Sunday, June 13, 2021

The 100 Project: The Top 25 Movies of 2007

    By the end of 2007, I was entering into a period of transition. Lots of transitions. The firs t was the closing of the Blockbuster where I was working. In this case, I was transferred to another location less than a mile away. There was lots of talk about this growing company called Netflix that was renting out DVDs through the mail. They had gotten big enough for Blockbuster to see them as a legitimate threat. Us employees were "asked" to push Blockbuster's new online service and other incentive programs. Many of us felt like the band playing while the Titanic sank. Of course, management assured us things were under control. It was the old ,"we're too big to fail" logic. The closing of that particular store did wonders for my movie collection, though. Lots of inventory was marked down, further and further as the drop dead date neared. Throw in my employee discount and a good chunk of a couple paychecks wound up on the shelves in my living room. This was very close to the the dawn of 2008, so I'll have more changes to talk about in the 2008 post. Now, I'll just get on with what you're here for.

My Top 25 Movies of 2007

  • According to my Letterboxd account, I've watched 122 movies released during 2007.
  • Of the 9 films I saw in theaters that year, only 1 makes my top 25.
  • I've seen all 5 of the Best Picture nominees. 3 make my top 25, including 2 of my top 4.
  • For the first time since 2002, a documentary cracks my top 10.
  • For the first time since 1986 a full-blown, live action musical makes my top 10. 
  • In all, 3 live-action musicals make my top 25.

25. The Great Debaters

24. 3:10 to Yuma

23. 30 Days of Night

22. Juno

21. The Bourne Ultimatum

20. Teeth

19. Superbad

18. Enchanted

17. The Mist

16. Hot Fuzz

15. Ratatouille

14. Talk to Me

13. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

12. Shoot 'em Up

11. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

10. Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

This is the last movie directed by the legendary Sidney Lumet and one of the last performances by the iconic Philip Seymour Hoffman. Neither of those facts get it here. What does the trick is that it's one of the most underrated/underseen heist movies of the 21st century.

9. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

Before I sat down to watch this, I would've said you must be crazy if you told that a documentary about a guy trying to set the world record in Donkey Kong would be one of my favorite movies of the year. Yet, here we are. It's full of intrigue and suspense. We have real sympathy for the hero and genuinely hate the villain. And it's a documentary about Donkey Kong. 

8. Paranormal Activity

I'm generally not a fan of found footage movies. Like any other sub-genre, it has its gems. This is one of them. Chaining the concept to the haunted house template works wonders, mostly because of near-perfect execution. There are some shenanigans with different endings that may change your perception, but either works for me.

7. I Am Legend

I get it. It's pretty cool to hate this movie. But I just can't. The source of most of that hate seems to be the ending. Having read the original novel, I will agree that this movie botches it. They actually shot a better ending, which you can watch. However, I like it as is. Will Smith is as compelling as ever, without devolving into his well-worn persona. The film also manages to be fun with some truly tense moments.

6. Hairspray

If you know me, you know I'm not the biggest fan of musicals. You might also know that when I find one I like, I generally LOVE it. Hairspray falls into that category. It's got an odd history. It's an adaptation of a Broadway musical that was an adaptation of a John Waters flick. And it blows that first film out of the water. It tackles some heavy topics, but has more fun than should be allowed. 

5. American Gangster

Ridley Scott. Denzel Washington. Russell Crowe. Magic. It weaves together the rise and fall of a gangster with a police procedural very effectively. The performances are great all around, especially a supporting turn by the late-great Ruby Dee. As for Ridley Scott, it's arguably his last great movie, though I haven't seen All the Money in the World just yet.

4. There Will Be Blood

Nowadays, this movie is mostly known for the collection of memes it has spawned. What's becoming lost is just how great this movie is. The performance by Daniel Day Lewis is amazing, but the work by Paul Dano is just as good, if less showy. It's also a movie that works better for me as a metaphor for America's involvement in the Middle East than it does on the surface. Just think on it a bit.

3. Gone Baby Gone

The directorial debut of Ben Affleck is a doozy. The first time I watched this I was on the edge of my seat for almost the entire time. We move from place to place all around Boston and our heroes are put through the ringer. The best part, the thing that catapults this up my rankings, is that it ends with a real conundrum. Watch it with a group, then discuss what you would do in that situation.

2. Persepolis

I wasn't sure what to expect when I watched this. I mean, it's an animated biopic adapted from a graphic novel. That doesn't sound like a winning formula. Somehow, it is. It deals with a number of socio-political topics, but what sells us is that it's also just a coming-of-age story. We watch the main character grow up, can't help but fall in love with her and experience every twist, turn, rise, and drop of her personal rollercoaster.

1. No Country for Old Men

In some cases, all it takes to make a good movie is a good villain. This movie has a villain who instantly became iconic. There just aren't enough words to describe how good Javier Bardem is in this part. Now, add that to another great Coen brothers script with excellent work by other performers such as Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin and you get an unforgettable concoction. And yeah, I think the ending is perfect.

Honorable Mentions (alphabetically): 1408, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Grindhouse, I Think I Love My Wife, The Kingdom, Mr. Brooks, Ocean's Thirteen, Reign Over Me, The Simpsons Movie, Things We Lost in the Fire, Trick 'r Treat, Zodiac


  1. THANK you for that comment on the end of No Country. It's a perfectly brilliant ending, one that is exactly how the movie should end. It sums up the entirety of Ed Tom Bell perfectly.

    Here's a little tidbit for the next time you watch it. Our three main characters never appear on camera at the same time. No two of them are ever in the same frame.

    1. It really is a perfect ending. As for your tidbit, I knew that the three main characters never appeared on camera together, but didn't realize that no two of them were on camera together. Hmmm. I'll be paying attention to that on next watch.

  2. From our respective lists, we share 13 films from your 25 while I have 4 films in your honorable mentions. That was an insane year of cinema for me and I enjoyed it immensely. I saw so many films in the theaters that year and had my favorite film of that year be my birthday movie. Yet, I will also remember a month or 2 later going to see There Will Be Blood and finding a seat was hard as I sat second row at the Tara Theater which is a small arthouse theater and BOOM!!!! That scene where the oil well exploded made me deaf for a bit.

    1. Lots of stuff on your list that I still need to see (I've only seen about half). Sitting in those first few rows is always uncomfortable.

  3. Some amazing movies in this list! I played so much Donkey Kong, I can't believe I've never heard of The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. Definitely going to have to hunt a copy of that down.

    1. I'm pretty sure The King of Kong is streaming somewhere. I hope you find it soon. I think you'll definitely enjoy it.

  4. So many great movies released in 2007! My faves from your list are 3:10 To Yuma, Enchanted, Bourne Ultimatum, Hot Fuzz, Ratatouille, Enchanted, and Gone Baby Gone.

  5. I doubt Paranormal Activity would have made it to my list as I wasn't impressed at all, but No Country for Old Men would definitely be my number 1. That film is a masterpiece!

    1. Paranormal Activity probably wouldn't make a lot of people's list. Happy to see we have the same number 1. It really is a masterpiece.

  6. There are some I haven’t seen like Sweeney and I really want to see “Beforethe Devil Knows You’re Dead”. Sounds really interesting. Love Bourne, 3:10 to Yuma, Juno, Enchanted, Talk To Me, There Will be Blood and No Country, you #1 choice. I would add, Shooter which is a really good thriller.La Vie En Rose about Edith Piaf, 1408 a horror film...I know...scared me to death! Away From Her is a sad film about Alzheimer’s but well acted and written. Blades of Glory which is so stupid ..very stupid but I laugh so hard every time. Eastern Promises which is about the Russian mafia and The Bucket List which I find just such a good film.

    1. Glad you like so many of them. I definitely recommend Before the Devil Knows You're Dead. Of your suggestions, I did like 1408, Blades of Glory, and The Bucket List, just not quite enough to land here. I didn't much care for Shooter. I haven't seen the others, yet. I should be seeing Eastern Promises soon since I recently found it on blu-ray at a pawn shop.

  7. Hey Dell,

    I think we are a mite closer this year than last though we only have one corresponding top 10 match.

    Hairspray is our only shared top pick. It’s such a jaunty, happy film. Not too crazy about Travolta (he’s no Divine) but he gets the job done. Christopher Walken however is phenomenal. I also love 3:10 to Yuma (if you’ve never seen the original with Van Heflin and Glenn Ford it’s very much worth tracking down) and The Bourne Ultimatum

    I liked but didn’t love these more or less in this order- Shoot ‘Em Up! (fast, silly with Clive Owen ideally cast but ultimately pointless), American Gangster, No Country for Old Men, The Great Debaters, Enchanted (I think this is the one place that that Adams creature didn’t make my eye twitch while watching her) and Gone Baby Gone.

    I’m very neutral on Juno, LOVED her parents but the rest was just a little too clever for its own good.

    Hot Fuzz and Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead were okay, but I doubt I will ever watch them again.

    I only one I flat out hated is There Will Be Blood. No matter how great DDL was in this film, and he was, it was like watching paint dry.

    Haven’t seen these and probably never will-30 Days of Night, Teeth, Superbad (I have zero patience with Michael Cera), The Mist, Ratatouille, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (this is a maybe), The King of Kong, Paranormal Activity.

    The others I’m missing I have various reasons for except Talk to Me which is the only real gap of what I should have really seen out of the lot-love Don Cheadle!

    Sweeney Todd-I saw a filmed version of the original stage play with Angela Lansbury-she originated the part of Mrs. Lovett-and while I admired the odd daring of it that once was enough. If Angela Lansbury couldn’t get me to watch it again Johnny Depp sure as hell cannot!

    I Am Legend-I was all set to see this and my sister said it was the dumbest thing she had seen in a while and that cooled my ardor.

    Persepolis-I’ve heard good things, but you know how I am with animation.

    As is often the case our Top 10 vary quite a bit:

    1 Shelter-A great small movie about the difficulties of family and the importance of doing what’s best for you even if it sometimes comes at a cost.
    2 Atonement
    3 Breakfast with Scot
    4 P. S. I Love You
    5 3:10 to Yuma
    6 Death at a Funeral
    7 Hairspray
    8 The Bourne Ultimatum
    9 Save Me
    10 La Vie en Rose

    I have two special mentions that are hard to place. They were both fascinating excellently done documentaries, but I don’t know how inclined I am to watch them again. Though I hardily recommend seeing both.

    Girl 27-In 1937 MGM sent a group of their contract girls to a party for their salesmen at a remote ranch. While there one of the young women, Patricia Douglas, was brutally raped. When she sought justice the studio closed ranks and destroyed her reputation and in affect her life. The story this tells is powerful and tragically sad. The only drawback is the director's insistence on forcing himself into the narrative where he is nothing but an intrusion.

    Anita O’Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer-A look at the influential jazz singer renown for her unique percussive style. It was a wild, rough ride but she was a fascinating character.

    I couldn’t even get up to 25 favorites this year, I topped out at 23 with my two special mentions. Here’s the rest in alpha order:

    Cassandra’s Dream, Eastern Promises, Evening, Fracture, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, The Nines, No Country for Old Men, Ocean’s Thirteen, Shoot ‘Em Up!, Spider-Man 3, Waitress

    1. Hairspray is a great film to have a match on, so I'll take it. And no one could even hope to be Divine, so I'm more than fine with Travolta in the role. I have seen the original 3:10 to Yuma. It is really good, but I have to say I prefer the remake this time.

      I get that complaint about Juno. Honestly, I felt the same way the first time I saw it. I've seen it a couple times since and I've liked it better each time.

      There Will Be Blood is certainly slow, so I understand.

      While 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days is great, it is a tough watch, so be prepared.

      I know that the stage version of Sweeney Todd exist on DVD, but I haven't seen it. The movie is definitely not for you. I mean, it's a gory, Tim Burton directed, horror-musical where no one is that great a singer.

      If I can further steer you towards Persepolis, it's definitely not aimed at kids.

      I need to watch Eastern Promises. I bought a copy of it a few months back, but haven't seen it yet. I'm the superhero guy, but you like Spider-Man 3 more than I. It's an overstuffed mess. There are definitely good parts, there's just way too much crammed into it. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is one of the HP movies I've seen. The franchise just isn't working for me, though I am planning on powering through it. I haven't seen the rest.

  8. I also love Hairspray! Especially this version, I thought it was great. I'm glad to see 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days get some love here too.

    1. 4 Months is a great movie. Honestly, it would probably be higher if I had seen it more recently. I'm glad someone else has seen it.