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2007, according to the people

Tri-State-area residents name their faves of the year

Tri-State-area residents name their faves of the year

December 30, 2007|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

HALFWAY - There's a consensus that 2007 was a good year for entertainment ? at least, so say music and movie critics in their year-end best-of-the-year lists. Local entertainment buffs and a handful of Tri-State residents interviewed by The Herald-Mail agree.

But there's not much agreement on who was the best.

Critics pegged "Juno," "No Country for Old Men" and "Atonement" as some of the best films this year. Shoppers surveyed recently at Valley Mall named "The Mist," "This Christmas" and "1408" as 2007's best.

Music writers had differing artists in their top-10 lists. Mavis Staples, MIA and The Besnard Lakes had the top three albums of the year according to Chicago Tribune music writer Greg Kot. Billboard's year-end rankings, based on sales and popularity, listed Daughtry, Akon and Fergie as the top three musical artists of 2007.

Fergie was named top pop artist, ahead of Justin Timberlake, on Billboard's rankings.

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Local music fans favored "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" by Soulja Boy, said John Hovanek. Hovanek is better known as DJ Maxx, a former radio personality and a local DJ who owns an entertainment company with his wife.

"When people are out partying, it seems to be the song of choice," said Hovanek.

"Crank That," a pop-rap song with corresponding dance moves, landed at No. 20 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart for the year's top-selling songs.

Beyoncé's "Irreplaceable" was the No. 1 song.

Kyle Ransom, 15, of Shepherdstown, W.Va., was dismayed to find that none of Kanye West's recent singles made top 20 on the Hot 100 chart.

Kyle's mom, Michele Ransom, also was shocked.

"Even I've heard of Kanye West," she said, "I'm surprised he's not up there."

West's album "Graduation" did end up No. 12 on Billboard's 200 Top Albums, which lists the year's best-selling CDs.

"He just comes up with some really great songs," Kyle said.

Kyle's sister, Rachel Ransom, said she wasn't thrilled that Beyoncé had showings on both Billboard's top song and top album charts ? her album "B'day" was No. 11 there.

"I don't like Beyoncé anymore," said Rachel, 12.

She didn't give a reason why. Her mother suspects it's because Rachel listened to so much Beyoncé this year she just got tired of her.

"For a while there in the car, all we heard was 'To the left, to the left,'" her mother said, reciting lyrics to Beyoncé's "Irreplaceable."

Rachel said she is now a fan of the young, Usher-esque crooner Chris Brown.

Cassi Moser, 16, and Cierra Johnson, 13, said they were also fans of Brown.

Cierra, who is from Hagerstown, said "This Christmas" ? a family film starring the 18-year-old Brown - was the best movie she had seen this year. Cassi said she liked the movie, too.

"Because my husband was in it ? Chris Brown," said Cassi, who also lives in Hagerstown.

"This Christmas" was absent on Roger Ebert's list this year's best; it also was absent on the best-of lists for AP film writers David Germain and Christy Lemire.

But it was still a good movie, Cierra said.

"It was like reality, stuff that families really go through," she said.

On the whole, it was a decent year for movie releases, said Lisa Welch, co-founder of the Shepherds-town Film Society.

"La Vie en Rose," about French songstress Edith Piaf (played by Marion Cotillard), and "Lars and the Real Girl," about a man (Ryan Gosling) who's in love with a life-size, adult doll, were two of Welch's favorites.

Both films were critical favorites, landing in Ebert's and Lemire's top-10 rankings.

Another of Welch's 2007 favorites, the documentary "War/Dance," did not make national critics' best-of list. The film is about three children living in war-raveged Uganda who are hoping to win a music competition.

Mina Goodrich, the film society's other co-founder, said "No Country for Old Men" was the best film she's seen all year.

Based on the Cormac McCarthy novel, the film stars Javier Bardem, Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin. Ebert put "No Country" at No. 2 on his year-end list and wrote that it was "a perfect movie."

"It was very true to the book, which doesn't always happen," Goodrich said.

Goodrich said other favorites this year were: "Away from Her," a film about Alzheimer's disease; "American Gangster" starring Denzel Washington; and "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," a film based on the memoir by Jean-Dominique Bauby, an author who, after suffering a paralyzing stroke, dictated his memoir using only his left eyelid.

3. "Juno" - Jason Reitman's second film could have drowned in its own cleverness if it weren't so warm and funny and tart and, well, clever. This could be a star-making role for Ellen Page as the inconceivably cool and caustic title character, a pregnant teenager who challenges Katherine Heigl as the real darling of 2007's knocked-up set. Page and a brilliant supporting cast bring bottomless heart and humor to first-time screenwriter Diablo Cody's delicious dialogue.

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