Before I list my own five favorite films of 2007, I’d like to point out that think it would be wonderful, and more honest, if the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (commonly referred to as The Academy as in “I’d like to thank The Academy”), of which I am a member, changed the characterization of awards from “best” to “favorite”. After all, both the film’s and the individual’s overall popularity always factor into Academy voting anyway, whether members want to admit it or not. Using “best” in regards to the art form of film is not only unfair to all concerned but also simply impossible to gauge. I have no idea what “best” means in films. My own list of favorite films of 2007 consists of films that personally moved me, inspired me, and made me feel better about being human. Since we posted these choices on the message boards for subscribers to the Spiritual Cinema Circle, our community has been sharing some passionate opinions and disagreements of their own. That’s the fun of it. Let the discussions continue!!
I have a message for both the mainstream film industry and its film critics: You have both lost all connection with film audiences.
Hollywood has seemingly decided that “quality” now equates with dark, violent and depressing; consequently, 2007 was one of the bleakest years ever for film distribution. To make matters worse, and to illustrate anew the fable of the emperor’s new clothes, film critics have fallen into lockstep with film distributors.
Filmmaker Chris Brickler’s passionate, mesmerizing, humorous and touching “Song of Songs” is a paean to love in all its wonderful, messy, complex glory. What distinguishes it from so many other love stories is its empathy for those who fall in love and then find themselves “bewitched, bothered and bewildered” by the everyday challenges of being in love.
“Reign Over Me,” now available on DVD, is my favorite film so far in 2007. Powerful, haunting and profoundly moving, the film is a testament to the power of friendship and the extraordinary healing potential of the human heart.
I decided very early on that I wanted to make the kinds of films I had grown up loving: spiritual films like “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Lost Horizons,” and “The Portrait of Jennie.” The first film I made, “Somewhere in Time,” was written by Richard Matheson—who also gave me the galleys to his book “What Dreams May Come.”