MOVIE REVIEWS- 2007 in review: What a long, strange year it's been

Special to THE HOOK

You're all a bunch of idiots!

There, I've got that off my chest. I don't mean you personally, of course. If you have enough taste to read this column, you're not one of the people who started 2007 by making huge hits of horrible movies (Norbit, Ghost Rider, Wild Hogs), then stayed away when the "serious" pictures started arriving in the fall.

Everything came in batches all year: great actresses (Julie Christie and Marion Cotillard) and failed "torture-porn" sequels in the spring, threequels in late spring/early summer, vigilante thrillers and Jane Austen-related romances in late summer, anti-Iraq War movies in early fall, African American holiday movies in late fall. Whatever you liked, there would surely be at least one more just like it opening soon.

The studios continue making a self-fulfilling prophecy of the idea that awards go to late-year releases by saving their potential contenders at least until September, then flooding the market with them. It's worth noting that most of my Ten Worst opened in the first half of the year, so I don't forget.

After eight months of crap, can the public really be blamed for not flocking to Reservation Road, Things We Lost in the Fire, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, Lions for Lambs and Martian Child, some of which weren't very good anyway; or for confusing Dedication and Delirious, Rendition and Redacted, The Hoax and The Host, In the Valley of Elah and In the Shadow of the Moon, September Dawn and Rescue Dawn or We Own the Night and 30 Days of Night?

As disappointing as many of the films themselves were, more disappointing was when one the masses should have enjoyed (e.g., Shoot ‘em Up) got lost in the shuffle. At this writing, the boxoffice jury is still out on those year-end releases that are supposed to make the wait worthwhile. You'll see several of their titles in the "Best" list below and on many other lists of nominations and awards. But will you go to see them when they're up against sequels to Alien vs. Predator and National Treasure?

Oh, you will, but what about all those other idiots?

As usual, some of the films listed are platforming and haven't arrived here yet, or were test-marketed and sent directly to DVD.

Top Ten:

1. Atonement

2. The Kite Runner

3. There Will Be Blood

4. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

5. Juno

6. No Country for Old Men

7. The Lookout

8. Michael Clayton

9. Lars and the Real Girl

10. Golden Door

Honorable Mention (listed alphabetically):

Away from Her

The Bourne Ultimatum

Charlie Wilson's War

Death at a Funeral


The Host

In the Valley of Elah

Knocked Up

Rocket Science

Shoot ‘em Up

Best Foreign-Language Film: The Kite Runner

Runners-up: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Golden Door

Best Documentary Feature: Protagonist

Runners-up: The Life of Reilly, The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

Best Animated Film: Ratatouille

Runners-up: The Simpsons Movie, Paprika

Best Director: Joe Wright, Atonement

Runners-up: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men; Sean Penn, Into the Wild

Best Actress: Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose 

Runners-up: Julie Christie, Away from Her; Jodie Foster, The Brave One

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood

Runners-up: Tommy Lee Jones, In the Valley of Elah; Joseph Gordon-Levitt, The Lookout

Best Supporting Actress: Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone

Runners-up: Cate Blanchett, I'm Not There; Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton

Best Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men

Runners-up: Tom Wilkinson, Michael Clayton; Alan Tudyk, Death at a Funeral

Best Original Screenplay: Judd Apatow, Knocked Up

Runners-up: Diablo Cody, Juno; Nancy Oliver, Lars and the Real Girl

Best Adapted Screenplay: Christopher Hampton, Atonement

Runners-up: Aaron Sorkin, Charlie Wilson's War; Sarah Polley, Away from Her

Titles I Hated to Leave Out but They Wouldn't Quite Fit: Across the Universe, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, Black Book, The Bubble, For the Bible Tells Me So, The Namesake, No End in Sight, Rescue Dawn, Rendition, Sicko, Superbad

People I Hated to Leave Out but They Wouldn't Quite Fit: George Clooney, Michael Clayton; Angelina Jolie, A Mighty Heart; Ben Kingsley, You Kill Me; Sidney Lumet (director), Before the Devil Knows You're Dead; Laura Linney, The Nanny Diaries; James McAvoy, Atonement

Movie that Made Me Feel Best about Being a Human Being: Lars and the Real Girl

ROFLMAO*: Death at a Funeral, Knocked Up, Superbad, Blades of Glory, Reno 911!: Miami

*Texting shorthand for "rolling on the floor laughing my a** off"

Best Creature Feature: The Host

Runner-up: The Mist

Breakout Actor: Justin Timberlake (Alpha Dog, Black Snake Moan, Southland Tales, Shrek the Third)

Runners-up: Homayoun Ershadi (The Kite Runner), Michael Cera (Superbad, Juno)

Breakout Actress: Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, Dan in Real Life)

Runners-up: Dana Fuchs (Across the Universe), Saoirse Ronan (Atonement)

Rediscovered Geezer: Hal Holbrook, Into the Wild

Runner-up: Andy Griffith, Waitress

Unstoppable Geezer: Vanessa Redgrave (Atonement, Evening)

Runner-up: Max von Sydow (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Rush Hour 3)

Return to Form: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men

Runners-up: Sidney Lumet, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead; Brian DePalma, Redacted

Top & Bottom: Philip Seymour Hoffman (lead in The Savages and Before the Devil Knows You're Dead; supporting in Charlie Wilson's War)

Runner-up: Tommy Lee Jones, (lead in In the Valley of Elah; supporting in No Country for Old Men)

She's Everywhere!: Margo Martindale (The Savages, Rails & Ties, Paris Je t'Aime, Rocket Science, Feast of Love, TV's The Riches)

He's Everywhere!: Terrence Howard (Pride, The Hunting Party, The Brave One, August Rush, Awake, The Perfect Holiday)

Best History Lesson: The Great Debaters

Worst History Lesson: 300

A Nine-year Break Can Be Healthy: Tamara Jenkins, The Savages

A Ten-Year Break Can Be Deadly: Francis Ford Coppola, Youth Without Youth

Worst Daypart (Tie): Night (We Own the Night, 30 Days of Night); Evening (Evening, Starting Out in the Evening)

If I Go Down I'm Taking the Picture with Me!: Robin Williams, August Rush

Runner-up: Nicolas Cage, Ghost Rider

If One Line Could End a Career... (a.k.a., the No Wire Hangers Award):

"I am the super mother bug!" – Ashley Judd, Bug

Bottom Ten:

1. Wild Hogs

2. Romance & Cigarettes

3. Norbit

4. Daddy Day Care

5. The Brothers Solomon

6. September Dawn

7. Georgia Rule

8. King of California

9. In the Land of Women

10. The Number 23

Dishonorable Mention (listed alphabetically):

Arthur and the Invisibles



Ghost Rider

Happily N'Ever After

Kickin' It Old Skool

License to Wed

Rails & Ties


We Own the Night