Saturday, February 9, 2008

Sara Freeman's Favorite Films of 2007

Frankly, I don’t have the time to create an extensive top ten list. I would really like to, but I’m busy doing other things. Therefore, I’ve decided to create the abridged version of Sara Freeman’s favorite films of 2007. The only film I will expand upon is my absolute favorite film of 2007:

"Waitress" (Adrienne Shelly)

I’ve been putting off writing about this film for some time because I’m afraid I can’t do it justice. I honestly love it with all my heart. Before I watched Waitress, I was a very unhappy person - I didn’t feel “right” in my own skin. I worked in a customer service position in which people treated me like I was lower than dirt on a daily basis, I wasn’t writing, and, most annoyingly, I didn’t know how to fix it. Writing about women’s films had always been enjoyable for me and I knew how to dig deep into their themes, but I had never considered making it a goal in my cinematic life to write about “chick flicks.”

Well, obviously, that changed. One day, after a particularly disheartening shift at work, I decided to watch "Waitress." It revolutionized my way of thinking about modern women’s cinema. The film is not epic in any traditional sense of the word, it doesn’t have A-list stars, and many people consider it to be “schmaltzy” because of its supposed feel-good ending.

So what!

Waitress’ cinematic progression is unique because it is entirely societal - it colors new shades into our ideas of certain stereotypes (the abusive husband being the most radical) and most importantly, it shows the world that a woman - an average, simple waitress, can shed her circumstances and live life as a strong, ambitious person. That goes a long way in my book.

I loved the film instantly, but it took me a couple of months to figure out what a rarity it really is. I started taking note of the other terrible chick flicks coming out, read a great deal of feminist literature, and had to begin formulating my idea for this project before I fully grasped the power of the film. The critical and public reaction to "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" was the cincher to my blog decision.

And I think I’ve finally found my cinematic calling in life. I love what I’m doing. It’s tough sitting through terrible movie after terrible movie, but I honestly feel like I’m benefiting the cinematic world in my own small way. And it's all thanks to the care and consideration of one film and one filmmaker, Adrienne Shelly, who is sadly no longer able to create more wonderful femicentric films.

These are the other films released in 2007 that really knocked my socks off:

(In no particular order)

- "Romance and Cigarettes" (John Turturro)
- "Lady Chatterley" (Pascale Ferran)
- "There Will be Blood" (Paul Thomas Anderson)
- "Youth Without Youth" (Francis Ford Coppola)
- The Jacques Rivette retrospective, specifically "Out 1" and "Celine and Julie go Boating"
- "Private Fears in Public Places" (Alain Resnais)
- Films by Jake Barningham (honestly!): "Cinema Poetics 1-3"(though 1 is unfinished) and "Lola Lane Listens"

To a lesser extent:

- "Bug" (William Friedkin)
- "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" (Shekhar Kapur)
- "Away from Her" (Sarah Polley)
- "Hot Fuzz" (Edgar Wright)
- "Broken English" (Zoe Cassavetes)


- "Death Proof" - a film I’ve spent months digging through my brain trying to figure out why I like it so much. I believe I’ve figured out the looser meaning of my adoration, but now I’m wondering why I devoted such thought to a movie as convoluted as Death Proof is. Shame on me.

I wasn’t able to attend the Chicago International Film Festival for personal reasons, so these selections are strictly based to theatrical showings at the Gene Siskel Film Center, The Music Box, Landmark Century Centre Cinema, and AMC Rivereast 21.

1 comment:

Bill Treadway said...

I was disappointed that Waitress was completely overlooked during Oscar nomination time. And even more crushed that people are overlooking it on DVD around here. Yet Epic Movie is flying off the shelves in these parts. Oh my brain aches.

I wasn't too fond of There Will Be Blood. Probably because I absolutely hate Daniel Day Lewis. Why people think this guy is so brilliant I'll never figure out.