Greatest Films of the 2000s
Greatest Films of the 2000s

Greatest Films of the 2000s
2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009


Academy Awards for 2000 Films
Title Screen Film Genre(s), Title, Year, (Country), Length, Director, Description

Almost Famous (2000), 122 minutes, D: Cameron Crowe

American Psycho (2000), 97 minutes, D: Mary Harron

Amores Perros (2000, Mex.) (aka Love's a Bitch), 153 minutes, D: Alejandro González Iñárritu

The Beach (2000, US/UK), 119 minutes, D: Danny Boyle
Danny Boyle's moralizing adaptation of Alex Garland's best-selling 1996 Utopia-gone-wrong cult novel was about a naive US backpacker's (Leonardo DiCaprio) search (with a hand-drawn map) for a perfect, mythical fabled beach. The sensually-photographed titular beach was in Thailand on the lush, tiny idyllic island of Koh Phi Phi Le in the Krabi province, in the middle of the Andaman Sea. The paradisiacal locale had blue lagoons with crystal clear water, remote pristine beaches, tropical hideaways, sea caves and fine sand. Once the Edenic crescent-shaped 'beach' (of Maya Bay) fronted by jungle was found in the film, the story turned into an edgy and ugly update on The Lord of the Flies and Apocalypse Now (1979). In a case of life imitating art (or vice versa), Fox Studios was accused by environmental protesters of ecological vandalism when the sand dunes were bulldozed and non-native palm trees were planted to make it more paradise-like.

Best in Show (2000), 89 minutes, D: Christopher Guest
Director/writer Christopher Guest's satirical, quirky, and semi-improvised mockumentary film was about championship dog breeding and shows. Interviews were conducted with five different sets of neurotic, eccentric and quirky dog owners, and trainers who would be involved in Philadelphia's up-coming Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show. Wealthy, materialistic, upwardly-mobile suburbanites, neurotic lawyers and trendy dog owners from a suburb of Chicago, IL - yuppie catalogue lovers Meg Swan (Parker Posey) and Hamilton Swan (Michael Hitchcock), with matching sets of braces, described how they met at Starbucks. They were over-caring (to an obsessive degree) over their Weimaraner named "Beatrice." With their therapist, they were worried that "Beatrice" had been traumatized and became depressed after watching them have experimental Kama Sutra style sex. Another couple, nerdy middle-class Florida salesman Gerry Fleck (Eugene Levy), cursed with two left feet (literally), and his ex-waitress wife Cookie (Catherine O'Hara) in Fern City, FL were proud of their Norwich terrier "Winky." The two remarked how "Cookie" had "dozens" - actually "hundreds" of previous lovers and boyfriends, to Gerry's dismay and jealousy. A third individual Harlan Pepper (Christopher Guest, the film's director) was filmed in Pinenut, NC - he owned The Fishin' Hole, a fishing goods shop, and bragged about the breed of dog he owned, a bloodhound named "Hubert." A gay couple composed of gossipy wildly-flamboyant Scott Donlan (John Michael Higgins) and hair salon proprietor Stefan Vanderhoof (Michael McKean) from the Tribeca neighborhood of NYC were classic movie lovers who expressed great pride for their two Shih Tzus "Miss Agnes" and non-competitive"Tyrone" and expected to win. And at the Cabot mansion in Philadelphia, young and very buxom blonde trophy wife Sherri Ann Cabot (Jennifer Coolidge) and her very elderly, oblivious and senile 'sugar-daddy' 80 year-old husband Leslie Ward Cabot (Patrick Cranshaw) described their unusual marriage. Their two-time defending champion dog was a white poodle named "Butch" (or Rhapsody in White), who was being trained by manly, short-haired Christy Cummings (Jane Lynch). It was slowly but conclusively revealed that lesbian dog trainer Christy and Sherri Ann were sex-partners. While traveling on the road in his RV from NC with his bloodhound "Hubert" to the dog show, Harlan told a memorable story about how he drove his mother mad by his unique talent of naming nuts, and at night practiced his ventriloquist vocal skills. On their meandering route to Philadelphia during stays with acquaintances, Gerry reacted with astonishment when his wife Cookie kept running into some of her previous lovers and boyfriends who openly discussed their previous sexual activities - enraging Gerry. such as Max Berman (Larry Miller) who recalled an incident at the lake with her: "She was famous for putting her legs behind her head, she could get both legs behind her head." After finally arriving at the city's Taft Hotel, Scott was upset when the hotel manager Mark Schaefer (Ed Begley Jr.) stated harmlessly: "We have you down for a queen." Meanwhile, Philadelphians Sherri Ann and Christy were interviewed on WPHY-TV for the "AM Philadelphia" show, about their dog show's two-time champion white poodle "Butch" and his strange grooming patterns. When the financially-overdrawn Fleck couple arrived at the Taft with a faulty credit card, they were forced to sleep in the hotel's 3rd floor utility-storage room stock-piled with cleaning solutions for doggie accidents. During a welcome party hosted by the Chamber of Commerce in the Taft, Malcolm (Malcolm Stewart) approached Cookie and remembered her as a waitress at Louisville's Mint Julep almost 20 years earlier: "I've banged a lot of waitresses in my day, but you, you, you were the best by far." The dog show commenced, the 125th annual Mayflower Kennel Club's national dog show competition, emceed by the comical TV commentator Buck Laughlin (Fred Willard) and his long-suffering co-host and dog expert Trevor Beckwith (Jim Piddock). Buck peppered his words with lots of lewd comments and often-offensive jokes ("When you look at how beautiful these dogs are, and to think that in some countries these dogs are eaten"). During competition, the overzealous Meg went on a frenzied and panicked search for their Weimaraner Beatrice's favorite but missing "Busy Bee" squeeze toy - in the crate, and back in their Taft Hotel room suite. Meg also frustratingly searched for a replacement toy in a pet store. After seven preliminary rounds for specific categories won by most of the featured contestants (except for the Swans' "Beatrice"), Buck described the "Best of Show" competition: "The final seven. It's the bottom of the ninth inning. It's the goal line stand. It's the final round. And after all the grooming, the petting, the kibbles, the liver snaps..." Among the five featured contestants, the final winner was the Fleck's "Winky" (who was out-performed by his handler, two-left-footed Gerry Fleck). In the film's epilogue six months later, the winning Fleck couple back in Florida capitalized on increased celebrity attention by recording an audio tape of novelty songs about terrier dogs and calling themselves "The Captain and Cookie"; Sherri Ann and Christy (in a "new level" of their sexual relationship) created a magazine titled "American Bitch" designed specifically for lesbian pure-bred dog owners like themselves; Harlan visited an Israeli kibbutz for three weeks, and fulfilled his dream of being a ventriloquist with a song and dance show, while the classic moving-loving male gay couple published a dog calendar with monthly images of their two costumed Shih Tzu dogs posed as characters in great love scenes (Gone with the Wind (1939), Casablanca (1942), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939), and the TV show McMillan and Wife (1971-76); the Swans told their therapist that they had happily acquired a pug dog named "Kipper" who wasn't upset by their love-making ("Our sex life is finally back on track...He likes to watch").

Billy Elliot (2000, UK), 110 minutes, D: Stephen Daldry

The Cell (2000, US/Germ.), 107 minutes, D: Tarsem Singh

Chicken Run (2000, UK/US), 84 minutes, D: Peter Lord, Nick Park
The UK's Aardman Studio's claymation adventure film directed by Peter Lord and Nick Park was the studio's first feature-length film. It told of the plight of the doomed feathered inhabitants of a chicken farm - it was a comical escape drama set in 1960s England, based upon the plot of The Great Escape (1963), Stalag 17 (1953), and The Flight of the Phoenix (1965), with the taglines: "THERE'S NOTHING MORE DETERMINED THAN POULTRY WITH A PLAN", and the humorous: "This ain't no chick flick!" The setting for the film was a 'WWII-type POW or concentration camp' located in Yorkshire, England composed of chicken coops (with numbered coops, roll calls, barbed wire and a high fence). The rustic, egg-laying chicken farm business with guard dogs was operated by dim-witted Mr. Tweedy (voice of Tony Haygarth) and his hen-pecking wife - evil, money-hungry Mrs. Tweedy (voice of Miranda Richardson). Mr. Tweedy was suspicious that the chickens were getting organized to escape, but Mrs. Tweedy shot down his ridiculous notions. The main leader of the chickens was fiesty, tough-minded and plucky heroine Ginger (voice of Julie Sawalha), who was caught attempting to escape and was thrown into a coal bin and suffered solitary confinement. A new arrival was a swaggering, smooth-talking, Rhode Island Red cockerel - a would-be swashbuckling American Yankee rooster named Rocky (voiced by Mel Gibson). He flew over the fence and accidentally crashed into the coop, and then to the enamoured hens, he introduced himself with roguish swagger. He also made the audacious and false claim that he could fly, but Ginger (often called "Dollface" by Rocky) was suspicious of his assertions. However, Ginger bargained with Rocky, promising to hide him from his circus owners if he helped the chickens escape. A turning point came in the film when a giant 18-wheel truck delivered a modern, Rube Goldberg-like, automated chicken pie-making machine; the chickens became suspicious when the Tweedys doubled the chickens' rations to fatten them up before slaughtering them in the barn. After the Tweedys kidnapped Ginger to test her in their new pie-making machine. Rocky daringly rescued Ginger, but they were both in danger of becoming chicken pie ingredients. However, they were able to temporarily sabotage the machine by clogging the gravy sprayer. But then, when it was revealed that Rocky was actually a stunt cockerel who was shot from a cannon (he couldn't independently "fly" on his own), the cowardly and disgraced Rocky fled from the farm. Ginger took charge of the chickens and organized them to assemble and build an airplane (constructed from chicken coops using stolen tools from Mr. Tweedy) to fly out on their own. It was a race against time to build the flying machine before the Tweedys' pie machine was repaired. Ginger also led the chickens to assault Mr. Tweedy when he entered the barn to retrieve the chickens and shockingly realized they had organized themselves - he was attacked, tied up, and gagged. In the crowd-pleasing climax, Rocky (with a tweaked conscience after viewing a controversial ad for the chicken pies), redeemed himself and returned just in time to help the chickens. They launched the chicken-shaped flying aircraft (the Old Crate) into the air to battle the Tweedys. When Mrs. Tweedy assaulted the flying craft with an axe, she was plunged head-first into a safety-valve vent of her own pie-making machine; the entire machine exploded from a build-up of pressure, covering the entire farm with gravy, as the chickens flew to freedom. In the film's epilogue, the chickens reached the safety of a bird sanctuary, where Rocky and Ginger became a couple.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000, US/HK/China/Taiwan) (aka Wo Hu Cang Long), 120 minutes, D: Ang Lee

Dancer in the Dark (2000, Den./Fr./Sweden), 140 minutes, D: Lars von Trier

Erin Brockovich (2000), 131 minutes, D: Steven Soderbergh
This biographical drama about corporate pollution, based upon a true case of toxic waste and environmental activism, was similar in theme to the previous A Civil Action (1998). Unemployed, flirtatious, and dogged single mother Erin Brockovich (Julia Roberts) was able to secure a low-paying job as a legal assistant/file clerk in the Van Nuys offices of jaded and beleaguered lawyer Ed Masry (Albert Finney). On her own initiative, she did some digging into the background of unusual medical cases related to a pro-bono case involving San Francisco-based Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E). She discovered land purchased by the company in the town of Hinkley, California had been previously contaminated by the company's irresponsibility. The water supply of the town was toxic with poisonous hexavalent chromium (known as Chromium 6), illegally and improperly dumped. The carcinogenic substance was causing residents, including Donna Jensen (Marg Helgenberger) and her husband Peter (Michael Harney), to suffer serious health effects (tumors, miscarriages, and Hodgkin's Disease). She and Ed became a team to bring a major class action lawsuit against the multi-billion dollar energy corporation, for its systematic coverup of the industrial poisoning of the community. The terms of the defense: Masry's fee would be 40% of whatever was awarded if they won, but if they lost, his fee would be zero. One of the key pieces of evidence was an incriminating 1966 memo proving that the corporate headquarters knew the water was contaminated with hexavalent chromium prior to 1987, but did nothing about it. It was clear that PG&E had advised the Hinkley operation to keep this secret. During a meeting with PG&E's lawyers, Brockovich reacted emotionally to a statement by Ms. Sanchez (Gina Gallego) that her offer of a $20 million settlement was more than any of the defendants had ever dreamed of. Brockovich and Masry declined the miniscule "lame-ass" offer. The case was decided with binding arbitration - the case would be heard only by a judge, whose decision was final and could not be appealed. The judge ordered PG&E to pay a settlement amount of $333 million to be distributed among the hundreds of plaintiffs. It was one of the largest settlements ever paid in a direct-action lawsuit. The Jensens received a check for five million dollars, while Brockovich herself was rewarded with $2 million for her work.

Gladiator (2000), 154 minutes, D: Ridley Scott

High Fidelity (2000, UK/US), 113 minutes, D: Stephen Frears

In the Mood for Love (2000, HK) (aka Fa Yeung Nin Wa), 98 minutes, D: Kar Wai Wong

Meet the Parents (2000), 107 minutes, D: Jay Roach

Memento (2001), 116 minutes, D: Christopher Nolan
This thought-provoking, unique and puzzling thriller, a modestly-budgeted sleeper hit from director Christopher Nolan, was told in reverse and was challenging in itself just to watch due to its unique, non-linear, backwards narrative structure. The twisty, fractured film, requiring repeated viewings to figure out, told about amnesia sufferer (with the inability to make new memories) and ex-insurance investigator Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce). He was living in a run-down motel while investigating the brutal and cold-blooded rape and murder of his wife (Jorja Fox) during a late-night burglary by two men (Leonard suffered amnesia during the attack due to a blow to his skull). Leonard was using his own self-inflicted tattoos, Polaroids, and cryptic notes to aid his short-term memory and provide clues to finding the second intruder who got away. As the film unfolded, it became evident that he had, ironically, remembered only some elements of his wife's traumatic event. In the first scene, Leonard killed enigmatic cop "Teddy" Gammell (Joe Pantoliano), believing that he had successfully avenged his wife's rape/death. But it was Leonard who had killed his own wife - he had mistakenly overdosed his diabetic wife with insulin, when she was testing his memory. She did not die at the hands of rapists-murderers in their bathroom. It was clear that Teddy actually knew the 'truth' about Leonard and the real cause of his wife's death -- things which Leonard did not want to face, and he was trying to convince him to end his vengeful hunt.

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000, UK/Fr./US), 106 minutes, D: Joel Coen

Pollock (2000), 122 minutes, D: Ed Harris

Requiem For a Dream (2000), 100 minutes, D: Darren Aronofsky

Traffic (2000, Germ./US), 147 minutes, D: Steven Soderbergh

Wonder Boys (2000, US/Germ./UK/Jp.), 107 minutes, D: Curtis Hanson

You Can Count on Me (2000), 111 minutes, D: Kenneth Lonergan

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