Top 100 Films of the 2000s

As part of the Bit Players launch, we wanted to do something special that might give a little bit the listeners a little bit of a feel for who we are as film watchers, so we decided to count down our favorite films of the 2000s, a decade that largely marks our first days as serious film appreciators. It was a really fun process where we each submitted our own personal top 50 list of the decade and culled together a consensus using those films. What we came up with turned out to be a pretty interesting examination of what we look for and love in films, and the way that our tastes today were shaped by our teen and early adult years as filmwatchers. We hope you enjoy the list as much as we enjoyed making it together, and come to a better understanding of us as a group as you go forward with hopefully listening to more episodes.

As part of the Bit Players launch, we wanted to do something special that might give the listeners a little bit of a feel for who we are as film watchers, so we decided to count down our favorite films of the 2000s, a decade that largely marks our first days as serious film appreciators. It was a really fun process where we each submitted our own personal top 50 list of the decade and culled together a consensus using those films. What we came up with turned out to be a pretty interesting examination of what we look for and love in films, and the way that our tastes today were shaped by our teen and early adult years as filmwatchers. We hope you enjoy the list as much as we enjoyed making it together, and come to a better understanding of us as a group as you go forward with hopefully listening to more episodes.

In addition to the list, you can find some interesting statistics about the breakdown of the films and where things shook out as well as our individual ballots as a way to see where our tastes might veer off from one another.

300
100. 300 (2006)
Director
Zack Snyder
Stars
Gerard Butler
Lena Headey
David Wenham


The most faithful transfer of images from comic book to screen ever. And yet, still wildly imaginative. Snyder’s approach to green screen exerts a huge influence on fantasy movies for decades to come. I still think that Rodrigo Santoro (of Love Actually fame) watched tapes and tapes of Prince interviews and concerts to get his Xerxes where he wanted it. - Brian Urrutia

Team America
99. Team America: World Police (2004)
Director
Trey Parker
Stars
Trey Parker
Matt Stone
Elle Russ


“Freedom isn’t free. No, there’s a hefty fuckin’ fee.” I’m pretty sure most of the members of the Bit Players saw this movie together. Despite all the comedies we ranked ahead of this one, I think many of us might agree that this truly could be the funniest movie of the decade. “Sorry babe, looks like this is a one way ticket.” - Anders Oster

Let the Right One In
98. Let the Right One In (2008)
Director
Tomas Alfredson
Stars
Kåre Hedebrant
Lina Leandersson
Per Ragnar


Let the Right One In is one of the absolute best horror movies I've ever seen. Another one of those that understands what it is and is capable of doing, and understands the principle of the fear of the unknown. The most amazing parts of this film are largely left up to the viewer to imagine, and the film's climax (which is easily one of the best scenes of all-time) plays on that principle to perfection, leaving the viewer's eye on an image of relative piece in the middle, with the main character's eyes closed to the world around him fallen into utter chaos. Fucking beautiful. - Jeff Pearson

Elephant
97. Elephant (2003)
Director
Gus Van Sant
Stars
Elias McConnell
Alex Frost
Eric Deulen


Beautiful and deeply unnerving. It isn’t easy to watch, but this one will stay with you. - Jarryd Baxter

Monsters, Inc.
96. Monsters, Inc. (2001)
Director
Pete Docter & David Silverman
Stars
Billy Crystal
John Goodman
Mary Gibbs


Great comedic duo… or greatest comedic duo? - JB

Taken
95. Taken (2008)
Director
Pierre Morel
Stars
Liam Neeson
Maggie Grace
Famke Janssen


Liam Neesons is my shiiiiiiiit!!!!! - Clark Carmichael

Death At a Funeral
94. Death at a Funeral (2007)
Director
Frank Oz
Stars
Matthew Macfadyen
Peter Dinklage
Ewen Bremmer


This was one of Jenna's favorite movies and all I knew of it was that Chris Rock made a remake of it. Everyone. See. This. It is absolutely hysterical. Tyrion Lannister as the deceased gay lover come to wreck the funeral, the pirate from Dodgeball wandering around on psychedelics, it's got everything. Executed perfectly, too. - JP

Superman Returns
93. Superman Returns (2006)
Director
Bryan Singer
Stars
Brandon Routh
Kevin Spacey
Kate Bosworth


I never understood why this movie didn’t do better. I’m kind of comforted to know that Quentin Tarantino called it one of his favorite movies of all time. I thought Brandon Routh was perfection as Superman and Clark Kent. People called his performance flat and uninspiring but I’m not sure they’ve ever read a Superman comic. Notwithstanding his own portrayal of Supes, the movie offers a great Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor and a really good “that kid from Jungle 2 Jungle” as Jimmy Olsen. - BU

Gone Baby Gone
92. Gone Baby Gone (2007)
Director
Ben Affleck
Stars
Morgan Freeman
Ed Harris
Casey Affleck


Affleck directing Affleck. Couldn't be better. I think this is one of the more underrated films of the 2000s, if only because none of you bozos included it on your lists. Ben Affleck has only ever proven himself to be a fantastic director since, and this is where he first showed signs of brilliance. - JP

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
91. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
Director
Alfonso Cuarón
Stars
Daniel Radcliffe
Emma Watson
Rupert Grint


Cuarón puts the perfect feel into this movie and helps further set the darker and more adult themes that Goblet of Fire ushered in. - CC

I think you guys are nuts for not having Prisoner of Azkaban as the highest ranked Harry Potter film. - JP

Catch Me If You Can
90. Catch Me if You Can (2002)
Director
Steven Spielberg
Stars
Leonardo DiCaprio
Tom Hanks
Christopher Walken


This is the true story of Frank Abagnale Jr. played by Leonardo DiCaprio. Steven Spielberg is pretty much a sure thing if you’re looking for a fun movie and this movie fits the mold. Abagnale was a famous con artist who goes on adventures around the world as an airline pilot, doctor, lawyer, etc. Tom Hanks plays Carl, the FBI agent chasing him every step of the way, and Christopher Walken does a terrific job playing Frank Abagnale Sr. I just remember this movie being so much fun to watch and being moved by the relationship between Leo and Walken’s characters, and also the friendship between Leo and T. Hanks’ characters. A great feel good movie. Or a good feel great movie. I’m not sure which is better. John Williams provides a perfect score as always. - AO

Hot Fuzz
89. Hot Fuzz (2007)
Director
Edgar Wright
Stars
Simon Pegg
Nick Frost
Martin Freeman


The team of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost perhaps at their best. It doesn't have the cultural pull that Shaun of the Dead has, but for my money it has more laughs. The constant references to the classic action flicks (Point Break, "You ain't seen Bad Boys II?!") never stop being funny, especially when the film goes all meta and actually incorporates those moments into itself seamlessly. Plus there are just these hilariously gruesome deaths that will have you cringing, which is always a plus. - JP

Sideways
88. Sideways (2004)
Director
Alexander Payne
Stars
Paul Giamatti
Thomas Haden Church
Virginia Madsen


Sideways is most definitely the best movie about wine starring the dude from Wings. - JP

The Fountain
87. The Fountain (2006)
Director
Darren Aronofsky
Stars
Hugh Jackman
Rachel Weisz
Sean Patrick Thomas


For most this is a love or hate kind of movie. I decided to watch it after liking other Aronofsky flicks. It's the kind of movie I wouldn't normally like. Little convoluted, lotta beautiful. Gotta be in the right mood for sure, but the payoff is huge. - CC

Y Tu Mama Tambien
86. Y Tu Mamá También (2001)
Director
Alfonso Cuarón
Stars
Maribel Verdú
Gael García Bernal
Daniel Giménez Cacho


Cuarón’s beautiful tale of self exploration makes us all feel young again. - JB

Good Night, and Good Luck.
85. Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005)
Director
George Clooney
Stars
David Strathairn
George Clooney
Patricia Clarkson


Clooney directing a movie about the difficult moral situations of newscasters sounds a bit dry but he surprises as a director just as he does as a voice actor. Given the state of news networks now, Clooney seems to understand all the nuances and pitfalls newsmen face in a historical dimension, not just a problem facing our generation. The movie is about Communism and McCarthyism and Clooney gives an even-handed take. David Strathairn should’ve gotten an award. - BU

Spider-Man
84. Spider-Man (2002)
Director
Sam Raimi
Stars
Tobey Maguire
Kirsten Dunst
Willem Dafoe


I treat these movies as kind of isolated from the larger Marvel boom. I think they feel more like 1990s super hero movies (the Batmans). Anyways, this movie is about Dafoe. All super hero movies seem to contain what we may call a small mini-movie of the villain’s origin story. This is one of the best. Clark can sing Dafoe’s praises better than I, but let me just say that watching Norman Osborn talk to himself and subsequently go crazy is genuinely terrifying. J.K. Simmons also perfectly captures newspaper editor J.J Jameson. Maguire sucks. Dunst Sucks. Franco’s aight. - BU

High Fidelity
83. High Fidelity (2000)
Director
Stephen Frears
Stars
John Cusack
Iben Hjejlie
Jack Black


This is a music lover’s paradise that makes you want to organize your own records autobiographically. Jack Black’s rendition of "Let’s Get it On" is flawless. - JB

Makes me feel not so alone in my obsession with making lists, too. - JP

Watchmen
82. Watchmen (2009)
Director
Zack Snyder
Stars
Jackie Earle Haley
Patrick Wilson
Carla Gugino


How this isn't considered a perfect comic book movie is beyond me. It's everything a Watchmen movie could have been. - CC

Best in Show
81. Best in Show (2000)
Director
Christopher Guest
Stars
Fred Willard
Eugene Levy
Catherine O'Hara


Christopher Guest and crew never disappoint. So many scenes in this film just kill me, and it's amazing to know that almost the entire thing is improvised. True geniuses at work in a way that isn't pretentious or challenging; just delightful comedy at a dog show. - JP

KIss Kiss Bang Bang
80. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)
Director
Shane Black
Stars
Robert Downey Jr.
Val Kilmer
Michelle Monaghan


A secretly amazing throwback caper comedy starring RDJ, a flamboyantly gay Val Kilmer, and sharp-as-a-whip Michelle Monaghan to retort Downey's sarcasm? Yes please. - CC

Love Actually
79. Love Actually (2003)
Director
Richard Curtis
Stars
Hugh Grant
Martine McCutcheon
Liam Neeson


This flies the flag for the rom-com 2.0’s of the '00s. Probably one of the first movies I saw use the converging story lines technique and hence my appreciation. I love the movie because it’s uncompromising. A heavy but heartfelt delivery comes with every story. Most of them begin from heartbreaking premises that weirdly never resolve but are only made bearable by love. It’s a hallmarky movie but done pretty well. - BU

Love Actually is such a sleeper Christmas flick too. It's a must-watch every year. "I feel it in my fingers / I feel it in my...toes." - JP

The Village
78. The Village (2004)
Director
M. Night Shyamalan
Stars
Sigourney Weaver
William Hurt
Joaquin Phoenix


M. Night’s most underrated work of art. This movie is so beautifully haunting in every scene. The sound is perfect. - JB

Closer
77. Closer (2004)
Director
Mike Nichols
Stars
Natalie Portman
Jude Law
Clive Owen


This crew puts on an acting clinic. - JB

A Single Man
76. A Single Man (2009)
Director
Tom Ford
Stars
Colin Firth
Julianne Moore
Matthew Goode


I didn’t learn that the director for this movie was a fashion designer named Tom Ford until after this movie. It’s actually a one-off directing performance for him, which really leaves me wondering if he’ll return because this movie is stunning. The story is touching and beatific in its sadness. It begins on the day that Firth’s character plans to kill himself though a hot young Nicholas Hoult convinces him otherwise. I think Firth’s ‘scar for A King's Speech was actually a “sorry we forgot you for A Single Man.” The colors are warm and the cast is full of beautiful people. I hope Ford does more movies. - BU

Revolutionary Road
75. Revolutionary Road (2008)
Director
Sam Mendes
Stars
Leonardo DiCaprio
Kate Winslet
Christopher Fitzgerald


Leo, Winslet, Shannon, Bates. Why nobody else submitted this film in their list is beyond me. Maybe this is the most underrated one. Nobody does the tragedy of the American dream quite like Mendes, and this one’s better than American Beauty. It rocked me to the core. - JB

In Bruges
74. In Bruges (2008)
Director
Martin McDonagh
Stars
Colin Farrell
Brendan Gleeson
Ciarán Hinds


Ralph Fiennes and Brendan Gleeson are definitely the ones that make this hilarious mob movie something special. - CC

Anchorman
73. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
Director
Adam McKay
Stars
Will Ferrell
Christina Applegate
Steve Carell


Probably the most consistently quotable films on the entire list. I'll spend my entire life trying to pretend the sequel never existed. - JP

Elf
72. Elf (2003)
Director
Jon Favreau
Stars
Will Ferrell
James Caan
Bob Newhart


Christmas movies are such an interesting anomaly when it comes to these kinds of lists. Like, I feel that they kind of get taken for granted. Elf is probably the movie that I ultimately watch more than any of these, since it has become such a holiday staple for me and my family. I still remember actually seeing School of Rock in the theatres, and Bax happened to be there with some other people. He told me after that he had never heard anyone laugh as hard as I did when that Elf trailer played. Just Will Ferrell, all crammed in that little desk in his tights surrounded by elves. Kills me. - JP

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
71. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
Director
David Fincher
Stars
Brad Pitt
Cate Blanchett
Tilda Swinton


Not sure why this movie doesn't get more love. It uses a unique idea to make a compelling love story and is a beautiful film. In another universe this film wins best picture and is a cultural sensation. - CC

Forgetting Sarah Marshall
70. Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)
Director
Nicholas Stoller
Stars
Kristen Bell
Jason Segel
Paul Rudd


This was the third of four Apatow-produced movies in the top 25 of my 2000s list. It stars Jason Segel, Kristen Bell, the pot sweetener Mila Kunis, and Russell Brand in the funniest movie of all time about getting over a breakup. This movie includes a CSI spoof TV show starring Billy Baldwin, a hilarious vampire puppet musical, and a very funny supporting cast including Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Jack McBrayer, Jonah Hill, and Paul Rudd. Paul Rudd deserves a shout out for being probably the funniest character of the movie despite having nothing to do with the actual plot. “Nope, too slow, do less.” - AO

Shaun of the Dead
69. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Director
Edgar Wright
Stars
Simon Pegg
Nick Frost
Kate Ashfield


"You've got red on you." I think what makes this film so great is that it walks the line between horror and comedy so, so well. It's a step away from becoming one of the best zombie films of all time for how well-made it is, but you're always able to stay leaned back in your seat and relaxed because you know the stakes are ultimately those of a comedy film. The Queen scene is the stuff dreams are made of. - JP

28 Days Later
68. 28 Days Later... (2002)
Director
Danny Boyle
Stars
Cillian Murphy
Naomie Harris
Christopher Eccleston


I think this was probably one of my earliest instances of becoming enamored with horror. Danny Boyle pulls this film off in stripping it down to its bare basics; he proves that a film doesn't need a massive budget or premise to have a deep impact. The way that the rage virus all around Jim ultimately serves to infect him and force him to resort to letting that rage take over in the mansion at the end is incredible. One of my favorites scenes of the decade. - JP

Lucky Number Slevin
67. Lucky Number Slevin (2006)
Director
Paul McGuigan
Stars
Josh Hartnett
Ben Kingsley
Morgan Freeman


This is another one of those unbelievably underrated movies. It’s also the type of movie that requires you to really pay attention. If you’re talking or trying to get some work done while watching, you’re likely to miss something important. The opening 15 minutes of the movie are confusing, funny, and tragic, and they set the basis for the rest of the movie before it has really even begun. I would describe this movie as a crime, mystery drama with a lot of humor thrown in. You’ll spend most of the movie trying to figure out what’s going on, but the resolution will satisfy all of your questions. One of my favorite movies of the decade and one I love watching with other people who haven’t seen it. Josh Hartnett, Lucy Liu, Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, and Ben Kingsley are the stars of a great cast. Enjoy this Kansas City Shuffle. - AO

Gone in Sixty Seconds
66. Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000)
Director
Dominic Sena
Stars
Nicolas Cage
Angelina Jolie
Giovanni Ribisi


In '95 Cage wins a ‘scar for Leaving Las Vegas; '96 The Rock; '97 Con Air and Face/Off; '98 City of Angels (Soundtrack featuring the Goog); '99 Snake Eyes; and then this gem of a car movie. My point is that this Nic Cage is at “first-run-with-Bulls Michael Jordan” level of control of his game here. He’s seemed to always have mass appeal, but—and maybe it’s just because I was young—I get the feeling that people still took him seriously here. He wasn’t yet a caricature of himself. Anyways this movie totally evokes the culture that will be obsessed with Grand Theft Auto and thus earned a spot on my list. The Shelby Mustang at the end of the movie is worth all the build up. Nic Cage basically has a sexual experience with it. Very funny now, somehow seemed appropriate then. - BU

Blow
65. Blow (2001)
Director
Ted Demme
Stars
Johnny Depp
Penélope Cruz
Franka Potente


Johnny Depp makes self-destruction cool. Throughout the movie you almost find yourself admiring Depp’s Jung and his quest to become the cocaine lord almighty. The scene where we walks off a plane while “Black Betty” blasts is particularly blame-worthy. As mesmerizing as he is, though, the whole cast is remarkable. Paul Reubens and Jordi Mollà again help in adding charm to the image of Jung’s life, while Penelope Cruz plays the beautiful-but-terrible-but….-beautiful wife. At the end of the movie they show a picture of the real life and really incarcerated George Jung and it’s a comedown that sends me rushing back to the beginning to share in his highs again. - BU

The Mummy Returns
64. The Mummy Returns (2001)
Director
Stephen Sommers
Stars
Brendan Fraser
Rachel Weisz
John Hannah


Probably the best very average run of the mill one-dimensional action movie of the decade. These kinds of movies come out once a year and find eternal life on weekend afternoons on USA. Even though the premise of the movie states that mummification actually works, I was surprised to see The Mummy Returns at my box office. Worked at Carmike that summer; Saw it free dozens of times. - BU

Before Sunset
63. Before Sunset (2004)
Director
Richard Linklater
Stars
Ethan Hawke
Julie Delpy


Perfectly written script executed by two actors at the top of their game. It’s hard not to fall in love again with Hawke and Delpy, nine years later. I only recently saw this movie, and immediately watched it again after the first viewing. - JB

Serenity
62. Serenity (2005)
Director
Joss Whedon
Stars
Nathan Fillion
Gina Torres
Chiwetel Ejiofor


This is an incredibly underrated movie in my opinion. It serves as the finale of the cult TV show, Firefly, created by Joss Whedon. I don’t know if I loved this movie so much because I was already familiar with and attached to the characters from the show, but this movie blew me away when I saw it, and continues to have major rewatch value. The characters are what make this series and movie so great, but on top of that, it has a very clever and humorous script. Independent of the show, this is still one of the best science fiction movies of the decade. “I am a leaf on the wind.” - AO

O Brother Where Art Thou
61. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
Director
The Coen Brothers
Stars
George Clooney
John Turturro
Tim Blake Nelson


"Damn! We're in a tight spot!" I can't believe at least Brian didn't have this one ranked. I mean, come on, it's based on the Odyssey! And it has folk music! - JP

Snatch
60. Snatch. (2000)
Director
Guy Ritchie
Stars
Jason Statham
Brad Pitt
Benicio Del Toro


This movie has about 5 or 6 different sets of unique and interesting characters, each with different storylines that are stitched together perfectly by the end of the movie. Brad Pitt as a Pikey, bare-knuckle boxing champ is one of the coolest characters you’ll ever see in a movie. This movie is hilarious, fast-paced, and smart. Guy Ritchie just knows how to make cool movies and this is my favorite of his. The dog and rabbit chase scene, any scene with the Pikeys, all of Brad Pitt’s boxing scenes, the car crash scene, the replica gun scene with Bullet-Tooth Tony, and of course the amazing finale are some of the best scenes of the movie. - AO

City-of-God
59. City of God (2002)
Director
Fernando Meirelles & Kátia Lund
Stars
Alexandre Rodrigues
Matheus Nachtergaele
Leandro Firmino


Just one of the grittiest film experiences one can have. The soundtrack is fucking incredible, too. - JP

The Hurt Locker
58. The Hurt Locker (2008)
Director
Kathryn Bigelow
Stars
Jeremy Renner
Anthony Mackie
Brian Geraghty


The best war movie in recent memory, but much more than that. This one answers the question we keep asking; yes, Jeremy Renner actually can act. The grocery store scene is a sobering one that will stick with you. - JB

Signs
57. Signs (2002)
Director
M. Night Shyamalan
Stars
Mel Gibson
Joaquin Phoenix
Rory Culkin


This is my favorite movie from one of my favorite directors. The three note motif throughout shows how much can be achieved by using so little (however I suppose this was first perfected with Jaws). I’m glad we all were able to enjoy Mel Gibson’s (brief) return to form. - JB

Ray
56. Ray (2004)
Director
Taylor Hackford
Stars
Jamie Foxx
Regina King
Kerry Washington


This is mostly personal for me. Ray Charles is my favorite singer and I was so impressed that Jamie Foxx captured not only his singing voice but also Ray’s speaking voice (though they often appear to be the same). The Academy was impressed too, evidently. I think Foxx effectively stole a five point “Oscar previous win multiplier” from Joaquin Phoenix and All The Wayans by beating him to the punch in this rockstar biopic by essentially doing Ray a year prior to Walk the Line. Curtis Armstrong also plays a record producer and captures exactly what I imagine was the relationship between nerdy white A&R guys and the genius of Ray Charles. - BU

Iron Man
55. Iron Man (2008)
Director
Jon Favreau
Stars
Robert Downey Jr.
Gwyneth Paltrow
Terrence Howard


Getting RDJ was the smartest move the powers that be at Marvel ever approved. Saying this movie is about anything else besides his performance is kind of crazy. They really seem to give him free reign right from this first movie. Good acting is often noted by the saying “So-and-so became her character” but here it’s really Tony Stark who revealed himself to be RDJ all along. Want to measure his impact? In some comics now, they draw Tony Stark to look like RDJ. - BU

Pineapple Express
54. Pineapple Express (2008)
Director
David Gordon Green
Stars
Seth Rogen
James Franco
Gary Cole


This is maybe the most rewatchable comedy of the decade for me. James Franco goes from showing off his considerable dramatic chops as the Green Goblin in the Spider-Man franchise, to Saul Silver, a friendly, harmless pot dealer, and one of the funniest characters of the decade. Danny McBride’s character, is another hilarious character who steals every scene he’s in. These two and Rogen have to go into hiding after Rogen’s character, Dale accidentally witnesses the town’s most powerful drug lord murder someone. “A cop, a lady, and a guy? That’s like a massacre.” - AO

Gladiator
53. Gladiator (2000)
Director
Ridley Scott
Stars
Russell Crowe
Joaquin Phoenix
Connie Nielsen


I remember Stephen, Jeff, Blake and I watching this movie constantly but it could have just as well been me, alone, stomping around my room reciting, “My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North...” It’s the reason I love Ridley Scott movies. Russell Crowe is perfect in this role and I’m not sure how he was an underdog going into the Oscars that year. Blowhard classicists will tell you how factually inaccurate it is and blah-blah, but I still think Scott understands the Colosseum and illustrates the costs of Rome, as an idea and place, beautifully. - BU

Mission: Impossible III
52. Mission: Impossible III (2006)
Director
J.J. Abrams
Stars
Tom Cruise
Michelle Monaghan
Ving Rhames


It shocked the shit out of me that only Geri and I had this on our lists. It’s Abrams directing, Cruise cruising, and PS Hoffman as villain. Even though I know it’s not Julia who Davian kills, I still get anxious. Without Abrams & Co., this could have been your very average run of the mill one-dimensional action movie. - BU

Up in the Air
51. Up in the Air (2009)
Director
Jason Reitman
Stars
George Clooney
Vera Farmiga
Anna Kendrick


Given the collective response, I believe this may be the most underrated movie on our list. I haven’t been too impressed with Reitman’s other stuff, but this movie is darn close to perfect. Clooney and Kendrick are fantastic, giving us all advice on love, family, and what truly matters. - JB
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