Steve takes a retrospective look at the awesome movies from the year 2000 – a bumper year filled with Gladiators, Cast Away‘s, and X-Men!
Twenty years ago, we found ourselves members of, not only a new decade but a new millennium. We survived Y2K. The most highly contested U.S. presidential election was finally decided. Internet giant America Online merged with media giant Time Warner. The Rams won the Super Bowl for the first time in history, the Yankees won the World Series for the 26th time in history, the New Jersey Devils won the Stanley Cup championship, and the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA Finals. The year 2000 was also a good year for film. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the year 2000, I have compiled this list of my favorite movies from that year.
10. Little Nicky
Logic dictates that this movie should not even be on this list. By all accounts, this is a terrible movie. It did very poorly at the box office and it was panned by virtually every critic in the field. It is, as some have said, Adam Sandler’s worst film ever. Despite all that, I actually enjoyed this movie. In this movie, Sandler plays Nicky, the son of the devil, who is played fittingly by Harvey Keitel. Nicky is sent to Earth to retrieve his wayward brothers and save Hell. There are some great cameos in this film. Reese Witherspoon as Nicky’s angelic mother, Rodney Dangerfield (R.I.P.) as Lucifer, Dana Carvey as a basketball referee, Henry Winkler as himself, Quentin Tarantino as a doomsday sayer, and even Ozzy Osbourne playing himself. This Steven Brill-directed movie might have been a stinker to most but I guess the fact that I liked it shows I’m out of step with the rest of the world.
9. The Replacements
Here’s another one that probably doesn’t deserve to be on the best movies list. Good thing that this is my list and not some industry-driven best-of list. This sports movie was directed by Howard Deutch, who also directed the teen romance films Pretty in Pink and Some Kind of Wonderful (no, these were not John Hughes surprisingly). It tells the story of a football team that must replace practically its entire lineup due to a players’ strike. It stars Keanu Reeves who plays the replacement quarterback and Gene Hackman, who is hired to coach the replacement players. It was loosely based on an actual NFL strike that happened in 1987. Reviews for this film were mixed and the box office reception was mediocre but I liked it and it is 1 of 2 sports films from this year that made my list.
This historical film directed by Ridley Scott was one of the highest-grossing films of 2000, outperformed at the box office only by Mission Impossible 2. It depicts the tale of a Roman general named Maximus, played by Russell Crowe, who is sold into slavery by the newly installed emperor Commodus (played by Joaquin Phoenix) and becomes a famous gladiator. This film won a lot of awards for that year’s list of films including best picture, best actor (Russell Crowe), best visual effects, and best costume design, among others. Being a history nerd myself, I enjoyed this film due to its historical premise, despite its historical inaccuracies.
7. Cast Away
Taking place almost entirely on a deserted island, Cast Away was directed by Robert Zemeckis and stars Tom Hanks as a Federal Express employee that ends up stranded on an island in the South Pacific. The film illustrates the character’s diminishing mental capacity as he struggles to survive and his attempts to escape the island and return to civilization. Hanks was nominated for an Oscar based on his performance but lost to Russell Crowe for Gladiator. It also finished just behind Gladiator in overall box office performance.
6. Thirteen Days
Another historical film, this one was directed by Roger Donaldson and tells the story of the Cuban Missile Crisis, mostly from the perspective of White House assistant Kenneth O’Donnell, who is played by Kevin Costner. Also starring in the film were Bruce Greenwood as John F. Kennedy, Steven Culp as Robert Kennedy, and Dylan Baker as Robert McNamara. Personally, I think Greenwood and Baker’s performances in their respective roles are the best on film iterations of the characters of all time. It is based on a 1969 book of the same name that was written by Robert Kennedy.
5. O Brother Where Are Thou?
The Coen brothers directed this comedy about 3 convicts that have escaped their 1937 prison farm to embark on a quest for a “treasure.” The film is very loosely based on the epic poem The Odyssey. What really makes this movie great was the music. Its use of bluegrass and folk music really carried the film. The 3 convicts were played by George Clooney, John Turturro, and Tim Blake Nelson. Other roles in the film were played by John Goodman, Holly Hunter, and Steven Root, among others.
4. Remember the Titans
The 2nd sports film to appear in my best films of 2000 list, this one was directed by Boaz Yakin. It is based on true events that occurred in Virginia in the early 70s. Denzel Washington stars as Herman Boone, a football coach that is hired to help integrate the football team of T.C. Williams High School. Will Patton plays the former head coach of T.C. Williams that stays on as Boone’s assistant. It also stars Wood Harris and Ryan Hurst as two of the players that clash at first because of their racial difference but overcome those differences and become the best of friends.
Strangely, 1 of only 2 “superhero” films that made this year’s list, X-Men was, obviously, based on the Marvel Comics team of mutants led by Professor X. Professor X was brilliantly cast and portrayed by Patrick Stewart. For the most part, casting on this film was spot on, not only with Professor X but also in the case of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. This first film in the franchise deals with the team’s conflict with Magneto, a former friend of the Professor’s that turned against humanity and became his chief rival. It was directed by Bryan Singer. Of the original X trilogy (which also consists of X2 and The Last Stand), it was by far the best.
The other “superhero” film on this list is not a superhero film in the traditional sense as it doesn’t depict an existing superhero from the comic books but presents the idea of a “real-life” superhero that discovers he has superhuman abilities and begins to use them to help others. Bruce Willis plays the hero David Dunn, a security guard. Samuel L. Jackson plays the mysterious comic book art gallery owner that turns out to be Dunn’s nemesis, Mr. Glass. This film was directed by M. Night Shyamalan. This movie spawned 2 sequels (in a manner of speaking). The 1st one, Split, isn’t a traditional sequel in that none of the characters from the first film appear in this one until the very end of the film. It is a sequel in that it takes place within the same fictional universe. The 2nd sequel, which is more of an actual sequel is Glass, which was released in 2019 and shows the return of Dunn and Mr. Glass and also features the main character from Split.
1. High Fidelity
My favorite movie from the year 2000, strangely enough, was a romantic comedy. It was directed by Stephen Frears and based on a Nick Hornby novel of the same name. It stars John Cusack in the lead role as Rob Gordon, a Chicago record store owner that breaks up with his girlfriend and spends most of the film brooding over their relationship and pondering overall his love life, wondering where he went wrong in all of his past relationships. Jack Black and Todd Louiso star as his employees. Other great appearances in the film include Joan Cusack (John’s real-life sister) as his sister, Catherine Zeta-Jones as one of Rob’s ex-girlfriends, Tim Robbins as the hippie antagonist (of sorts), and Bruce Springsteen in a cameo as himself. Also, the soundtrack from this film was amazing. The film spawned a Broadway musical and a television series, with several changes to the characters and location, began airing on Hulu.
What are your top movies from the year 2000? Drop us a line in the comments section and share your top 10.
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Steve Long is a new addition to the Future of the Force roster. Aside from being a passionate Star Wars fan, he also co-hosts the Rogue One Radio Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @otter272 where he channels his passion frequently!