Flash back to the early '00s when low-rise jeans were the norm and pop stars ruled the world. This time period, while beloved for its fashion trends and infectious tunes, also brought a slew of films… both memorable and forgettable. Join Wonderwall.com as we explore our definitive list of early aughts films you probably forgot about… starting with "The Perfect Score." Oh, to be a high school senior! While your college years are often praised as being some of the best of your life, there's nothing more daunting than taking a standardized test that'll determine where you'll spend said years. "The Perfect Score," which hit theaters in 2004, follows a group of unlikely allies who band together to attempt to do one of the riskiest (and dumbest) things possible: steal the SAT questions. Starring Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans, Bryan Greenberg, Erika Christensen, Darius Miles and Leonardo Nam, "The Perfect Score" was both a teen comedy and a heist film, which made it kind of cool but also kind of odd. It's very much a "suspension of disbelief" kind of movie and its unrealistic subject matter probably lent to its forgetfulness. Nevertheless, the featured song "Everything" by Canadian pop star Fefe Dobson (remember her?) was an absolute bop. Keep reading for more…
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Sure, Jennifer Garner was incredible as Sydney Bristow on "Alias," but what about that time she played a 13-year-old girl in a 30-year-old woman's body? In 2004's "13 Going on 30," Jennifer starred as Jenna Rink, a teen who one day wakes up as her 30-year-old self. Her life is seemingly perfect — until she realizes that underneath all the prestige of her big-time magazine editor job, she's actually a pretty awful person. The flick also stars an adorable, pre-Marvel Cinematic Universe Mark Ruffalo as Jenna's love interest and the always delightful Judy Greer as Jenna's closest frenemy. Early '00s, New York City, and "Why Can't I?" by Liz Phair? There are few better things.
This one is so bad it's actually kind of good. Led by Shane West and James Franco, 2000's "Whatever It Takes" follows two high schoolers — one popular and one not-so-popular — who agree to help each other gain the affection of their respective crushes. Of course, they begin to realize that it's possible they've gone after the wrong girls. For his portrayal of insufferable jock Chris Campbell, James took home the 2000 Teen Choice Award for "choice sleazebag in a film" (yes, that was a real category). Shane and James went on to star in many more movies throughout the '00s ("A Walk to Remember," anyone?), and "Whatever It Takes" ranks low on their list of memorable flicks. Also, it received a 20% score on Metacritic, so there's that.
Remember when Sarah Dessen books were all the rage? The 2003 romantic comedy "How to Deal" is based on two very popular Dessen works: "Summer" and "Someone Like You." The film stars a young Mandy Moore (fresh off her starring role in "A Walk to Remember") as Halley Martin, a teenage girl disillusioned by love. Between her divorced father's relationship with a noticeably younger woman and her sister's impending marriage to someone who isn't the man of her dreams, Halley's sworn off all matters of the heart — that is, until she meets misunderstood outcast Macon (Trent Ford). Mandy's acting career really took off in the early '00s, though this one isn't widely remembered in her filmography. A nice surprise in the film, though? Allison Janney plays Halley's mother.
2002's "Blue Crush" was the kind of movie that had you jonesing to move to Hawaii, rent a beach shack with your best friends and surf until sunset. Starring Kate Bosworth as Anne Marie, a hotel housekeeper by morning and promising pro surfer by day, the film follows her life leading up to the Rip Masters surf competition. Surfing, her kid sister and her friends are basically her entire world — until she meets dreamy pro football player Matt Tollman (Matthew Davis). The sports drama isn't without its epic moments, but it does delve deep into the melodrama.
Ashton Kutcher has appeared in a ton of great projects from "That '70s Show" to "Two and a Half Men" to "The Ranch." He has also, however, been in a handful of films that aren't as memorable… like "The Butterfly Effect." The thriller, which debuted in 2004, tells the story of Evan Treborn, a college student who has the unique ability to travel back in time and revisit painful scenarios from his youth and alter painful moments in his friends' childhoods. What he learns, of course, is that such alterations cause a butterfly effect — one small change that results in larger, more dangerous consequences.
It's not ideal: Every time your mom goes through a messy breakup, your entire life is uprooted. In 2005's "The Perfect Man," Hilary Duff stars as Holly, a teenager who's fed up with moving every time her mom's love life takes a turn for the worse. Her solution? To create a fake dating profile and correspond with her mom (Heather Locklear) under the guise of the perfect man. Things are smooth sailing initially, and Holly even begins her own romance with a classmate (Ben Feldman)… but the further into the lie she gets, the more complicated it all becomes. Hilary was the undisputed queen of teen rom-coms at the time (sorry, Lindsay Lohan), and with a filmography that includes "A Cinderella Story" and "The Lizzie McGuire Movie," it makes sense that this one got lost in the mix.
"Friday Night Lights" makes our list because it's an exceptional film that was overshadowed by the also exceptional NBC series it inspired. The 2004 sports drama, which is set in a small Texas town, is based on the true story of the 1988 Permian High School Panthers football team as they vied for the state championship. The film starring Billy Bob Thornton, Derek Luke, Jay Hernandez, Lucas Black, Garrett Hedlund and Tim McGraw was praised for its heartfelt depiction of the sport and the passionate of the young men that play it. Amplified by a poignant soundtrack that includes music from Texas rock band Explosions in the Sky, "Friday Night Lights" is a film worthy of its praise.
This one stirs up all kinds of emotions. Released in 2003, "Just Married" follows the truly disastrous honeymoon of newlyweds Tom (Ashton Kutcher) and Sarah (Brittany Murphy). They come from two completely disparate worlds, and their marriage is already off to a rocky start, but combined with the vehement disapproval of Sarah's wealthy family and her ex-boyfriend's relentless pursuit of a second chance, things go downhill quick. "Just Married" is a quintessential film of the early '00s and features two of the biggest names of the time. Seriously, Ashton and Brittany's chemistry is everything. (Maybe that's why they dated in real life too!)
Be honest, winning a date with your celebrity crush would be the ultimate dream come true, right? Kate Bosworth makes our list once again, this time for her work as Rosalee Futch, a small-town girl who gets the opportunity to go on a date with celebrity Tad Hamilton (Josh Duhamel). As her soft-spoken best friend Pete Monash (Topher Grace) painfully watches her fall for someone who isn't him, we can't help but hope that he'll somehow step up to the plate and win her over. "Win A Date with Tad Hamilton!" hit theaters in 2004 and was a box office bomb — which probably contributes to why people seldom remember it.
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen starred in a slew of iconic films in the early '00s, but there is one in particular that deserves more recognition: 2001's "Holiday in the Sun." In addition to making every tween beg their parents to vacation in the Bahamas, the film also included a performance from a young Megan Fox. Given that the plot revolves around MK and Ashley's characters accidentally stumbling upon a smuggling ring (what?) while simultaneously finding love, the family film is pretty… out there. Weezer's "Island in the Sun" will forever remind us of this movie.
"Fatal Attraction" but for teenagers. "Swimfan," which debuted in 2002, follows charismatic teen Ben Cronin (Jesse Bradford), who has it all: a doting girlfriend, a ton of friends and an impressive athletic scholarship. Life is good for this high school senior — that is, until new girl Madison Bell (Erika Christensen) pursues him romantically. What starts off as simple flirtation quickly escalates into full-blown obsession as Madison vows to eliminate everything and everyone that stands in her way of having Ben. As you'd expect, "Swimfan" makes for a pretty outrageous but unremarkable watch. It earned just a 15% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Ouch.
In 2001, 10 years after his acclaimed mystery-horror series "Twin Peaks" went off the air, David Lynch's surreal neo-noir film "Mulholland Drive" was released. Set in a playfully bizarre Los Angeles, the film focuses on Betty (Naomi Watts), an aspiring actress from the Midwest who comes across an amnesiac car crash victim (Laura Elena Harring) who calls herself Rita. Together, both women try to unravel the mystery of Rita's identity. Dreamy, twisty and at times unsettling, "Mulholland Drive" has been praised as a dark masterpiece.
Oh, Honey. Starring early '00s darling Jessica Alba, 2003's "Honey" focuses on aspiring dancer Honey Daniels as she tries to bring her dreams of being a hip-hop choreographer to fruition. As she struggles to make ends meet, she encounters reputable director Michael Ellis (David Moscow), who offers to help advance her career. However, their business relationship turns dangerous when he begins making inappropriate advances on her. Aside from the actually fun and energetic dance numbers, "Honey" is more of a cliché than anything else.
2005's "Sky High," which stars a young Michael Angarano, follows teenager Will Stronghold, the son of well-respected superheroes The Commander and Jetstream (Kurt Russell and Kelly Preston), who hones his own powers at a superhero high school. Will, a freshman, develops a crush on Gwen (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a sweet senior with technopathy, and the two begin to spend more time together. What we come to realize, however, is that she's way less innocent than she lets on. While it isn't among Disney's most popular flicks, "Sky High" is a superhero coming-of-age story that packs an entertaining punch.
It's a premise we're all too familiar with at this point: a group of friends are, one by one, killed off after temporarily evading death. 2000's "Final Destination," which stars Devon Sawa, Ali Larter, Kerr Smith and Tony Todd, marked the beginning of a long-running, albeit lackluster, five-film horror franchise. There are slasher films that leave an imprint on pop culture, forgotten by practically no one ("Scream"), and then there are slasher films that prove way less impactful… like this one.
Considering the fact it was distributed by Disney's Buena Vista Pictures, it's surprising how mature 2001's "Crazy/Beautiful" is. The teen drama stars Kirsten Dunst as Nicole Oakley, a wealthy, self-destructive teen who sets her sights on Carlos Nuñez, a well-behaved, straight-A student. The Los Angeles teens develop a fiery connection but it's only a matter of time before their disparate approaches to life come to a head. As critic Roger Ebert mused, "Will she lead him into trouble, or will he help her grow up and quiet her demons?" The film approaches adolescence in a way that feels refreshing for its time, which is reason enough to give it a rewatch.
Films are forgotten for many reasons: They weren't promoted enough, they were too niche, they didn't stand out from the crowd… The harsh reality, however, is that sometimes a movie is forgotten for a far simpler reason: It isn't that good. Unfortunately, 2002's "xXx" falls into this category. Starring Vin Diesel as a former extreme sports athlete-turned-undercover agent, the first installment of the film franchise was criticized for its discordant screenplay. Despite going on to become a fairly lucrative franchise, the "xXx" series is also among Hollywood's most forgettable.
Unfortunately, not all Disney animated films are hits — even when they deserve to be. "Treasure Planet," which is based on the Robert Louis Stevenson novel of the same name, focuses on 15-year-old Jim Hawkins (voiced by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who, after discovering a map to a huge treasure trove, embarks on a galaxy-wide adventure. Despite being nominated for best animated feature at the Academy Awards, the 2002 film is considered one of the most expensive box office flops of all time.
It's a babysitter's dream to care for the children of a wealthy couple in a fancy home, right? Not quite. 2006's "When A Stranger Calls" — a remake of the 1979 horror film of the same name — stars Camilla Belle as a babysitter who begins to receive threatening anonymous phone calls. While Fred Walton's original has been deemed a cult classic, this modern take didn't live up to the hype — it earned just a 9% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Picture this: You've just graduated from high school and tonight's graduation party marks the last chance you'll have to profess your love to your longtime crush before you go off to college. What do you do? "Can't Hardly Wait" contemplates this question, as we see Preston Meyers (Ethan Embry) try to muster up the courage to tell beautiful, popular and newly single Amanda Beckett (Jennifer Love Hewitt) how he's felt all these years. It's a quirky and cute rom-com that epitomizes the late '90s and early '00s to absolute perfection. It makes our list because it's that good… and that forgotten.