Friday, January 04, 2008

Eleven things I loved in 2007

A bit belatedly and in something of an order, although several of these could occupy the number one spot, here are the favorites of 2007:

11 iPhone
With no apologies to the haters, it's the best $399 I ever spent. I love having easy access to the Internet in my pocket, not to mention the pure beauty of it.

10 Stranger Than Fiction
Moving and existential, Stranger than Fiction is undoubtedly the cleverest movie that will ever have the "starring Will Ferrell" tag.

9 Music downloads
Buying music on-line is as addictive as ever, thanks to Amazon trying to under-price iTunes and DRM use limitations appearing to be on the verge of full retreat — both developments are wins for consumers. I'm having more fun shopping for music, too, thanks to song samples, free downloads and the broad selection. Kudos to Radiohead (there's something I never expected to say) for stirring debate and mixing it up with its pick-your-price stunt for its release of In Rainbows.

8 Family Guy
I know: I'm a million years behind on this one, but this show finally ensnared me for good. While snarky baby Stewie and the other characters are a hoot, it's the devastating pop culture parody that kills. Prime example: Peter is given a copy of the cursed videotape from The Ring, and it contains the movie Mannequin, which leaves him a face-contorted victim.

7 30 Days of Night
Sometimes the critical mass is wrong, and this stylish, modern take on vampire lore cleverly set in Alaska's month-long darkness is a prime example. It's arguably the best pure horror film of 2007 and one whose reputation will rise with time, even if the sun doesn't.

6 / 5 30 Rock and The New Adventures of Old Christine
With network comedy on the ropes, these feisty female-fronted laughers sharpened beautifully in their second seasons, giving me a reason to watch at least part of NBC Thursday again and sweetening CBS' pretty good Monday block (excepting the stale How I Met Your Mother).

4 "Remind Me" by Royksopp
I haven't saved a bundle on my car insurance, but I am thankful to Geico's marketing for turning me onto this hypnotic 2003 single, which has taken a place among my all-time top 10 played tracks.

3 The Riches
All the good drama is on cable now, isn't it? FX found something funny, moving and original in this tale of a family of thieving gypsies / travellin' folk / con artists who assume the lives of a newly deceased wealthy family. It was particularly rich when delving into the gypsy subculture, and its second season begins in a few months.

2 Fracture
A mainstream thriller this smart and absorbing is a rarity, and it boasts Anthony Hopkins displaying a fascinating, refined Lecter-ish kind of menace we had no real reason to expect to see again.

1 Stephen King's The Mist
Here's something I'll wager no one really expected from this adaptation of a King novella: a smart exploration of the way people divide themselves and the best King adaptation since Misery.

// Previous favorites // 20062005

Pictured: As a bible-beating, aspiring martyr, Marcia Gay Harden enlivens Stephen King's The Mist.

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