It took me days and days to figure Hollywood Elsewhere’s final choices for the 10 Best Films of 2007 in order of personal respect and preference. I knew it had to be Zodiac on top followed by No Country for Old Men, Control, Sweeney Todd and Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead, but after these it was very tough deciding the order.

Why is one deeply intoxicating, richly aromatic and well-crafted film regarded in a slightly better light than another? The final criteria had to do with big reach and rewatchability. The top ten, certainly, have a clear and strong vision or theme that you can process and re-process, and I’ve seen each one at least three or four times. It’s a safe bet that they’ll grab and hold onto DVD watchers in 2020 or 2050.

The other seven (#11 through #17) are also thematically strong, in some cases spirit-lifting, and extremely watchable. But with the exception of Once and American Gangster I’ve only seen the other four once, and that, to me, says something.

1. Zodiac (Paramount, dir: David Fincher, prods: Brad Fischer, Mike Medavoy, James Vanderbilt); 2. No Country for Old Men (Miramax, dirs: Joel and Ethan Coen, producer: Scott Rudin). 3. Control (Weinstein Co., dir: Anton Corbiijn); 4. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Dreamamount, dir: Tim Burton, prod: Richard Zanuck); 5. Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead (ThinkFilm, dir: Sidney Lumet); 6. Four Months, Three Weeks & 2 Days (IFC, dir: Cristian Miungiu; 7. Things We Lost in the Fire (Dreamamount, dir: Susanne Bier, prod: Sam Mendes); 8. There Will Be Blood (Paramount Vantage, dir: Paul Thomas Anderson); 9. I’m Not There (Weinstein Co., dir: Todd Haynes);and 10. The Bourne Ultimatum (Universal, dir: Paul Greengrass).

HONORABLE MENTIONS: 11. In The Valley of Elah (Warner Independent, dir: Paul Haggis); 12. American Gangster (Universal, dir: Ridley Scott); 13. Once (Fox Searchlight, dir: John Carney); 14. Atonement (Focus Features, dir: Joe Wright); 15. Into The Wild (Paramount Vantage, dir: Sean Penn); 16. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Warner Bros., dir: Andrew Dominik); and 17. Breach (Universal, dir: Billy Ray).