Sara Vilkomerson’s Guide To This Year’s Movies: Better Luck in ‘08, Adam Sandler!

It’s the end of 2007 as we know it (and can we just say in all seriousness … thank heavens!). It was a good year, at least, for the movies … mostly. The early sludge months of Ghost Rider (oh, Oscar winner Nic Cage … your head was a skull and on fire) and Blood and Chocolate were quickly forgotten after Labor Day, when the studios trotted out their precious, gleaming, Oscar-hopeful offerings. And who are we to argue to with conventional wisdom? Atonement is about as gorgeous as a movie can be to look at—epic and heartbreaking. (Not to mention that it’s increased the sex appeal of bookshelves. Thank you!) Though we can’t pretend we understood absolutely everything there is to be understood about There Will Be Blood (is it just us, or does it seem like film critics are using their reviews for this one as an excuse to flaunt how smarty-pantsy they are?), the majestic power and sheer brilliance of Daniel Day-Lewis’s performance cannot be denied. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is an example of a perfect marriage between material and director. The film is sleek, dark and wonderfully twisted.

But! We wanted to take the time to recognize some other, less lauded films that for better or worse made 2007 the cinematic year it was. Release the flying monkeys!

Too Good To Be Overlooked:

The Bourne Ultimatum: In a long, hot summer of robots-in-disguise, pirates and Spidey, this third installment of the Bourne franchise was as elegantly executed as it was thrilling. Forget fancy special effects. We’ll take director Paul Greengrass’ complicated car chases and rooftop leaping with Matt Damon anytime.

Eastern Promises: We’ll go where Viggo. Mr. Mortensen and director David Cronenberg picked up where A History of Violence left off to deliver one of the year’s finest and most complex performances.

Away From Her: Way back in May, the young Sarah Polley sent out this small and beautiful adaptation of one of Alice Munro’s most devastating short stories. Welcome back, Julie Christie!

Movies We Wish We Could Forget:

Reign Over Me: Where to start with this movie? We don’t want to blame Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle, as we know that they’re both much, much better than this, but the movie—about a man who lost his whole family on one of the 9/11 planes and is reduced to roaming the streets on a scooter and redoing his kitchen—felt cheaply manipulative and downright exploitative. Too soon, Hollywood.

Because I Said So: We love Diane Keaton, truly and always. So it was a bummer to see her playing a caricature of herself in this one with Mandy Moore (not at her best).

P.S. I Love You: Get Hillary Swank out of romantic comedies and back to cross-dressing in a boxing ring, quick!

Guilty Pleasures:

Fred Claus: We don’t care what anybody says—this movie is funny! Sure, there were some eye-rolling moments (Ludacris, elves, etc.), but what can bring pure joy like the sight of a dead-in-the-eyes Vince Vaughn shoving his face full of cookies?

Becoming Jane: Like most girls, we kinda have a thing about Jane Austen (we could watch the Colin Firth version of Pride & Prejudice on loop). So, this somewhat dreamy film that theorizes about the love that Austen once had and lost was strangely satisfying.

Catch and Release: We know this one actually isn’t a good movie—but we still can’t resist watching it every time it’s on TV. Jennifer Garner is winsome and charming and he-llo, Timothy Olyphant, your “wood” will never be “dead” to us!

Sara Vilkomerson’s Guide To This Year’s Movies: Better Luck in ‘08, Adam Sandler!