2007 movies


I saw 14 movies in 2007. I’m not talking 14 movies in a movie theater, though most of them were. I mean 14 movies TOTAL in 2007.

Only two were on video: Raging Bull and the original Hairspray, probably when Carol and Lydia were away.

One was on a wide-screen TV at a resort: Spider-Man 2.

Four were movies I saw in movie theaters that came out in 2006: The Queen; The Pursuit of Happyness; Volver; and Notes on a Scandal.

Finally, seven of them were movies I saw in movie theaters in 2007 that I actually saw in 2007. No Michael Clayton or Lars and the Real Girl or Away from Her or No Way Out or I’m Not There or Ratatouille or the new Hairspray or Enchanted, all of which came and went in this market. Seeing videos just doesn’t seem to work in our one-TV household.

So here’s the paucity of my 2007-released films, ranked by what I liked best.

7) The Simpsons Movie: I liked the pig, I liked the Disney touch with the sex scene. I especially loved Bart going to Flanders for advice. But, as I think back on it, there was too much time when not much happened.

6) Knocked Up: Gross. But often funny.

5) The Namesake: quite touching, though it sags in the middle.

4) Once: The movie musical for people who hate movie musicals.

3) Waitress: I always hated the term “chick flick.” Vibrant character study, and Keri Russell was luminescent.

2) Sicko: Less Moore + incontrovertibly broken health care system = better Moore pic.

1)The Savages: Great acting, specific script. Think I mentioned it recently.

Anyway, I’m planning to take off a day a month this year and see a movie, either at the cinemas or at home.
I was reading Ken Levine’s piece about why Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story bombed at the box office, a movie that, had I seen thrice as many movies this year as I did, probably would have made the cut. Maybe it was the middling reviews, or the fact that the target audience didn’t see the reference material, the movies “Ray” and especially “Walk the Line.” But the primary reason for the b.o. failure was that no one knew what it was supposed to be about. I subscribe to the latter school of thought, though in fact, I didn’t see either reference movie myself.
Here’s a scene:



Last weekend, the wife and I got to go to the movies for the first time in ever so long. There’s usually some negotiation involved, but we honed in on our choice straight off.

I had intended to review this movie right away before I was influenced by other assessments, but of course that didn’t happened. What I’ve discovered in a number of reviews of this film is the overuse of the q word. Rotten Tomatoes, which gave it a 90% positive rating, notes the consensus is that it’s “sweet, smart and quirky”.
Waitress is the story of a woman named Jenna (played by Keri Russell), who’s pregnant – that’s established very early in the film, so that’s hardly a spoiler – and in a bad marriage. Her day-to-day salvation is making pies, delicious-looking pies, with names that describe her feelings at the moment, such as Baby Screaming Its Head Off in the Middle of the Night and Ruining My Life Pie. Jenna has two co-workers, Dawn (Adrienne Shelly) and Becky (Cheryl Hines), who are friends, even when each make choices that the others aren’t crazy about.
Jenna finds solace, for a time, in meeting with the new ob/gyn in town, Dr. Pomatter (Nathan Fillion). But ultimately, it’s about Jenna trying to figure it all out for herself.

I don’t want to say too much more about the plot, but I will make these observations:
Andy Griffith as the crusty diner owner Joe is wonderful.
It’s unfortunate that Jenna’s chauvinist husband is named Earl (Jeremy Sisto), because it reminded me of that Dixie Chicks song and video, Goodbye Earl. This Earl turns out to be more nuanced than the one played by Dennis Franz.
This is a foodie movie in the tradition of Chocolat or Big Night. There is a one pie-making scene that is VERY sensuous.
The music, mostly alt-country, I guess, and at least one tune co-written by director Adrienne Shelly, was great. One song choice I thought was a little odd, though I gave it a pass when I realized it was performed by the group Cake, another food group.
Some of the reviews claim that there is an “inconsistency of tone” in this movie. I didn’t feel it. I thought it was just how life is.
I really liked the waitresses and their bonds, but Cheryl Hines as Becky reminded me just a little of Polly Holliday as Flo in the TV show Alice, also about three waitresses.

All in all, I really liked this movie. But I had a sense of sadness during the credits, not by what was on the screen, but over the fact that the director Shelly would not be making another warm and touching film, as she was murdered last year.

I should mention, finally, that Keri Russell as Jenna is wonderful in this film. I’d never seen her in Felicity, before or after the infamous haircut, but there are few (if any) scenes she’s not in, and she’s always credible and interesting.

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