a intricate cat-and-mouse game that sucks you in from moment one. At the heart of this film is one of the year’s best performances from Javier Bardem — the ultimate badass himself. Bardem stole the show from equally impressive outings from Josh Brolin and Tommy Lee Jones. That, to say the least, is astonishing.

3. Ratatouille

The folks at Pixar never seem to disappoint, always stepping up the beauty of animation with every film they’ve made. Ratatouille is certainly no exception. Hearing about this film back in ’06, I thought it could be the dumbest idea of the year — what could be interesting about a rat that wants to become a chef in Paris? And why would you want Patton Oswalt to voice your lead character? Thankfully, Pixar doesn’t listen to what I think, as they obviously knew something that I did not — the result was by far the most beautiful animated film I’ve seen in years.

2. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

There is no greater feeling for a film critic than when a film comes out of no where and smacks you in the mouth with greatness. And of all the fantastic documentaries of the past year, The King of Kong definitely hit the hardest. It is the epic tale of one man’s quest to break the world record in the classic Donkey Kong arcade game. The only problem is that he is pitted against one of the most outrageously maniacal people on the face of the planet: Billy Mitchell. The King of Kong had me on the edge of my seat more than any other film in 2007, leaving an impression that will not be going away any time soon.

1. Juno

A sucker for a sharp-witted comedy, I was the perfect audience for a film such as Juno. As if Einstein himself could draw up no more perfect equation, I was drawn to this film like a starving man to water. After being so enamored with Little Miss Sunshine in 2006, I yearned for 2007 to deliver something similar. It took until the late fall for Juno to arrive — and it was well worth the wait. Ellen Page’s delivery of writer Diablo Cody’s razor-sharp dialogue could not have been more enjoyable, and director Jason Reitman is officially the most visionary young director on the face of the planet.

So there you have it — my ten best films of 2007. Unlike the “Ten Best” lists of many critics, there are a few films in there that were just plain entertaining, followed by the films that were hands down the most interesting pieces of cinema to be released over the past 12 months. Looking forward to 2008, it is going to be another very exciting year. The most exciting part though, will be the little surprises along the way.

This feature is part of our 2007 Year in Review. For more, visit the Year in Review Homepage.

Neil Miller is the Founder and Publisher of Film School Rejects. For almost a decade, he has been talking movies on television, the radio, and the Internet. As of yet, no one has stopped him.

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