, the best year for cinema since Deepstar Six and Leviathan revolutionized the medium, is drawing to a close. Critics groups are dishing out awards, the Guilds are nominating their peers, the Hollywood Foreign Press is making seating arrangements, and individual critics are compiling top ten lists that will feature at least one or two shocking inclusions/exclusions (e.g. Richard Schickel finding room for the film that touched off the Hedges/Smith Prius Affair, Dan in Real Life). Soon, it will be January, and there will be jack shit to see unless you’re freezing your ass off up in Park City or tearing your way through the entire oeuvre of Joe D’Amato (no pseudonyms excluded), ‘cuz that’s what motherfuckers do when the chill sets in.

Before CHUD slogs into the bleak mid-winter (where The Hottie and the Nottie awaits), each staff member will offer up their own personal Top 15 and Worst 10. This is especially moist-making for me, since I’ve never had the pleasure to do the year-end rigamarole at CHUD, and I’ve always dug Nick’s erotically organized way of presenting it. But before we get there, I though I’d warm up my recollections by sifting through the year’s most indelible moments; i.e. I’m stealing what Film Comment used to do all the time back in the 80s and 90s. As with certain lists I’ve slapped together around these parts, this isn’t meant to be definitive; I might forget a great scene or a cutting line of dialogue because forgettin’ shit is what I do. And, as always, this is very open-ended; I command you to share your own memories of ’07 in the corresponding message board thread (so we can all delight in your utterly common taste).

No other explanation is required. These are the moments that made ’07 for me. (In no particular order.)

  • "I’m okay!" Zoe the Cat hops out of the roadside brush, all smiles and all ready to kill the motherfucker who ruined her game of "Ship’s Mast". (Death Proof)
  • Push-In: Abernathy’s expression goes from "definitely not digging this shit" to "definitely digging the fuck out of this shit" in a matter of seconds. (Death Proof)
  • "Cops!" Officers Slater and Michaels flee from the authorities after their "shoot off". (Superbad)
  • Evan sings "These Eyes". He has to. The guy’s brother came up all the way from Scottsdale. (Superbad)
  • McLovin’ squeezes off a few rounds. (Superbad)
  • Belen Rueda is assaulted by the hooded spawn of Jason Vorhees, possibly the most jarring "attack" since the homeless man behind the donut shop in Mulholland Dr. (The Orphanage)
  • What’s left of the old woman under the sheet. (The Orphanage)
  • Hunting ghosts, 1980s supernatural movie style! (The Orphanage)
  • "You have blue eyes, I have blue eyes. You’re five feet eight inches tall, I’m five feet eight inches tall." Dinner drags on and menace slowly settles in as Jesse and Robert antagonize each other. (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford)
  • A steam train smoking through the unremitting darkness before throwing light on Frank James and his barricade. (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford)
  • Ron Franz offers to adopt Christopher McCandless. And, yet, he knows the boy is going north, probably forever. (Into the Wild)
  • Another farewell: Jan Burres and McCandless part ways. Maternal or libidinal, there’s a bond between these two that shouldn’t be severed. (Into the Wild)
  • Lleweln Moss prepares to ambush Anton Chigurh, whose shoes are visible in the light under a hotel room door. Then Chigurh walks away. Then the lights go out. Then mayhem. (No Country for Old Men)
  • The pit bull pursuit. Particularly the first bound before the mongrel hits the water. (No Country for Old Men)
  • "I fuckin’ hate this job. I don’t want to be the one to pass judgement, decide who gets in. Shit makes me sick to my stomach. I get the runs from the stress. It’s not cause you’re not hot; I would love to tap that ass. I would tear that ass up. I can’t let you in cause you’re old as fuck. For this club, you know, not for the earth." (Knocked Up)
  • A bugged bottle of scotch and a looming sex/drug scandal (as handled by an office full of floozies) bring Charlie Wilson and Gust Avrakatos together. (Charlie Wilson’s War)
  • Violently struck deaf, a young, anguished H.W. still can’t help but marvel at the gusher that will make his father a baron. (There Will Be Blood)
  • Plainview’s baptism (and unheard words of intimidation spoken to Eli). (There Will Be Blood)
  • "I’m finished." (There Will Be Blood)
  • Inspector Frank Butterman hisses (with sparks in his eyes!). (Hot Fuzz)
  • "Narp?" (Hot Fuzz)
  • Frank Lucas reemerges in the 1990s to "Can’t Truss It". (American Gangster)
  • Juno and Paulie and "Sea of Love". (Juno)
  • Montage: San Francisco moves on and grows up. (Zodiac)
  • Billy Drayton wakes up just in time to stare down the barrel of a revolver. (The Mist)
  • The last twenty minutes of Gone Baby Gone. All of it.