Diddy once said, "A yo, the sun don't shine forever, but as long as it's here then we might as well shine together." When he said this, I think he meant that we should share our favorite movies of 2007 with our RT brethren.
While I didn't see as many movies this year compared to last, it was a pretty monumental year in terms of my moviegoing identity.
Why, you ask? (I will pretend)
Because 2007 was the year that I finally realized that I am beginning to get a little squeamish in horror movies. I think it was Eli Roth's [url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/hostel/"][i]Hostel[/i][/url] a few years back that finally rattled my desensitized self into this shell of my former tin man self.
[center][b]Ok, one wellington rare, two risotto, and three lobster spaghetti.
Pre-2007, a time that some of my guy friends would call the "good ole' days," I used to sit on the couch or in the theater like a Raggedy Ann doll while watching horror movies - emotionless, never scared, smiling, with dreadlocks, all while wearing a flowing satin Vera Wang original with my name stitched to the front.
[center][b]What's good, homey? You wanna start something?? Hold my earrings.[/b][/center]
2007 also marked the year when my disgustingly over-the-top optimism successfully managed to seep into every media-related aspect of my life.
From music (Carrie Underwood), to television (I get weepy watching The Amazing Race and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition), and finally, movies, I have officially (like) turned into a (like) sappy, (like) teen-queen (like) movie-loving testicle of an alpha male (in a munchkin-like package).
Appropriately, I think that my favorite movies of the year not only reflect this change, but the theme of my blog here on Rotten Tomatoes, and ultimately, my movie identity.
So here we go, my top 5 movies of 2007!
[b]5) [/b][url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/freedom_writers/"][b]Freedom Writers (69%)[/b][/url]
Nothing about this movie made me think that I was going to like it. Well nothing, if you don't count its uplifting storyline, inclusion of young R&B stars (what up, Mario!), abundance of minorities, socioeconomic clash of a white suburban teacher trying to make it in the hood, and its ridiculously easy comparison to one of my childhood favorite flicks [i][url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/dangerous_minds/"]Dangerous Minds[/url][/i] (Big ups to my man Coolio, who I hear plays at the same golf course as I, which almost makes me gangsta. But I put on moisturizer everyday, so I'm not allowed to be).
[center][b]Slide. Slide. Slippity-slide.[/b][/center]
[left]Pretty much, this movie was made for me. If I wanted a 5 course meal prepared exactly how I wanted it, Director and Producer [url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/celebrity/richard_lagravenese/"]Richard LaGravenese[/url] was my Iron Chef, just with nice, but rough around the edges waiters from the hood who enjoy learning, and the sounds of today's hottest hip-hop and R&B artists (I listen to country, but don't act like I won't crank that Soulja boy). [/left]
[left]Even better, Hilary Swank, who is one of my favorite actresses from one of the "good" movies that I genuinely enjoyed, [url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/million_dollar_baby/"]Million Dollar Baby (91%)[/url], plays a very believable teacher in real-life teacher Erin Gruwell, who just wants to make a difference in the lives of these students who come from broken homes and an environment that is anything but conducive to getting an education. The kids don't care about learning, but why should they? [i]Freedom [/i]shows that struggle and does it in a way that doesn't feel forced. The sappy, but eventful storyline flows well and naturally, like a Dulcolax party, but better.[/left]
[center][b]More diversity than an episode of Sesame Street.
[left]What gave the film its extra "umph" (not a good word after Dulcolax reference) was that it was based on the real life diaries of students affected by the L.A. riots, which gave the movie some substance beyond that of other movies of this type. Thankfully, the drama wasn't unrealistic, nor were we hit over the head with moral themes throughout. Hilary Swank was still the same person by the end of the movie that she was from the beginning, without a Power Ranger-like transformation into the White Mother Theresa in the hood wearing a starter jacket and some Jordans. I appreciated that.[/left]
[left]The film was heartfelt and felt genuine at the same time. Honestly, I wish more hip-hop themed films would have the heart that this [i]Freedom Writers[/i] did, instead of just getting the message drowned by over the top killings and all too graphic language. I know, I know. It's an MTV movie, but I promise this one has more depth than an episode of Newport Harbor: Home for the Holidays.[/left]
[center][b]OMG, that wasn't very nice. [/b][/center]
[center][b]THEN WHY DID YOU CHEAT ON CLAY, CHRISSY?!?! EXPLAIN THAT!![/b][/center]
[left][b]4) [/b][url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/sydney_white/"][b]Sydney White (40%)[/b][/url][/left]
[left]I joke about how much I adored [i]Sydney White[/i] and people like to make fun of me for it. Other people say, "What's [i]Sydney White[/i]?" This makes me feel like I have just unearthed some unknown indie classic. Behind every exaggeration, I like to believe there is a smidgen of truth. Truth be told, [i]Sydney White[/i] was one of my favorite movies of 2007. [/left]
[center][b]We made the list?? OMG!!!![/b][/center]
[left]Not only did the movie affirm my love for Amanda Bynes as one of my favorite (and funniest) actresses today, it was actually a really great teen movie. Predictable? Yes. Entertaining? The whole time.[/left]
[left]Sydney White is what happens when one of my favorite movies, [url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/mean_girls/"]Mean Girls[/url], meets Amanda Bynes, goes to college, gets obsessed with Snow White, and unsuccessfully tries to join a sorority (though with Rachel McAdams, I'm pretty sure she'd get a bid to any house), only to befriend a bunch of nerds (a la the outcasts from a safari-like Tina Fey-created high school). [/left]
[left]By far, the main draw to the film is Bynes, who I find to be one of the most charming teen leads out there today. Despite the fact that she generally plays the same character in every movie, it's a good character and one that you love to love. [/left]
[center][b]Oh yeah, there's some teen romance. Gross.[/b][/center]
[left]The movie is sappy and the message is the same as [i]Mean Girls [/i](so fetch!), [i][url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/bratz_the_movie/"]Bratz: The Movie[/url][/i] (BFFs! Woo!!!), and even [i][url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/high_school_musical/"]High School Musical[/url][/i] (I'm soarin', flyin'...), but there's something charming about watching Bynes build the confidence of the "Seven Dorks" that she lives with in the Vortex, an eyesore on the Row for students with no friends. In an attempt to break out of the social confines that say otherwise, Sydney White and her seven dorks (get it???) try to become leaders to take down student body president and Kappa Phi Nu president Rachel Witchburn (Sara Paxton), while changing students' attitudes at the same time.[/left]
[left]Like all teen movies, you know the result, but it doesn't make it any less enjoyable to watch unfold. It's better than you think! Really![/left]
[left][b][url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/knocked_up/"]3) Knocked Up (90%)[/url][/b][/left]
[left]Let's forget about [i]Cool Runnings[/i] or even [i]Rocky[/i] for a second, if you want to see an underdog movie, [i]Knocked Up [/i]just might be the ultimate.
[center][b]Make us proud, Seth. Make. Us. Proud.[/b][/center]
[left]There was a lot to like about [i]Knocked Up.[/i] Not only did the movie remind me that the website [i]Mr. Skin [/i]existed (thank you, Mr. Skin), it was a comedy that was as funny as I wanted it to be. [/left]
[center][b]What's good, ma?[/b][/center]
[left]After a one-night stand between Alison (Katherine Heigl), an up and coming talent at E!, and Ben (Seth Rogen), a pot smoking softcore enthusiast, goes awry, the two are faced with a dilemma by way of the stork. Since the two characters couldn't be any more different and the baby any more unexpected, there are more than a few laughs along the way. [/left]
[left]What really sets the movie apart is how the Judd Apatow film ends up having a lot of heart. Instead of just thinking of the movie as a couple hours filled with ridiculous gags that don't really go anywhere, you develop a parasocial relationship with both Heigl and Rogen. Somehow, you actually feel their frustrations and become genuinely disappointed when something doesn't go the way you're envisioning as the movie goes on. I feel like that's rare in the "outrageous comedy" genre.[/left]
[center][b]Just like that out the box...[/b][/center]
[left]Best of all, it is a comedy that is funny. There are laugh out loud moments and Heigl proved that she can be more than just quirky and neurotic at this point in her young career (it's ok if you and George don't have chemistry, Izzy! Damn!). There was a lot of hype around this one and I didn't leave the capacity-filled theater disappointed. Even Jamie Lynn Spears wouldn't be able to watch this one without cracking a smile at its humor and warmth.[/left]
[left][b][url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/hairspray/"]2) Hairspray (92%)[/url][/b][/left]
[left]YOU CAN'T STOP THE BEAAAAAAAT!!! *spins around in his colorful frilly dress...*, nor could "you" (I don't know who that refers to) stop musical turned movie [i]Hairspray [/i]from making my top 5 for 2007 list. [/left]
[center][b]Good morning, Baltimore. (Not DDR, folks)[/b][/center]
[left]Hairspray marked Hollywood's introduction to Nikki Blonsky, who plays the big-boneded (that's spelled phonetically) girl with the moves, Tracy Turnblad, alongside what I feel like was one of the most enjoyable ensemble casts on screen this year.[/left]
[left]*Deep inhale* The cast includes: Michelle Pfeiffer (Velma Von Tussle), a surprisingly good Zac Efron (Link Larkin), Queen Latifah (Motormouth Maybelle), James Marsden (Corny Collins), Amanda Bynes (Penny Pingleton), and Christopher Walken (Wilbur Turnblad), and a cross-dressing John Travolta (Edna Turnblad) *big exhale*. [/left]
[center][b]If you try and hold me down, I'm gonna spit in your eye and say, "You can't stop the beat!!!"
[left]While much was made of Travolta's role as Tracy's mother, I actually found him to be like Mrs. Doubtfire gone horribly wrong. Making up for the awkwardness (which some enjoyed) that was Travolta, was Blonsky being just borderline annoying enough not to drive anyone crazy as the energetic lead.[/left]
[left]By now, the story is classic. For any guys who were "too manly" to see it, or couldn't find any homeys who wanted to come with (same problem here, bro. That's why I found girls!), the story tackles issues on racial integration through a local television dance show called the Corny Collins Show (and Amanda Bynes' love interest). After Tracy makes the cast of the show with her sweet dance moves, producer Tussle is so upset at her inclusion on the show that she decides to put an end to "Negro Day" (really), a monthly event when the show for the White man gets down with its bad self to the funky fresh moves of the 1960's. Tracy doesn't believe this is right, nor does she think it's fair that "Negro Day," is only once a month, so she risks everything to integrate her favorite television program to make everyday a "Negro/White man spectacular." And spectacular it is!
[left]The music is great, along with the choreography, but the ensemble cast is so good from top to bottom that it really sets the movie apart from many of the other musicals that fill theaters with 90% women and 10% eye-rolling men. It's no [i]Rambo, [/i]but [i]Hairspray [/i]is not only a good musical and a good family film; it is a just a good film. [/left]
[left]Too self-conscious to shake and shimmy your way into the theater for this one? Good news, [url="http://http://www.rottentomatoes.com/features/special/2007/holiday_buyers_guide/?spotlight_banner=1"]it's out on DVD.[/url][/left]
[left][b][url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/enchanted/"]1) Enchanted (93%)[/url][/b][/left]
[left]Since I've already ranted and raved about [i]Enchanted,[/i] I'll just repost and slightly modify my thoughts on my favorite film of 2007.[/left]
[center][b]Do yo thang, Enchanted.
I saw [i][url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/enchanted/"]Enchanted[/url] [/i]on its November 21, 2007 release date at 10:45AM in a theater filled with parents and excited pre-teen girls who already knew the whole plot of the movie from spoilers before they even stepped foot in the theater. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if that was their second time watching it by then.
I knew that the movie mixed live action and animation, looked funny, starred a hot Amy Adams, was Disney's next great hope for a franchise (unless Zac Efron stays in high school forever, which I think fellow RTer [url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/vine/journal_view.php?s=&journalid=209023"]Jen Yamato[/url] would be ok with to the point that it would be "Jentastic!"), and featured my favorite celebrity hottie Carrie Underwood on the soundtrack.
[center][b]Meet tanned and underexposed real-life Carrie...
It's been years since I've loved an animated movie that came out of the Disney studios.
[left]I didn't like fellow Certified Fresh fraternity member [url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/ratatouille/"][i]Ratatouille[/i][/url] (97%) because I didn't feel like anything happened (and I thought the rats should sing a number or two). And while it was good, I really wasn't crazy about another Certified Fresh film [url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/incredibles/"][i]The Incredibles[/i][/url] (97%), though I attribute this to the fact that I saw it on an airplane and wasn't able to give it my full attention due to the narcolepsy I experience the second I snap on my awkward airplane seatbelt. The last Disney movie that I can remember really liking was [i][url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/finding_nemo/"]Finding Nemo[/url] [/i](98%), even though it had no singing fish.
[center][b]Everyone likes Ratatouille, stupid.[/b][/center]
[left]Why the long intro? Because I think many dismiss people who enjoy Disney movies as being Disney fanboys who cannot live without sleeping with cuddled up next to our Pumbaa doll, listening to "Be Our Guest" a couple times a week, while wearing our Ariel-replica shell bikini top made out of two pieces of purple construction paper that resembles an elementary school Thanksgiving hand-turkey. I am not one of these fanboys.[/left]
[left]*slyly removes his Ariel bikini top*[/left]
[left]I just like to dress up.[/left]
[center][b]Watch me be awkward and watch you love it.
After seeing [i]Enchanted[/i], I can say that this was definitively my favorite movie of 2007. I will now present my reasons why I loved the movie and why the common man might find The Mouse's latest franchise worthwhile.
[b]1) [/b][url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/celebrity/amy_adams/"][b]Amy Adams[/b][/url] - At this point, this is a no brainer. Critics and movie watchers alike have been raving about Amy Adams' performance as Giselle, the new hottest Disney princess, dethroning [i]Beauty and the Beast's [/i]Belle[i]. [/i]At a time when the word "awkward..." is a favorite amongst college girls and awkward humor, situations, and silences are some of the most popular and well-received gags in television and movies today, Amy Adams personifies the idea of being lovingly awkward as Princess-to-be Giselle.
[center][b]There's a new hottie in town.[/b][/center]
[left]From her hilarious interactions with real life animals to her disgustingly sweet aura taking on the streets of Manhattan in a flowing princess dress, everything about Giselle is awkward. For that reason, everything about her is great. She is exactly what you would envision when you wondered, "What would happen if Cinderella/Belle/Ariel/Nala/Jasmine/Snow White ever really existed in real life?" on many a sleepless night. Her acting is spot-on and they play with the gag just enough that it doesn't get old.
[b]2) Eye Candy[/b] - Beyond Amy Adams, who is beyond attractive, the kind of eye candy that I'm talking about is the musical portions of [i]Enchanted [/i]coming to life and bringing all the choreographed and synchronized dancing magic of a Disney movie together in a way that is a visual feast.
[center][b]Much less cheesy than this picture would indicate.[/b][/center]
[left]Picture all the magic of a "Be Our Guest" or a "Just Can't Wait to be King" (but in New York) brought to life. Pair the dancing and choreography with some catchy songs and the confused expressions of people not participating in the fun and you get a fantastic display of Disney showing that it really is possible to bring animation to life. If you've ever seen [i]Wicked[/i], or any other musical that has some pretty big dance numbers and props, and couldn't help but smile at the spectacle of it, that's what I would compare my feelings toward many of the numbers in [i]Enchanted.
[b]3) Disney Poking Fun at Itself[/b] - In a way, [i]Enchanted [/i]does its own version of B. Rabbit's final freestyle in [i][url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/8_mile/"]8 Mile[/url] [/i]by taking all the jokes and ribbing that people throw at its films and using them before anyone else can use them toward its latest effort.
From the disgustingly sweet princesses to the lavish wardrobes and talking animals, Disney weaves them all into the story in a way that doesn't feel forced, nor obnoxious at any time. While you know that Disney values its franchises and wants them to remain pure ([i]Little Mermaid [/i]boners and "SEX GRASS" from [i]The Lion King [/i]aside), it's a lot of fun to see The Mouse making fun of itself in an upbeat way that didn't have any attitude behind it. Even if you hate Disney movies, you'll like the way that Disney addresses the idea that its movies aren't really for everyone.
[left][b]4) [/b][url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/celebrity/susan_sarandon/"][b]Susan Sarandon's [/b][/url][b]Refusal to Age[/b] - While this list can go on and on, this last one couldn't go without mention. The well-decorated actress plays the role of the "The Evil Stepmother" in this one and seems to have somehow gotten younger. It's weird to say it, but not only did her face look great, but her boobs looked great.[/left]
[center][b]Yep, I said it. Twice.
[left]There you have it, my top 5 for 2007. [/left]