Strange IndiaStrange India

The 2000s, in some ways, feel, culturally, neither here nor there: They don’t have the strong neon vibe we associate with the 1980s, and lack the grunge appeal of the ‘90s. There’s plenty to appreciate, however, in movies over the decade that was bookended by blockbusters: Lord of the Rings in the early years, and Iron Man, Dark Knight, and Avatar at the end. None of those feel particularly cookie-cutter in the way that their successors would often be, and, in the middle years, there were many successful movies of the kind they don’t really make anymore: mid-budget movies with personal, rather than galactic, stakes, that still managed to do brisk business at the box office. It was a decade on the cusp of our mega-blockbuster era, and that tension between the indie-loving ‘90s and the present kept things interesting.

What are some of your favorites?

Ghost World (2001)

Ghost World (2001) – Meeting Seymour Scene (4/11) | Movieclips

Enid (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson) face high school graduation, and a crush on Steve Buscemi, in Terry Zwigoff’s indie dark comedy.

Where to stream: Tubi, The Roku Channel, Pluto, Kanopy

Dreamgirls (2006)

DREAMGIRLS | Official Trailer

The cast here is incredible: Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx, and Beyoncé, just for starters. Even more incredible are the absolutely electric musical numbers, including, and especially, “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.”

Where to stream: TNT, TBS, TruTV

Almost Famous (2000)

Almost Famous (2000) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers

Cameron Crowe’s ‘70s-era comedy-drama about a young music journalist going on the road with a major band is a funny, touching crowd pleaser that’s not afraid veer off in some unexpected and idiosyncratic directions. Hold me closer, tiny dancer.

Where to stream: Paramount+, Showtime, Fubo

The Incredibles (2004)

The Incredibles (2004) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers

This Pixar triumph hit before the superhero movie wave really crested, and is all the better for it. If only they were all this good.

Where to stream: Disney+

Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Brokeback Mountain | “I Wish I Knew How to Quit You”

Ang Lee’s cowboy drama has a big heart and a minimal understanding of the mechanics of gay male sex, while also deserving far better than its fate as an Oscar also-ran to the inferior Crash.

Where to stream: Starz

Love & Basketball (2000)

Love & Basketball | Monica Challenges Quincy to a One-on-One Game For His Heart | HBO Max

Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps play next-door neighbors who, over the course of several years, struggle with their growing attraction to each other, even while their basketball ambitions pull them apart. Off-the-charts chemistry here.

Where to stream: Pluto

Jennifer’s Body (2009)

Jennifer’s Body | Official Trailer | 20th Century FOX

Only the real ones knew what to do with Jennifer’s Body in 2009, and the film took a long time to become the cult classic it was probably always destined to be. Here, popular teenager Jennifer (Megan Fox) is turned into a succubus by abusive men, gleefully killing boys around school to the general horror of her friend, Needy (Amanda Seyfried).

Mean Girls (2004)

Mean Girls (1/10) Movie CLIP – Meeting the Plastics (2004) HD

Given the movie’s impressive longevity, it’s tempting to call Mean Girls a cult classic—except that it made boatloads of money back in the day, as well. When Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) gets accepted into the cool clique at her public school, she quickly realizes that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

Where to stream: Paramount+

Barbershop (2002)

Barbershop (2002) | Official Trailer | MGM Studios

Everything from sex, to relationships, to OJ and civil rights is on the agenda in this comedy-drama, and the cast of lively and entertaining characters make it a fun place to spend time.

Where to stream: Max

American Splendor (2003)

trailer – american splendor

Starring greats Paul Giamatti and Hope Davis as underground comic creators Harvey Pekar and Joyce Brabner, Splendor is a stylish portrait of a couple of everyday people who also happen to be great American artists.

Where to stream: Max

The Departed (2006)

The Departed (2005) Official Trailer – Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson Movie HD

Martin Scorsese’s remake of the 2002 Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs finds Leonardo DiCaprio going undercover in a crime organization, while Matt Damon infiltrates the police. It’s all very twisty-turny, and provides a last, great performance from Jack Nicholson (barring a surprise un-retirement).

Where to stream: Digital rental

Infernal Affairs (2002)

Infernal Affairs (2002) ORIGINAL TRAILER [HD 1080p]

Or you could watch the Hong Kong original from directors Andrew Lau and Alan Mak—a smart, emotional crime thriller in its own right.

Where to stream: The Criterion Channel

Casino Royale (2006)

CASINO ROYALE | The Poker Game

Daniel Craig’s first Bond outing is one of the series’ very best, introducing a leaner, meaner 007 in the first formal adaptation of the very first Ian Fleming book.

Where to stream: Prime Video

Secretary (2002)

Secretary (2002) Official Trailer – Maggie Gyllenhaal, James Spader Movie HD

There’s genuine heat here between Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader—but also a sense of humor that makes the passionate intensity of their relationship that much more titilating.

Where to stream: Tubi, Freevee, Plex

The Princess and the Frog (2009)

The Princess and the Frog – Trailer

Proving there’s still a place for traditional animation at Disney, the gorgeously animated film set in New Orleans of the 1920s introduced Tiana (Anika Noni Rose) to the pantheon of Disney princesses.

Where to stream: Disney+

Y Tu Mamá También (2001)

Y Tu Mama Tambien Official Trailer #1 – Gael GarcÍa Bernal Movie (2001) HD

Two teenage boys set out on an impromptu road trip with the slightly older (and married) woman on whom they both have a crush. Alfonso Cuarón’s film is a sweet, funny, and sad coming-of-age movie.

Where to stream: AMC+

Brown Sugar (2002)

Brown Sugar (5/5) Movie CLIP – On-Air Love Confession (2002) HD

Brown Sugar finds Taye Diggs and Sanaa Lathan as friends, and sometimes rivals, in the music industry who very gradually come to recognize their mutual attraction.

Where to stream: Starz

How High (2001)

How High (2001) – Pot Ghosts Scene (2/10) | Movieclips

Pals Method Man and Redman get some help from their dead friend after smoking his ashes, acing their college entrance exams and winding up at Harvard. A goofy stoner classic.

Where to stream: Digital rental

Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)

Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle – Original Theatrical Trailer

In plenty of other stoner-type comedies, Indian- and Korean-Americans are most likely to show up as secondary characters and broad stereotypes—here they’re in the lead. It doesn’t hurt that the movie is pretty damn funny.

Where to stream: Digital rental

Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)

Bubba Ho-Tep (2002) – The Writing On The Wall Scene (3/8) | Movieclips

Bruce Campbell plays an aged Elvis Presley alongside Ossie Davis’ John F. Kennedy in a nursing home plagued by an ancient Egyptian mummy. For that offbeat premise, the movie can be surprisingly moving.

Where to stream: Prime Video, Tubi, Redbox, Pluto

Eating Out (2004)

Eating Out – Trailer

The kick-off to a series, this one’s a convoluted, Three’s Company-esque series of mix-ups involving gay guys pretending to be straight and straight guys pretending to be gay, with the right amount of dorky charm and nudity that this kind of movie needs to succeed.

Where to stream: Tubi

Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

Napoleon Dynamite (2/5) Movie CLIP – I’ve Been Chatting Online with Babes All Day (2004) HD

A fascinating cultural artifact, Napoleon Dynamite was a legit pop sensation for a year or two, and there wasn’t a soul on the planet who didn’t have a take on Jon Heder’s memorable line delivery. All that aside, it’s a cute, funny, and sometimes surprisingly astute take on high-school awkwardness.

Where to stream: Max

Spider-Man (2002)

SPIDER-MAN [2002] – First 10 Minutes

In an era when superhero movies were mercifully fewer and far(ther) between, Sam Raimi’s inaugural Spider-film felt like a revelation: a fast-paced, enjoyably quirky story of a nerd who becomes a hero. Its 2004 sequel was even better.

Where to stream: Netflix, Disney+, Fubo

American Psycho (2000)

American Psycho (2000 Movie) Trailer – Christian Bale, Justin Theroux, Chloe Sevigny

With an over-the-top satirical style, director and co-writer Mary Harron came to mock and bury misogyny, not to praise it. And yet still some audiences came away thinking that Christian Bale’s Patrick Bateman was a cool guy.

Where to stream: Peacock

Super Troopers (2001)

Super Troopers (2002) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers

A movie of patchwork scenes that somehow birthed not only a bevy of in-jokes but a couple of decades worth of sequels and side-quels (Super Troopers 2, Beerfest, Club Dread, The Slammin’ Salmon, etc.).

Where to stream: Starz

Cinderella Man (2005)

Cinderella Man (2005) Official Trailer #2 – Renée Zellweger, Russell Crowe Movie HD

Teamed with Russell Crowe, director Ron Howard was at his crowd-pleasing best with this film inspired by real-life Cinderella Man, James J. Braddock.

Where to stream: Netflix

Mulholland Drive (2001)

Mulholland Drive | Official Trailer | Starring Naomi Watts

This love/hate letter to Hollywood has come to be (justly) regarded as one of director David Lynch’s best, and most oddly crowd-pleasing, works: an L.A. noir about murder and obsession and a blue box that’s very significant of, well, something or other.

Where to stream: Paramount+, Showtime, Fubo

Lost in Translation (2003)

Lost in Translation | Scarlett Johansson & Bill Murray’s Wild Night in Tokyo

A declining American movie star in the midst of a midlife crisis and a young grad student facing a similarly uncertain future meet while staying at an upscale hotel in Tokyo. The movie that cemented director Sofia Coppola’s spot in the filmmaker pantheon.

Where to stream: Netflix

Drumline (2002)

DRUMLINE 2002 – In The Stone Scene (Earth, Wind and Fire) HD 1080p

A classic comedy-drama set in the high-stakes world of college marching bands, starring Nick Cannon as a guy with more talent than social skills.

Where to stream: Starz

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers

A movie musical about a gender-queer punk rocker with a title referring to the results of a botched gender affirmation procedure, the movie has a huge heart and a score that genuinely rocks.

Where to stream: Digital rental

The Great Debaters (2007)

The Great Debaters (7/11) Movie CLIP – The Time for Justice (2007) HD

Set in 1930 and directed by, and starring, Denzel Washington, this genuinely engaging drama brings inspirational-sports-movie tropes to the more unlikely theme of college debate societies.

Where to stream: Tubi, The Roku Channel, Pluto, Freevee

A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)

A.I. Artificial Intelligence – Official® Trailer [HD]

It’s not necessarily Spielberg’s best-loved film, but this sweet and poignant story of a robot boy (Haley Joel Osment) searching for a family at the end of the world is as heartbreaking as it is humane.

Where to stream: Paramount+, MGM+

Whale Rider (2002)

Whale Rider – TRAILER (2002)

Pai is a 12-year-old Māori girl and the direct descendant of their tribe’s traditional notable ancestor, the Whale Rider—except that, traditionally, women can’t lead. Star Keisha Castle-Hughes became the youngest nominee for a Best Actress Oscar for her open, genuine performance.

Where to stream: Starz, The Roku Channel, Kanopy

Josie and the Pussycats (2001)

Josie and the Pussycats (2001) – Subliminal Messages in Rock Music Scene (2/10) | Movieclips

Josie gained an audience over time because of its goofy charm, but also because it came to feel increasingly more relevant in its satirizing of the crass commercialization of mass entertainment.

Where to stream: Starz

Superbad (2007)

McLovin – Superbad (1/8) Movie CLIP (2007) HD

High school is awkward as hell, and Superbad is another classic of the genre: a movie about two nerds (Michael Cera and Jonah Hill), each looking tohave sex before graduation, but with a surprising amount of heart.

Where to stream: Netflix

Star Trek (2009)

Star Trek – Trailer

J.J. Abrams’ kinda-reboot brought a blockbuster budget to Trek, giving the then-sleeping franchise the kick in the pants it needed to fly into the 21st century.

Where to stream: Paramount+, Hulu

Children of Men (2006)

Children of Men (15th Anniversary) | Rescuing the Earth’s Only Baby from a Warzone

Alfonso Cuarón’s dystopian thriller is a truly great high-concept science fiction film, and offers up as depressingly prescient a vision of the near future as we’ve seen. Still: it’s beautiful, exciting, and often moving.

Where to stream: Prime Video

High Tension (2003)

High Tension 2003 Trailer | Cécile de France | Maïwenn

A slasher movie that kicked the “New French Extremity” genre into high gear, this one doesn’t feel like a cliche. It’s brutal, tense, and uncompromising—even if it doesn’t always make perfect sense.

Where to stream: Prime Video, Freevee, Kanopy

District 9 (2009)

District 9 – Official Trailer (HD)

With parallels to South African apartheid, writer/director Neill Blomkamp crafted the kind of smart, pointed sci-fi film that studios think audiences don’t care for—except that District 9 was a blockbuster, earning many times its budget at the box office.

Where to stream: Prime Video, Freevee, Kanopy

Spirited Away (2001)

Spirited Away – Official Trailer

After her parents are turned into pigs by the witch Yubaba, ten-year-old Chihiro takes a job working in her bathhouse with the hope of finding a way to free them. This might be my favorite Hayao Miyazaki movie, but I say that a lot.

Where to stream: Max

Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005)

Madea funny clip in, “Tyler Perry’s Diary Of A Mad Black Woman.” -Clean Version.

Tyler Perry (who wrote and starred in this one, but didn’t direct) introduced the street-smart Madea, brought over from his stage plays featuring the character. The box office hit kicked off a franchise that’s still going strong.

Where to stream: Digital rental

Avatar (2009)

AVATAR (2009) Trailer | Back In Theatres | Experience It In IMAX®

People like to neg James Cameron’s film (right before buying tickets), but he’s the only director operating at this budget point who can make exactly the movie he wants. There’s something very cool about that, whether you love the finished product or not.

Where to stream: Max, Disney+

Source link


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *