It’s been my privilege the past few weeks to guest on the Music City Drive In Podcast as we’ve looked at films in different years and re-made our own award nominations. The first of these shows was on the films of the Year 2000. If you want to listen to the episode, you can find it here. But that work got me thinking about gems from that year that I’ve enjoyed, or at least were memorable. So, this week’s Binge Watch will tackle 10 films in different genres that stood out to me from 2000.
There aren’t films that are enduring classics everyone knows, like Gladiator, but rather smaller films that might have been forgotten—or missed—by the masses. It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since these films come out. Check it out and you might find a gem for yourself.
About: I’m not going to sit here and claim this one is good, but it is one I had fun watching and have long remembered. It stars Ben Affleck as an ex-con who gets roped into using his inside knowledge to help a gang rob a casino. At Christmas. The cast includes Charlize Theron, Gary Sinise, Clarence Williams III and Isaac Hayes, among others. There’s even a cameo from Ron Jeremy. Look, this is wall-to-wall action and comedy, and it’s got some stellar performers. Again, it’s not incredible or deep, but it has one exchange between Affleck and Theron that always makes me laugh pretty hard, so when I saw it on the list of films from 2000, I couldn’t leave it off the list.
About: There have been a bunch of films in this franchise at this point, and most aren’t good. But I remember this original, from Glenn Morgan and James Wong, who worked on the X-Files. The concept here is that death will find you. This has a decent cast, some interesting sequences and it works well as a different kind of horror film. If you like the genre and haven’t seen it, it’s worth checking out.
About: I remember seeing this one when I was in college and it was amusing. Tom Green steals the show at times as a guy who just won’t leave college. I think anyone who went to college knew one of those people. But the main story is about a guy who films something he shouldn’t and sends it to his long-distance girlfriend, setting off a long road trip to get it back. It’s full of wild sequences and adventures and turns out to be a love story of sorts.
The Whole Nine Yards
About: Bruce Willis plays as contract killer while Matthew Perry plays a regular guy who happens to be in love with the Contract Killer’s ex-wife. That’s a wacky set up, and the movie makes it work thanks in large part to an incredible supporting role from Amanda Peet. The film dropped at the height of Friends’ popularity, but it’s Peet as Perry’s assistant who becomes taken with Willis that really makes this one hum. It spawned an OK sequel, but the original is really the one that is worth checking out.
Bring It On
About: I remember when this came out and we went to see it thinking I can’t believe I’m going to watch a movie about cheerleaders. If you’ve seen this film, you know it’s an inspired comedy, thanks in large part to Kirsten Dunst and great supporting performances from Eliza Dushku, Jessie Bradford and Gabrielle Union. Director Peyton Reed does a nice job putting this one together, but the script from Jessica Bendinger is what makes the whole thing hum. I’ve probably seen this film 100 times in the last 20 years, and it never gets old.
Films with Heart
About: The temptation here might be to put this one under comedy, and it has some comedy moments, but it’s more of a tender drama. And that seems weird to say about a movie set predominantly at a bar where women dance on the bar top to entertain guests. But if you’ve seen the film, that makes sense. Piper Perabo is great in the lead role, the soundtrack is delightful, and John Goodman gives a sweet supporting performance. This is a film I’ve seen several times, and one I’ve always enjoyed.
Where the Heart Is
About: I’m probably not the target demographic for a film based on a work that was part of Oprah’s Book Club, but here it is. This sweet drama starring Natalie Portman, Ashley Judd and James Frain is one that captured my heart. I saw it four times in theaters when it was released and bought the book, which I also read. It stars with a wacky story of a girl giving birth in the Wal-Mart, where she was secretly living. But it turns into something of a sweet love story. Portman is great and so is Judd. This one features fun supporting spots from Stockard Channing, Joan Cusack and Keith David, too.
The Legend of Bagger Vance
About: This one is based on the novel by Steven Pressfield and features a cast led by Will Smith, Matt Damon and Theron, who had quite a 2000 making this list twice. It’s centered on a golfer and the mysterious caddie that helps him find his confidence and swing again. It was a drama that not everyone appreciated, but I liked the story and picked up the book, which I also read. I enjoyed this one a lot. It featured great performances from the leads and an interesting period setting. Robert Redford directed this one and did a great job bringing the story to life. It’s always stuck with me.
Gone in 60 Seconds
About: This one was part of the seemingly annual action releases delivered by producer Jerry Bruckheimer. It stars Nicholas Cage and Angelina Jolie as car thieves trying to get the perfect vehicle. Director Dominic Sena gives it some kicking action and driving sequences, and it has a kicking soundtrack as well. The supporting cast includes Giovanni Ribisi, Timothy Olyphant, Delroy Lindo, and Scott Caan. If you’re looking for a fun action film, this one delivers.
Way of the Gun
About: This is my favorite film of the Year 2000. If you listen to the Podcast, you’ll know I nominated it for Best Picture. It comes from Christopher McQuarrie, who wrote the screenplay for The Usual Suspects. Here he writes the script and serves as director. This is about a pair of low-level criminals (Benicio Del Toro and Ryan Phillippe) who kidnap a pregnant girl (Juliette Lewis) to ransom her back. They end up getting more than they bargained for with how she’s connected to organized crime. This cast includes James Caan and Taye Diggs, and features some of the best action and shoot out scenes ever filmed. I love the wild opening, the script and the way this story comes together. It’s a Top 25 all time film for me.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.