5 Phenomenal Movies from 2000

PHENOM 5

Several months ago I wrapped up my year-by-year look at the films of the 1980s. Instead of just falling in line and jumping to the 90s, I thought I would skip a decade and save it for later. Today I starting my look at the 2000s from a Phenomenal 5 perspective. The year 2000 was a very intriguing movie year especially for the ladies. A number of ‘Girl Power’ stinkers popped up (“Bring It On”, “Coyote Ugly”, “Charlie’s Angels”), but we also got several strong and memorable female leads (Juliette Binoche in “Chocolat”, Julia Roberts in “Erin Brokovich”, Ellen Burston in “Requiem for a Dream”).

But it was also a very strong year for some of Hollywood’s biggest actors as today’s list will show. Overall it was a year rich with variety so I wouldn’t call this the definitive list. But still, there is no denying that these five movies from the year 2000 were nothing short of Phenomenal.

#5 – “O Brother, Where Art Thou”

O Brother

Whenever is see “written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen” my enthusiasm shoots through the roof. In 2000 the filmmaking brothers gave us a deep south action comedy set during The Great Depression. So many things contribute to this film’s success. The impeccable locations brought through the film’s Oscar nominated cinematography. The period perfect music. Great performances from Clooney, Turturro, and Nelson. And of course that razor-sharp Coen brothers humor. It all makes for a fabulously funny experience.

#4 – “The Patriot”

PATRIOT

Many arguments could be made that Rolland Emmerich’s “The Patriot” deals too heavily in melodrama. Some critics have griped about its historical inaccuracies. Both criticisms may have merit but that doesn’t stop the film from being a rousing and emotional experience. “The Patriot” has its big action moments and a truckload of drama, but at the heart is a relationship between a war-weary father scarred from his past and his seven children. The Revolutionary War swirls in the background and it often comes more front and center, but ultimately it’s Gibson’s conflicted and tormented character that wins me over.

#3 – “Memento”

Memento

Christopher Nolan has established himself as one of the most ambitious and compelling working directors. His mind-bending projects stand out for taking chances and always trying something new and fresh. That exact same approach is what earned him attention in 2000 when he released “Memento”. Everything about the film is unique. Even its structure stands out. It tells its story through two timelines visually differentiated – one is in color, the other in black-and-white. Nolan weaves together what could have been an utter disaster. Instead it is a true gem and the launching point of a great filmmaker’s career.

#2 – “Cast Away”

Cast Away

It’s hard to verbalize my fascination with this movie. I remember first seeing it and being so intensely engrossed in its story of a man stranded on a deserted island. But the movie gives us more than that. There is also a deep flowing emotional undercurrent that gives an interesting weight to everything we see. Tom Hanks is fabulous both in his physical transformation and in humanizing the many struggles his character faces. For the majority of the film there is no one else but Hanks and he never loses the audience. It is truly brilliant work in a brilliant movie.

#1 – “Gladiator”

Gladiator

No movie of 2000 sucked me in, excited me, or left as big of an impression as Ridley Scott’s period epic “Gladiator”. For me “Gladiator” encapsulates why cinema is such a powerful and potent medium. Scott is able to transport us back to the Roman Empire. The action sequences are both brutal and beautiful. The story is exciting and multifaceted. It’s a story of loss. It’s a story of survival. It’s a story of vengeance. And then there is the rugged and charismatic performance from Russell Crowe – perfectly cast and perfectly in tune with his character. It’s such a phenomenal movie and for me it was the clear #1 for the list.

So there are five phenomenal movies from the year 2000. What say you? There were several great films that I hated to leave off. Would they make your list? Please take time and share your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

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44 thoughts on “5 Phenomenal Movies from 2000

    • The patriot is very unique in that it will either really hit you on an emotional level or you will be turned off by a perceived overuse of melodrama. I really think it all works and Gibson gives a fabulous lead performance. Solid supporting cast too including really good work from Heath Ledger.

      • I don’t know how it would affect me. Looking at the picture and all the American flags I get the feeling it would be a bit too much, but I’ll add it to my watch list and eventually give it a chance.

      • I actually really like that scene and it does serve a purpose. That said there is a little flag waving (and understandably so considering the characters) but not much of it. As I wrote, at the core is a single father struggling to keep his family intact during a chaotic time. That core story is what makes it so effective to me.

    • Thanks for reading and I really appreciate the comments. I’ve seen them both. Almost Famous was really hard to leave off. Big fan of that movie. I have struggled with The Perfect Storm over the years and it is hard to say why. I definitely recognize its strong points but for some reason it just doesn’t resonate with me like these others. Maybe I need to give it another look. It has been a while.

  1. Nice list Keith. I’m not too big on Gladiator and heavily disliked The Patriot but enjoyed the other three. Memento is my favorite Christopher Nolan film and I think it’s one of the strongest movies of the past decade.

  2. Great Choices Keith. Mel had a good year in 2000, he also had What Women Want and Chicken Run that year. Almost Famous, Wonder Boys and High Fidelity feel like a trio of films that are linked together in theme and spirit. For a number of years, Frequency was a fall back film at our house, any time we could not agree on what to watch, Frequency went in the DVD player. I would not take out any of the ones you have on the list, but the disparaging passing comment about Charlies Angels needs a shot. It features the two greatest dances of the decade, Cameron Diaz booty shake and Sam Rockwell’s hipster twist. maybe not Phenomenal, but memorable, a Bubble gum movie for sure.

    • You know, in interest of full disclosure, I’m not sure if I have ever saw Frequency in its entirety. I think that’s why your comments really struck me. I think I need to make time for it. But Charlie’s Angels…I dunno man. 😉

      • When you commit to the stupidity so completely, I can live with it. You basically start with a show that is a parody of other shows and then you parody that and throw in the kitchen sink. No accounting for taste, even when it is bad.

    • Interesting list. I was wondering if Crouching Tiger would get mentioned. I feel about it the way you do about Gladiator (except maybe not quite as strong). Ang Lee does little for me.

  3. Cool! I haven’t seen The Patriot or Cast Away but I would definitely go along with the other three. From the same year I also love these five: Almost Famous, Battle Royale, High Fidelity, Amores Perros and Sexy Beast. It was a good year.

    • Oh that’s fine. I’ve seen them both so many times and I still absolutely love them. But movies speak to many different people many different ways. That’s why we love them.

  4. Nice list! I watched Cast Away again the other day when it was on TV. It’s not one of my favorite films, but I cry every time he loses Wilson. EVERY time. lol

  5. great choices Keith! 1-4 are all on my top 10 too. I think cast away is the best of the bunch tho 🙂 such a great flick that is done so well in the 3 time periods where it is set. Hanks should have won another Best Actor award for this over Crowe (who I think only got it since he lost the previous year for The Insider in a role where he really hit it out of the park IMHO, but no one coulda beat Spacey for AB that year)

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