I've thought about it long and hard and I've come up with a small list of my favorite movies from the past decade. The 2000's were no 1980's...but there were still some fine films that I've enjoyed quite a bit in the last ten years. Here they are in order of release...
Bring It On (2000) Like any warm-blooded male, I have a special place in my heart for cheerleaders. This comedy has become sort of a cult classic at this point, but I was a fan of it when I saw it in the theater 10 years ago. Funny, energetic and who would have guessed it would have spawned FOUR direct-to-DVD sequels? Oh, also...one of the best closing credit sequences ever!
Best in Show (2000) There's something to be said for a movie that made me a fan of Ed Begley Jr. Christopher Guest's improved look at the world of professional dog shows is some of the best character driven humor you'll ever see. The film boasts an incredible cast of comedic talent like Eugine Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Parker Posey, Bob Balaban, Michael McKean, John Michael Higgins, Jane Lynch, Larry Miller and the amazing Fred Willard.
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001) Before self-referential humor became so common place that my 4 year old son got it, Kevin Smith's ode to his previous four movies was the last great hurrah for making jokes about other movies that you've made. Now that DreamWorks Animations has gotten in on making references to everything else they've already made - I'm kinda over the whole thing.
Monsters, Inc. (2001) Not quite as fondly remembered in the pantheon of Pixar films, I've always ranked this fast paced comedy as my favorite from the folks at Pixar. Billy Crystal's Mike Wazowski and John Goodman's Mike "Sulley" Sullivan make a perfect comedy team. It's one of those rare films that truly takes you to another place and it's funny as all get out in the process.
Lilo & Stitch (2002) The ads for The Princess and The Frog quote a critic as saying it's "the best Disney film since The Lion King." As somewhat of a Disney cartoon expert, I'd have to rank Lilo & Stitch as the best output from the studio in the 2000's. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the movie's Walt Disney World attraction Stitch's Great Escape...which has to be one of the worst ways to spend time in the Magic Kingdom.
Finding Nemo (2003) This is one of those movies that as an adult animation lover and a parent, you just have to let go of and let your kids watch it a million times until you can quote the entire movie. Even after having this film run a million and a half times in our home, I could still sit down and watch the whole thing from beginning to end and be amazed at how wonderful it is in every aspect.
Team America: World Police (2004) A perfect parody of big budget action films and also the strange marionette movies of the 60's. But I think it's inclusion on my list is best explained by the MPAA's official rating classification: Rated R for graphic crude and sexual humor, violent images and strong language - all involving puppets.
Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005) The recent Star Trek movie got a lot of credit (even from me) for hitting the nail right on the head as far as rebooting a classic movie franchise while still paying tribute to the original films. Fully Loaded was Herbie The Love Bug's first time on the big screen in over 20 years and it was just as fantastic and magical as the four films that came before it. Without ignoring the classic films, Herbie rode once again with style, grace, all the same gadgets, sound effects and attitude and squirted oil on the feet of anyone who dared to stand in his way!
Hot Rod (2007) Still an undiscovered jem, this off-beat comedy staring SNL's Andy Samberg and the easy-on-the-eyes Isla Fisher just zeroed in on my personal sense of humor and surprised me with how dead-on funny it was. For those of you with a more refined taste in movies...it also has Academy Award winner Sissy Spacek in it too!
The Simspons Movie (2007) Anyone who is a fan of the television series had waited 18 long years to see The Simpsons on the big screen. In my opinion, it happened at the right time and of course, Homer and family delivered. The Simpsons Movie was the perfect balance of bringing the elements of the TV show to the larger format of the feature film without alienating the spirit of the show but making it edgy enough to make it worth $9 bucks to see in a theatre. This is the ONLY film, in the last 7 or 8 years, that I saw in the theatre and then rewatched immediately when it was released on DVD. Mmmm...DVD!
Strange Wilderness (2008) The title of Stupidest Movie of the 2000's would have to go to Meet The Spartans, but the Stupidest Funny Movie winner is Strange Wilderness. This idiotic movie is so stupid that I laugh uncontrollably through the whole thing. Large chunks of this film are just stock footage of nature with silly voiceovers. Other highlights include a guy vomiting into a shark's mouth, a wild turkey clamping down on another guy's privates, and the accidental death of Bigfoot. This movie doesn't even have an ending. It goes on for about 80 minutes and then in the middle of a scene everyone starts laughing and then the credits just roll. Good stuff!
Here's to the next 10 years of cinema!