So for those who had to sit through Redacted or Like Lions for Lambs, we apologize. But remember:
We warned you.
It was also a year of entirely forgettable movies with some sort of three-ness about them: Spider-Man 3, Shrek the Third, Ocean's Thirteen and 300, all of which were like a teen pop star reaching maturity: very pretty, if a little stupid.
There were major breakthroughs as well: Hitman had a poster that brought new meaning to the term "packaging." It really toed the line, and showed that sometimes, it's hard to tell the difference between a mountain and a molehill.
It was also a year that saw more of one of our least favorite Hollywood themes: movies in which science is bad, and superstition is good. Films like 1408, Premonition and The Reaping all dragged out this tired bit.
In fact, it was a year of horrible films--but then, strangely, as the year drew to a close, something magical happened, and it became a year of wonderful films. Or at least three months of wonderful films.
Which is good, because otherwise, our Best of the Year lists would have just been a lot of talk about how the big robots in Transformers were sort of cool-looking.
So here's a list of the best movies that I saw, understanding "best" to mean "the ones that I, as a professional film critic, dictate that you, the amateur movie-goer, are obligated to enjoy." I've divided them into four categories: those films that transcend genre; those that most perfectly realize genre; documentaries; and re-releases.
There Will Be Blood: Daniel Day-Lewis eschews naturalism and creates the weirdest character of the year. He's kind of like Jar Jar Binks, except not annoying. So nothing like Jar Jar Binks, except that he's inexplicable. Here's a brief summary of the film in memo form:
To: Eli Sunday
From: Daniel Plainview
In re: Your milkshake
I drink it. I drink it up.
No Country for Old Men: This would just be a genre film, and a perfectly enacted one, if it weren't for the strange twist in the final third. The two lead characters have their most important moments off screen, and then a wistful monologue by Tommy Lee Jones reframes the entire picture, and then it ends, and everyone goes either, "Whoa!" or, "Huh?"
Margot at the Wedding: A lot of people hated this movie. It's incredibly talky, and none of the characters are purely likable. But the script is brilliant and creepy, and it may be the only successful attempt to translate Ingmar Bergman's "chamber movies" to an American idiom, so I have to love it, because it's like putting a Swedish stewardess in a pair of Daisy Dukes.
Juno: This would be a teen-sex comedy, except it's so much smarter than that, and it lacks the requisite two-dimensional female characters. In fact, all the characters are so rich, and the dialogue so juicy, that I had to forgive the film for its heavy hipster pretension and the fact that the screenwriter uses a stripper name. And that's a lot to forgive.
The Lives of Others: The story, set in the old East Germany, about the terrors of a surveillance society, becomes progressively more chilling, and then strangely, sadly redeeming at the end. It's very odd to see a film in which the chance for revenge is offered and declined; well, it would be odd if it were an American or East Asian film. Europeans seem to think revenge might not be the entire reason for living. I guess they're just an immature people.
Into the Wild: Wow, Sean Penn can really direct the hell out of a film. His problem in the past has been a tendency to sentimentalize, but with Into the Wild, his sentimental instincts are secondary to the larger goal of the story. This tale of a young man who spends two years hitchhiking around America may initially make your heart dangerously warm, but its disturbing, almost mystical ending in the Alaskan wilderness is expertly handled, and the performances are so heavy with naturalism, that you'll think you're being group-hugged by a lion, a tiger and a redwood forest.
The Darjeeling Limited: Wes Anderson eliminated virtually all of his flaws with this film. It lacks the alienating distance of his early efforts, but retains all their humor and adds real warmth. A lot of credit goes to Adrien Brody, who, unlike so many dramatic actors who do comedy, understands that maintaining normalcy in an absurd situation is inherently funny. That's why Dick Cheney gets so many laughs, and Dennis Kucinich gets so few.
Michael Clayton: This film suffered from poor marketing: They made it look like it was going to be a message film about the evils of big agro-business or something, but instead, it's one of the best legal thrillers ever made. It's a real shame that this didn't clean up at the box office, but I think it'll do great on DVD, as it's worth repeat viewings, and the shocker, super-satisfying ending is the kind of thing you can enjoy over and over again.
Zodiac: I was completely blown away by this crime drama based on the Zodiac killings in California in the '70s. It really covers the whole scope of the issue, but gives it a human edge, which is much better than a dolphin edge, no matter what the animal-rights activists say.
Eastern Promises: Strangely, this was the only film in 2007 that featured Viggo Mortensen nude while in a knife fight. And yet, it was by far the best film of 2007 to feature Viggo Mortensen nude while in a knife fight. And in answer to your question: about average length, but girthy.
Superbad: This film is deeply genre-bound. It's a teen-sex comedy with two-dimensional female characters who serve only as wish-fulfillment for the funny, deep and well-constructed male characters. There's also some awful acting by Saturday Night Live cast member Bill Hader as a comic-relief cop who's too much of a sketch-comedy character to offer any relief. In spite of that, it has enough goodness from leads Michael Cera and Jonah Hill--plus the slavish, but effective following of formula by Seth Rogen and company--to be one of the year's more enjoyable films. If Rogen could overcome his adolescent sexism (also see Knocked Up), he could be an excellent filmmaker. As it is, he's just John Hughes with better jokes and more puking and genitals.
The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters: It's amazing how tense and exciting a film about video games can be. This classic hero/villain story gets a lot of its force from some illicit editing that makes its protagonist seem like an iconically good family man and its antagonist seem like a greasy jerk. Actually, the antagonist isn't as bad as he seems; he's just clueless, and the protagonist gets a lot of his goodness from having failed at so many things. In spite of the distortions, or maybe because of them, this winds up being one of the most gripping movies of the year.
Darkon: This was the second-best documentary of the year only because Fistful of Quarters was so very good. They're very similar movies, telling the stories of people who live out battles between good and evil in fantasy worlds. Darkon, which is less tense and gripping than Fistful (though still plenty tense and gripping!), is more human. It's the story of people who emerge from their mothers' basements or their corporate boardrooms to don armor, speak in fake Olde Englyshe and hack at each other with foam weapons. And yet, it drips with a sense of sadness and desire that fiction filmmakers can only hope to create.
Air Guitar Nation: Ohmigod another documentary about people competing in an imaginary world. This time, it's a contest to see who can pretend to play guitar the best. Pretending: It's what makes movies into films.
Zoo: A film about sexual fantasies that got a little too real, Zoo doesn't exactly cross the line, but it does move it a few feet downfield. Using an unusual combination of archival footage, re-enactment and voiceover, Zoo goes a long way toward redefining the tactics of the documentary film. Also, it's about dudes getting it on with horses. So.
Killer of Sheep: A sort of cinéma-vérité take on life in Watts during the early '70s: stunning black-and-white photography, achingly effective acting and a script that just drips with realized pain. I'm sorry; that was just pretentious critic-speak for, "Good movie!"
El Topo and Holy Mountain: Alejandro Jodorowsky, who's some kind of god or that thing that's better than a god--whaddaya callit, a walrus or an artist or tooth enamel or something--spent the '70s making psychedelic films of such force that they were said to have been able to cure television. That didn't happen, thanks to The Man and his Neckties, but El Topo, the trippiest Western ever (sorry, Zachariah, you're No. 2!), and The Holy Mountain, which understands that religion isn't just a joke (it's a really, really funny joke), broke the boundaries between film and performance art while being painfully entertaining. If President Bush had watched these movies, the Iraq war would have been fought in Atlantis with dental floss and love.
Instead, I'll try to focus on a few of the awful films that were forcibly lobbed in my direction, especially those that had some kind of hype or pre-release claims of quality.
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead: This just defines incompetence, with choppy editing and a heavy reliance on flashbacks that do nothing but bog down the film. Director Sidney Lumet even managed to get a bad performance out of Albert Finney, who, in the final scene, when he's contemplating killing his son, looks like he's in the middle of an extremely firm bowel movement.
Redacted: I expect a little better from Brian De Palma. Like, I don't expect his films to be good, but I also don't expect them to look like they were made by a community-college freshman who just found a video camera by the side of the road.
Lions for Lambs: This film actually has some good parts, but then it descends into this endless talking-heads debate that tries to be fair to all sides. I think this is really the problem with modern anti-war films: They refuse to take a stand. This one not only didn't take a stand; it took a kneel-down and then surrendered.
Once: People didn't just love this movie; they loooooved it. That's because they were somehow able to put up with all of its aggressively boring music. Lead Glen Hansard's caterwauling vocals and numbingly dull chord progressions are deeply awful, and the movie has one of my most hated stock scenes: The band is recording the (boring, derivative, painfully stupid) song, and the jaded recording engineer perks up and is filled with power and light and respect. Sorry, even a good song won't do that to a jaded recording engineer, and a crappy song will only make him sneer inwardly at the warped thing he used to call a soul. If it weren't for the music, this would have been bearable; with it, it was like being lulled to sleep by nails on a blackboard.
The Host: I have no idea why people liked this dull, standard horror movie. I mean, the giant killer tadpole was kind of cool-looking, but other than that, The Host was your average monster hunt, only with long, boring patches in which the characters try to work out their daddy issues. If I want to see a fish-monster while dealing with childhood trauma, I'll just have dinner at Barbra Streisand's house.
Revolver: Revolver is Guy Ritchie's attempt at being deep and mystical, but it comes across like something a 12-year-old boy would make after putting down his Xbox 360 and reading a stack of Carlos Castaneda books. In other words, it comes across like something Guy Ritchie would make.
Southland Tales: Director Richard Kelly's follow up to Donnie Darko takes the basic conceit from that movie (time warping is a bad idea) and dumbs it way, way down while filling it way, way up with every stupid conspiracy theory the Internet has to offer. It's too bad, as there are some clever bits here, but they're just thrown at the screen like giant boogers, and we're supposed to look at them and go, "Hey, I bet that booger is a commentary on the relationship between the energy industry, the war machine and Hollywood action films," but we're mostly all just, "Eww, boogers!"
Thr3e: This film is atrociously awful, and when I gave it a bad review, I got tons of hate mail from people who hadn't seen it. Seriously: People were mad that I'd dissed a film that they hadn't even seen! That's because it's a Christian movie, and if there's one thing I've learned from being a film reviewer, it's that Christians love to write hate mail.
The Air I Breathe: This film is scheduled for a broader release in 2008. But it would be better if they waited until 3008, when humanity is dead, and the super-intelligent wallabies that have replaced us sit around and watch crappy old movies, looking for some clue as to what caused the human race to become so stupid that they all picked their noses until their heads caved in.
The Wendell Baker Story: If you're not a film critic, there's a good chance you didn't even hear about this film, which was shown mostly in advance screenings. Since the film was so poorly received, the term "advance screening" no longer meant "in advance of general release," and came to mean "in advance of the producers committing ritual suicide."
The Brothers Solomon: I like the idea of doing a comedy with no laughs in it. I think, though, it should be a fully self-conscious exercise in boredom and horror, instead of an accidental exercise in horror and boredom. But I'm glad this is out on DVD, because DVDs are made of an environmentally harmful plastic, and no one will buy this, so maybe the studios will re-evaluate the worth of releasing every piece of crap to the home-video market.
But James is absolutely right about 2007. It was a horrible film year--and then, suddenly, it was a fantastic film year. I went into the final stretch all cranky, thinking 2007 was going to be the poorest year on record, but it ended up being one of the best times I've had reviewing movies since I started with this gig some 50-odd years ago (actually ... more like 12). Come November, my brow stopped furrowing (a good thing, because I was getting a big, permanent crease between my eyebrows), and a smile returned to my face (kind of bad, because that amplifies those pesky smile-line wrinkles ... anybody know of a good lotion?).
Let me just say this now: I'm a psycho fan of the new 3-D technology. I witnessed it twice this past year with A Nightmare Before Christmas and the amazing Beowulf experience. I will not miss any future ventures into the 3-D cinematic realm if I can help it. That new 3-D U2 concert flick is calling my name.
As you will notice with the list below, big-budget blockbuster blowouts are once again absent from the best-film corral. Spider-Man 3, while not an entirely bad film, was one of the year's biggest disappointments (although it is currently rocking my Blu-Ray player--Jesus, anything's good on this thing!).
This is also the first year since I've been reviewing for the Tucson Weekly in which I unanimously agreed with James about his "films he liked" list.
As for his list of the worst films ... well, that's another story that shall be addressed shortly.
1. There Will Be Blood: A modern American classic. Director Paul Thomas Anderson has been quiet for a while. His last film, the quirky Punch-Drunk Love, came out five years ago, and I was wondering what had happened to the brilliant bastard. He came back this year with a vengeance. The man who made Magnolia, which will always stand as one of my very favorite films, more than equals the greatness of that movie with this unorthodox look at the rise of a Texas oil barren, played in an unbelievably strong performance by Daniel Day-Lewis.
Paul Dano, so quiet in Little Miss Sunshine, screams up a tempest as a crazy preacher boy with big financial aspirations. The moments in which Lewis and Dano face off are as unnerving as cinema gets. Lewis deserves an Oscar; Dano deserves big roles in the future; and Anderson just keeps getting better.
2. No Country for Old Men: If you came up to me and said something like, "Hey, Bob, the Coen brothers are going to top themselves this year!" I would've probably run away, because strangers make me anxious. As I was sprinting at top speed toward what would be safety in my own sad mind, I would be pondering the very thing you said, and the near impossibility of the statement. After all, these are the guys who made Barton Fink, Fargo, Raising Arizona, Miller's Crossing and The Big Lebowski. How could they possibly top that pile?
I won't say this is the best the brothers have done, but I will put it in their Top 5. Their adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's Western thriller is a return to total greatness for the creative duo, a monster achievement. Javier Bardem instantly goes into the pantheon of all-time-great screen villains; Tommy Lee Jones reminds us that he is a certified badass actor; and Roger Deakins' cinematography robs breath from your air sacs.
3. Into the Wild: With this film, Sean Penn went from being a really good director to being a masterpiece filmmaker. He took Jon Krakauer's haunting account of the death of Christopher McCandless and made it a triumphant story. Some critics think the film glorified a reckless young man (McCandless died in the Alaskan wilderness, starving in an abandoned bus). But when this film is viewed from the perspective of McCandless, who clearly loved what he was doing, Penn's interpretation makes sense. Reckless or not, he went out living his dream.
Emile Hirsch confirms his immense talent with his work as McCandless. Hal Holbrook, as a lonely man who befriends McCandless, delivers one of the year's great supporting performances. Big props go out to the Eddie Vedder soundtrack.
4. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street: Tim Burton's best film fails to net the top spot, a testament to how great a film year this was. Stephen Sondheim's dark musical is perfectly tailored to Burton's sensibilities, and Burton proves he knows his way around a musical. Johnny Depp takes his craft to otherworldly levels as the murderous barber, with Helena Bonham Carter deserving of Oscar consideration as the meat-pie-making Mrs. Lovett.
5. Superbad: You bet this is in my Top 5. I've watched this movie no less than eight times already, and it gets funnier with each visit. Michael Cera and Jonah Hill were the year's best comic duo in this film that transcended the teen-sex-comedy genre. Seth Rogen (who co-wrote the film) and Bill Hader play the two funniest cops I've ever seen in a movie, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse makes one of the year's best debuts as Fogell/McLovin. Critics praised it when it was released, but have remained quiet about the film at year's end. I don't care what anybody says: This one's better than Atonement!
6. Grindhouse: This sick teaming of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez was an absolute blast and deserved a better box-office fate. Because of its quasi-bomb status, the Weinstein brothers released Rodriguez's Planet Terror and Tarantino's Death Proof separately on DVD. Lucky for me, the studio sent a screener that has the whole thing as it ran in theaters, fake trailers and all. Sometimes, it's good to be a critic.
7. Atonement: OK, I know I mocked this movie a couple of paragraphs ago. I really like it, just not as much as Superbad. This is a dark love story, far from stuffy, that leaves a mark. James McAvoy and Keira Knightley are superb as a couple denied the life of love they deserve.
8. Control: Sam Riley plays Joy Division singer Ian Curtis in a performance that qualifies as one of the year's best. Riley absolutely channels Curtis in this, one of the great 2007 films that nobody saw. I busted out a Joy Division CD after watching the movie and got all sad.
9. Before the Devil Knows You're Dead: This one made James' worst list, and I find that baffling. Philip Seymour Hoffman is simply amazing, while Ethan Hawke does a good job looking scared of Philip, and Sidney Lumet returns to greatness in this spellbinding heist film. Yes, Albert Finney looks like he's taking a shit at the end--way to give away the ending, James!--but I imagine a lot of folks who've had to ponder knocking off their own spawn looked like garbage in the process. I absolutely loved this movie.
10. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford: Every time Casey Affleck spoke in this film, something amazing was going on. As the weirdo who killed Jesse James (Brad Pitt), Affleck managed to be both skin-crawlingly sleazy and sympathetic. I still don't know how he did it. Roger Deakins' awe-inspiring cinematography strikes again.
I know people usually do a Top 10, but I like to go to 20. Makes me feel special, and these next 10 are all excellent films.
11. I'm Not There: This certainly finds itself in the running for year's most bizarre picture. A host of different actors (one of them an amazing Cate Blanchett) play "the essence" of Bob Dylan at different stages in his career. Somehow, this works.
12. The Savages: Philip Seymour Hoffman had another great year. In this one, he and Laura Linney are siblings looking to find a nursing home for their dying father. It's funny in a very sad, disturbing sort of way.
13. Knocked Up: The second-best comedy to emerge from the Judd Apatow factory this past year. Seth Rogen becomes a star, and Paul Rudd proves yet again that he is the MVP of supporting comic actors.
14. Sunshine: Danny Boyle channeled Kubrick with this excellent journey to reignite a dying sun. Fine performances from Cillian Murphy and Chris Evans and a stellar soundtrack from Underworld help propel one of the best sci-fi films in ages. It looks great and wasn't hugely expensive. If the ending were a little cleaner, this would've been much higher on my list.
15. Ratatouille: Brad Bird, maker of The Iron Giant and The Incredibles, continues to pad his resume as World's Greatest Animation Director with this fun tale of a rat with a delicate palate.
16. Across the Universe: Director Julie Taymor puts her visual genius to work, weaving Beatles songs into this story of young adulthood during the Vietnam War. The concept for this musical could've resulted in atrocity, yet Taymor makes it magical. A few of my friends ridiculed me for loving this one. It's just one of those films.
17. Away From Her: Julie Christie is deserving of a shot at an Oscar as an Alzheimer's patient who volunteers to go into a nursing home. There's nothing showy or melodramatic about this movie from director Sarah Polley (yes, the actress from Dawn of the Dead). It's already on DVD.
18. Zodiac: David Fincher's examination of the Zodiac killer contained one of the most frightening scenes of the year. It also has Robert Downey Jr. in top form.
19. Once: James DiGiovanna, your soul is a dark and dreary place, and your condemnation of this film has led me to call back your invitation to my annual Wheat Bread and Celery Soda Mixer. This movie is a wonderful achievement with a giant heart, and Glen Hansard is a terrific singer. I'm not saying you're wrong, James, for that would be presumptuous and rude. I'm just saying that we disagree. And for that, I feel a sudden swell of alienated disillusionment, and my feelings are legitimately hurt.
20. Juno: Ellen Page, so good in last year's Hard Candy, gets to do something a little sweeter in the year's second happy film about deciding to keep a baby.
So, on the down side, there were a lot of bad movies, for sure. In fact, the film topping my worst list is one of the most dreadful films I've ever seen. The movie caused me physical and emotional pain. I think it weakened my immune system, making me susceptible to colds and diseases I might not even be aware of yet. Pray for me and anybody else who witnessed it. There could be bad times ahead for us, involving all sorts of noxious antibiotics and intravenous drips.
1. Kickin' It Old Skool: I remember watching the first Scream movie and thinking, "Say, that Jamie Kennedy looks like a talent to be reckoned with!" I should've had my movie-critic's license revoked, but since movie-critic's licenses don't exist, that would be silly. Perhaps 10 lashes and a brain enema would suffice.
2. Good Luck Chuck and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry: The name "Chuck" was not good for comedy this year. It's homophobia and sexism galore in this abysmal duo of dreck. Dane Cook is an asshat.
3. Redacted: Cheers, James ... this movie blew ass. Brian De Palma's film about soldiers doing bad things in Iraq got Bill O'Reilly all worked up due to its unflattering portrayal of the military. O'Reilly would've done himself better to actually see the film first, and realize that he was working himself up over a total piece of shit. O'Reilly is a dick, but you'd best heed his words on this one. Stay away. It's awful. I paid something like $30 to watch a preview of it in a hotel room, and it was one of the worst movie investments I've ever made. The hotel was pretty nice, though. It had fruit cups at the front desk.
4. Norbit: You were wise to avoid this one, Mr. James. Eddie Murphy followed up his Oscar-nominated performance in Dreamgirls with a prosthetic-laden performance that may've very well cost him his Oscar. Voters probably had a chance to see this thing before casting their ballots, and they got their revenge.
5. Hitman: Timothy Olyphant had to shave his head for this shit. That's the saddest case of shaving one's head for a film since Sigourney Weaver did for Alien 3. (The movie wasn't bad; she just looked funny bald.)
What's all this James talk about packages and whatnot in the poster? Is he saying Timothy Olyphant has a big dick? Hang on ... I'm going to Google the poster.
Nope, turns out James is making reference to a lady's cameltoe! Maybe Olyphant does have a very large dick, but I can't tell from this poster. I can only see his ass, which is a fine ass at that. But, yes, there is a very distinct depiction of female cameltoe in this photo. As it turns out, that's the very best thing about anything connected to this movie.
6. August Rush: Freddie Highmore, who moved me to tears at the end of Finding Neverland, made me wretch in this schmaltzy, ridiculous, bombastic swill. It also featured Robin Williams doing a bad Bono impersonation.
7. The Brave One: Jodie Foster does Charles Bronson, and the results are ugly. Warner Bros. was pushing for an Oscar nomination here, and that would be a travesty.
8. The Golden Compass: Nicole Kidman in a kids' movie featuring whiskey-swilling polar bears kicking the shit out of each other? The year's worst blockbuster-wannabe got New Line Cinema to panic and make nice with Peter Jackson: He will produce two Hobbit films in the near future.
9. License to Wed and The Ex: Two foul relationship comedies, each disgustingly bad. One of them has Robin Williams slumming and thinking he's funny, so it gets the slight edge as the worst of the two.
10. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer: Jessica Alba, I salute you! You've made it to the worst list twice (Good Luck Chuck being the other qualifier)! Funny thing is, you're not that bad of an actress. Were I like 90 percent of other critics, I would've hated Awake, too, and you would've had a shot at a hat trick.
That's it for 2007. This year promises a fourth Indiana Jones and Rambo, a new Batman and more Coen brothers (this time with George Clooney and Brad Pitt in the comedy Burn After Reading).
2007 was a good movie year. Let's hope it was just a warm-up for a great couple of cinematic years to close out the decade.
Runners-up: Philip Seymour Hoffman (Before the Devil Knows You're Dead and The Savages), Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild), Sam Riley (Control), Johnny Depp (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street), James McAvoy (Atonement)
Best Actress: Julie Christie (Away From Her)
Runners-up: Helena Bonham Carter (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street), Laura Linney (The Savages), Ellen Page (Juno), Keri Russell (Waitress), Evan Rachel Wood (Across the Universe)
Best Supporting Actor: Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford)
Runners-up: Michael Cera and Jonah Hill (Superbad), Hal Holbrook (Into the Wild), John Travolta (Hairspray), Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men), Ethan Hawke (Before the Devil Knows You're Dead)
Best Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett (I'm Not There)
Runners-up: Naomi Watts (Eastern Promises), Susan Sarandon (In the Valley of Elah), Laura Linney (Breach), Samantha Morton (Control), Emily Mortimer (Lars and the Real Girl)
Best Director: Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood)
Worst Actor (Overall): Jamie Kennedy (Kickin' It Old Skool ... what an asshole!)
Worst Actress (Overall): Marcia Gay Harden (The Mist ... movie wrecker!)
Best Male Performance in a Bad Movie: John C. Reilly (Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story)
Worst Male Performance in a Good Movie: Patrick Dempsey (Enchanted)
Best Female Performance in a Bad Movie: Ashley Judd (Bug)
Worst Female Performance in a Good Movie: Julia Roberts (Charlie Wilson's War)
Overrated: Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Sicko
Underrated: Across the Universe, Sunshine, Evan Almighty (It was cute!)
Best Comeback: Hal Holbrook (Into the Wild)
Peter Fonda Rules! 3:10 to Yuma
Peter Fonda Sucks Balls! Ghost Rider
Best Debut: Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad)
Three Reasons to Hate Nicolas Cage in 2007: Next, Ghost Rider, National Treasure: Book of Secrets
Sole Reason to Like Nicolas Cage in 2007: His cameo in Grindhouse
Way to Work the Fat Suit! John Travolta (Hairspray)
Knock It Off With the Fat Suit! Eddie Murphy (Norbit)
Best Foreign Films: The Host, Persepolis, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Best Documentary: Crazy Love
Best Animated Movie: Ratatouille
Best Song: "Falling Slowly" (Once)
Best Score: Jonny Greenwood (There Will Be Blood)
Best Film James DiGiovanna Hated: Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
Proof That James DiGiovanna Is Evil: His hatred of Once
Proof That James DiGiovanna Rules: His love of There Will Be Blood--I feel like a kindred spirit