I’m creating my movie best-of lists retroactively. See all of them.
As usual with this silly but enjoyable series, I started by consulting my logbook for all the movies from 2000 I’ve seen. That initial list of 36 films had some pretty easy cuts (Men of Honor, My Dog Skip) and plenty of titles I liked but knew were bound to be honorable mentions.
Deciding on my final 10 was probably the easiest time I’ve had doing so in a while. Then again, it required me to cheat for the first time.
On to the list…
2. Return to Me
A personal and family favorite that’s not only underrated as a romantic comedy but also as a Chicago movie.
3. Almost Famous
Kinda surprised this didn’t hit the #2 spot, but that doesn’t negate my love for it as a musician and former journalism student.
4. High Fidelity
Another great Chicago movie, and one that hit me hard when I saw it in college. So much so that I incorporated it into an essay I wrote for a writing class about my (at the time) brief and unsuccessful dating history. To quote Cusack’s Rob Gordon: “I always had one foot out the door, and that prevented me from doing a lot of things, like thinking about my future and… I guess it made more sense to commit to nothing, keep my options open. And that’s suicide. By tiny, tiny increments.”
5. Cast Away
Hard to argue with Russell Crowe winning Best Actor for Gladiator, but Tom Hanks winning his third Oscar for this role as a cap on his decade-long hot streak would have been just as good. (See also: my list of top movie music moments.)
6. Gladiator / The Patriot / Remember the Titans
An unprecedented three-way tie! It had to be done. All are historical epics (that are just barely historical), led by A-list movie stars at their peak, and became the Holy Trinity of time-wasters for lazy social studies teachers during units on Ancient Rome, the Revolutionary War, and Civil Rights respectively. (See also: Fatherhood in The Patriot and Interstellar and Remember the Titans in my top movie music moments.)
7. In the Mood for Love
A gorgeous, transfixing meditation on love, modernity, and the things we don’t say.
8. Best in Show
Of all the indelible moments from this absurdly hilarious mockumentary, “busy bee” sticks out the most.
Throughout middle school I used my Juno email account to send occasional dispatches blurbing the movies and TV I was enjoying at the time to friends, family, my soccer coaches, church family friends—basically whoever I knew who had an email address. (In retrospect they were pretty similar to my Media of the moment series.) All that to say, I remember raving about Frequency in one of those emails. Rewatched it last year and it holds up.
10. The Emperor’s New Groove
If I’m being honest, this spot is mostly for the supporting character Kronk, who elevates the movie from fairly rote Disney animation fare to sublime quotable comedy.
- Charlie’s Angels
- Thirteen Days
- Miss Congeniality
- Meet the Parents
- Erin Brockovich
- Chicken Run
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon