Best Movies of All Time + [Wristcutters]

Top 10 Films of 2007

The year is 2007, and a lot has happened in the movie world. To help take you back in time, here's a look back at some of the film-related events that took place:

In September, twelve thousand writers from the Writers Guild of America go on strike, affecting both film and television in the months and years to come.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End becomes the year's highest-grossing film, earning over $963 million at the worldwide box office.

Spider-man 3 breaks the record for the largest single weekend gross by earning $151 million on its opening weekend.
No Country for Old Men wins the Academy Award for Best Picture as well as three other awards, including Best Director for the Coen brothers and Best Supporting Actor for Javier Bardem.

The world loses the likes of Bob Clark, Joel Siegel and Ingmar Bergman, .

I've been able to see 87 films released in 2007, and from those, I've compiled my own top ten list. As one can imagine, some great films had to be left off the final list. Here's a look at some of the movies (listed alphabetically) that just missed the cut:

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
Into the Wild
Reign Over Me
Surf's Up
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
But enough about the runners-up; here's the list you've been waiting to see! Counting down from number ten to number one, I've listed each film and have given the principal cast list as well as if and how fared at the Academy Awards. Also, I've listed the film's rank on my "Best Films of All-Time" list, if applicable. So without any further delay, here's my top ten movies of 2007!

10. Gone Baby Gone

Rated: R
Directed by: Ben Affleck
Starring: Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, Amy Ryan
Academy Awards: 1 nomination
***
When it was first announced that Ben Affleck would be moving behind the camera into the director's chair, I was a little apprehensive at this film's prospects; however, any doubts I may have had were quickly forgotten as I delved into a story of darkness and misdirection. While the supporting cast - namely Freeman, Harris and Ryan - manages to steal the show, I can't say enough about the leading performances of Casey Affleck and Monaghan, who run with the dark and, at times, depressing story and make it an effective thriller that keeps you guessing until the end.

9. The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen)

Rated: R
Directed by: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Starring: Ulrich Mühe, Martina Gedeck, Sebastian Koch, Ulrich Tukur, Thomas Thieme
Academy Awards: 1 nomination, 1 win
All-Time Ranking: 146
***
I was first turned onto this movie after it managed to steal the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film from Pan's Labyrinth. Because of how highly I regard that film, I figured a movie that bested it at the year's biggest awards ceremony should be quite good itself. While I personally don't think it's as good, The Lives of Others does offer a bit of a dramatic thriller that's going to keep you on the edge of your seat. It delves into ethical issues and situations that force a man to choose between doing his job for his country and doing what he thinks to be right. Brilliantly acted and well-directed, this is not one to be missed.

8. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Rated: R
Directed by: Andrew Dominik
Starring: Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Sam Rockwell, Jeremy Renner
Academy Awards: 2 nominations
All-Time Ranking: 145
***
This is the first art-house film I can remember truly enjoying. Despite its slow and methodical pace, there never seems to be a dull moment during The Assassination of Jesse James. Because the film's basic storyline is given away by the title itself, the movie works more as a character study than a plot-driven vehicle. Luckily, we're getting some fantastic turns from the likes of Brad Pitt as the titular James and Casey Affleck as the titular Ford in an Academy Award-nominated performance. Also worth mention is the pitch-perfect score composed by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.

7. Juno

Rated: PG-13
Directed by: Jason Reitman
Starring: Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, J.K. Simmons, Allison Janney
Academy Awards: 4 nominations, 1 win
All-Time Ranking: 135
***
Jason Reitman's film about a teenage girl struggling with her unexpected pregnancy came out of nowhere to become the year's biggest surprise hit. Not only did the film resonate with audiences, but it also managed to strike a chord with critics and awards voters, most of whom awarded it graciously. It's an offbeat dramatic comedy that's full of fantastic acting performances. Page does a great job in the lead, but a lot of mention also has to go to Simmons and Bateman, who offer strong supporting roles as well.

6. Hot Fuzz

Rated: R
Directed by: Edgar Wright
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jim Broadbent, Timothy Dalton
All-Time Ranking: 134
***
The second film in Pegg and Frost "Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy," Hot Fuzz takes the buddy-cop genre and turns it on its ear much in the way Shaun of the Dead turned the zombie genre upside-down. In some ways, this film outperforms the first in the trilogy, mostly in that it finds a way to come completely full circle. The story doesn't leave one stone unturned, and it manages to answer every question it supposes along the way. Aided by pitch-perfect acting from each individual character, Hot Fuzz offers a laugh a minute and only adds to the film-making legend that Pegg and Frost are slowly making for themselves.

5. King of California

Rated: PG-13
Directed by: Mike Cahill
Starring: Michael Douglas, Evan Rachel Wood
All-Time Ranking: 133
***
I was a bit of a late-comer to seeing King of California. Having seen it floating around for a couple of years, I finally managed to snag hold of a copy of the film and gave it a view. What I saw was a tale of mental instability mixed with a bit of comedy and familial renewal. Adding all those components together may seem a tad bit hectic, but director Cahill manages to bring it all together into a wonderfully-crafted story about a man who's a little bit off and his daughter who just wants to keep him happy. I personally think this is Douglas's best performance of his career, and I'm including his Academy Award-winning turn in 1987's Wall Street. If that's not enough to push you towards this film, I don't know what is.

4. Once

Rated: R
Directed by: John Carney
Starring: Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová
Academy Awards: 1 nomination, 1 win
All-Time Ranking: 119
***
When you take a budding romance, add a little bit of music then put it all against the backdrop of Dublin, I'd have to say you're going to have me hooked. That's exactly what the independent film Once does, and boy does it succeed. It's a quiet film that shows a slow but beautiful romance brewing between the aptly named "Guy" and "Girl," but just like real life, there aren't always going to be happy endings. It's this realism that ultimately makes this film all the more brilliant and, ultimately, all the more beautiful.

3. Wristcutters: A Love Story

Rated: R
Directed by: Goran Dukic
Starring: Patrick Fugit, Shannyn Sossamon, Shea Whigham, Leslie Bibb, Will Arnett, Tom Waits
All-Time Ranking: 100
***
Don't let the film's title be off-putting - Wristcutters is actually a bitingly hilarious dramatic comedy. While it does deal with the theme of suicide, it offers a story different from most other films I've seen. It tells of an alternate afterlife for those individuals who decide to off themselves. This afterlife is just like normal existence, only its just a little more bleak, and the residents are incapable of producing a smile. Despite this, the characters portrayed by Fugit and Sossamon manage to find one another and, through the course of a lengthy road trip, find affection towards one another as well. Full of laughs as well as sentimental moments, this is one independent film that I must recommend highly.

2. I'm Not There.

Rated: R
Directed by: Todd Haynes
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Ben Whishaw, Christian Bale, Richard Gere, Marcus Carl Franklin, Heath Ledger, Julianne Moore, Bruce Greenwood, Michelle Williams, David Cross
Academy Awards: 1 nomination
All-Time Ranking: 81
***
I'm Not There. is one of the most original films I've ever had the opportunity to see. It takes the life story of musician Bob Dylan and portrays his varying personality through six different on-screen characters, ranging from young to old (and even from male to female, if you're going by the actors themselves). Blanchett gives a stellar performance in an Oscar-nominated role, but don't focus solely on her: Bale, Gere and Ledger also offer fantastic turns. Aided by a stellar soundtrack, I'm Not There. truly soars.

1. No Country for Old Men

Rated: R
Directed by: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Kelly Macdonald, Woody Harrelson, Garret Dillahunt
Academy Awards: 8 nominations, 4 wins
All-Time Ranking: 55
***
This is my seventh "Top 10" of the year list, and it marks the first time that my top film matches the film that received the Academy Award for Best Picture. I was living in Santa Cruz, California when this film was released, and I can remember watching this film in the Del Mar Theatre - my favorite theatre I've ever been to, by the way - and sitting in silence as the credits rolled trying to figure out what had just happened. I immediately ran to the nearest bookstore and picked up a copy of Cormac McCarthy's source novel just so I could understand the film, and what I learned, with the help of a subsequent viewing, was utterly brilliant. The Coen brothers brought their A-game for this one, and it remains one of the better movies I've ever seen.