The Best and Worst of 2007
Ahhh, another year gone. It's this time of year when I alternately bless and curse my sieve-like memory… On the one hand, it gives me the almost child-like ability to forget the terrible things I've seen since New Year's last… sometimes almost completely. However pleasant that may be, it makes it a bit difficult to pry those suppressed memories loose for lists like these. But I love you people, so I torture my poor brain until it gives them up. All for you …
So here they are, in no particular order… my best and worst picks of 2007:
30 Days of Night – It had its problems, I won't deny it. But it was a solid entry in the horror genre, with decent (Josh Hartnett) to great (Ben Foster, who was also great in the beyond fabulous but non-genre offering 3:10 to Yuma) acting and an entertaining story. Also, it seemed superbly clear that the filmmakers, although they did stumble, were actually attempting to make a serious, adult horror film. After being plagued with remake after remake full of casts fresh out of the OC that are liquefied so as to better be spoon fed to the masses, I appreciate that. And I enjoyed the heck out of it when I saw it. I plan to see it again. And I fully anticipate having just as good a time then. If it feels good, I do it… and this felt good.
Sweeney Todd: Demon Barber of Fleet Street – A Steven Sondheim musical, directed by Tim Burton, starring Johnny Depp, about a blood lust crazy barber and his special meat pie cooking sidekick? Why, hello orgasmic coupling! I love Sondheim's music, and this was the perfect showcase for it. Burton's dark director's eye matches the tone of the story to a T, and Depp in the title role was just delicious. Helena Bonham Carter is also one of my favorite actresses. I love her in just about everything she does. And her Mrs. Lovett was no exception. Great performances, great music, great look, a ton of the red stuff… and did I mention Johnny Depp? Delicious!
Grindhouse: Planet Terror – Much like with his Grindhouse counterpart, I've never been a huge Rodriguez fan either. I think he's talented, but he's never really lit my fire before. Until this. Planet Terror was pitch perfect… truly a loving, if somewhat teasing, homage to the campy flicks of the era that Rodriguez obviously loves. Solid acting all around, there were some great stand out performances… I don't know who I had a bigger crush on by the end of the flick, Freddy Rodriguez or Marley Shelton. This movie had it all… it looked good, it sounded good, and boy, did it feel good. I don't know if I've ever had that much fun in a theater with all my clothes on. Normally I resent the crowd around me in the dark of the theater. I can't stand that they won't shut up and they laugh too loud… but Planet Terror let us all get in on the act, and the side comments and jokes that were being made all seemed like part of the show. As a whole, we had a great time and left the floors slightly less sticky then if we'd had an orgy.
Dexter Season 2 – When it comes to TV, I'm terrible about remembering what time things are on. Even shows I love, I sometimes realize I missed the day and time they originally air and have to catch them in rerun. Not Dexter. I know where I am every Sunday night… curled up on my couch with Darling Dexter. The Showtime series showcases some of, if not the, best writing and acting on TV. Even though it strayed far from the source material this season, I was still hooked on my homicidal sweetie and tuned in every week with bated breath to see what was going to happen next. In fact, and I never say this, I think the show is better for the changes the writers have made. The show is bloody and good fun. And boy, can I just say, that Michael C. Hall can strap me down with Saran Wrap any old time he wants.
Masters of Horror: The Black Cat – Well, we all know that overall the series has been hit and miss… more miss than hit, I hate to say. But then, at nearly the eleventh hour this year, they gave us Stuart Gordon's retelling of Poe's classic tale, The Black Cat. Or rather, his and Paoli's telling of Poe's desperate struggle to write The Black Cat. Combs brilliant portrayal of the agonized writer was breath-taking, and Elyse Levesque's turn as his young bridge was ephemeral and lovely. Not to mention it provided the only real feeling of dread and terror that the entire series had to offer. I fell desperately and deeply in love with the entire production from start to finish.
Honorable Mentions - Wrong Turn 2, 28 Weeks Later, I Am Legend (terrible CGI aside, it had some of the best acting I saw all year), and the first 107 minutes of The Mist
Lake Dead – Last year's After Dark Horrorfest boasted 8 films to die for… and while it didn't completely deliver, the quality of the films presented was fairly decent. Even the ones I didn't love weren't THAT bad. So I was very optimistic this time around. And then, I saw Lake Dead. I don't think there's anything to say about the film that my esteemed colleague Foy hasn't said vociferously already… But I would like to say that, for months after I watched Lake Dead, every time I approached a box office to buy movie tickets I was assailed by horrid flashbacks of unmitigated stupidity and cheesiness that would leave me curled into the fetal position on the concrete screaming… and not in a fun, role playing rape fantasy kind of way either.
Resident Evil: Extinction – Considering the mediocrity of the previous two installments, I actually wasn't even expecting this one to be good. And really, it wasn't AWFUL… just boring and completely bland. So, if it wasn't all that bad, why is it here on my list? Simple. No Milla boobies. I'll put up with a lot of cardboard characters used for little to nothing beyond set dressing if I get to see a little Milla tit. But no… all those Millas and they're all coyly hiding their light under a bushel… or hiding their breasts under their hands, as it were. The first film showed more than just a little sweater meat, but not even a glimpse in part three? And she didn't make out with Ali Larter's Claire Redfield either. Weak.
Rob Zombie's Halloween - I don't know if I even need to explain this pick. Most people will understand why I found it utterly disappointing and poorly done. And those who don't probably aren't going to change their minds based on my opinion. But as someone who was never a worshipper at the altar of Carpenter's version, and a fan of both of Rob's previous films, I think I went into it with a mind very open to the possibility of him having something new to bring to the table… and he didn't. We get it Rob… your wife is hot. How about letting her keep her clothes on next time around, or play a character that isn't a vapid, mean cunt with a mouth like a sailor? There were a couple of brief moments where it looked like she might be able to act, until the horrible dialogue and dopey re-tread kicked in. Well, Rob always said he wouldn't do a remake… now I know why. He sucks at it.
The Hills Have Eyes 2 – Aja's remake of the original wasn't groundbreaking or anything, but I liked it and it was well done. So what went so wrong with this sequel? I think it would be easier to list what went right… absolutely nothing. This one was so bad I fell asleep the first time I watched it, and was forced to watch it the second time around. Ten minutes in I was begging to shut it off… This wasn't even fun in a dumb slasher movie kind of way. It was just inept, fumbling, messy, embarrassing and overall very unsatisfactory. Kind of like two virgins having sex for the first time.
Grindhouse: Death Proof – Okay, granted… I've never really been a Tarantino FAN. I like some of the stuff he's done, and I think he's got some talent, but I don't suck his cock or anything. If I'm going to suck a cock, I have to be turned on… and Tarantino couldn't turn me on with both hands, his mouth and a vibrating rocket dildo. Death Proof suffers from all of Tarantino's short comings. Most notably, it's too full of characters will little to no depth spouting rapid fire hipster dialogue that all sounds like Tarantino talking to Tarantino… kind of like that scene in Being John Malkovich with all the Malkovichs. Only not funny in the least. There were a few good moments, like the car chases and a surprisingly adept performance by Rose McGowan, but they were all too brief to prop up the weight of the rest of the clunky piece. I felt it sucking the enjoyment out of me, with less finesse than a two dollar whore.
Dishonorable Mentions - Return to House on Haunted Hill, Primeval, and the last 10 minutes of The Mist
So, that's it kiddies. All my picks and tricks for 2007. Here's looking forward to a horror-filled 2008!!!