Category Archives: Once

2007 movies


I saw 14 movies in 2007. I’m not talking 14 movies in a movie theater, though most of them were. I mean 14 movies TOTAL in 2007.

Only two were on video: Raging Bull and the original Hairspray, probably when Carol and Lydia were away.

One was on a wide-screen TV at a resort: Spider-Man 2.

Four were movies I saw in movie theaters that came out in 2006: The Queen; The Pursuit of Happyness; Volver; and Notes on a Scandal.

Finally, seven of them were movies I saw in movie theaters in 2007 that I actually saw in 2007. No Michael Clayton or Lars and the Real Girl or Away from Her or No Way Out or I’m Not There or Ratatouille or the new Hairspray or Enchanted, all of which came and went in this market. Seeing videos just doesn’t seem to work in our one-TV household.

So here’s the paucity of my 2007-released films, ranked by what I liked best.

7) The Simpsons Movie: I liked the pig, I liked the Disney touch with the sex scene. I especially loved Bart going to Flanders for advice. But, as I think back on it, there was too much time when not much happened.

6) Knocked Up: Gross. But often funny.

5) The Namesake: quite touching, though it sags in the middle.

4) Once: The movie musical for people who hate movie musicals.

3) Waitress: I always hated the term “chick flick.” Vibrant character study, and Keri Russell was luminescent.

2) Sicko: Less Moore + incontrovertibly broken health care system = better Moore pic.

1)The Savages: Great acting, specific script. Think I mentioned it recently.

Anyway, I’m planning to take off a day a month this year and see a movie, either at the cinemas or at home.
I was reading Ken Levine’s piece about why Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story bombed at the box office, a movie that, had I seen thrice as many movies this year as I did, probably would have made the cut. Maybe it was the middling reviews, or the fact that the target audience didn’t see the reference material, the movies “Ray” and especially “Walk the Line.” But the primary reason for the b.o. failure was that no one knew what it was supposed to be about. I subscribe to the latter school of thought, though in fact, I didn’t see either reference movie myself.
Here’s a scene:



I don’t recall any recent movie that was as critically acclaimed as Once. Last I checked, it had a 97% positive rating on the movie site Rotten Tomatoes. It’s been billed, correctly, I think, as a musical for those who like music but hate musicals. I mean, there’s no Ewan McGregor from Moulin Rouge, merry murderers from Chicago or even Jennifer Hudson from Dreamgirls, all of which I’ve seen, by the way, breaking into song to advance the plot. All the music comes from their “real” situations, and works, perhaps, because musicians who could act were cast, rather than actors who could sing.

Carol and I got a babysitter and went to see Once last month at the Spectrum in Albany, when it was down to two shows a day, as it turns out the week before it closed. It’s the story of a Guy (Glen Hansard) in Ireland who is a busker with a guitar, an aspiring singer/songwriter and vacuum cleaner repairman who meets a Girl (Marketa Irglova), who’s also a singer/songwriter as well as a pianist. They end up making beautiful music together in an “organic” way. But it doesn’t play out exactly how you might think.

Incidentally, I capitalized Guy and Girl, because that’s how the characters are billed; likewise Guy’s Dad (Bill Hodnett) and Girl’s Mother (Danuse Ktrestova).

I really don’t know how to describe this any further without giving out key plot points, except to say that we too were charmed and captivated by Once. It has a running time of 85 minutes, and it’s rated R, almost certainly for the substantial use of the F-word. In fact, much of the scene before the credits even pop up is laced with that word; it lessens considerably after that, but you may want to watch this with other adults.
Gay Prof says something snarky about the impeding departure of Karl Rove so I don’t have to.