. . . OK, I'm not a member of either the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences or the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, but I'm not going to let that hold me back. Behold, my friends, my choices for the best (and worst) in music and movies for 2007, with some additional commentary. I'm going to limit my choices to movies that I've seen, obviously, so don't sue me if I miss something that you might feel was pretty obvious.
Best of the Year: No Country For Old Men.
I went to see approximately 18 movies in theatrical release in 2007, and liked some, loved a few, and hated some too. In a year recognized for a lot of great movies, this one stands out as the best of what I watched this year. However, I've heard a great deal of positive buzz about There Will Be Blood and Atonement, both of which I haven't seen yet.
Worst of the Year: Spider-Man 3.
Honorable Mention: The entire summer movie season.
Spidey 3 was the first film that I actually went to the trouble to go see at midnight on opening day. I don't know if I could have made a worse choice. The story was bloated beyond hope of recovery, MJ and Peter were both whiney brats, the Sandman should have been completely axed (or totally revamped), Venom was sadly underused, and whoever had the idea of turning Peter Parker into an emo kid should lose his/her job. After the brilliance of Spider-Man 2, it's hard to believe that the mighty could have fallen so far.
In a broader sense, the whole summer movie season was terribly disappointing. As I already said, Spider-Man 3 was terrible. In addition, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End was DESPARATELY in need of an editor (or maybe 2 or 3 editors) and was, overall, a big letdown. It was better that Dead Man's Chest, but that isn't saying much. (although, I must say that the Keith Richards cameo was just awesome) The Bourne Ulitmatum was good, but I wanted so badly for it to be great. I mean, come on, this trilogy practically screamed "huge ending," and I was left asking "THAT WAS IT?" Ocean's 13 meant well, and was entertaining. In the end, however, it was still a letdown. On the bright side, Ratatouille, Live Free or Die Hard, and The Simpson's Movie were all good, with The Simpson's Movie being one of my favorites this year.
Best of the Year: Radiohead - In Rainbows.
Honorable Mention: Bruce Springsteen - Magic, The White Stripes - Icky Thump.
Yes, I was one of those nuts who got up the first day and downloaded In Rainbows via the whole pay-what-you-want scheme. (I paid 3 pounds) I had a mid-term that day, but I didn't care. I wasn't leaving until I had that record in hand. At first, I was disappointed by the record, and wondered if this had really been worth the wait. But, the trick to listening to Radiohead's music is patience. Their music often isn't something you really get until you've heard it a few times. But I can tell you this: if you do give it time, it will reward you in ways you never dreamed were possible. There isn't a bad song on the album. In fact, some of the songs (particularly "4 Minute Warning") that didn't make the record would easily be the best songs on other people's albums. Seriously, has Radiohead ever written a song more direct (or lovely) than "House of Cards?" In Rainbows isn't as experimental as some of their past work, but it is one of their most accessible, vibrant albums. I know that I will treasure it forever. I don't feel like I really got this out in the best way that I could have, so, I guess what I'd advise you to do is get it and hear it for yourself. Radiohead's music has changed my life. Who knows? It just might change yours too.