Eugene Weekly : Coverstory : 2.21.08

The Best Movies of ’07
Jason Blair’s Top Ten (and 10 More) | Molly Templeton’s Top Ten (and 11 More) | Last Looks

Last Looks

And the Nominees Should Have Been… Given the current list of Best Actor nominees, I’d hand the statuette to Viggo Mortensen in a heartbeat. But first I’d correct an omission: James McAvoy deserved a nod for his gentle, nuanced performance as Robbie in Atonement. As piercing as Saoirse Ronan’s eyes are, it’s McAvoy who connects the film’s languid yet tense first half to its divided second, and who convinced me of his and Cecilia’s love with one brief scene. Likewise, in the Best Actress race, I don’t think anyone compares to Marion Cotillard in La Vie en Rose, though I wasn’t won over by the movie as a whole. But let’s add Amy Adams to the nominee list for her winning, pitch-perfect (and had she wobbled either sharp or flat, the film would have gone under with her) performance as a Disney would-be princess in Enchanted. — MT


Overlooked Performance: It’s a sweet, if somewhat saccharine, confection, but what makes Waitress special is the unblinking focus of Keri Russell. As with Jennifer Garner in Juno, I never saw this performance coming: Russell plays the damaged-but-still-intact victim of emotional abuse with sweetness, grace and a most fetching accent. She’s crusty on the outside and custard on the inside. Possibly the overlooked performance of the year. — JB


McLovin gets his grind on in Superbad

Best Dick Jokes OK, so I didn’t see all the potential contenders for this one. But Superbad‘s parade of crudely drawn phalluses was one of the raunchy highlights of a surprisingly sweet coming-of-age story about the real bonds of friendship — and a movie that had one of the year’s two delicate performances from the elfin, wonderful Michael Cera, who, OK, sure, he needs to branch out, but the kid is damn good at awkward and well-intentioned. — MT


Funniest Moment: Overall, Hot Fuzz was the year’s funniest movie, followed closely by Knocked Up. But for my money the funniest moment of 2007 is during Superbad when, after telling nerdy Vogel about his divorce, a cop receives a terrified distress call over his radio — “WE NEED BACKUP! THERE’S SO MUCH BLOOD!” — and turns it off without even a change of expression. It’s terribly wrong and terribly funny. — JB


2/3 of a Really Good Film To my disappointment, I spent the first third of Juno rolling my eyes at the too-glib-by-half dialogue, which worked too hard to display its über-quirky charm. But Ellen Page, whom I will watch in anything after last year’s Hard Candy, gently leads the way into the film’s more thoughtful, loving scenes. I think the moment everything shifts is the scene in the mall, when Jennifer Garner’s face nearly breaks open, when Page’s Juno just this once knows better than to say a word. I wanted to hug them both, then, and again at the film’s close. — MT


Most Overrated: As usual, Cronenberg luxuriates in violence, including violence to women. In Eastern Promises, he’s added a twist: throat-slashings that hold our gaze several moments longer than necessary. There are more false notes than a sack of counterfeit money, which is unfortunate, because several superb actors — Viggo Mortensen, Vincent Cassel and Naomi Watts — are along for the ride. Moderately interesting, but mean-spirited, leaving little to the imagination. — JB



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