10 Movie Events That Shaped the Decade (For Movie Fans)

Published 5 years ago by , Updated January 7th, 2010 at 10:28 pm,

ScreenRant Header 10 Movie Events That Shaped the Decade (For Movie Fans)

We’ve come to the end of 2009, so we thought we’d weigh in with a look back at the first 10 years of the 21st century in the movie world and discuss the various different “events” which shaped the decade. Obviously we can’t cover absolutely everything, but sticking true to our core movie genres on the site, we’re just going to concentrate on the comic-book, sci-fi, action (and so forth) types of movies and take a look at what films had the maximum impact over this decade.

It’s amazing to think that it’s been 10 years since movies like The Matrix, American Beauty and Fight Club (to name but a few) came out in 1999 (check out our 1999 decade highlight, if you haven’t already). A LOT of movies – somewhere in the vicinity of 5,000-6,000 – have been released since then. We’ve had the good, the bad and ugly in that time (much like every other decade, to be fair) – some we’ll look back on as classics in decades to come, and others we’ll probably look back on and wish we could forget about them (most video game adaptations, I’m looking at you).

Behind the scenes we fervently debated which areas we should discuss in this article, and eventually we came up with 10 big ones that will hopefully bring out strong thoughts and opinions from you, our loyal readers.

So without any further ado, here are the 10 events (trends, franchises – call it what you will) that we believe have shaped the decade for the types of movies we all like to revel in around here:


10. The Rise of “The Apatow Comedy”

The 40 Year Old Virgin 570x378 10 Movie Events That Shaped the Decade (For Movie Fans)

Judd Apatow is a producer who’s actually been working since the 90s (did you know he produced the Jim Carrey dark comedy, The Cable Guy, for instance?) but it was in 2005 that we started to see the emergence of “the Apatow comedy,” thanks in large part to The 40 Year Old Virgin. It was a truly hilarious film (I can’t remember ever laughing that much in a theater) but also one with a lot of heart and relatability. Sure, you had your crude sex jokes, but you also had a sweet story at the center, brought to life particularly well by stars Steve Carell and Catherine Keener.

The 40 Year Old Virgin was a smash hit, and it led to a slew of comedies from the Apatow camp, even if (as some people often forget) Apatow himself didn’t direct most of them. Superbad, Knocked Up, Funny People, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Pineapple Express, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story – all big hits with audiences. I don’t personally find all of his movies as hilarious as most people do, but there’s no denying the impact his style has had on the comedy genre. For instance, you’ll often hear people say, “It wasn’t as funny as [insert Apatow comedy here].” And I don’t see any sign of the Apatow comedy train slowing down anytime soon.


9. “Torture-Porn” Horror Takes Over

Saw 570x320 10 Movie Events That Shaped the Decade (For Movie Fans)

In 2004 a fresh horror movie appeared on the scene called: Saw. It was a small, very low budget film that would shape the horror genre from thereafter. It effectively started a genre that we now know as “Torture-Porn.” That is horror films that consist of people being tortured, and we, the audience, get to see it in all its bloody, gory, detail. It’s just ironic that the original Saw has very little actual on-screen gore in it, and is actually a very smart, well-made film for what it is (it’s one I still revisit from time to time).

Unfortunately, it was the torture element that was latched onto by other filmmakers, and all of a sudden we were plagued with torture films; from Eli Roth’s Hostel and Hostel: Part II to the Elisha Cuthbert film Captivity (which was changed half-way through, with entirely new scenes shot in order to heighten the gore factor, out of fear it wouldn’t sell well to audiences otherwise – a weak box office of under $2 million opening weekend showed how bad that idea was). Saw has spawned a franchise consisting of 5 sequels already (with more coming – in 3D no less!) and is really the only torture property (with a heart of gold?) that still makes decent money. How much longer can this trend that we’ve seen grow wildly go on? Will it still be as prolific – if around at all - in a decade’s time?

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  1. awesome article. im glad you mentioned the matrix and jones, good stuff.

  2. you miss bourne movies like 007, taken, etc…

  3. Excellent list – very insightful.

    Curious about the omissions of the Harry Potter and Twilight franchises, though. I think there should have been one more item included on the list to cover the new teen book/movie franchise machine, which I think is going to have an enormous impact on movie studio strategy in the future.

  4. Here’s to the next 10 years of great films at the Cinema!

  5. Lord of the Rings! Woot woot!

  6. Die Hard 4 should have gotten an honorable mention in The Long Wait is Over section :)

  7. I think the best thing was superhero movies becoming huge! I love it, love it!

  8. great article. I have to disagree on the matrix trilogys I really enjoyed them, They were not as good as the original of course but in my opinion left me satisfied as a whole on the story. In reference to the LOTR im still in awe over them, Ive seen each of them at least 10 times each and they get better after every viewing. It truly amazes me how well they captured the story on to the bigscreen just magnificent in every way. As far as the apatow comedy rise I say thank god fresh air was desperately needed in the comedy genre u cant forget about Todd Phillips though his comedys are amazing as well.

  9. Comic book movies becoming mainstream and maturing is definitely the biggest event/trend of the decade. Hope the next decade is good!

  10. I’ve had this debate with several friends in the past and I’m sure it will be debated here as well but I think it’s a bit unfair to call the Matrix sequels failures. My biggest argument for this is that the first movie was just so mind-blowing and game changing that it really set the bar so high that almost anything following it would have difficulties pleasing the fans. Granted the story wasn’t really built upon in the manner the special effects were, but as a whole if you were to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon with all three movies back to back I doubt you’d be disappointed with the trilogy at the end.

  11. Wow, Ross. Seem to have hit a bit of a nerve on the Matrix, lol. Love the debating though.

  12. I agree about the DieHard 4 being in “The Long Wait is Over” and unlike Crystal Skull, the DieHard4 film was a hit.

    The Matrix was such a sad turn of events. I was one of the few who saw the movie, the inital Matrix, its opening weekend. It had little promotion at the time and when I walked out of the theatre I couldn’t stop talking about it. The thing really was awe-inspiring and thouigh provoking.

    When the sequal hit I was soo excited and when I saw it I wasn’t as disappointed as most but I did feel a litlle let down. It was not until the 3rd film that iot hit me that the brothers clearly lost their way in making these sequels. I did enjoy all 3 films but its clear that parts 2 & 3 don;t even compare to the first one and thats a shame because they could have; the potential to be great sequels was built-in and somehow the brothers dropped the ball.

  13. I agree with Die Hard 4, but only if you watch the unrated version.

    A few trends of my own:

    I feel sorta cheated after being a good little boy and not watching all those Rated-R movies when I was a kid and by the time I get a decade to myself no one wants to do those movies anymore. /sigh

    Another trend, this one in the negative light. This “realistic” method of filming boggles my mind. You’ll spend $150,000.00 putting together all the elements for an awesome car chase, and then never see any damn bit of it. See Bourne 1-3, Taken, Eagle Eye, and to a lesser extend Die Hard and Star Trek.

    Where are the longer shots from the 90s where you could SEE the action instead of considering where you left the vomit bag? To take the cake on this trend? The abomination that was Cloverfield. Barf. Yak. Heave.

  14. @ Ross and Vic

    Maybe you guys should post an atricle where we get to discuss our favorite and not so favorite films from 2000-2009.. I would love to see some of the movies that get posted for that…

    Children of Men
    Pan’s Labrynth
    SPider-man 2
    Batman Begins and TDK
    Iron Man
    The Matrix Trilogy

    Just to name a very small few of my favorite movies from the last 10 years

  15. Glad for the feedback guys: glad you liked the article, even if you disagree with some of the choices! :)


    The reason I didn’t include the new 007 in the “Major Franchises Rebooted” area is that it’s not technically a “reboot” per se – Casino Royale was still the 21st installment in the Bond franchise, not number 1 in a new series.


    Great point about Harry Potter and Twilight, but as I mentioned several times throughout the article, there’s only so much you can include :)

    @Aaron and BlueCollarCritic,

    I didn’t have Die Hard 4 in the “Long Wait Is Over” section as were people really waiting years for a new movie? It didn’t seem like people were saying, “We’ve waited YEARS for a fourth Die Hard!” Sure, once it was announced people were excited but it wasn’t like Indiana Jones where it was getting talked about for almost two decades and EVENTUALLY came along (and disappointed…).

  16. Tremendously spot-on and well crafted list guys!!

    Although I am just a bit upset because I’ve got my list of “Top 10 films of the Decade” coming out on my site next week and they seem to correspond with a good number of the items on this list…man, I thought I was going to be original:P

    Great work!

  17. I’d like to add one thing: Some low budget and/or indie flicks getting distribution is seen as a major step up for “the little guy”. Smaller studios are getting their chance through this. While on the polar opposite (yet related) you have the near collapse of Lionsgate and MGM.

    Ditto too: I’m awaiting Screenrant’s top 10 Best and “bottom 10″ Worst movies of 2009. And a similar list for the decade as well.

  18. I think the Judd Apatow comedy inundation has been a horrible letdown for the fans of well-written comedy. Yes, “The 40-Year Old Virgin” was pretty decent (not awesome by any means), but all the other CRAP that he’s released since then is just that: CRAP. Ooooh, let’s have Seth Rogen making fart and pot jokes, that is SOOOO funny. Please. Apatow has no knack for writing JOKES or making something funny without being gross or vulgar. Mel Brooks he is NOT.

    I agree about LOTR. Probably the biggest cinema event since the original Star Wars trilogy. I eve nbought the extended versions just so I can have MORE LOTR! I can’t wait until I get a chance to watch all 3 again on my widescreen TV with surround sound.

    The “torture-porn” films have to be the worst introduction of the decade, moreso than the remakes and teenie films. How anybody can enjoy that crap is beyond me. Makes me wonder what the heck people are thinking. Amazing that it’s ok to watch someone’s body being hacked to bits, but sexual expression on film is still taboo. Unbelievable.

  19. lol i like how T.D.K was part of numero uno.

    that movie, and yes mentioning it (again) i apologize..
    but movies like that dont come along too often..

    i think this is one of those rare films that will only get greater with time.

  20. The rise of comic book movies is without a doubt the largest trend in this decade’s film history. The explosion looks like it’ll continue into the next decade.

  21. loved the seriouse comics part,super heros go mainstream,remakes,sequels prequels,reboots, and the horror films. now we are entering the 3d trend.

  22. I’d love to read how anyone on this site could have written better sequels to the Matrix,,,

    The majority here on this list are things that went wrong with cinema. Excluding the Matrix and Superhero films getting serious…

  23. to me DISTRIC9 will be the best film of the year and the decade, it tops TDK and avatar and startrek. and everyother film out there

  24. Without a doubt the Matrix saga is one of the biggest movie events of the decade. I remember the hype and anticipation behind the first sequel and the ultimate dissapointmeent I had afterwards. Then teh third cam out and I was done, it was even worse! I woudl go as far as to call teh third matrix terrible. “Neo I believe” is still one of the dumbest lines I have heard of in a movie. The matrix really set the stage with the whole sepcial effects thing and the first WAS my favorite movie as it was to many others but affter the sequels I dont care much for the framchise as a whole. Its a shame though because this could have been one of those big time franchises not its just one of the biggest flops ever

  25. Somehow I still can’t agree with there being much wrong about the two Matrix sequels. To me they weren’t a letdown.

  26. Very well constructed list expect for the Matrix and LOTR, I would have switched them.

    The Lord Of The Rings Sequels Disappoint


    The Matrix – Future of the human race

    I understand that people don’t know of can’t understand the matrix but I spent 4 Days watching and explaining The Matrix universe to my friends uncle, not to mention that my friend now hates me his uncle bought the collectors box and now testifies that The Matrix movies are the best movies ever made.

    So just because an individual can’t understand a movie does not mean they where ever bad or a disappoint.

  27. Ok Im tired of everyone calling Saw Tourture -Porn, there is not one damn breast in any of those flicks that is being tortured.

  28. @ aGeneral

    LOTR Owns Matrix Trilogy like a pimp owns a solicitor street goods

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