Here it is: the best of music, TV, movies, and everything else from 2007 according to me. I finally finished all the films I needed to see and now I’m ready to unleash my favorites. I hope that this list serves as both an entertainment and as a guide to why 2007 was a great year for popular culture. If you haven’t seen any of these films or listened to any of the albums, I would love if you all tried the out and let me know what you think!
2007 was a really strong year for movies and music. It was only a few years ago when all the critics were feeling a creativity drought but in ’07 we had a plentiful amount of greatness from a whole new generation of filmmakers, musicians, and writers.
This list only has films that are all technically 2007 films, while some of the albums actually have earlier U.K. release dates but came to the states in ’07. The TV category spans throughout the entire year so some of the shows won for the new episodes shown within, not just the seasons. Alright, here goes everything… hope you enjoy it!
15. Iron & Wine – The Shepherd’s Dog
A much stronger album than Sam Beam’s previous album “Our Endless Numbered Days”, the album is a splendid folk listen from beginning to end. The album cover itself is initially interesting, but once you get into the CD it’s hard to stop playing.
14. The Maccabees – Colour It In
An awesome new British sound, featuring one of the best songs of the year which is also the albums last tune: “Toothpaste Kisses.” Most of the album is genuinely cool rock songs but when that last track hits you, it hits on a level that can only be called heavenly.
13. Jens Lekman – Night Falls Over Kortedala
Not as good as his previous album “Oh You’re So Silent Jens”, but one of the better listens of the year nevertheless. Jens has a specifically fun and original sound within each track and shows an interesting poetic style. A lyrical example: “I took my sister down to the ocean, but the ocean made me feel stupid.” Brilliant!
12. Sloan – Never Hear The End Of It
Drawing inspiration from all sorts of bands, I really tuned into this album for its Paul McCartneyisms. Once I got into the album I really dug it as a whole and at thirty tracks, that’s quite a long album. The use of the Ray Manzarek-style organ sound also stands out as one of the coolest sounds on an album this year.
11. Stars – In Our Bedroom After The War
The Montreal-based band cannot do wrong, and this new album is insanely fun. A step up above their last album “Set Yourself On Fire”, this one really kicks you in the face with musical entertainment. I really can’t wait for another album from these guys; they know what good music is.
10. Juno – Soundtrack
With almost every indie film I’ve ever seen, I’ve always been quite fond of the soundtrack. This is the Wes Anderson soundtrack I wanted this year (even though I have grown to like “The Darjeeling Limited” after a few listens. Kimya Dawson will most likely be the new folk “discovery” for many teenagers, but it’s alright because she has a terrific sound. Michael Cera and Ellen Page’s duet of “Anyone Else But You” is also a very sweet ending
9. I’m Not There – Soundtrack
What could have just been another soundtrack of boring covers, the Bob Dylan inspired film’s soundtrack takes a lot of liberties. Some of the songs are traditional covers but most of the songs show a true infusion by the artists covering the tunes such as Sufjan Stevens, Cat Power, Mason Jennings, and even Sonic Youth.
8. Lily Allen – Alright StillA hot and steamy summer album that never quits and has a really cool sound due to its punky British creator. Lily Allen’s album is extremely fun and at many times quite hilarious covering such topics as avoiding losers to small penis size. The singer/songwriter has an awesome original sound and I hope she releases a new album after she’s done releasing a baby.
7. Paul McCartney – Memory Almost Full
Macca’s latest Starbucks released album is pure pop, a return to Sir Paul’s early 70s roots. The opening track “Dance Tonight” is a celebration of music and also happened to be the best music video of the year. The rest of the album is equally playful and shows that the lad’s memory is not quite full yet, and that he has more to give us.
6. Feist – The Reminder
The new folk ingénue gives us a purely cheerful album that steals our attention from beginning to end. Her hit “1 2 3 4” is satisfyingly addictive, showing a rare soulful side to her genre. A soothing enticement, “The Reminder” is a reminder that we need to just chill.
5. Peter Bjorn And John – Writer’s Block
A brilliant work from the first note to the last, the best indie-pop album of the year without a doubt. The songs are undoubtedly catchy and everyone I talked to about this album said they loved completely. With an offbeat and witty sound, this album will stand the test of time.
4. Devendra Banhart – Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon
The master of weird lets everything out with this album, and with its latin-infused sound and one of the best songs I’ve ever heard in “Seahorse”, this album is an instant classic. The best moments come from what seem to be Jim Morrison impressions that pop out at completely random times. This is a sickly amazing album that I can’t stop listening to.
3. The White Stripes – Icky Thump
The two kids from Detroit return to their hard rock roots and let it all out. While also offering the best concert I’ve ever been to, they gave us the album we wanted out of “Get Behind Me Satan.” Meg White taught us that she has learned how to drum, and that she is a percussive force to be reckoned with.
2. Nicole Atkins – Neptune City
Nicole Atkins is like the non-existent love child between Harry Nilsson and Debbie Harry. Her sound is explosive, impressive pop and her lyrics create portraits of each song. The title song is one of the coolest songs I’ve ever heard, and it literally feels like something out of this world. Rolling Stone named her an artist to follow, a title I completely endorse.
1. Amy Winehouse – Back to Black
Don’t let the terrible lifestyle and the never ending tabloid headlines distract you from what is a stunning work of musical art. Winehouse feeds from our musical history throwing all sorts of styles from soul to R&B to Motown to rock n’ roll to create a completely new sound. I really hope that she cleans up and delivers another album as equally extraordinary as “Back to Black.” An unexpected triumph, this one will grab you.
1. Me and Mr. Jones – Amy Winehouse
2. Toothpaste Kisses – The Maccabees
3. Neptune City – Nicole Atkins
4. Seahorse – Devendra Banhart
5. Ring Them Bells – Sufjan Stevens
6. Say – thenewno2
7. Conquest – The White Stripes
8. The Opposite of Hallelujah – Jens Lekman
9. LDN – Lily Allen
10. Brooklyn’s On Fire – Nicole Atkins
11. Bad Girl – Devendra Banhart
12. Icky Thump – The White Stripes
13. 1 2 3 4 – Feist
14. Ever Present Past – Paul McCartney
15. Objects of My Affection – Peter Bjorn and John
16. Real Love – Regina Spektor
17. When the Ship Comes In – Marcus Carl Franklin
18. Just Friends – Amy Winehouse
19. Anyone Else But You – Michael Cera and Ellen Page
20. Everything’s Just Wonderful – Lily Allen
Best 10 TV Shows
10. Best Week Ever
A show that could have been an ultimate failure, but somehow is incredibly hilarious from week to week. Their “Cloverfield” trailer coverage was particularly funny and unfortunately never made it onto the internet. With commentators such as Paul F. Tompkins, Paul Scheer, Christian Finnegan, Melissa Rauch, and Doug Benson, this show is always good for real laughs and is quite underrated.
9. Andy Barker, P.I.
The show that never got off the ground with viewers, but really gave Andy Richter a show that fit his particular comedic style. The supporting cast including Harve Presnell and Tony Hale was perfect as was the unorthodox detective-spoof style. Amy Sedaris’ guest spot as Rita really sealed the deal for this show, something I wish would have found a bigger audience.
8. What Perez Sez
Perez Hilton may get a lot of flack for what he says about people, but there’s no avoiding how hilarious he is. His show was one of two website-to-TV transitions this year the other being TMZonTV… well Perez really kicked ass with his show while the latter really became one of the worst shows of the year. I hope he gets picked up for a second season, he deserves it!
The best first season of any show last year, a strong start and a strong finish. The second season started a bit weakly but still remained excellent television due to its amazing acting and the creative mind of Tim Kring. The best part about “Heroes” so far: George Takei.
6. Dirty JobsMike Rowe is truly the man’s man, and his critically acclaimed show only got better this year. Dirtier and grittier, Rowe found himself in some disgusting situations such as salt mining, wine making, and most interestingly billboard installer. The show is great because of Rowe’s unmistakable charm and his ability to make any situation hilarious.
5. Project Runway
The best reality show of all time brought us another season of brilliance. Even though Jeffrey wasn’t the best contender and didn’t have the most impressive collection during Fashion Week, I really agreed with a lot of what happened during the 3rd seasons run. Season 4 has been great so far, I just hope they kick off Ricky soon.
4. The Colbert Report/The Daily Show
Stephen and Jon were lucky enough to have the best hour of television this year, getting funnier and sharper all the way through. The strike cut their jobs short but their recent return sans writers has proven that they can still be funny on their own.
3. The Office
In what could have been the worst development ever after Jim and Pam’s romantic realization, the makers of “The Office” made excellent choices with how they have been furthering the story of the show. Instead of coming off as corny and boring, Jim and Pam are refreshingly funny as a couple showing that they really are more than just friends. Rainn Wilson also gave us the best performance of the year as Dwight, a character who he just seems to adore.
Despite a slightly lackluster special, Ricky Gervais’ ode to the extra came strong in its second and last season. Only lasting six episodes, Gervais gave us some of the most memorable TV moments including the entire Daniel Radcliffe episode and the horrifyingly awkward BAFTA awards show. With one of the best supporting casts on any TV show ever, “Extras” is genius.
1. 30 Rock
Tina Fey’s marvelous show won the Emmy, proving that she is one of the best talents working today. Every performance was award worthy, especially every single guest appearance (even David Schwimmer made me laugh!). I hope that “30 Rock” viewer ship rises, especially after Fey’s Golden Globe win last night. If the show finds itself in the same fate as the equally genius but cancelled “Arrested Development”, NBC will find itself losing one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.
15 Best TV Performances:
1. Rainn Wilson as Dwight Shrute – The Office
2. Ricky Gervais as Andy Millman – Extras
3. Ed Helms as Andy Bernard – The Office
4. Tina Fey as Liz Lemon – 30 Rock
5. Shaun Pye as Greg – Extras
6. Steve Carell as Michael Scott – The Office
7. Mike Rowe – Dirty Jobs
8. Shaun Williamson as Barry – Extras
9. Zachary Quinto as Sylar – Heroes
10. Andy Richter as Andy Barker – Andy Barker P.I.
11. Stephen Colbert as Stephen Colbert- The Colbert Report
12. Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy – 30 Rock
13. George Takei as Kaito Nakamura – Heroes
14. Masi Oka as Hiro Nakamura – Heroes
15. Amy Sedaris as Rita Spaulding – Andy Barker P.I.
Five Other Things I Loved This Year:
Buffy The Vampire Slayer Comics
Joss Whedon’s comic rendition of the never made 8th season was the Buffy-verse that we’ve always wanted to see. Hopefully the success of the comics will lead into something more… like a movie perhaps?
The 15 Best FILMS of the Year:
15. Sunshine (dir. Danny Boyle)
Danny Boyle’s foray into the sci-fi genre proved original, savvy, and unexpected. With the most eye-popping visual effects in film this year and a terrific cast, this one will hopefully find a bigger audience on DVD (like Boyle’s other films). Cillian Murphy is one of our best actors and he really showed his range as the conflicted scientist in this genuinely cool movie.
14. Paprika (dir. Satoshi Kon)I am not a big fan of Japanese animation and many people can corroborate that. I was blown away by this creepy vision of the near future which felt a lot like the mix between a Phillip K. Dick novel and an 80s Cronenberg late night thriller. Unfortunately the movie will most likely not find itself up for best animated film this year as it is not eligible (it’s Japanese release was 2006), but I hope it will get a lot of DVD recognition.
13. Joshua (dir. George Ratliff)
A Hitchcockian spellbinder featuring two superb performances by the beautiful Vera Farmiga and newcomer Jacob Kogan. The movie was dismissed as being a knock off of “The Omen” but it really takes a different route than any horror/thriller I’ve ever seen. The end of the film involves the exchange of looks between Joshua and his terrified uncle, one of the best freeze frames in film history.
12. Eastern Promises (dir. David Cronenberg)
Speaking of David Cronenberg, his new film after the ingenious “A History of Violence” was a cool piece of work featuring a sickly neat performance from Viggo Mortensen. This movie reached to new levels of artistic filmmaking while staying quite accessible. Armin-Mueller Stahl also gives a great portrayal of the secretly evil but awkwardly kind Russian restaurateur. Cronenberg solidifies his talent with this award winning and pitch perfect drama.
11. Gone Baby Gone (dir. Ben Affleck)
Who said that Ben Affleck is done with fame? He needs to be spending more time behind the camera because he really found his niche with this Bostonian mystery. The lead performances are exemplary but the casting of Amy Ryan as the crack-addled Helene McCready is beyond realistic. A Tony-nominated actress, she truly discovered how to tap into her character without going over the top. I know her character, and it scared me.
10. Michael Clayton (dir. Tony Gilroy)In what could have been another boring law drama, Tony Gilroy’s mysterious opus gave us both a deftly written narrative and top-notch performances. More specifically Tom Wilkinson served as both a splendidly crazy character and a lesson in good acting. In the one moment in which he states he is “Shiva the God of death” he digs into your eyes and pulls you into his performance. George Clooney also proves that he’s more than a wink and a smile with his strong yet flawed portrayal of the title character.
9. Lars and The Real Girl (dir. Craig Gillespie)
Ryan Gosling shows his range as the emotionally awkward young man who finds love with a sex doll. The movie doesn’t rely on the gimmick of its synopsis but instead gives us an inventively sweet story. The supporting cast is equally sweet, including a wondrous performance by a homely version of the usually gorgeous Kelli Garner as the girl who just wants a connection. An equally satisfying score leaves the film’s viewer with a feeling of complete happiness.
8. Atonement (dir. Joe Wright)
A dazzling romantic period drama that makes up for the director’s previous disappointment “Pride and Prejudice.” Keira Knightley and James McAvoy are gloriously cast as the star-crossed lovers but the true star of the film is young Saorsie Ronan who gives a scathingly vivid portrayal of innocence. The film’s score matures throughout and the infamous 15 minute long shot shows Wright’s accomplished eye.
7. Waitress (dir. Adrienne Shelly)
The movie that takes life and just puts our sadnesses and happinesses in perspective. Adrienne Shelly’s murder is extremely unfortunate because the film is a beautiful piece of pie that gives and gives and gives. The other delightful treat in this movie is the adorable Keri Russell showing that she still has more to give us. This is the kind of movie that you can hold in your arms and fall in love with.
6. I’m Not There (dir. Todd Haynes)
Todd Haynes told the story of Bob Dylan in the only way he could: with six actors playing him in a completely non-linear storyline. None of the film’s elements would have worked with any other character, but the mystery that is Bob Dylan just works here. Cate Blanchett gives the best performance from any actress this year as “Jude Quinn” portraying Dylan during the Electric phase. A truly cool film.
5. No Country For Old Men (dir. Ethan and Joel Coen)
Forget “Fargo”, the Coen Brothers outdid themselves with this complex picture of southern terror. The personification of that terror comes from Javier Bardem’s accomplished portrayal of Anton Chiguhr, the newest face of fear in movies. The movie has no music, which is often taboo, but that lacking element adds a gut busting level of tension that I’ve never seen in any movie. The dramatic landscapes, the throat grabbing performances and that level of professionalism shown by the Coen Brothers is just awe-inspiring.
4. The Darjeeling Limited (dir. Wes Anderson)After making two of the best films I’ve ever seen with “Rushmore” and “The Royal Tenenbaums”, and the critical lambasting of “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” (a film I quite enjoyed), Wes Anderson decided to make a much more personable film. For a filmmaker known for his smaller quirks and meticulous production design, “Darjeeling” was a great way of showing he can make a great film without following his usual style. Adrien Brody also gives a subtly glowing performance as the sibling who cannot let go of the death of his father with radiance and perfect delivery.
3. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (dir. Julian Schnabel)
Julian Schnabel’s skillful mastering of the job of director shines through this entire heart wrenching story of Jean-Dominique Bauby, the former French Elle director who went into a coma. The screenplay is outstanding, taking both from Bauby’s slowly written memoir and from the mind of screenwriter Ronald Harwood. The film is quite personal, pulling the audience into the story. “Diving Bell” is a truly unique experience, one that you can’t forget.
2. Juno (dir. Jason Reitman)
The happiest, most satisfying, quick-witted and quirky indie comedy lived up to my expectations and more. Ellen Page champions the indie queen role with a huge sense of realism and a lot of heart. It is impossible not to love this film, it is utterly charming and cool and all of that can be attributed to Diablo Cody’s sharp script and Jason Reitman’s dexterous way with a camera. In a year full of semi-disappointing indie comedies, this stood out ahead of the crowd and was loved by the entire country. The only flaw with the film is its unfortunately timed ad campaign (telling everyone that the film is coming out on a day three weeks before it was actually released anywhere but NY and LA) but that can be pardoned the moment you sit down and watch this wonderful movie.
1. There Will Be Blood (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)
We have never seen a film like this before. There are few directors that can deliver such an exceptional movie like “There Will Be Blood” with such precision and artistic ability but Paul Thomas Anderson did it with what seems like ease. Daniel Day-Lewis punches us in the gut with a penetrating and personal performance of one of the most larger than life characters on the screen. Paul Dano gives an utterly creepy performance and is the perfect foe to Day-Lewis’ Daniel Plainview. I said in my review that this is the modern “Citizen Kane” and I stand by that statement. This movie will be studied in years to come, as a marvelous enigma to the world of film. There is nothing like “There Will Be Blood” and there are few greater duos than Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Thomas Anderson.
10 Best PERFORMANCES in Film
10. Tom Wilkinson as Arthur Edens – Michael Clayton
A vivid portayal of a man on the edge of insanity
9. Amy Ryan as Helene McCready – Gone Baby Gone
A horrifyingly realistic crack addict who can’t appreciate why she wants her child
8. Ellen Page as Juno MacGuff- Juno
A sly, cool, and heartbreaking performance of a girl who wants love
7. Irrfan Khan as Ashoke Ganguli – The Namesake
An underrated performance of a man who wants his son to know who he is
6. Ryan Gosling as Lars Lindstrom – Lars and the Real Girl
A truly Brando-esque performance, utterly sweet but strangely sad
5. Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Jon Savage – The Savages
Real acting, the personification of how people deal and relate with their family
4. Javier Bardem as Anton Chiguhr– No Country For Old Men
The scariest and most haunting performance of the year
3. Marion Cotillard as Edith Piaf – La Vie En Rose
A tremendous performance, she becomes Edith Piaf
2. Cate Blanchett as Jude Quinn/Bob Dylan– I’m Not There
Cool and artistic, showing an awe-inspiring amount of range
1. Daniel Day-Lewis as Daniel Plainview – There Will Be Blood
One of the best performances of our time and all time, an acting masterpiece
Other Great PERFORMANCES
Vera Farmiga as Abby Cairn – Joshua
Viggo Mortensen as Nikolai – Eastern Promises
Paul Dano as Eli/Paul Sunday – There Will Be Blood
Mathieu Almaric as Jean Dominique Bauby – The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Michael Cera as Paulie Bleeker – Juno
Jacob Kogan as Joshua Cairn – Joshua
Andy Griffith as Old Joe – Waitress
Don Cheadle as Petey Greene – Talk to Me
Angelina Jolie as Marianne Pearl – A Mighty Heart
Max von Sydow as Papinou – The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Laura Linney as Wendy Savage – The Savages
Adrienne Shelley as Dawn – Waitress
Adrien Brody as Peter Whitman – The Darjeeling Limited
Jennifer Garner as Vanessa Loring – Juno
J.K. Simmons as Mac MacGuff – Juno
Saorsie Ronan as Briony Tallis- Atonement
Tommy Lee Jones as the Sheriff – No Country For Old Men
Keri Russell as Jenna – Waitress
Gordon Pinsent as Grant Anderson– Away From Her
Julie Christie as Fiona Anderson – Away From Her
Thank you 2007, you were good to me…