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. A nice Article.

    Personally ‘Matrix Reloaded(2003)’ is my favourite, especially the concept of the Architect controlling the various versions of Neo and Company. Just like we do in Software. Matrix-3 wasn’t a great movie though.

    ‘Pixar’ at that time was a revolution. I love the first ‘Toy-Story(1995)’ and watch it sometimes and never get bored. And who doesn’t love all those terrific movies from Pixar ?

    ‘Lord of the Rings(2001-2003)’ is a LEGEND of a series. Awesome to the T.

    For me, the latest Indiana Jones was just about OK. The real fun were the original prequels.

    The biggest comeback though is undoubtedly of James Cameron’s. As an Indian (Hindu), I was amazed at the especially uncanny resemblance of the Na-Vis to our Gods, Lord Ram and Lord Krishna with the Bows-Arrows and Blue Skin complete. And both Lord Ram and Lord Krishna are considered the Incarnations of the Supreme Deity Lord Vishnu (The Creator). And Incarnation is an English word for the Hindi word …Avatar.

    And I very much grateful to Mr. Nolan. He delivered to me my idol, The Batman, just like I imagined. Gritty, Dark and Awesome… and made perfect by the human imperfections in him. Nolan’s Batman is MY Batman. And I have no words to express my feelings for The Joker that Nolan gave me. The Joker simply blew me away…Seriousssssssssssly. ‘The Dark Knight(2008)’ is one movie I may never get bored of and is the one that puts a smile on my face everytime I watch The Joker gatecrash into the Baddie-meeting. And one necessarily is not a fanboy just because he loves something that has quality in it. I am hoping for Nolan to give me a Bat-movie with Batman at his peak and then one based on the Critically-acclaimed novel ‘The Dark Knight Returns(1986)’ with Stephen Lang as Batman.

    By the way, Personally I felt the absence of some of the revolutionary ones like Shyamalan’s Unbreakable(2000), and Spielberg’s Artificial Intelligence (2001) — The most down-to-earth, Realistic Scientific movie ever made according to me.

    And by the way, could the Super-Actor Denzel Washington’s ‘American Gangster(2007)’ have been classified as an action-flick just for the sake of being included in the list (Even though it is far, far greater than just being classified as a gangster or a action movie) ?

  2. I really object to the title given to the Matrix-sequels … “Dissapoint”(?!!!). I say it again, ‘Matrix Reloaded(2003)’ was as good a movie as anyone could have got. It’s infact one step better.

    Also how can one compare altogether two different genres like LOTR and Matrix?

  3. What about the remake – Peter Jackson’s Awesome, Awesomer, Awesomest ‘KingKong(2005)’? Did it have any influence in the way movies were made post-2005 ?

  4. Great comments Amol. I agree with most of what you said. And to answer your question about King Kong – I don’t think it had influence on really anything after it was released.

  5. Now that I think of it, why do people (all over the world) celebrate the completion of a decade (or a century) at th eend of the 9th/99th/1999th year when there still one more year to go? I can understand the normal people’s excitement to celebrate something, so the haste is understood. But the mathematicians all over the world atleast should have made the people aware that the century was NOT completed at the end of 1999 but the year 2000. So this decade will only be complete only after the year 2010 gets over.

    The only reason I said this because this fact increases the time-window of the decade till the end of year 2010 and I am waiting for the movie…’The Book of Eli(2010)’. It’s something on the lines of some post-apocalyptic theme, is an action movie and is acted in by none other than the heavyweight Denzel Washington. (Another reason for me to wait for the decade to REALLY get completed.) I love Denzel and I have watched all…I mean…ALL his movies (Only One of the three actors whose ALL movies have been watched by me. The other two being – Tom Hanks and Arnold Schwarzenegger).

    Let’s just wait and see what ‘The Book’ brings to the table as an apocalyptic-action movie before we end the decade in a haste.

  6. Your list is so incomplete its not even funny… what a joke

    first of all.. you forgot to mention that SPIDERMAN totally legitimized comics as a mainstream movie…. That movie only BROKE Motion Picture Historical Records for almost every single record it had except total gross, which Titanic still holds… then Spiderman 2 did the same thing! Then Spiderman 3!!! So, its like totally when it comes down to it, how WELL a movie did, as in how much money these movies are bringing in is really what it comes down to.

  7. @WeaponM

    Um, we DID mention the Spider-Man movies. Maybe next time instead of skimming and jumping to critical conclusions you might actually READ the article you’re criticizing.


  8. While we are being so thankful towards Pixar, let no one forget where Pixar came from, they were part of the CGI division at Lucasfilm, set up by George Lucas. So he deserves even more credit, especially a his name appears nowhere on this list!

  9. I’m actually going to agree with DrSamBeckett about Star Wars. The prequels were arguably the most anticipated movies of the decade. People lined up days in advance for the premieres (Why I don’t comprehend). They might not have been the greatest movies ever made, but they were Star Wars. Lucas, I believe, was the first person to film a major motion picture completely in digital. That there is a huge affect on the industry. I don’t feel that any of the prequels captured the magic that the original trilogy did, but we still got to see Darth Vader back on the big screen at the end of ROTS.

  10. Call me simply sentimental, but I have to disagree about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I was in the theatres growing up my whole life seeing the other films, and I simply adored this film. Maybe it’s because it brought back Karen Allen’s Marion and we got to see them get married…all I can remember is that when she comes out of the tent and I got to see her in the film, I was overjoyed.

    I thought it had some fun jokes (The Ark of the Covenant box being kicked off to the side as they steal the alien body) and I applaud Ford for doing a lot of his own stunts even at his age. Perhaps I’m in the minority, but I enjoyed the hell out of it.

  11. @Billychic

    Hell, I htought I was the only one who enjoyed it. Crystal Skull was great fun, really harked back to the films of old, it didnt try to be anything more than it was.

  12. Vic, heavy on the latter part of the decade.. in your review of the full 10? Forget about Apatow as a number… that genre kick-started with “There’s Something About Mary” which was begotten from “Ace Ventura” and the precursor of the Austin Powers movies… all stronger scripts that were just as ‘base’ in the poopy, shocking or ‘they didn’t go there, did they?’-comedy. (But, I’m going to admit that I didn’t read the entire listing either!) Was a good one, though! lol

  13. Whoops! (well you did say ‘shaped the decade’.. so, I can pretend I’m a White House staffer and spin it like it wasn’t a mistake to mention flicks from the late 90s.

  14. Wow, where to start?
    I enjoyed the Matrix movies, but I feel the sequels greatly suffered from “high horse” syndrome. The success of the original caused the final two to suffer greatly.
    My biggest bone to pick is with Blade3! After Del toro’s “blade”, and reading that Blade was going to be facing Dracula in the final installment, I was elated! Unfortunately, It was an utter piece of fecal matter. The concept was AWESOME, and once again, Goyer’s script was really good. I feel the problem came when Goyer, who was not a seasoned director by any stretch of the imagination, was aloud to direct it.
    I’m not too surprised about the lack of love from some people for Watchmen, but whether you consider it a “comic book” movie or a movie in general, it was Amazing! I feel the issue was that for the uninitiated, it was expected to stick to the “comic book movie” stereotype.
    I liked the direction that Rob Zombie took with Halloween. You have a huge horror fan (Zombie) making the movie around the story we all wanted to know since the first time the painted over captain kirk mask scared the snot out of us.
    I could go on for days, which considering we are talking about a decade, is a relatively dshort amount of time. Unfortunately, my professor just noticed I’m not working on anything, and must bid you all Goodnight. EXCELSIOR!!! ;)

  15. Mark, your comment; “how can you even compare the Matrix to the sequels?”, was exactly the point of my little diatribe. The first Matrix was & always will be an AMAZING movie; I dragged my ex-wife to see it several times myself. My comment as to “high horse” refers to how I feel the success of the 1st effected the Wachowski Bros in the completion of the final 2 installments. The final had the potential to meet or exceed what the 1st was able to accomplish, and fell very short, in my opinion. The sequels took what made the 1st an achievemenet, and took it to the land of excess. I’m not entirely sure how you could have misconstude what I was stating in my first posting, but it was. I hope this has layed out what I was conveying more clearly

  16. @DrSam
    Thank you! I’m glad somebody agrees with me! :-)

    @Mark, in all due respect – “It was Total Recall, Highlander and Blade Runner” – I think that’s a little over the top. Movies like Blade Runner paved the way for films like The Matrix to happen, the same way that writers like Dick inspired writers like Gibson. I love The Matrix just as much as any hardcore film buff of the genre, even more than most, but just because it had a Buddhist philosophy and revolutionary cinematography doesn’t make it the sum of all brilliance that came before.

  17. I personally loved the sequels. I think people who are blindly bashing the sequels are those who didn’t get the underlying message; the philosophical aspect of the series. Sure, if you want to get all technical and say things like direction, storyline etc weren’t upto the mark, then maybe there’s some truth in it, but any *true* fan of The Matrix, ie someone who understands and believes in the philosophy, the cultural references etc, will simply devour the sequels – especially the Animatrix. I can’t believe someone wouldn’t *highly* recommend the Animatrix to any Matrix fan.

    Personally I think Reloaded was a masterpeice, and is just as good as the first movie, if not better. I mean, the whole deal with the Architect, the numerous fight sequences, the dialogues, Monica Belluci… I can go on and on. Yes, it had it’s “bad” sequences, but that in no way brings down the whole movie.

    And as a fan of Reloaded, I truly recommend watching the MTV Movie Awards Matrix Reloaded Spoof. :)

  18. @ Xed

    The only reason Reloaded should be allowed to exist is because of the MTV spoof, possibly the funniest thing Will Ferrel has ever done. And who knew Timberlake could be funny?!

  19. Perfect ending for Crystal Skull, as Indy’s hat blows away and lies by the door, a hand reaches down and picks it up, and is revealed to be Professor Henry Jones, alive and well.

    That would have been the perfect ending to a perfectly enjoyable film.

  20. @xed

    My postings did sound a little anit-matrix sequels, but I really enjoyed them. The philosophy in them was very good, but drowned in it. All I;m saying is they could have been layed out better. One of my favorite fight scenes was in the car using the seatbelt. I thought that was very original & thought out.

  21. In the franchise reboots I’m surprised that Mr. 007 wasn’t mentioned but some of the dodgy horror flick reboots were. I think the new bond is how he should have been for so many years as played by Mr. Connery. I don’t think Mr. Connery is so many peoples favourite bond simply because of his acting skills and the fact that he was the first. Yes that has a lot to do with it but it was the viceral rawness of the character during those early movies which Daniel Craig’s bond has brought back to the screen which made him such a favourite. Bourne paved the way but I think Bond will continue it.

  22. @ Blade

    While you are correct that Bond should most certainly have been on the list, comparing Craig to Connery? No thanks, COnnery was the complete opposite of being a mindless thug!

  23. @Weapon M

    Your comment is so incomplete it’s not even funny. What a Joke.


  24. I thought the Watchmen was terrible….

  25. What about the Star Wars prequels? Even though, and I think most people would agree, that they were like the Matrix sequels in that they didnt live up to expectations, shouldnt the return of the biggest movie franchise of all time warrant making it onto the list?