– Nicol Williamson as Merlin in John Boorman’s EXCALIBUR
OK, maybe the EXCALIBUR quote isn’t quite the proper way to go, but it’s what my muse told me to open this piece with and besides, it’s my favorite quote from a terrific movie. But I think it does illustrate my point that 2007 was an unusually good year for movies and we should savior this moment because who really knows when it’s going to come again?
If you’ve been paying attention to the countless number of “Best of” list then you’ve been seeing a number of the same titles over and over again – THERE WILL BE BLOOD, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, ZODIAC, THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY, RATATOULLIE, PERSEPOLIS, MICHAEL CLAYTON – and that’s all perfectly fine. I saw most of those films and would agree with those assessments. Every year most top ten lists look the same, but this year critics had a lot more to pick from and most would offer apologies to some titles or “Runner’s Up” lists. Either way, it’s an embarrassment of riches and that puts a smile on my face.
I’m not doing a traditional Top Ten list in part because there are plenty of top films I haven’t seen – THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD, ONCE, BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD, that I all hope to catch some time in the next few weeks. But all those films that were good this year weren’t just good, they were damn good. They would be top five films if they came out in any other year, but getting them all at once made for a very special year. THERE WILL BE BLOOD and GRINDHOUSE were my absolute favorites (they share my “Best of 2007” slot) for the reasons that I love movies; BLOOD was brilliant filmmaking and compelling storytelling while GRINDHOUSE was overwhelming fun and entertainment, a film whose desire to please was evident every single moment the film was on screen. As for the rest, here are the top films I saw in 2007 (with apologies to George Romero’s DIARY OF THE DEAD and Chris Stapp and Matt Heath’s THE DEVIL DARED ME TO, two great films that have yet to be released):