Saturday, 9 February 2008

Walter's Top Ten (12?) list for 2007

I thought I’d break my silence by responding with a top 10 (12) list of my own. I should be clear that my thinking in such a list is more about favourites than a list about quality. I hope there is overlap, but I couldn’t care less if a movie is a quality movie if I don’t like it.

I should also point out that there are a lot of great contenders (incl. The Kite Runner, Atonement, and several others on your list) that would probably beat some of these out if I’d seen them, which I haven’t. So many movies, so little time.

So here are my top ten plus two honourable mentions:

12. The Kingdom. Didn’t expect this would make it and most of it doesn’t deserve to see such a list, but I was very impressed with the ending and felt that this ending needed to be pointed out. Vic, you can use this ending to point out both the potential and the hypocrisy of film when it comes to violence.

11. Paris Je’taime. Quite a different type of film – a collage of 18 short films set in Paris. I enjoyed it more than I’d expected. Some were unimpressively quirky, but others were quite moving and memorable. There was an unfortunate attempt to draw them together for a conclusion which was decidedly unsuccessful, but otherwise an enjoyably different experience.

10. Juno. I expected this to be higher on my list, and probably would have been if I hadn’t had my expectations built up too high. This is exactly my kind of comedy, but it just didn’t impress me the way I’d hoped. Something about it didn’t seem to hang together the way Little Miss Sunshine did. Still a very fun watch.

9. Ratatouille. In spite of such an untenable premise (mouse controlling a man’s movements by pulling his hair), that even though it was a cartoon still offended me a little, this was very enjoyable. It gets hard to force oneself to watch a cartoon without kids at home, but this was well worth the effort.

8. The Bucket List. I don’t know if this made many people’s top lists, but it seemed to end up striking the right chord with me. I tend to like Reiner’s balance of comedy and serious and it almost always stopped short of being cheesy. Nicholson and Freeman were fun to watch together.

7. Michael Clayton. Just like you said. Solid all around. Could have sold me a bit better on the opening scene with the horses (not a clear enough reason to stop and a little coincidental), but forgivable.

6. Gone Baby Gone. Just saw this and was quite impressed. Different balance of characters than you normally see and good ambiguous ending. Somehow its view of seedy Boston seemed simultaneously sympathetic and disgusted, and somehow that seemed right.

5. Waitress. It’s a little foggy now, but I recall liking it and finding it fresh and intelligent. I was a little annoyed at how the doctor was portrayed, but I suppose it’s possible that people can be that nice and that jerky at the same time.

4. Fracture. One of the best thrillers I’ve seen for a long time, and definitely the best at creating that old time mystery novel feeling. Very fun evening of entertainment.

3. The Lives of Others. Again ditto to what you’ve said on this one. I’ve just seen it again and it’s rich on so many levels - like a classic novel. One of the impressive themes is seeing both the potential of the artist and the danger of the artist being seduced.

2. Once. How many movies leave you liking the characters this much? The passionate music draws you in in a way that shuts off any logical reservations you might have, and the ending is perfect.

1. Reign Over Me. Probably it is unfair. I saw this movie at the theatre after one of the hardest and fullest therapy days of the year. Liv Tyler gives a tired and disappointed look after an impassioned reaching out for her troubled and stuck client (Sandler) that just about undid me (not a normal response of mine). Amazing the power a second-long gesture can have when played perfectly, though I doubt it affected many others. When I wrote about it at the time I complained about his trauma symptoms being overplayed, but I think I retracted that on second viewing. Still wished they’d given the plot about Cheadle’s marriage a bit more depth, but it still tops my list.

Finally, I thought I’d hand out a booby prize to the two biggest duds of the year that I wasted time on. One was Premonition for which I had no excuse - I’d been warned off but thought it should be alright. I was wrong. Silly plot. More disappointingly, A Mighty Heart was less viewable than most documentaries. Didn’t seem to go anywhere worth following - a tribute for tribute's sake, but not a movie. What do you think, Vic? I want to hear your booby prizes for the year.


  1. Thanks for the list. It looks pretty good to me. Of the films on your list that I have seen, only one stands out as inferior, and that is Fracture. I enjoyed Fracture, but strictly as a *** thriller. I look forward to seeing the others on your list which I have not seen, though I only own one of them (Paris).

  2. You're probably right about Fracture if judging it on overall quality. Not really a lot of depth to it. But for what it was, a mystery-thriller, and possibly for the timing and group of us that watched it, it was very good entertainment.