Seattle Film Critics (a small, disorganized group of them, anyway) pick their top films of 2007

There is no more “Seattle Film Critics Awards,” and no formal body to put their stamp on the year in review as a group. But there are still many fine Seattle film critics and they like to make lists. I do too, but even more, I like to talk about movies, so I have an annual ritual where I invite a small group of colleagues (those who are both friends and film critics, and who like to engage in friendly but passionate debate) to offer their lists and their reasons. And then we debate the night away.

Here are the results of the Axman’s Tenth Annual Seattle Film Critics Top Ten Party, an unofficial, purely personal event that in no way stands in for the critical consensus of the Seattle Film Critics at large, merely those few critics that I prefer to spend a few hours arguing with. This year, those few included: Jim Emerson, Kathy Fennessy, Robert Horton (unable to attend but sent his list), Richard T. Jameson, Dave McCoy, Kathleen Murphy, Jeff Shannon, Tom Tangney, Andy Wright (unable to attend, sent his list), and me, Sean Axmaker.

What follows is the compilation list of films. There is no “weighting” of points (as in the Village Voice list), merely a simple hierarchy: a first place pick receives 10 points, a second place pick 9, and so on to a tenth place pick of 1 point. Ties are weighed accordingly, assigned two spots on the list and then the added points split between them. This has no official standing or bearing on anything. It’s just interesting to see the critical mass of this particular gathering. And the critical mass – in 9 of 10 lists – is weighted overwhelmingly toward…

no_country_for_old_men_coen.jpg1) No Country for Old Men (87 points, 9 lists, 8 “Best Film” picks)

2) (tie) There Will Be Blood (39 points, 5 lists, 1 “Best Film” pick)

– Zodiac (39 points, 6 lists)

4) The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (27 points, 5 lists)

5) Away From Her (26 points, 4 lists, I “Best Film” pick)

6) Into the Wild (25 points, 4 lists)

7) Once (23 ½ points, 5 lists)

8.) I’m Not There (21 points, 3 lists)

9) Inland Empire (19 points, 3 lists)

10) Grindhouse (18 ½ points, 3 lists)

11) 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days (17 points, 2 lists)

12) Margot at the Wedding (16 points, 3 lists)

No other films appeared on more than two lists. The top films that appeared on two lists follow:

Eastern Promises and Superbad (12 pts), 12:08 East of Bucharest (11 pts), Exiled (9 ½ pts), Breach, The King of Kong, Atonement (8 pts). The Wind that Shakes the Barley and Lust, Caution placed highly on a single list apiece for 8 pts.

The following lists are as presented and adjusted for ties – the list is 10, no more, no less, unless the person stacked multiple titles in the “10” spot and split the votes accordingly.

inland460.jpgJeff Shannon (freelance, Seattle Times)
1. No Country for Old Men
2. Inland Empire
3. The Wind That Shakes the Barley
4. Zodiac
5. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
6. Breach
7. Ratatouille
8. Once
9. Sunshine
10. Bug

away_070928105559928_wideweb__300x375.jpgKathy Fennessy (freelance, SIFFBlog)
1. Away From Her
2. Into the Wild
3. Eastern Promises
4. Daratt (Dry Season)
5. Killer of Sheep
6. Control
7. Zodiac
8. (tie) Once
– Lady Chatterley
10. This is England
Bonus (I adjusted for a tie) – No Country for Old Men

Jim Emerson (Scanners Blog)
1. No Country for Old Men
2. I’m Not There
3. Zodiac
4. 12:08 East of Bucharest
5. The Orphanage
6. Helvetica
7. Superbad
8. Breach
9. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
10. Ratatouille

zodiac.jpgDave McCoy (MSN)
1. No Country for Old Men
2. Once
3. Superbad
4. Inland Empire
5. I’m Not There
6. Zodiac
7. Knocked Up
8. Red Road
9. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
10. Atonement

Richard T. Jameson (former editor of Film Comment)
1. No Country for Old Men
2. Away From Her
3. Zodiac
4. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
5. The Bourne Ultimatum
6. Grindhouse
7. The Hoax
8. Lonely Hearts (Todd Robinson)
9. Come Early Morning
10. Red Road

there-will-be-blood-photo_01.jpgKathleen Murphy (writer at large)
1. No Country for Old Men
2. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days
3. Lust, Caution
4. Atonement
5. There Will Be Blood
6. Into the Wild
7. Away From Her
8. Margot at the Wedding
9. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
10. (tie) Once
– Juno

Tom Tangney (KIRO AM)
1. There Will Be Blood
2. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
3. Once
4. No Country for Old Men
5. Sweeney Todd
6. The King of Kong
into_the_wild_movie_poster_090720070508.jpg 7. Juno
8. Away From Her

9. A Mighty Heart
10. Pervert’s Guide to Cinema

Sean Ax (freelance, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, MSN)
1. No Country for Old Men
2. Into the Wild
3. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days
4. Zodiac
5. I’m Not There
6. There Will Be Blood
7. 12:08 East of Bucharest
8. Inland Empire
9. Colossal Youth
10. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

E-mailed after the event:

Andy Wright (freelance, The Stranger)
1. No Country for Old Men
2. There Will Be Blood
grindyq2.jpg3. Grindhouse
4. Sunshine
5. Margot at the Wedding
6. Gone Baby Gone
7. Exiled
8. The King of Kong
9. Joshua
10. The Host

Robert Horton (Everett Herald, KUOW, Film Comment)
1. No Country for Old Men
2. There Will Be Blood
3. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
4. Margot at the Wedding
5. (tie) Grindhouse
– Exiled
7. Eastern Promises
8. Lady Chatterley
9. Into the Wild
10. Once
Bonus (Adjusted for the tie) – Black Snake Moan

FYI: Just for fun, here is a select list of other Seattle Critics Top Tens (they were NOT added into the tabulation):

Sheila Benson (Seattle Weekly)
1. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
2. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
3. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
4. Michael Clayton
5. Starting Out in the Evening
6. Eastern Promises
7. The Golden Door
8. Killer of Sheep
9. Persepolis
10. Juno

Moira Macdonald (Seattle Times)
(in alphabetical order)
Atonement
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Eastern Promises
Lars and the Real Girl
The Lives of Others
Michael Clayton
Once
Ratatouille
Sweeney Todd
The Wind That Shakes the Barley

Brian Miller (Seattle Weekly)
1. No Country for Old Men
2. Ratatouille
3. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
4. Eastern Promises
5. Once
6. The Darjeeling Limited
7. Knocked Up
8. Joshua
9. Zodiac
10. The Host

William Arnold (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
No film list, but a countdown of the most signification trends and events of 2007.
However, he said to me that, had he formed a list, the top pick would be:
Into the Wild

Author: seanax

I write the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website (www.streamondemandathome.com). I'm a contributing writer for Turner Classic Movies Online, Keyframe, Independent Lens, and Cinephiled, and the editor of Parallax View (www.parallax-view.org).. I've written for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Seattle Weekly, GreenCine.com, Senses of Cinema, Asian Cult Cinema, and Psychotronic Video, among other publications, and I am a contributing editor to Parallax View. I currently live and work in Seattle, Washington, with my two cats, Hammet and Chandler.

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