Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The 100 Project: Top 10 Movies of 2000

We've arrived at the turn of the century. While there was certainly some hope for what we could become as we arrive in the year many of us thought of as "the future," there was also plenty of cynicism to go around. There was even some nostalgia for things we just lost. For me, it was a year of gain as my family expanded with the birth of our second child (first daughter). There was a lot going on. Here's how it all shook out for me.

My Top 10 Movies of 2000

  • According to my Letterboxd account, I've seen 69 movies that were released in the year 2000.
  • I made it to theaters 9 times. 2 made the top 10. 3 are honorable mentions. One of those honorable mentions was the first non-English film I ever watched on the big screen.
  • I've seen 4 of the 5 Best Picture nominees. None made my top 10, but all are honorable mentions.
  • 2 of my top 10 were directed by women, 3 (including one of the women) by people of color.

10. Final Destination
By now, it should be apparent that I love slasher flicks. And the more creative the kills, the better. As morbid as it sounds, and as ridiculous as most of the scenarios play out, these deaths are hilariously inventive. If you want to knock this off and replace it with any of my honorable mentions I wouldn't argue with you. But since we're being honest, I'm a whole lot more likely to put this on again over any of those.

9. Nutty Professor II: The Klumps
In true sequel fashion, this movie takes everything from the first movie and turns it up to ten. You might not have liked the first movie. I did. More of the same might not appeal to me. It does to me. In other words, whenever I watch this I laugh. And I laugh a lot.

8. Almost Famous
I didn't watch this until nearly a decade after its release. I had heard all the hype and was prepared for a letdown. Thankfully, there was nothing of the sort. I had a blast with this group of amazing characters. They were people who did not feel like they created for a movie. They felt like we met them on this part of their journey. The writing, performances, and the music all come together to put us in the middle of the era that gave us the term sex, drugs, and rock & roll.

7. American Psycho
I grew up in 1980s New York City. Though I was never anywhere near Wall Street, the effects of the work that went on there and the tales of the depravity of the financial capital's most important people were all around me. Their arrogance, extravagance, and lack of regard for anyone who can't line their pockets with more cash is taken to absurd extremes in this film. And Christian Bale is simultaneously hypnotic, frightening, and hilarious. This is the movie that really opened me up to the charms of dark comedy.

6. Battle Royale
You know the setup. A bunch of kids are shipped off to an island for a few days and the last one alive is the winner. This movie did it first. I'm not saying The Hunger Games ripped it off, but I'm just sayin'. Even if it there was no plagiarism involved, Battle Royale is proof The Hunger Games is watered down, bloated, American, tripe.

5. O Brother, Where Art Thou?
If I knew beforehand that this was, more or less, Homer's Odyssey updated to fit a bunch of hillbillies who play country music, I would have been a lot less likely to watch it. As it was, I didn't watch it until about four or five years after it came out. It just wasn't on my radar. When I did see it, I laughed. I laughed. I laughed. And laughed some more. To this day, this is my favorite George Clooney performance.

4. Memento
Every now and again, I'll watch a movie that has a crazy premise, manages to hook me, keeps me engaged, and blows my head off my shoulders at the very end. This is one of those. My brain was working itself into a fit, characters left and right were pissing me off and then the big reveal happened. So I thought about it. Then I thought about it some more. I'm still thinking about it.

3. Requiem for a Dream
Speaking of movies that stick with me, there's this nightmare. Of course, I mean nightmare in the best possible way. It does all the things Memento does for me with the added treat of it absolutely terrifying me. For my money, this is the greatest public service announcement ever made. If it had come out when I was a kid, more of my peers really would've just said no.

2. Bamboozled
Full on satire trained on how African-Americans have been treated by and reacted within the television establishment. The premise is that the hottest show on TV is a minstrel show complete with Black actors in black face. Damon Wayans gives his best performance, as do most involved. And it's brilliant. I've heard some say that this is Spike Lee's best film. I disagree, but it's good enough that I'll listen to the argument.

1. Love & Basketball
This is another of those movies that Mrs. Dell and I wandered into the theater to see and both came out in love with what we just saw. Sanaa Lathan is better than she's ever been. She takes the material she's given and creates a dynamic and compelling character. She makes the predictable romance at its core far more intriguing and gut-wrenching than it has any right to be. And she is a convincing basketball player. This is the movie the wife and I have put on and cuddled to the most. I probably shouldn't say this, but normally, we don't make it through movies we cuddled to. With this one, we do. Usually.

Honorable Mentions (alphabetically): Amores Perros, Cast Away, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Erin Brockovich, Gladiator, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Meet the Parents, Remember the Titans, Snatch, Traffic, Unbreakable, Vampire Hunter D, Way of the Gun, X-Men


  1. I LOVE Love & Basketball! That was such a great film. I'd have American Psycho, Battle Royale and Memento on my list too, I think. I also really liked Almost Famous, I'm still a bit shocked at how good Kate Hudson is in that when she hasn't been nearly as good in anything else. I guess that role was really just made for her.

    I'd have to throw Bring It On and Scary Movie in there personally because I was 12 in 2000 lol

    1. Yay, a Love & Basketball fan!

      Totally agree on Kate Hudson. She's amazing here but blends into the scenery in everything else.

      Bring It On is fun, but Scary Movie? Yeah, you were 12.

  2. Hi Dell,

    I thought you were only doing the 90’s but I see you’re moving forward with the next decade! I’ll have to put my thinking cap on for the other years.

    We’re miles apart this time out. We only share one match-Memento, a real mind game of a film with a great central performance by Guy Pearce. I saw it at least twice in the theatre trying to figure out all its puzzle pieces.

    Oh Brother, Where Art Thou is a runner up for me. I also put off watching it for a long time, frankly because it looked weird and it was but in an appealing way.

    You have a couple that I thought were okay-Final Destination and Almost Famous-but those single viewings were enough. I think with Almost Famous the hype you mentioned raised my expectations too high and I thought I’d be blown away but wasn’t. Frances McDormand was wonderful (no surprise) and Kate Hudson just radiated charisma….what happened there? I really thought she’s be Goldie Hawn level famous but some component that Goldie has is missing.

    I hated Nutty Professor II, I should have expected as much since I found the first one barely tolerable and found the second insufferable.

    I think Ellen Burstyn is brilliant in Requiem for a Dream and was robbed of a deserved Oscar and I understood what the film was going for and respected both the craftsmanship and message but it was a miserable viewing experience. Never again.

    You have four I haven’t seen. I’ve put off American Psycho purposely because I’m almost certain I’m going to hate it. Probably an unfair judgement without viewing but knowing a great deal about the story and having seen images from it just doesn’t look like it’s for me. By and large I’m not a big Spike Lee fan so most of his lesser known films are ones that I’ve missed, Bamboozled is one of those.

    Love and Basketball is one I’ve meant to see, Alfre Woodard is in it and that is usually enough to get me there but somehow I haven’t gotten there….yet.

    Never heard of Battle Royale but the connection you draw to Hunger Games makes me think it’s a no. I hated the first Hunger Games with a passion and refuse to see any of the others.

    As far as your honorable go there are several-Cast Away, Erin Brockovich, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Meet the Parents, Remember the Titans, Snatch and Unbreakable that I liked well enough but wouldn’t make my list.

    Both Gladiator and X-Men (loved this first iteration but the series has become woefully redundant) made my main list. Traffic also made my runner-ups.

    I’ve heard good things about Way of the Gun but I’ve never thought much of Ryan Phillippe as a performer and I simply can NOT abide Juliette Lewis in any way, shape or form so I’ve stayed away. Maybe some rainy afternoon when nothing else is on…..but until then no.

    I love Ang Lee and the fact that he always challenges himself with new genres and walked into Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon buzzing from having just watched the dual pleasures of Sense and Sensibility and the glorious The Wedding Banquet and walked out deeply disappointed in the film. It was flashy and busy but I just couldn’t connect with it. 

    I know nothing of Vampire Hunter D but the brief description I looked up tells me it more than likely isn’t for me.

    Amores Perros is another on that endless list of want to see but haven’t yets but will.

    1. Burstyn was definitely robbed.

      Hope you get to see Love & Basketball soon. Woodard is good, as usual.

      Your feelings for the performers aside, you should also know that Way of the Gun is heavily inspired by Tarantino.

      Ang Lee is hit-or-miss with me. I'd call CTHD a hit, but it did feel a bit cold to me, keeping it out of my top 10.

      Vampire Hunter D is definitely not for you.

      Amores Perros is a brutal film but it is worthwhile.

  3. My top 10

    1. Wonder Boys-A divisive film. I saw it in the theatre with my sister. I loved it absolutely and she hated it almost as much.
    2. Memento
    3. Miss Congeniality
    4. Bootmen
    5. Gladiator
    6. Small Time Crooks
    7. In the Mood for Love
    8. X-Men
    9. Under the Sand
    10. You Can Count on Me


    About Adam, Before Night Falls, Best in Show, Big Eden, Billy Elliott, Bring It On, Common Ground, The Contender, Frequency, Joe Gould’s Secret, Keeping the Faith, Maze, Oh Brother, Where Art Thou, Return to Me, Road Trip, Saving Grace, Sleepy Hollow, Thirteen Days, Tigerland, Traffic, U-571

    1. Like a number of these, In the Mood for Love is a long-standing member of my own ever-growing watchlist.

      I know of Wonder Boys fron seeing the cover everyday during my Blockbuster days, but never bothered with it. I think that's mainly because I never heard much about it one way or the other.

      Oddly, I've seen the sequel to Miss Congeniality but not the original.

      Glad to see X-Men make your list. That and and Gladiator were repeatedly in and out of my list before I finally left them off.

      Haven't heard of Bootmen or Under the Sand.

      I am surprised to see Road Trip among your runner-ups. I liked it, but it is definitely a juvenile undertaking.

    2. A lot of Road Trip is dumb as dirt but for whatever reason it tickles me. Sometimes you just want something that is completely undemanding and fun. Probably why I have a soft spot for the equally silly Fired Up! which is set at a Cheer College.

      Bootmen is set and was filmed in Australia. It's about a young steelworker who tries to pursue his dream of leading a tap dancing group as well as his conflict with his older reckless brother. Sam Worthington plays the older brother years before he was in Avatar.

      Under the Sand is a French film by Francois Ozon that stars Charlotte Rampling. A longtime married couple are on a beach vacation. While the husband goes for a swim the wife naps and when she awakes she discovers he has vanished without a trace. Because there is no body to confirm the fact of his loss she goes on living as if he were still with her in some way working her way through a strange form of grieving. Rampling is phenomenal.

    3. You've just knocked Bootmen down, potentially off, my watchlist. Sam Worthington bores the hell out of me. He has all the charisma of pocket lint.

      On the other hand,I am now more intrigued by Under the Sand.

  4. We share two films in our respective top 10 list though my list is all over the place while the only films in your list are Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust and Snatched (in its entirety).

    1. Good list. I've gotta see In the Mood for Love soon. Hope you get to see all of Snatch.

  5. 2000 is such a great movie year. I like your choices that I've seen--Crouching Tiger would be my #1 without question. Here are a few that might not have made your list, but that I'll recommend if you haven't seen them:

    Chocolat--It's Footloose with food, but it's pretty glorious, and it's got circa 2000 Lena Olin.
    Sexy Beast--Aside from Gandhi, arguably Ben Kingsley's best performance.
    Brother--If you like Beat Takeshi, you should see this. If you don't know Beat Takeshi, you should.
    The Cell--I don't love the story, but visually, it's pretty amazing.
    Ginger Snaps--Arguably the best werewolf movie of the last 30 years.
    The Dish--A lovely story about the Apollo moon landing told from the perspective of four guys working a radar dish in Australia.
    The Gleaners and I--You (and that's everyone including me) should watch more Agnes Varda movies.
    In the Mood for Love--Absolutely heartbreaking Chinese romance. One of the most beautiful films of its decade.
    Billy Elliot--It's formulaic, but it's awfully sweet.
    Shadow of the Vampire--The story of the filming of Nosferatu, assuming that they found an actual Nosferatu for the title role. Willem Dafoe as a vampire? Seriously, the casting is fantastic.
    Pitch Black--A great bit of science fiction, and possibly my favorite Vin Diesel role.
    You Can Count on Me--Perhaps Laura Linney's best work on camera.
    Chicken Run--The Great Escape with chickens. I love Aardman animation.

    This is such a deep year.

    1. Some of these I've seen and some are already on the watchlist, most notably In the Mood for Love , Chocolat, and Ginger Snaps.

      Also Pitch Black. The shame there is that I own every movie in the series but haven't seen any of them. Sounds like a marathon is coming.

      Chicken Run is ok. Not a big fan of most of their stuff.

      Yes to The Cell. Honestly, it's due for a rewatch which is what kept it off my list. Just been too many years since I've seen it but agree with your assessment.

  6. Your list-is excellent and Final Destination scared the hell out of me I do love Oh Brother but I have to place theLord of the Rings trilogy as my #1. . Batman movies with Christian Bale, and the Harry Potter films. Gee, I am noticing that there are many films that have multiple sequels. Since I LOVE ABBA, Mamma Mia is that n my list. Crouching Tiger is so good as well as Brokeback Mountain. Memento is excellent and I love Pan’s Labyrinth. I do really enjoy 3000 Miles to Graceland even though it was panned by so many. I will add The Others as my final which is an excellent ghost story. I love Shrek, No Country for Old Men and there are other but that’s my list

    1. You're getting ahead of me, lol. This is only for the year 2000. A number of those movies will be mentioned as we move through the decade.

  7. It's impossible to liste to Phil Collins the same way after American Pyscho. It really was a good adaptation of the book. Some strong films out of the top 10. I really did like Snatch and Unbreakable especially.

  8. Good stuff. Gladiator definitely tops my list. Cast Away would be there too. Also a big fan of In the Mood for Love, Unbreakable, and The Patriot. Talk about a diverse year.

    1. No argument from me. Gladiator is a great choice, and so is Cast Away. I need to see In the Mood for Love.