Thursday, February 07, 2008

Best Films of 2007

Since everyone's been absolutely pestering for my highly influential opinions on the high-water mark of last year's cinematic offerings.... are the greatest, most entertaining, most elevating and most exciting films of 2007 according to the Grand Poobah:

300 - Frank Miller and Zak Snyder team-up create visually compelling and instantly influential film about the 300+ Spartan warriors.

Grindhouse - Tarantino and Rodriguez tag team unsuspecting
audiences and deliver double-featured dose of smoldering goo left over from their childhood film fantasies.

atatouille - Pixar's batting average remains staggeringly high with this whimsical Parisian tale of a kitchen infestation that- for some reason- doesn't make its audiences run screaming into the theater lobby.

Transformers - The best alien-robot-invasion movie I've seen in a while. Its greatest success was pulling off the balancing act between stupid and fantastic. Looking forward to the sequel. With recent memories like Spider-Man 2 and X-men 2 in our rear-view mirror, we have reason to hope that Optimus won't have to save the day by using his can opener function.

Hot Rod - Has come as close to repeating the insanity and intangible humor of Napoleon Dynamite as anything else I've seen. Off-the-wall and deliciously reminiscent for those of us who grew up in the 80's, Andy Samberg makes an under-the-radar hit that will make us smart ones continue to tune in.

3:10 to Yuma - Glenn Ford classic gets a post-Unforgiven makeover. Cowboys are allowed to be simultaneously emotional and filthy. Terrific performances by Crowe, Bale and Prince create a compelling and thrilling tale of a great underlying morality that packs six shooters.

The Kingdom - Political action/thriller throws FBI agents into the midst of the turmoil in Saudi Arabia to solve the murder of American citizens at the hands of terrorists. Simultaneously an informative treatise on the political and social chasms between us and a great suspenseful thriller.

American Gangster - Ridley Scott continues to show an incredible ability to distill a gripping story out of complex circumstances. Denzel Washington's Frank Lucas is endearing and exciting and yet violent and terrifying. Beyond the performances by Crowe and Washington that pulls you emotionally into the film, watching the timeline of America's drug use is saddening and incredible.

There are obviously a few films that were released in '07 (limited) such as Juno, There Will Be Blood and Michael Clayton that are receiving a lot of critical attention. I've not seen these yet, but aside from Juno, I believe these films will fall in line with the overly dark, dramatic stories that Hollywood pundits love to adore even despite certain aesthetic shortcomings.

But if you're looking for a good rental for the weekend....


Okay, I'm tired of being an adult now.

I'll go back home and stop pretending now.

I'm tired of the responsibilities, the bills, the expectations, the disappointments, the losses, the fears, the anxieties, the risks, the dangers, the further expectations, the follow-up expectations and the resulting disappointment.

Whether it's as simple as getting (another) bill in the mailbox, realizing that you haven't yet made the phone call to Sallie Mae or being paranoid, laying in bed at night asking yourself through half-consciousness if you remembered to set your alarm so you don't show up late for rehearsal. Because after all, you can sound like crap in rehearsal, but if you show up late, that'd be a problem. Or gritting your teeth every time a credit score commercial comes on the TV or radio and makes you afraid that you'll never qualify for that $4.5 million dollar home loan for the modest 2 bedroom rambler you've had your eye on.
And if that weren't enough, you have to worry about your rate of hair loss, what your friends and (even worse) strangers think about your 'unique' hair patterns, what you smell like, whether or not the clothes you cover your lumpy pasty white body with are clean, whether or not you could afford to put 1/4 tank of gas in the car this week, if you remembered to write down that last purchase in your checkbook register, turn off the oven and feed the goldfish.
Or, you could try struggling with the impending doom of personal failure - sensing that you've not accomplished what you wanted/are capable of and now you're in a place where there's no option for you to change course.
Adults are weird. They say one thing, and mean another. The sooner you learn this subtle language of subtext the better you'll do. But don't try and keep a young kid around to translate for, because it only points out how stupid and redundant your lifestyle is. In the effort to not offend or confront, we complicate things on average 147% more, requiring an addition .5 amount of effort to accomplish anything at all.

Yes, despite all of the amazing wonderful freedoms adult brings, I'll exchange it at the counter for the chance to go back to scarfing macaroni and cheese for lunch, cramming an afternoon of imaginary war against the trees in the backyard and spending 5 hours laying my stomach, building the world's unseen wonders out of Legos.

I'll gladly even set fire to most of my possessions, if it'll help you out.