The Top 10 Films of the Year



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Editor's note: This article is part of the Daily Cal's Semester in Review series for the month of December.

01. Ratatouille

Ratatouille” is the kind of film that could only be animated. Frankly, the sight of a kitchen crawling with actual—albeit talented—rats might be too much for most moviegoers to take.

But this is Pixar, and instead of a nondescript rodent, we get Remy, one of the most colorful characters to grace the screen this year. The “ick” factor becomes the “aww” factor as we follow our furry friend and his cooking buddy, the hapless Linguini, on their journey to culinary stardom.

The movie tugs at the heartstrings and the tastebuds, a rare and satisfying cinematic treat.

Louis Peitzman

02. No Country for Old Men

An average Joe finds a bag with a bunch of money, takes it and soon a group of bad guys want him dead. Sounds like it’s been done before, right? Wrong. While many crime flicks give us flashy shootouts and stylized whip pans and call it a day, the Coen Brothers’ “No Country For Old Men” transcends its simple plot and takes a more philosophical approach. It’s a study of fate, free will and the fact that, though we can make decisions, we’re not necessarily calling the shots

Seth Millstein

03. There Will Be Blood

P.T. Anderson’s “There Will Be Blood” is a horror film designed to look like a period piece adaptation of Upton Sinclair’s “Oil!”. Yet the film is as much about oil as it is about blood, threats and surfaces rupturing. It’s also about family, society and faith (and their liquid relations). It’s a movie you know will be excellent the minute it begins—by assaulting you with its sound design! Anderson’s newest, best, most operatic film yet must be seen in as large and as loud an auditorium as possible.

Ryland Walker Knight

04. Hot Fuzz

Rarely does a comedy succeed so emphatically at each layer of production as “Hot Fuzz.” Because the film is so holistically devoted to parodying the police action blockbuster, so actively playing with its identification with and distance from the genre, even the subtlest details have a way of exploding. Like 2004’s “Shaun of the Dead,” also from Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, the film does what so many otherwise successful comedies don’t: make the most of its medium.

Evan Winchester

05. Grindhouse

As if two B-movie horror films—Quentin Tarantino’s “Death Proof” and Robert Rodriguez’s “Planet Terror”—weren’t enough to quench one’s appetite for vintage genre excess, this double feature fills its intermission with brilliant trailer parodies from Rob Zombie, Eli Roth, Edgar Wright and more.

Far more ambitiously, “Grindhouse” offers a kind of crafted, scientifically perfected irony, even as nostalgia clings to it much like a zombie infestation.

Evan Winchester

06. Stardust

When “Stardust” fell into theaters, critics called it too derivative of past successes. You know these fantasy tropes: a young man on a quest to win his true love’s hand, a witch in search of renewed youth, a gay pirate on a mission to look fabulous. OK, maybe not that last one. Therein lies the film’s appeal; it’s a bit of the old and a heaping helping of the new. There’s nothing not to love about a film that reminds us magic still exists at the movies. Like the fallen star Yvaine, it positively glows.

Louis Peitzman

07. Eastern Promises

In a year characterized by threequels and smarmy comedies, David Cronenberg’s bleak “Eastern Promises” stands out as a complex, chilling thriller.

Like Cronenberg’s “A History of Violence,” the intelligent interplay of conflicting values and expatriate loyalty elevates the film far above its body count. This may not be the best movie to watch on a date, or on a full stomach, but for those looking for more than mindless fun, this is the movie of 2007.

Rebecca Wallace

08. Superbad

“Superbad” follows the antics of two teenage boys Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) on the cusp of their high school graduation. The film—producer Judd Apatow’s first foray into teenage comedy since 1999’s critically acclaimed (and prematurely canned) “Freaks and Geeks”—is an 80 proof distillation of its predecessor. The results are all awkwardness and absurdity with a liberal splash of penis jokes so hilarious they just might make you pee yourself.

Linda Truong

09. Zodiac

Although David Fincher’s “Zodiac” came out early in the year amidst some forgettable fare, the film stood out with its gripping plot and performances from Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey, Jr.

Fincher manages to create delicious tension as he follows the investigation of the Zodiac killer who terrorized the Bay Area in the 1970s. Clocking in at almost three hours, it may well be one of the longest films of the year, but it’s so damn good you don’t care.

Marya Gates

10. INLAND EMPIRE

It’s no wonder David Lynch has been a vehement opponent of the cinematic experience being reduced to the pixilated square of an iPod screen: “INLAND EMPIRE,” for all of its toying with form and surreality, feels like silver screen nostalgia. Few other films in 2007 demanded us to sit in the darkness of a theater with each haunting sound and visual allowed to work in their full, often terrifying power. Never mind making sense out of it, the pleasure of “INLAND EMPIRE” is in the mire.

Sean P. Manning

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