It’s been a couple of weeks since I picked back up on this series of blogs, so I thought I had better. A while ago, I saw a post that suggested you pick one favorite film from every year of your life. So far, I have covered 3 decades. Some years were easier than others. Some years were very difficult, because there were many “favorites”. One quick reminder – the movies are movies that I have seen. There may be a monster hit movie from a certain year that I wasn’t inclined to see, or just didn’t see it.
As I move into the fourth decade of my life, I noticed something that I want you to keep in mind. In 2002, my oldest son was born. As I began to look through the movies of the 2000’s and even in the 2010’s, I noticed the amount of animated and kid films increased. What I also noticed is that in many cases, those movies ended up being better than some of the adult films of those years. Agree with me or not, remember this is MY list. While many of my readers are from Facebook and do not have blogs, many of my readers DO have blogs. It has been fun to revisit each year, and I would love to see the list of some of my blogger friends (hint hint).
That being said, let’s dive into the 2000’s!
Ashton Kutcher became a household name in 1998 as Kelso on That 70’s Show, so it was only a short time before they had him star in a feature film, and naturally it was a comedy – Dude, Where’s My Car? While I found it mostly stale, there were a few laughs. 2000 brought us the funny sequel to Eddie Murphy’s Nutty Professor in Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis were both very good in Unbreakable, Harrison Ford wound up being the bad guy in What Lies Beneath, and Russell Crowe starred in the visually brilliant Gladiator (although at times I was bored with it).
A runner up for my pick for this year was the very funny Emperor’s New Groove, the animated feature that starred David Space, Patrick Warburton, John Goodman, and the amazing Eartha Kitt. I loved this movie and Kitt’s voice work is just amazing. However, music is what made me pick my favorite for 2000 – O Brother, Where Art Thou?
George Clooney plays a convict who escapes from a chain gang and ends up recording a hit record. I loved the story, and loved the soundtrack. I was working in country radio when the movie came out. The phones were constantly ringing for Man of Constant Sorrow! The sound sounded so out of place among the current country hits of the time, but maybe that’s why it did so well. It reminds me of when the Dixie Chicks first hit radio – their sound was so unlike anything on the air at the time that it stood out and sounded great! I still have the entire soundtrack of this movie on my iPod!
In 2001, Morgan Freeman reprised his role as Alex Cross in the movie adaptation of Along Came a Spider. David Spade introduced us to Joe Dirt. Amanda Pete, Jason Biggs, Steve Zahn, Jack Black and singer Neil Diamond all starred in Saving Silverman. Much like Titanic, they tossed a love story into a real life historic event for Pearl Harbor with Ben Affleck. We also got the first installments of some BIG franchises – Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. Wes Anderson offered up a gem with The Royal Tenenbaums with Gene Hackman, the Wilson Brothers, and Ben Stiller. Wes Anderson’s films always have a very unique look to them and I almost chose this one as my pick, but instead, I chose Shrek.
The film is based on the 1990 book by William Steig. Chris Farley was supposed to be the voice of Shrek, but his death led them to re-cast the role. Word is that Mike Myers did the voice straight, and was unhappy with it. He recut the voice with his Scottish accent and the rest is history. Now add the talents of Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, and John Lithgow and it’s magic! It was a fun movie to watch and remains a favorite that I still watch with my kids.
There were a few animated and kids films in 2002: Ray Romano starred in Ice Age, Disney brought us Lilo & Stitch, and there was a live action Scooby Doo movie. The second (or fifth) installment of Star Wars hit the screen with Attack of the Clones, while other sequels included Men in Black II, Analyze That, and Austin Powers 3 – Goldmember. Two big sequels were Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Sitting here in 2019, who could have known that there would be a gazillion more super hero movies to come … but my pick for 2002 is Tobey Maguire as Spiderman.
As a fan of Spiderman since I was a kid, I was excited to see this one. I thought Tobey was a good Peter Parker. The rest of the cast was great, too (James Franco, Willem Dafoe, JK Simmons)! I always thought Kirsten Dunst was pretty, and thought she was great as Mary Jane. It was a fun movie to watch with good special effects and a good story.
The Lord of the Rings saga continued with the Return of the King in 2003. Will Ferrell appeared in Old School, which I felt was “Animal House crossing the line”. Uma Thurman starred in the first Kill Bill, and Johnny Depp appeared for the first time as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. A clown fish named Nemo stole the hearts of many in Finding Nemo, while Disney offered up the action adventure film Holes. Again, music played a factor in my favorite – School of Rock.
Jack Black is a rocker who gets tossed out of his band. He fills in as a substitute teacher and teaches his class all about Rock and Roll. He also uses the kids to form a band in hopes of winning a Battle of the Bands contest. The soundtrack includes cuts from the Ramones, The Darkness, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Nicks, and the song they play at the end is the classic AC/DC song, It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock and Roll).
Damn you, 2004! There were so many great movies that came out this year!! 7 of them easily could be my top pick! Adam Sadler brought us 50 First Dates with Drew Barrymore. Mel Gibson brought us the controversial Passion of the Christ. Uma Thurman returned to Kill Bill again in part 2. Harry Potter was back with the Prisoner of Azkaban. Tina Fey and Lindsay Lohan gave us a look at public school in Mean Girls. We enjoyed some high school football with Friday Night Lights. Shrek and Donkey were back with a new friend (Puss in Boots) in Shrek 2. Will Ferrell donned a mustache as he told the Legend of Ron Burgandy in Anchorman. Harold and Kumar went to White Castle for some sliders. Zombies were all over the place in Simon Pegg’s Shaun of the Dead (which I loved!). A very funny cast (Vince Vaughn, Rip Torn, Justin Long, Ben Stiller, Christine Taylor) told us an underdog story in Dodgeball (Chuck Norris has a funny cameo). Nick Cage stars in a great film that makes you rethink history in National Treasure. Jamie Foxx was just brilliant as Ray Charles in the biopic Ray.
A word about a film from 2004 before I announce my pick. I saw the DVD cover for Napoleon Dynamite in the video store. I am not sure what made me get it. Someone may have mentioned it to me, whatever the case, I rented it. We popped it in. I watched it all the way through. When it was done I remember saying “What the hell did we just watch?!” I literally sat there scratching my head. I just couldn’t figure it out! It was so dumb! But here is the weird part – after it ended and after I sat there for a minute – I started the movie over!!! I watched it all over again. The second time I watched it – I laughed like hell!! All of a sudden, it was a funny friggin movie! When I would recommend it to people, I would tell them “you may have to watch it twice”! LOL
Ok, so my movie picking credibility may forever be tarnished because of that last paragraph….but here is my pick for 2004 – The Incredibles.
Brad Bird (who does the voice of Edna) wrote this masterpiece. Craig T. Nelson is Mr. Incredible and Holly Hunter is Elastigirl (also Mrs. Incredible). Samuel L. Jackson is super cool as Frozone. After getting sued for injuring a citizen, Super heroes are banned from performing their duties. They go into the Super Hero Relocation Program and live as ordinary citizens. Syndrome is a super villain (voiced by Jason Lee) and his antics bring the “Supers” back out into the public eye. The music soundtrack is just amazing. I was SO excited when the sequel was announced. Just LOVE this movie!! No Capes!
There weren’t many films I liked from 2005. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith was good, as we see the “birth” of Darth Vader. DreamWorks had fun with the animated film Madagascar. Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson were Wedding Crashers. Goblet of Fire was the next installment of the Harry Potter series. My pick for favorite of 2005 is a remake – I know, I know! I have dissed many remakes, but I found Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to be different enough that I liked it.
Johnny Depp is one of those actors who amazes me. When I look at the various roles he has played, each one of them is very unique. His take on Willy Wonka is so vastly different from Gene Wilder’s in the original. It is almost creepy – ok, it is creepy! The whole movie is a bit darker than the original, too. While the story is basically the same, it is different enough that it stands alone as being worthy of my pick.
The success of animated films becomes apparent by 2006. DreamWorks put out two animated movies this year – Flushed Away and Over The Hedge, while Pixar released Cars. Ben Stiller interacts with history in A Night at the Museum. Johnny Depp is back as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men’s Chest. Little Miss Sunshine is a delightful film with Steve Carell, Greg Kinnear, and Alan Arkin. My pick for favorite stars Jack Black as Nacho Libre.
While it is a comedy, it also has heart. Jack Black is a cook at a monastery. He grew up there. There are many orphans that live there, and there is little money to feed them properly. He decides to wrestle after hours in an effort to raise money for the orphans. I love this movie, because while there are moments you laugh at loud, there are also heartwarming moments.
Animation movies continued to be big in 2007 – Jerry Seinfeld had Bee Movie, Shrek was back for a third (and probably weakest of the series) movie, and Pixar had the marvelous Ratatouille. Jack Sparrow returned in At World’s End, and Simon Pegg offered up the comedy Hot Fuzz. Harry Potter returned in the Order of the Phoenix, and Nick Cage was back for the sequel to National Treasure: Book of Secrets. Jon Heder, coming off the success of Napoleon Dynamite, teamed up with Will Ferrell for Blades of Glory. The gang from TV’s Reno 911 got their own film Reno 911:Miami. My pick for favorite – The Bucket List.
Admittedly, I did not see the movie until recently, I am glad I did. This movie made “the bucket list” a phrase everyone now uses. We all have items on a list that we want to do before we die. Going to Italy is on mine. Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman are just wonderful in this film. If you haven’t seen it – you have to!
Comedies from 2008 included Simon Pegg’s Run Fatboy, Run, Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr. starred in Tropic Thunder, Rainn Wilson was The Rocker, and Will Ferrell and John C. Riley were Step Brothers (Boats and Hoes!!) Animated films from 2008 included WALL-E, and Kung Fu Panda. Tom Cruise starred in a great story about the plot to kill Hitler in Valkyrie. Harrison Ford reprised his role as Indiana Jones in The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (I didn’t care for it). Will Smith was a guy with super powers in Hancock.
Vantage Point was almost my pick for favorite. Dennis Quaid stars in the film about an assassination attempt of the President. The movie shows all the different views of the event – all the different vantage points. It was a very cool film to watch. I hate to say it, because it is kind of a remake, but my pick for favorite is Get Smart.
TECHNICALLY, it is NOT a remake. It is just based on the TV show. At first I was angry to hear they were making this movie, because of my love for the TV show. Then I heard that Steve Carell would be playing Maxwell Smart. I thought he was perfect for the role. Alan Arkin is great as the chief (I like him in almost everything he does). Anne Hathaway is 99. James Caan is the President. The Rock is also an agent. Great cameos from Bill Murray and Bernie Kopell, the orginal Seigfried (although I wish Bernie’s cameo had been longer). Over all, it was a good story. I loved the nods to the TV show, that earned bonus points for me.
As we enter the final year of this decade, three films all stand out as ones that could easily be my pick. Two of the dumbest films I saw were Paul Blart Mall Cop (which even got a sequel!!) and Year One. I am stupider for watching both of those films! Animation and kid films included The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and the Monsters VS Aliens. Harry Potter was back with the Half Blood Prince. Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw starred in The Blind Side. Woody Harrelson kills the undead in Zombieland. I’m gonna be honest – I NEVER saw Avatar, it just didn’t look interesting to me. I was impressed with the new Star Trek movie – I felt the characters stayed very close to the original star’s portrayals. I really enjoyed Inglorious Basterds (always been a fan of WWII movies).
That leaves me with four films – one that I disliked and three I loved. I know that I am in the minority here, so I apologize in advance. I didn’t care for the Hangover. It obviously was major hit which spawned quite a few sequels. Everyone kept saying, “You’ve got to see this movie”, so I did. I really didn’t find it as funny as everyone else did. I don’t know what it is, I just didn’t find it to be the great film everyone else did.
Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law was VERY well done! I enjoyed it very much. I really felt that it captured the Sherlock Holmes from the stories. I found it funny, exciting, and thought it had a great story. When I discovered Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch, I felt that it was done in almost the same vain as this film.
I almost picked A Christmas Carol starring Jim Carrey as my favorite. First of all, it is one of my favorite Christmas stories. I am sure that I have blogged about it in the past. Second, Jim Carrey does the majority of the voices in it and it just amazing. I loved the animation and it has been one that I watch each and every Christmas season. My pick for 2009, however, is another animated film … Up.
Pixar continues to bring out amazing movies for the whole family. Up is the story of Carl Frederickson(voiced by Ed Asner), and his quest to go to Paradise Falls to fulfill a promise to his wife. The montage that shows the love story of Carl and Ellie is done with no voices – just action and music. It is the most moving thing I have ever seen. Yes, I cried. It is beautiful.
The adventure that Carl ends up going on with his newfound friends Russell, Doug, and Kevin is exciting and heartwarming. I truly wish that Pixar would give us a sequel to this film, just to see more of this wonderful friendship that Carl and Russell have. I LOVE this movie!
9 more years to go and I will pick up the series next in 2010. I hope you enjoyed reading this!