Many people point to the 2000s as the new golden age of movies. Who can blame them? It’s become one of the most lucrative industries and some of the most important aspects of movie making were introduced in that time. The difference in things like special effects from 1995 to what they were in 2000 is jaw dropping, and the difference from 2000 to 2010 is indescribable. So many amazing films were release every year in that 10-year span. It was no longer the Academy Awards choice for what movies were better, because each brought something new to the table.
With so many amazing movies, there were bound to be movies we missed. Whether it was because critics decided they didn’t like them so we didn’t go see them, the ticket prices were so high that we had to choose some over others, we didn’t know who the actors were, or there were simply too many other good movies that we forgot about great ones. Here’s our list of the 15 most underrated movies of the 2000s. Feel free to tweet at us with any you feel that we missed and maybe we’ll just make another list.
15. Bad Boys II (2003)
Have you ever looked at Bad Boy II’s Rotten Tomatoes score? It’s 23%. 23%?!?! Bad Boys II is a quintessential buddy cop movie that jump-started Michael Bay’s career and cemented Will Smith as one of the best action stars of the generation. Movie goers loved Bad Boys II despite the fact that a majority of the reviews dubbed it as a movie made completely of “explosions and witless banter.” Yea it might be, but it’s a buddy cop action movie starring Martin Lawrence, we aren’t expecting Shakespeare. Bad Boys II is fantastic (as confirmed in Hot Fuzz), and has received a lot of love from fans, despite how much it was panned by critics. It goes to show how little critics know sometimes. Without this movie we may have never gotten such hits like Transformers! Wait, maybe critics were right then…
14. Munich (2005)
I know what you’re thinking, “How can a movie nominated for Best Picture be on this list?” Well can we finish? Munich was arguably the best movie of the year, but all the attention was focused on the groundbreaking Brokeback Mountian. When Crash stole the Best Picture award that year, all the boo-hooing was over Brokeback being snubbed, and nothing about Munich. The gritty view of Israel’s counterattacks following the massacre at the Munich Olympics has since faded into irrelevancy instead of being heralded as the fantastic movie that it was.
13. Funny People (2009)
Everyone likes to knock Adam Sandler for starring in bad movies consisting of stupid roles and poop jokes. Ok fair, he’s done them a lot. But when he has tried to branch out to other roles, people go up in arms when the movie isn’t full of dumb jokes. That’s what happened with Funny People. This dark comedy was poorly marketed as a light hearted romp starring Sandler and Seth Rogen, so fans were upset when it turned out to be a movie about an over-the-hill comedian who finds out he has cancer (and no real friends). It’s very dark, and it’s very sad. That’s not a bad thing, but many of the 18-year-old Seth Rogan fans hated it as the movie wasn’t what they expected after hits like Knocked Up and Superbad. It’s not surprising that since Sandler gets panned everytime he tries something new (Click, Reign Over Me) that he falls back into old, dumb habits in his movies.
12. Cars (2006)
Everyone has a couple duds, but fans needlessly pan Cars whenever the subject of Pixar’s excellence is brought up in conversation. Yea Cars isn’t Pixar’s best movie, but it’s not like it’s Son of the Mask. Cars has a well thought out, albeit clichéd, plot and loveable characters that teach kids valuable life lessons. At its heart it’s a good kids movie, maybe not as good as Finding Nemo, but hell Spielberg made Twilight Zone: The Movie (we just all collectively agreed to forget about it). How badly cars was received by fans just isn’t fair. It’s fun, it’s cute, and kids love it. People want to bash it and they shouldn’t. Instead of pointing out better things, just enjoy the movie. We promise you will.
11. Stranger than Fiction (2006)
Stranger than Fiction was a delightfully strange movie that suffered by casting the biggest comedy star of the time, Will Ferrell. Ferrell was actually really good in this movie, but it turned so many moviegoers off because they couldn’t imagine the guy from Talledega Nights star in a serious role. Others went expecting to see a comedy, and were disappointed when it wasn’t, but at least they went to see it. There were some funny moments, but this was a drama through and through. Most people really seemed to enjoy this movie, it’s a shame it didn’t receive more mass appreciation.
10. X2: X-Men United (2003)
There were a few things that were – off – in this movie; most notably the forced romances. However it also gave characters like Pyro and Nightcrawler a chance to shine as they were fairly well transitioned from book to film, and the movie successfully had the audience wondering who was right between Magneto and Prof. X, a question the comics often ask. There were excellent twists and the action was overall really enjoyable. It wasn’t until years later that people said the movie was no good, claiming it didn’t match up with the likes of Iron Man or The Dark Knight. Of course it didn’t, those movies were made like 5 years later when CGI had made remarkable advancements. That’s why fight scenes with characters like Lady Deathstrike now look so weird. We can’t forget the incredible jobs by Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, Patrick Stewart as Prof. X and Ian McKellen as Magneto. These guys were powerhouses and had standalone movies based on these performances (never forget, First Class was originally intended to feature Stewart and McKellen). The Last Stand and the Wolverine spinoffs were awful, but don’t get it mistaken, X2 was awesome.
9. Gone Baby Gone (2007)
No one really says bad things about this movie, then again no one says anything about this movie. In 2007 people hated Ben Affleck, so it’s safe to say a lot of people didn’t really care to see his directorial debut, especially considering he chose his little brother, Casey (who had made a career as bit parts in bad movies), to star in it. Now we know that the Affleck brothers are both extremely talented, with Ben being one of the most sought after directors in Hollywood after mega hits The Town and Argo. Gone Baby Gone had a number of fantastic performances, and was based off a book by Dennis Lehane (author of Shutter Island and Mystic River). It was a great movie that deserves more praise from fans.
8. Final Destination (2000)
You don’t get 4 sequels from being a bad movie, even if they were 4 bad sequels. The original Final Destination was a fantastic movie, no matter what the critics say (34% of critics liked it, but 69% of audiences liked it). The plot sounds clichéd now, but back in 2000 it was actually pretty original as death attempts to take revenge on those who cheated it. Like any good horror movie there are some stupid moments, but people need to get over that and just enjoy it for what it is. It should be looked at like Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street, but instead it was destroyed by critics and is now kinda looked at as a joke.
7. Hot Rod (2007)
Hot Rod is possibly the funniest movie ever. It’s witty and clever, all while masquerading as a dumb comedy. Andy Samberg is the genius behind the movie, which should be enough to make people watch it, but it was just too “stupid” for many people. Some critics compared it to Napoleon Dynomite and/or Jackass, claiming that as a negative. There is a reason why both of those movies were insanely popular at one point. This movie is somewhat like if someone crossed Jackass (if the cast wasn’t comprised of insufferable jackasses), with Napoleon Dynomite (if it had a real budget). It’s well scripted by guys like Andy Samberg and Jorma Taccone (the minds behind The Lonely Island) and stars some of the funniest people in comedy (Samberg, Ilsa Fischer, Bill Hader, and Will Arnett). It has the feel of a bunch of friends improving a movie, but doesn’t go off the rails at any point. This is the kind of movie that crashed at the box office, but has developed a huge cult following.
6. Watchmen (2009)
As a comic book fan, Watchmen was incredibly important to me. The book to movie transition could have been seamless, but it wasn’t because Zack Snyder is Zack Snyder. That being said, this movie was a great movie that is often just unrecognized by people. The action was beautifully done, and the score is arguably one of the best ever. The only real issues are the fact that it didn’t stay exactly true to the book, but it’s not like most fans knock the Harry Potter movies for that, and they were way worse about it. The graphic novel was so transcendent for a reason, but people refused to give this movie a chance. Maybe it was because Snyder went out of his way to not cast blockbuster-friendly actors (which we applaud), maybe because comic book fans got mad about the lack of space squids (which we got over), or maybe it’s because it’s so dark and gritty (which is what so many people want).
5. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)
Walk Hard was an incredibly funny movie that really suffered because it came out in 2007. It had to compete with so many great comedies to get fans into the theater. Even Will Ferrell didn’t throw his buddy John C. Reilly a bone by taking a year off as he released the very funny Blades of Glory that year. Teenagers and young adults loved Knocked Up and Superbad, Hot Fuzz changed action comedies forever, Juno was even nominated for best picture. How could a movie that relies on cameos and parodies of almost every musical genius of the past 50 years compete financially? Critics and fans both seemed to like the movie, but it just got lost between the crazy amount of other great movies that were released. If it came out in 2006 with only Talladega Nights and Borat to compete with, this movie might have actually been remembered.
4. Catch Me If You Can (2002)
Yea people seemed to like this movie, but it was never truly appreciated. If this cast were to be announced today, it would automatically win Oscars. The leads together have 10 Oscar nominations and 3 wins, then the supporting cast is comprised of Christopher Walken (2 Oscar nominations, 1 win), and Amy Adams (5 Oscar nominations) in her first major role. Tie that all up with Steven Spielberg directing and you got yourself a hell of a movie. It’s be one thing if this movie just disappointed, but it didn’t. It was absolutely fantastic, but for some reason is best known for the opening sequence. This could easily be looked at as one of the best movies to come out of the early 2000s, but it’s so often forgotten. If you haven’t seen it yet do yourself a favor and go watch the movie.
3. Treasure Planet, Lilo & Stitch, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, and The Emperor’s New Groove (2000-2002)
Disney was trying something new in the early 2000s. After Tarzan received a ton of critical acclaim, the studio decided to try making more movies without true musical numbers. People got mad. It’s hard to really say what people didn’t like about these movies, because no one really went out to see them. People often don’t deal with change well and were already unhappy with Disney from other failed family movies (Doug’s First Movie, Inspector Gadget). However, possibly the biggest obstacle was the animation style. The early 2000s saw amazing changes in animation, with Pixar and DreamWorks were revolutionizing the animation field into what we see today. 3D character models were in, and the 2D movies Disney was parading just weren’t “cool” enough. Shrek and Monster’s Inc. were absolutely killing it, but Disney animation couldn’t keep up. With those kind of movies to entertain fans, people just didn’t care, no matter how good the other movies were. All being fair, Disney followed these four with a string of terrible movies that didn’t stop until 2009 with Princess and the Frog, but these movies should not be lumped in with the likes of Home on the Range and Meet the Robinsons.
2. Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou
When it was released, this movie was just too weird for critics. It was panned and then forgotten. Now that Wes Anderson is a constant Oscar-nominee and his movies are critical darlings, this just seems stupid. For many, Life Aquatic is actually Anderson’s best movie and was just not appreciated in it’s own time. It’s a lot like Fight Club, Donnie Darko, or Citizen Kane; critics would give anything for a do-over on their reviews. Movies like this are the perfect reason why you should go see a movie that interests you no matter what the critics are saying. They get it wrong… a lot.
Critics and fans alike love to hate this movie. Yea Saw is gross, and the sequels are grosser. But it’s also a transcendent movie that popularized an entire genre by itself, a genre that we unfairly dubbed “torture porn.” Saw has one of the best twists in movie history and has some of the best character arcs in any horror movie. For what it is, this movie is perfect; it’s scary, keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat, and has enough of a story plot that we don’t get bored. Sure the sequels got out of hand, but it’s not like sending Jason Voorhees to space was what the original Friday the 13thwas hoping to see. Saw should be looked at as one of the best horror movies of all time, but instead it gets cast aside because the “torture porn” genre is so grating.