Reminisce with some of the best films of 2007!
With no new films releasing since early spring, we’ve used this cinematic downtime to revisit some of our collective favourites. After rifling through piles of VHS cassettes, Betamax and HD DVDs, we discovered that 2007 was one heck of a year for film releases. From audiovisual masterpieces to comedic comfort viewing, there’s plenty to entertain even the most discerning of palettes.
So, as we are wont to do once a month, please enjoy this shortlist of some of our favourite films released in 2007.
Superbad is what you get if you made American Pie with a good director and charismatic actors. That might sound harsh on the latter (and it’s meant to be, it’s not good), but it’s more of a comment on how much fun Superbad is.
The story of two loser friends (Jonah Hill and Michael Cera), who try to have one last party before they go to separate colleges is as timeless as it is relatable. But what makes this retelling stand above the rest is the talent behind it. Hill and Cera are delightful caricatures of teenage life, wanting nothing other than to talk to girls, goof off at school and hang out together. It’s no surprise it was this film that helped to launch both their careers, as their characters remain as iconic and as quotable 13 years later.
Couple this with a supporting cast that included Seth Rogan, Bill Hader and a young Emma Stone, and you’ll see why it was one of those ‘lightning in a bottle’ moments where so much comedic talent was assembled before their respective success made such a collaboration impossible.
And speaking of ‘lightning in a bottle’, the fact that Superbad isn’t tarnished by lazy sequels makes it even more special.
It’s a simple equation – when you combine Stephen King’s writing and Frank Darabont’s directing, you get gold. From the heart-wrenching pathos of Green Mile, to the legitimate ‘best film of all time contender’ The Shawshank Redemption, they point to a symbiotic creative relationship, in which Darabont not only understands King’s work, but truly augments it. While the latter two pictures might be the most fondly remembered in the public consciousness, it’s 2007’s The Mist that I find myself coming back to most.
It’s a pretty typical Stephen King plot; a father and his young son are trapped in a supermarket as a thick, rolling mist engulfs their small, middle America town. If that wasn’t bad enough (driving in fog is very stressful), the titular mist is infested with angry, Lovecraftian monsters.
While the premise is fun (if nothing special), it’s the interplay between the characters trapped in the store that keeps you invested. With no way of communicating with the outside world, it’s fascinating and disturbingly believable to watch as they go from being amiable strangers to desperate, paranoid survivalists. A special mention must go to Marcia Gay Harden’s portrayal of Mrs Carmody, a religious zealot who convinces many in the store that the mist is an act of divine retribution. The manner in which she whips up her new congregation into a murderous mob is as terrifying as it is impressive, and it’s a credit to Harden’s talent that I hated Mrs Carmody with every fiber of my being.
And then there’s THAT ending. If you’ve seen it, you’ll know what I mean; but if you haven’t, suffice to say closing moments of The Mist are some of the most shocking committed to film. As a stoic Brit, there’s not much a film can do to evoke a physical reaction out of me, but this scene makes me leap out of my chair everytime, without fail.
Straight off the bat, I need to say that Evan Almighty is in no way as good as its predecessor. Jim Carrey running around with God’s powers gives a far more open boundary in which to have fun, and on the whole Bruce Almighty is just far funnier and is a much better written film, too. Comparatively, Steve Carell reprising a character known primarily for one, admittedly hilarious, scene from the first film and being instructed by God to build an ark to avoid an incoming flood is a far more rigid and tied-down plot. It can never reach the heights of the previous film, but I think it’s very aware of that fact and instead tells a pretty good story about family, disguised as a comedic biblical ‘epic’.
Steve Carell is on fine form here as the titular Evan Baxter, at this point still in the earlier stages of the rise that came alongside his starring role as Michael Scott in The Office. John Goodman also puts in a delightful turn as Congressman Chuck Long, a politician very willing to cut corners in the name of profit (hmmmmmm…). And, of course, Morgan Freeman returns to the role he was born to play and clearly relishes every moment that he gets to spend, literally, playing God. The rest of the cast is good too, and there’s a lot of animals that, at the very least, are fun to look at.
Listen, it’s not the best movie in the world by any stretch of the imagination, but I find it pretty dang funny (certainly funnier than a lot of the mediocre, greenlit-for-the-sake-of-it comedies we get nowadays). 13 years after its release, it’s a film that I think is unfairly forgotten about, and even more unfairly thought of as outright bad by those who do remember. If you’ve never seen it, it’s definitely worth a watch.
High School Musical 2
Picking my second movie for this list was a really tough call between 2 different musicals that I completely adore. So, before I get to High School Musical 2, a quick honourable mention for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, which has a wonderful soundtrack, a superb cast and just fills my dark little heart with so much devilish joy.
So, why did this nearly 27-year old man just choose a Disney Channel original movie about a group of high school students working Summer jobs at a golf club over a movie set in Victorian era London all about an evil barber who slits the throats of his patrons and has his girlfriend use the meat from the corpses in her pies? Well, to tell the truth I’m not 100% sure myself. The latter does seem much more fit for purpose in regards to who I am. All I can really say is that there’s just something about the High School Musical series that clicks for me.
High School Musical 2 is the best of the trilogy, there I said it. I don’t know if that’s a controversial take or not (incidentally, the first movie is my least favourite of the 3, unless we’re counting that atrocious Sharpay spinoff which made me want to slit my own throat, cook my own corpse into a pie and then force feed it to the ghost of myself). The soundtrack to this one is the best of the 3, the setting for this one is the best of the 3 (although to be fair, it’s the only one of the 3 not set inside a high school for the majority of its runtime) and it also gave birth to one of the greatest scenes in cinema history in which we see Zac Efron pumping himself up in song and dance on a golf course.
Will you have a great time watching this movie? You can Bet On It!
The Simpsons Movie
Let me paint you a picture. The year was 2007, I had just celebrated my 16th birthday upon which I had just finished collecting all of The Simpsons DVDs that had been released. I anxiously slept under my Simpsons duvet, playing The Simpsons Hit & Run for the hundredth time whilst clutching one of my many Bart Simpson dolls, awaiting the release of this very film. Basically I was really hyped for this film. The Simpsons had been a big part of my life ever since I was a child and to finally have a full length feature of the yellow family was exciting.
For those of you unaware, The Simpsons is an animated sitcom about an American “Nuclear” family and the hijinks that happen to them in life. At the time, critics were commenting on the declining quality of the television show and believed that a feature film would have been the same.
What happened was something exciting however, “Golden Age” showrunners Mike Scully and Al Jean were brought in to help write the script, which was rewritten over a hundred times, so much so that it was still not finalised when animation began in 2006! Consequently, hours of finished material was cut from the final release, including cameo roles from Erin Brockovich, Minnie Driver, Isla Fisher, Kelsey Grammer and Edward Norton. Every step of this film was created in a way to ensure it was hitting the comedic and dramatic tones needed. All these things helped ensure it could be the best film version of The Simpsons we could possibly see.
13 years later you can watch The Simpsons Movie on Disney+ and I’d highly recommend it. It shows The Simpsons trying to take on the EPA to save their hometown and is a great film for all of the family with great jokes, good story and a pace that ensures you’ll always have something to be entertained with. It was worth the hype then and it still holds up now!
*The only people calling it that are actually the hosts of said podcast.
Every generation has their comedic greats, and every generation has their greats that just kind of get skipped. 13 years after its release, Hot Rod is lucky enough to have garnered a major cult following, but it’s still critically overlooked even now.
Despite their burgeoning success writing for SNL, it’s a miracle that The Lonely Island were even allowed to produce a film, let alone direct one. All things considered, Hot Rod might not have been that daring or experimental, but it was absolutely unique in execution, and much like Napoleon Dynamite before it, the film tapped into the goofy teenage sense of humour that felt pioneered in that decade. It’s inexplicably funny in the way that the best comedies tend to be, and trying to explain them out of context does the writing zero justice.
The plot is incredulous in the best way possible; young stuntman wannabe Rod Kimble performs stunts to raise money for his step-dad’s heart transplant, so that once he’s recovered he can prove he’s a man by beating him in one-on-one combat.
I was obsessed with the movie in my late teens, and for years it was one of my all-time favourites (it probably still is to be fair), but it took 9 years for The Lonely Island to put together another movie. Even though Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping was a complete box office flop, it managed to tap into the same sense of humour the group is renowned for. If it wasn’t for Hot Rod, who knows where The Lonely Island might be now.
Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone
12 years after the initial airing of Neon Genesis Evangelion (NGE) in Japan, Hideaki Anno stepped back into the foray to build upon what he’d started. Much to the dismay of some, and the rousing cheers of others, Evangelion 1.0 was more or less a complete remake of the first 6 episodes, with an increased budget allowing the animators to bring the show from the standards of 90’s TV anime into the HD glory of the 21st century’s theatres.
For some, that might not have been enough to make the revisit worthwhile. NGE was (in)famous for its ending, which divided viewers, even to the point that the studio received death threats. Not to mention that Anno would later go on to make a follow-up film in 1997, that divided viewers further as he doubled down on telling the story he wanted to tell.
But honestly pound for pound, ounce for ounce, just bringing the franchise up to a new visual standard was more than worth the price of admission. The story is virtually unchanged and just as poignant as it was (and still is, coming up to 30 years later this decade), the soundtrack is quite possibly more dramatic and memorable, and the characters are still incredibly well written. The only difference is how much Evangelion juice they squeezed into its 100 minute runtime.
Evangelion 1.0 wasn’t new in 2007, but the story it told was just as vital as it was when it was first written, and it makes for a great starting place for people not sure where to start with the series. People can argue until the cows come home about how the Rebuild movies compare with the series, but it’s hard to deny they aren’t creating waves just like the show did back in the nineties.
And that’s a wrap on our rundown of some our favourite films of 2007. Did we miss your favourite? Let us know in the comments below!
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