It's been 20 years since "Gladiator" debuted in theaters on May 5, 2000. The epic drama went on to win five Academy Awards — best picture, best lead actor for star Russell Crowe, best costume design, best sound and best visual effects — and earned a whopping seven more Oscar nominations, including best supporting actor for Joaquin Phoenix, best director for Ridley Scott and best original screenplay. It was also the second highest grossing film of the year! In honor of its big anniversary — and to inspire your next movie night while quarantining at home amid the coronavirus pandemic — Wonderwall.com is taking a look back at more unforgettable films that are turning 20 in 2020. Keep reading for more…
"Mission: Impossible 2" may be the weakest link in the Tom Cruise-led action-spy franchise, but it was still the highest grossing film of the year following its debut on May 24, 2000. And, hey, we wouldn't have the critically acclaimed subsequent installments in the beloved series — which keeps getting better with time — if it hadn't been for "M:I 2." (No, really: Each film has a higher Tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes than its predecessor.)
"Cast Away" closed out a good year for movies when it opened in theaters on Dec. 22, 2000. Tom Hanks won a Golden Globe and scored an Oscar nomination for his work as a FedEx exec stranded on a deserted island after a plane crash in the survival drama, which was the third highest grossing film of the year.
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The movie that started it all! Bryan Singer's "X-Men" debuted on July 14, 2000. The superhero flick spawned a franchise that now includes 13 films, including the upcoming horror movie "The New Mutants." The original "X-Men" is currently streaming on HBO Go.
Critics might not have been charmed by "Miss Congeniality," which debuted on Dec. 22, 2000, but audiences ate it up! Sandra Bullock even scored a Golden Globe nomination for her work as an FBI agent undercover at a beauty pageant.
One of the greatest football films ever made — "Remember the Titans" — debuted on Sept. 29, 2000. Denzel Washington headlined the biographical drama, which also featured Ryan Gosling, Hayden Panettiere, Kate Bosworth, Donald Faison, Kip Pardue, Ethan Suplee and more bold-faced names before they were stars. It's currently streaming on Disney+.
"Almost Famous" might not have slayed the box office, but critics and audiences alike adored the cult dramedy, which debuted on Sept. 22, 2000. Kate Hudson and Frances McDormand both scored Academy Award nominations for their work in the film, which follows an aspiring music journalist (Patrick Fugit) on the road with a fictional '70s rock band. (Kate won a Golden Globe for her performance.) Meanwhile, director Cameron Crowe won the Oscar for best original screenplay for the film, which also won the Golden Globe for best comedy or musical. You can currently stream "Almost Famous" on Showtime.
Mel Gibson brought the Revolutionary War to the big screen in "The Patriot," which opened in theaters on June 28, 2000. The Roland Emmerich-directed drama scored three Oscar nominations: best cinematography, best original score and best sound.
It was a big year for Mel Gibson! He also starred opposite Helen Hunt as a chauvinistic advertising exec who suddenly acquires the ability to hear women's thoughts in the romantic comedy "What Women Want," which debuted on Dec. 15, 2000. Critics might not have been impressed, but that didn't stop the film from banking more than $374 million at the global box office!
One of the most iconic comedies of the aughts came early in the decade: "Meet the Parents" debuted on Oct. 6, 2000. The Ben Stiller movie was a huge hit with critics and audiences alike. It even scored an Oscar nomination for best original song for Randy Newman's "A Fool In Love." Robert De Niro, meanwhile, earned a Golden Globe nomination for his work as an overprotective father terrorizing his adult daughter's boyfriend. "Meet the Parents," by the way, is currently streaming for free online thanks to TBS and TNT.
Julia Roberts won an Academy Award for her performance as the titular legal clerk in the Steven Soderbergh-directed biographical drama "Erin Brockovich," which debuted on March 17, 2000, and scored four more Oscar nominations: best picture, best director, best original screenplay and best supporting actor for Albert Finney as Erin's boss, lawyer Edward L. Masry. "Erin Brockovich" is currently streaming on AMC.com.
Jim Carrey brought The Grinch to life in "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," a live-action adaptation of Dr. Seuss's 1957 kids' book of the same name. The comedy, which you can currently stream on Netflix, debuted on Nov. 17, 2000. In spite of mixed reviews, it was a huge hit at the box office and went on to win the Oscar for best makeup.
Kirsten Dunst and Gabrielle Union headlined the cheerleading masterpiece "Bring It On," which opened in theaters on Aug. 25, 2000. The teen comedy, which spawned several sequels, has developed an extremely dedicated fanbase over the years.
It was clearly a big year for Kirsten Dunst! She also headlined Sofia Coppola's feature film directorial debut, "The Virgin Suicides" — a big-screen adaptation of the 1993 novel of the same name. The well-reviewed high school drama, which debuted on May 19, 2000, achieved cult status over the years. It's currently streaming on Amazon Prime and Kanopy.
Christian Bale brought Patrick Bateman to the big screen in "American Psycho," which opened in theaters on April 14, 2000. Reese Witherspoon, Jared Leto, Justin Theroux, Josh Lucas, Chloë Sevigny and Willem Dafoe rounded out the cast of the satirical psychological thriller, an adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis's 1991 novel of the same name.
Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu brought "Charlie's Angels" to a new generation when they co-starred in the McG-directed reboot, which debuted on Nov. 3, 2000. The action-comedy, which is currently streaming on Hulu, spawned a 2003 sequel, "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle."
Darren Aronofsky earned raves for his work directing "Requiem for a Dream," a disturbing drama about the power of drug addiction that debuted on Dec. 15, 2000. Ellen Burstyn earned Oscar, Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations for her performance in the film, in which Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly and Marlon Wayans also starred. You can stream it on Starz, Hulu, or HBO Go … if you dare.
Nicolas Cage and Angelina Jolie got pulses pounding when they co-starred as car thieves in the cult action flick "Gone in 60 Seconds" — a loose remake of a 1974 film of the same name — which debuted on June 9, 2000.
Another Nic Cage film that performed well that year? "The Family Man." In the holiday dramedy, which opened in theaters on Dec. 22, 2000, the Oscar winner portrays a single investment broker who suddenly wakes up to a different version of his life in which he has a wife (Téa Leoni) and kids. In spite of mixed reviews, "The Family Man" racked up big bucks at the box office.
The highest grossing horror film of the year? That distinction goes to "What Lies Beneath," which debuted on July 21, 2000. Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer headlined the Robert Zemeckis-directed thriller, which is currently streaming on Hulu, Netflix, the Showtime app and CBS All Access.
Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps co-starred as childhood sweethearts and aspiring professional athletes in "Love & Basketball," which opened in theaters on April 21, 2000, and went on to win the Independent Spirit Award for best first screenplay for writer-director Gina Prince-Bythewood. The romantic sports drama earned rave reviews and cult status over the years … even if it didn't exactly sink a three-pointer at the box office.
John Cusack scored a Golden Globe nomination for his work in the cult rom-com "High Fidelity," which debuted on March 31, 2000. Critics and audiences alike adored the big-screen adaptation of Nick Hornby's 1995 novel of the same name. (Earlier this year, Hulu adapted the book in the form of a gender-swapped series starring Zoe Kravitz.)
Leonardo DiCaprio sizzled in Danny Boyle's "The Beach," which debuted on Feb. 11, 2000. He starred as an American tourist who gets in over his head while vacationing in Thailand in the cult adventure-drama movie, which has inspired travelers for the past two decades — even if critics weren't thrilled when it first opened in theaters.
Before he was a household name, Ashton Kutcher co-starred alongside Seann William Scott in one of our all-time favorite stoner comedies, "Dude, Where's My Car?" The low-budget comedy with a sci-fi twist debuted on Dec. 15, 2000, and performed well at the box office in spite of incredibly poor reviews.
Samuel L. Jackson took on the title role in the John Singleton-directed reboot of "Shaft," which debuted on June 16, 2000, bringing the beloved detective of the early '70s to a whole new generation. "Shaft" got yet another reboot in 2019, making it one of the longest running action franchises in Hollywood history. The 2000 installment is currently streaming on Tubi.
"The Emperor's New Groove" — arguably the most underrated Disney animated film — debuted on Dec. 15, 2000. David Spade voices the selfish and spoiled Incan emperor in the cult cartoon, which is currently streaming on Disney+. Fun fact: Sting scored an Oscar nomination for his song from the soundtrack, "My Funny Friend and Me."
There was no fighting the moonlight after "Coyote Ugly" debuted on Aug. 4, 2000. Critics loathed the romantic comedy — which featured Tyra Banks, Piper Perabo, Maria Bello, Bridget Moynahan and Izabella Miko as the beautiful bartenders at a New York City hotspot — but that didn't stop it from building a legion of devoted fans … or from inspiring a real-life franchise of saloons.
Some of the biggest teen stars of the late '90 (Devon Sawa, Ali Larter, Seann William Scott, Kerr Smith and more!) came together for the supernatural horror film "Final Destination," which debuted on March 17, 2000, and spawned a five-film franchise — with a sixth installment reportedly to come sometime in the near future. The movie that started it all is currently streaming on Netflix.
An A-list cast including George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Diane Lane and John C. Reilly assembled for the disaster drama "The Perfect Storm," which debuted on June 30, 2000. The film, which earned Oscar nominations for best sound and best visual effects, wasn't exactly a hit with critics, but it was still one of the highest grossing films of the year. It's currently streaming on AMC's website and through CBS All Access.
Jennifer Lopez starred as a child psychologist trapped within the mind of a serial killer in the deliciously disturbing sci-fi thriller "The Cell," which debuted on Aug. 18, 2000, and is a must-watch for all J.Lo fans! The horror flick actually scored an Oscar nomination for best makeup. You can catch it now on Crackle.
Martin Lawrence brought the laughs as an undercover FBI agent in "Big Momma's House," which debuted on June 2, 2000. Critics might not have been impressed, but the action-comedy movie was a surprise hit at the box office and went on to spawn two sequels.
Geoffrey Rush scored Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for his performance as the Marquis de Sade in the lauded art-house drama "Quills," which shockingly debuted on Christmas Day in 2000. Kate Winslet, Joaquin Phoenix and Michael Caine also starred in the steamy yet psychotic period film, which scored Academy Award nominations for best costume design and best set decoration.
Critics be damned! When "Scary Movie" debuted on July 7, 2000, it didn't just launch a five-film franchise — it also reinvigorated the spoof genre, which was widely popular for the following decade. The comedy is currently streaming on Netflix.
Ethan Hawke brought "Hamlet" to the big screen on June 23, 2000. Kyle MacLachlan, Sam Shepard, Liev Schreiber, Julia Stiles, Bill Murray, Steve Zahn, Jeffrey Wright and Casey Affleck rounded out the cast of the adaptation of Shakespeare's play, which is set in modern New York City.
Jamie Bell made his acting debut as the titular aspiring ballet dancer in "Billy Elliot," which debuted on Nov. 10, 2000. The British drama earned three Oscar nominations: best original screenplay, best director and best supporting actress for Julie Walters as Billy's ballet teacher.
A year after he hit one out of the park with "The Sixth Sense," writer-director M. Night Shyamalan returned with "Unbreakable." Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson co-starred in the superhero thriller, which slayed the box office after it debuted on Nov. 22, 2000. "Unbreakable" — which you can stream on HBO Go — has a legacy no one could've seen coming 20 years ago: It's the first chapter in the "Eastrail 177 Trilogy," which also includes "Split" and "Glass."
Critics might have loathed "Hollow Man," but that didn't stop audiences from turning up in droves to catch Kevin Bacon as the titular villain when the sci-fi horror film debuted on Aug. 4, 2000. The thriller — which is inspired by the H. G. Wells novel "The Invisible Man" — actually scored an Oscar nomination for best visual effects.
The highest grossing animated film of the year? That would be "Dinosaur," which debuted on May 19, 2000. Julianna Margulies, Hayden Panettiere and Alfre Woodard are just a few of the bold-faced names who rounded out the voice cast of the Disney family flick, which is currently streaming on Disney+.
Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton and Harvey Keitel headlined the WWII submarine drama "U-571," which debuted on April 21, 2000, and won the Oscar for best sound editing. It's currently streaming on Hulu and MAX GO.
Michelle Rodriguez shot into the spotlight after making her acting debut in "Girlfight," which debuted on Oct. 6, 2000. She even won the Independent Spirit Award for best debut performance for her work in the lauded boxing drama. "Girlfight" is currently streaming on Crackle and Hulu.
The Christopher Guest-directed mockumentary "Best in Show" delighted critics after it debuted on Oct. 20, 2000. It even scored a Golden Globe nomination for best comedy or musical film. It's currently streaming on Sundance Now.
Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson co-starred as a member of the Chinese Imperial Guard and an American outlaw, respectively, in the hilarious and surprisingly well-reviewed action comedy "Shanghai Noon," which debuted on May 26, 2000, and spawned a 2003 sequel, "Shanghai Knights."
The dance drama "Center Stage" — which marked Zoe Saldana's feature film debut — might not have killed it at the box office, but it still developed a loyal following over the years. It even spawned two sequels! The first installment in the series debuted on May 12, 2000, and is currently streaming on Netflix.
"Chicken Run" slayed at the box office after it debuted on June 23, 2000. Critics adored the British stop-motion animated comedy, which scored a Golden Globe nomination for best comedy or musical film. You can catch it now on Hulu.
Four of Hollywood's finest — Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland and James Garner — teamed up for the NASA crowd-pleaser "Space Cowboys," which debuted on Aug. 4, 2000, and earned an Oscar nomination for best sound editing.
It was the hit comedy no one saw coming: Todd Phillips' "Road Trip," which debuted on May 19, 2000. Rising stars Breckin Meyer, Seann William Scott (yes, he appeared in three major movie projects that year!) and Amy Smart hit the road alongside comedy vets of the '90s like Tom Green, Andy Dick and Horatio Sanz.
One of the most lauded films of the year was the Michael Douglas-led dramedy "Wonder Boys," which debuted on Feb. 25, 2000, but has sadly been mostly forgotten over the years — in spite of the fact that it earned Academy Award nominations for best editing and best adapted screenplay, as well as Golden Globe nominations for best picture and best lead actor. Bob Dylan also took home an Oscar and a Golden Globe for his song from the film, "Things Have Changed." The adaptation of the Michael Chabon novel of the same name is currently streaming on Crackle.
Aaliyah made her feature film debut opposite Jet Li in "Romeo Must Die," which debuted on March 22, 2000. She died the following year, giving this crime-thriller flick unexpected significance. You can check it out on Netflix or Crackle.
Laura Linney earned her first Oscar nomination for her performance as a struggling single mom in the family drama "You Can Count On Me," which debuted on Dec. 22, 2000, and also earned an Academy Award nomination for best original screenplay.
Jeff Bridges and Joan Allen scored Oscar nominations for their work in the political drama "The Contender," which debuted on Oct. 13, 2000.