A Good Year

by Jeremy O'Bryan

This was a good year for movies. We try to get out to see all the big blockbusters, plus the smaller films we think will intrigue us, move us, or take us away to another place.Here are the 10 movies, released in 2007, that I liked best:

1. No Country For Old Men

This engaging story stuck in me like no other ever has. I started the book, then broke to see the movie at around Chapter 4, then read the rest of the book. Joel and Ethan Coen, the ingenious brothers who wrote the screenplay and directed the picture, stayed remarkably close to author Cormac McCarthy’s narrative. Even the dialogue was spot on across most of the movie. It feels as real as any movie can.

2. There Will Be Blood

Daniel Day-Lewis becomes Daniel Plainview in a way I’ve never felt an actor do, weaving in chilling behavior that captivates.

3. Ratatouille

Anyone can cook! Leah and I could watch this one every evening, snuggled on the couch together.

4. Atonement

Vast. And vastly entertaining filmmaking. I’d love a new ending, though.

5. Into the Wild

Powerful true story about the life of a young man searching for … something. Sean Penn puts the compelling story on celluloid, but Emile Hirsch lays down a heart-wrenching performance – the hardest-to-watch film I’ve seen all year. The lump in my throat still hurts when I listen to Eddie Vedder’s soundtrack.

6. Gone Baby Gone

A harsh, violent, ugly story; well-told by director and Ben Affleck. Based on a book by Dennis Lehane. Story-telling doesn’t get more raw than this. If you haven’t been there, don’t go.

7. Hot Fuzz

Unabashed, irreverent, unlikely, and fun.

8. The Bourne Ultimatum

Nobody kicks bad-guys’ butts like Jason Bourne. Wait. Which ones are the bad guys?

9. Juno

A charming tale with a slightly sordid side. A kind of a modern-day Say Anything, but not quite as smart.

10. Disturbia

The title is a play on the word “suburbia,” in which too much time on one’s hands can be a bad thing. It’s a good, old-fashioned teenage thriller, that’s a lot of fun. Leah and I had a great date night watching this one.

The ones that got away: (I have a lot of catching up to do.)

The Kite Runner
American Gangster
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
August Rush
We Own the Night
Away From Her
Lars and the Real Girl
Across the Universe
The Darjeeling Limited
Michael Clayton
In the Valley of Elah
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly