I see hundreds of movies every year, and to break 'em all down into a Top 10 (or 20) is just not nearly enough for me. So I spent the last few days compiling ten different Top 10 lists, all in an effort to A) share my opinions and B) perhaps point you towards a few flicks you might have missed. Obviously there's a few "easy picks" among my lists, but hey, I gotta call 'em like I see 'em. (Please do feel free to share your own lists in the comment section ... and Happy New Year! Movie-wise, 2007 looks pretty awesome!)
I. Top 10 Favorite Movies
1. Pan's Labyrinth -- Del Toro is a mad freakin' genius, and I hope he makes movies for the next 50 years.
2. Children of Men -- Stunningly hypnotic sci-fi drama from a director who can seemingly do no wrong.
3. The Descent -- One of the best horror films to hit the scene in ten years.
4. The Proposition -- John Hillcoat and Nick Cave do Walter Hill meets Sam Peckinpah.
5. Borat -- Rude, crude, hilarious -- and a whole lot smarter than you might think.
6. Conversations with Other Women -- More romantic than 50 rom-coms put together.
7. Hard Candy -- Dicey subject material, delivered with style, confidence and craftiness.
8. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest -- Ignore the backlash. This stuff is pure fun.
9. The Notorious Bettie Page -- Finally, a bio-pic that's not the same old blueprint. (And Gretchen Mol is amazing.)
10. (tie) The Prestige & The Illusionist -- I hate it when someone wedges two movies into one spot, but I had to do it for this nifty pair of magician-centric period pieces.
II. Top 10 Favorite Movies (Part 2)
11. Little Miss Sunshine -- Let's hear it for dysfunction!
12. District B13 -- Some of the wildest action scenes I've seen in years.
13. Stranger Than Fiction -- Kaufman-lite, but it really works.
14. United 93 -- Precisely the sort of movie it should have been.
15. Little Children -- Insightful, intelligent and fairly subtle suburbia satire.
16. The Queen -- I went in expecting yawns, came out wishing it'd been longer.
17. The Departed -- Scorsese revisits the streets in typically fine fashion.
18. Charlotte's Web -- One of the year's most pleasant surprises, frankly.
19. Awesome; I F*ckin' Shot That! -- Sue me, I love the Beasties.
20. Brick -- Didn't love it as much as most do, but there's no denying its appealing weirdness.
III. Top 10 Horror Movies
1. The Descent -- Obviously.
2. Slither -- The best of its kind since Tremors, and that's pretty high praise.
3. Hard Candy -- Might not be pure horror, but it made me squirm a whole helluva lot.
4. Hostel -- The early comedy works as a great counterpoint to the late-stage carnage.
5. The Woods -- Deserved so much better than a "video dump" release.
6. The Hills Have Eyes -- In many ways it improves upon the original version ... and I love the original version!
7. Feast -- Slimy, sick, silly, self-referential, and very, very fun.
8. Saw 3 -- Name me another horror trilogy that delivers the goods like this one.
9. Silent Hill -- Has some fat on its bones, but there's some really beautifully creepy stuff in here.
10. Snakes on a Plane -- Don't believe the (pre-release) hype, but it's definitely amusing enough.
IV. Top 10 Comedies
1. Borat -- Obviously.
2. Little Miss Sunshine -- Saw this one coming too, eh?
3. Clerks 2 -- The good-natured potty-mouth humor is still (very much) in effect, but there's some real heart here too.
4. Stranger Than Fiction -- Made me laugh a lot more than I'd expected.
5. Talladega Nights -- Ferrell could make 90 minutes of food shopping funny.
6. Tristram Shandy -- Defies description, deserves to be seen.
7. Idiocracy -- Ambles and rambles, but there's some really solid (silly) social satire in here.
8. Thank You for Smoking -- Made for cynics, by cynics. And I mean that as a compliment.
9. For Your Consideration -- Not up to Guest's regular standard, but still fairly packed with chuckles.
10. My Super Ex-Girlfriend -- Yeah, I liked it. Give it a rent sometime.
V. Top 10 Popcorn Movies
1. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest -- Fun!
2. Over the Hedge -- Best animated flick of the year.
3. Superman Returns -- Needs more action (seriously), but there's lot of stuff to admire here.
4. Casino Royale -- Sags in the middle, but that doesn't stop it from being the best Bond in years.
5. Running Scared -- Stark, dark, blood-splattered fairy tale -- and NOT for all tastes.
6. Snakes on a Plane -- Yeah, good stupid fun.
7. Inside Man -- Spike Lee shoulda gone mainstream years ago.
8. Mission: Impossible 3 -- The action scenes alone are worth the rental fee.
9. X-Men: The Last Stand -- Lacks the emotional punch of its predecessors; still works as eye candy.
10. Crank -- See my comments on Running Scared.
VI. Top 10 Animated/Family Films
1. Charlotte's Web -- Yep.
2. Over the Hedge -- The animation is great, but the flick is actually funny. And that helps a lot.
3. Monster House -- Nifty.
4. Flushed Away -- Always had a thing for British humor.
5. Cars -- Pixar's least is still better than most.
6. Curious George -- Shiny and sweet.
7. Happy Feet -- Cute, colorful, music-laden fluff.
8. Hoodwinked -- Flick made me laugh!
9. Ice Age: The Meltdown -- Better than expected.
10. The Ant Bully -- Default pick; I had trouble naming ten.
VII. Top 10 Festival / Unscheduled Films
1. Darkon -- Lovably loony live-action role players.
2. Special -- Rapaport (kinda) becomes a superhero.
3. Wristcutters: A Love Story -- Very weird, very interesting, kinda funny.
4. This Is England -- Excellent slice of early-'80s London skinhead mania.
5. Bickford Shmeckler's Cool Ideas -- A college comedy with half a brain? Neato.
6. Before the Music Dies -- A shocking look at the homogenization of American radio.
7. Manhattan, Kansas -- A strangely moving story about some girl and her mom.
8. True North -- Efficient little sea thriller about the dangers of ... human cargo.
9. The Living and the Dead -- An unsettling story indeed.
10. The Other Side -- Genre stew, extra indie!
VIII. Top 10 Buried Treasures
1. The Puffy Chair -- Someone please introduce the Duplass Brothers to Owen Wilson's comedy posse.
2. Factotum -- Matt Dillon kicks so much ass in this movie it's not even funny. (Figuratively speaking.)
3. Dead Man's Shoes -- A really excellent revenge thriller. That's all I'm sayin'.
4. Harsh Times -- Christian Bale is a ferocious force of nature. He's just fun to watch at this point.
5. One Last Thing -- A semi-precious comedy about a dying teen's virginity, but I really liked it.
6. Edmond -- Worth seeing for Macy's amazing performance all by itself.
7. The Dead Girl -- A multi-angle crime story that's pretty darn effective.
8. Off the Black -- Nick Nolte owns the whole damn movie.
9. Bubble -- Dunno, the thing just worked for me.
10. Brothers of the Head -- Solid straight-faced mockumentary about conjoined rockers.
IX. Top 10 Worst Movies
1. Material Girls -- I spit on this movie.
2. Date Movie -- False advertising: It's not an actual movie.
3. Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj -- You gotta be kidding me, right?
4. Unaccompanied Minors -- How this horrendous thing came from the creator of... never mind.
5. You, Me & Dupree -- Spend $9.00 to hang out with people you'd toss from your living room in 22 minutes!
6. Just My Luck -- Unfunny, unpleasant and really poorly made.
7. Grandma's Boy -- Mindless and silly I have no problem with, but where are the laughs?
8. Basic Instinct 2 -- Like a pizza nobody ordered. One with anchovies, cayenne pepper and human hair.
9. BloodRayne -- Uwe thought I forgot! Ha!
10. See No Evil -- Makes My Bloody Valentine look like Silence of the Lambs.
X. Top 10 Worst Movies (Part 2)
11. Stay Alive -- Stay away.
12. RV -- The kind of comedy they parody on good comedy shows.
13. Failure to Launch -- One minor plot point tossed around for 105 minutes.
14. The Omen -- Either do something new with it ... or leave it alone!
15. John Tucker Must Die -- Hollywood thinks all teenagers are morons.
16. Big Momma's House 2 -- Why?
17. Pulse -- The irony of this movie having that title...
18. When a Stranger Calls -- When a Babysitter Walks
19. The Benchwarmers -- Would have worked better as an SNL skit. Or not at all.
20. An American Haunting -- Not unless you want to be An American Sleeping.
Silly Bonus! Top Ten of Horror Movies of 2007, as of 12/30/2006
1. Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon -- Woohoo! Genre deconstructions are awesome! For geeks!
2. Severance -- Hey you got your dry British wit in my goopy slasher flick!
3. Hatchet -- Tongue-in-cheek, yet still admirably vicious, throwback to the old-school hacker days.
4. The Host -- Equal parts horror, comedy, action, sci-fi, drama. It's like a sampler platter, and a tasty one at that.
5. All the Boys Love Mandy Lane -- Weirdly, it's both very familiar and refreshingly unique. More after I see it again.
6. Black Sheep -- Did I already use my Shorn of the Dead joke? Pretty sure I did.
7. Frostbite -- Yawn, yet another Swedish horror/comedy about pills that turn college kids into ravenous vampires.
8. Bug -- Friedkin's best flick in I dunno how long.
9. Fido -- Weird, funny zombie-com about materialism, consumerism, conformity and, well, carnage.
10. The Last Winter -- Fessenden goes slow-burn, but the setting is great and the payoff is pretty wild.