Monday, December 31, 2007

I Am Trashcan: Best Movies of 2007

So here's a funny nickname I have: Trash Can. I got this nickname because I like to make my friends laugh and have a good time, so I buy the weirdest food I can find at truck stops, and eat it. And in return for the all the fun I give them, they call me Trash Can. Unbelievable.

Anyway, for my birthday, the boys in Elephant Larry got me a trash can filled with ridiculous candy, and I thought it would be nice to share my disgusting odyssey with all of you. So each day, I'll eat and review a new piece of candy.

Best Movies of 2007: You already know that I'll eat anything, because, you know, "I Am Trashcan" and all. But did you know that my eyes were trashcans too? It's true... In years past, I used to spend most of March doing nothing but watch all the Oscar nominated movies, trying to fill myself with as much quality as possible.

As I've gotten older though, things have gone in the opposite direction, and I now watch as much crap as I possibly can. There's still a few actually good movies that get thrown in there, but for the most part, I've gone out to see movies less the past two years, and when I have, they aren't necessarily very good.

And yet... I love them. I have no excuse necessarily, and though I may repeat this part for emphasis, I have no problem with anyone hating the F out of these movies, they're more than entitled (and probably correct) about their opinion.

So with that out of the way, herewith are the "Best Trashcan Movies of 2007," as determined by you, my eyeballs. What a twist! I was talking to my eyeballs the whole time:

1) Transformers: No movie this year, or in recent memory, turned me into a blabbering ten year old like Transformers did. First problem is that I'm a complete sucker for Michael Bay hero shots (see: Hot Fuzz, on my "actually good" list below). Second problem is, you know, giant robots. Third problem, and reason I have no excuse is that I never even really watched the cartoon, or read the comic books. I had a complete childhood regression (see: Ratatouille, also on my "actually good list) based only on playing with toys. When, in the climax of the movie, Optimus Prime was all like, "Megatron," and Megatron slammed down on the ground, and was all like, "PRRRRRIMMME," I nearly shat myself, right there in the theater.

2) Blades Of Glory: I shouldn't feel bad for liking this so much, right? But I totally do. There's no reason, as a self respecting comedian that I should enjoy a movie that's almost entirely gay panic and ball smashing jokes, but they're REALLY GOOD gay panic and ball smashing jokes. And, I actually respect that they figured out a ton of different things they could do with ice skating, including an excellently staged climactic ice-skate chase. I laughed harder this year at Hot Fuzz, but only slightly harder.

3) Spider-Man 3: The bad parts are some of the worst scenes committed to film (I don't care who's father the butler is [he's Bill Paxton's father], he nearly ruined this movie single handedly), but the good parts are incredible. Anyone who thinks the "bad Peter Parker" sequence in the middle is a jarring change of tone, or, more importantly, bad, is wrong. It's completely in tone with the series, completely earned by the character, and totally, totally a ballsy move to put in a giant summer movie blockbuster.

4) Meet the Robinsons: The movie is freaking mess, and I saw it on an airplane, but the ending had me bawling like a baby. On an airplane. It's a very straight-forward story, with way too many wacky elements... For those of you who don't know, it was made by Disney Animation, sat on a shelf for years, and then re-tooled by Pixar genius John Lasseter. You can clearly see which parts he tweaked and stuck in, but the movie is so much better than how it was sold, and the emotional pay-off is wonderful.

5) Resident Evil:Extinction: Best zombie scene, ever. I saw the first Resident Evil, even though I knew it would be bad, and hated it. Then, when the second one was coming out, I got all excited, saw it, hated it. Then, the third one was coming out, got all excited, and totally loved it. The problem with the first two is, I saw them alone (yes, I'm that much of a trashcan). You need to see these with a group of people who can appreciate how hilariously bad and awesome they are. Also? Milla Jovovich is the most ridiculous looking person ever born.

6) Grindhouse: I actually don't even think this should be on the "bad movies" list, as it's actually a bad movie made on purpose to be a bad movie by really excellent film-makers. But the experience of watching this in a theater, with a huge audience that's totally on board was awesome. It's a shame so many people missed out. It's like a four hour long Grindhouse simulator ride.

7) Beowulf: Just barely on this list, as time goes on, the less I think of this movie... Literally nothing from it has stuck with me as exceptional at all. However, same as Grindhouse, seeing this in IMAX 3D is the part I won't forget. It's a totally fine movie that was made an awesome experience by the setting.

Honorable Mention 1) Stick It: This movie came out in 2006, but I saw it on TV this year. Tough girl works with fatherly mentor (Jeff Bridges) to find her heart again and win the big gymnastics competition? Okay. I could watch variations on this movie (Step Up, Save The Last Dance, Other Movies Starting With S) forever, and be totally fine with that.

Honorable Mention 2) Air Force One: Yes, I saw this movie for the first time this year. No, there was not one single part of the movie that I believed. Yes, it was totally awesome.

And now, just so you don't feel crazy, here's a list of other movies I saw this year that were actually good. I should also mention that I was able to leave a bunch of ACTUALLY awful movies off this whole list, which is surprising?

1) Sweeney Todd: It's a little unfair, as I saw this most recently, but it just keeps getting better and better in my head. It's also a little unfair, because on the top list of things I love in my entire lifetime, "Tim Burton Movies" and "Musicals" are definitely in the Top Five. And for musicals, "Sweeney Todd" is in the Top Ten. Before the movie, they gave us a survey, one of the questions for which was "what made you decide to see this movie?" and there was no box for "When I heard they were making it."

2) The King of Kong: Probably the best documentary I've ever seen, and better than most fiction films, as well. It's unfortunate that they left certain facts out (there's a third guy out there who's also vying for top Donkey Kong score), but on the merits of the movie, hilarious, touching, rousing, and the best villain of 2007.

3) Hot Fuzz: As mentioned above, a brilliant comedy that simultaneously pays homage to, and pokes fun at cop movies, and Michael Bay movies in particular. That I was crying laughing and applauding at a two-shot of our heroes with a black helicopter flying overhead, a shot that technically isn't even a joke, is a testament to how good the movie was.

4) The Host: The initial attack by the monster alone in this movie makes it one of the best monster films ever made. But the sudden switches of tone, the completely original monster, the brilliant shooting throughout, and the sweet, sad ending make this one of my favorites of the year.

5) Ira & Abby: Never have I been more worried about people not liking a movie. After seeing it a few months ahead of it's release, I really was hoping would fall in love with this film in the same way I did. They didn't. Regardless, Jennifer Westfeldt's follow up to "Kissing Jessica Stein" is similarly funny, poignant, and includes one of my favorite comedic scenes ever, which I'm not going to ruin here.

Honorable Mention) Ratatouille: If you want to talk about being pre-sold on movies, "Pixar" and "Cooking" should have rocketed this to my number one movie of the year... But it didn't. Ratatouille is undeniably excellent, brilliantly made, fantastically hilarious, and a great, adult film. But the weight of expectations (in Brad Bird's oeuvre, I think Iron Giant and The Incredibles, while not quite as complex, are undeniably better movies), plus some small choices that could have easily fixed problem points knocked it down the list a bit. It's still fabulous, though.

All in all, I give 2007's movies four out of five trashcans:


Chris Serico said...

Beautifully written with that distinctive Zalben tone -- and not in an "At The Movies" kind of way, although equally amusing for different reasons.