1. The Squid And The Whale (2005)
Not only is that cast pretty tremendous (Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney, Jessie Eisenberg and Anna Paquin before they were cool) , but the movie, in this dude’s humble opinion, is one of the best movies of the decade. This is the movie that rejuvenated the great career of Noah Baumbach (Greenberg, Frances Ha, Fantastic Mr. Fox), who won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for his work on The Squid And The Whale.
2. Thank You For Smoking (2005)
Thank You For Smoking tells the story of Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart), a smooth-talking tobacco lobbyist, and his various exploits into the world of big tobacco. It received a mixed reception and wasn’t nominated for much of anything, but it’s an incredibly powerful — and highly satirical — look at harmful big-money industries, and the American money machine in general.
3. Finding Forrester
I watched this when I was 12, and thought this was one of the greatest movies ever made. I watched it again recently, and while I definitely enjoy The Departed more than I do Finding Forrester, I think it could still very much be considered a hidden gem.
4. Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
Especially when you look at the direction Adam Sandler’s career has gone, it’s amazing to think the direction his career may have gone if he continued to gravitate towards roles like this one. Paul Thomas Anderson and Sandler come together to create one of the most dark and twisted romantic comedies out there.
5. High Fidelity (2000)
John Cusack was rather tremendous in these sorts of roles. Shame he’s a clear adult now.
6. Kicking And Screaming (2005)
Will Ferrell made about 44,000 movies in the 2000s. Some were great, some were called Blades of Glory, and others were lost in the shuffle. I’m pretty sure a lot of people hated this, but those people clearly didn’t appreciate the value of Juice Box Guy Mike Ditka.
7. The Wrestler (2008)
In addition to being responsible for a great Springsteen song, the wrestler, through an incredibly acting performance from Mickey Rourke, tells the story of an aging wrestler, clinging to his once big-time career despite continuous health problems and a complete decline in notoriety. The Wrestler was critically lauded and made $44 million on a $6 million budget, won two Golden Globes (Rourke for best actor, Springsteen for best song), but came up empty on Oscar night.
8. Grandma’s Boy (2006)
The 2000s was certainly not a dry time for comedies. Grandma’s Boy, however, never really makes it into the pantheon of 2000s comedies — the cult classic about a video game tester who lives with his grandma is often overshadowed by the Hangovers, Anchormans, and Wedding Crashers of the decade.
9. John Q (2002)
The movie is deeply compelling, as is its commentary on the state of the American healthcare system. A great performance from Denzel, and one of the more unique hostage-situation-type movies you’ll ever see.
10. The Informant! (2009)
Very funny, very smart. I saw this movie in theaters and remember being very surprised as to how much every single person in the audience was into it. A unique role from Matt Damon, and certainly one of the most overlooked films he’s done.