From 2000 to 2010, Hollywood released a myriad of movies– Disney diverged a bit from their usual crop of princess movies, there was a strange period where Hollywood was really in to 19th century magicians, independent movies were becoming more and more popular, and, for every successful X-Men movie, there was a new Punisher envisioned.
While Netflix offers thousands of movies, but only a handful of them come from this varied decade.
The purpose of this article is merely meant to showcase what Netflix offers– because their new ranking and reviewing system isn’t the greatest. Some of these movies might be among your all-time favorites, while others might be among your all-time worst viewing experiences. Either way, it’s a refreshing experience to look back at the early 2000s and nostalgically remember the movies that came out during the period, many of which are now at your finger tips.
So, before you start binge-watching the next TV show in your queue, here are the 20 Underrated ’00s Movies You Need To Watch On Netflix.
20. The Emperor’s New Groove
Even though The Emperor’s New Groove isn’t the most popular Disney movie around, it still managed to please viewers with its unforgettable jokes. Emperor Kuzco (voiced by David Spade), a spoiled teenager, is turned into a llama by his former administrator, voiced perfectly by Eartha Kitt.
On his journey to regain his original form and take his place back at the palace, Kuzco befriends a villager named Pacha (voice by John Goodman) who begrudgingly agrees to help Kuzco, based on an agreement that Kuzco will not destroy his village.
What takes place is a slapstick buddy comedy that differs from the usual animated Disney movie, but still has loads of lessons to learn from. Throughout his time as a llama, Kuzco learns what it means to be selfless and humble, and thus develops into a worthy emperor.
19. The Road
The Road, based on the 2006 novel of the same name by Cormac McCarthy, follows a father and son as they traverse a post-apocalyptic landscape. Through their travels, they encounter a gang of cannibals, which they narrowly manage to escape.
While the post-apocalyptic atmosphere isn’t explained, it makes the survival of the father and son more distressing and heart wrenching, as the two must learn to completely place their trust in one another in order to survive the harsh environment.
Viggo Mortensen, who plays the father, role provides a harrowing performance. Kodi Smit-McPhee (years before his turn as Nightcrawler in X-Men: Apocalypse), as the son, gives an equally compelling portrayal. The Road also features outstanding supporting roles from Robert Duvall, Charlize Theron, and Guy Pearce.
18. Zack and Miri Make a Porno
Somehow Kevin Smith’s Zack and Miri Make a Porno is about lifelong friends who decide to make a porno in order to make money, and is much more realistic than his more popular film Chasing Amy (how can a lesbian-identifying woman fall for Ben Affleck). Raunchy comedies were a trend in the early 2000s, and, while some were worse than others, Smith’s action behind the camera of Zack and Miri actually provided the movie with some heart.
This “will they or won’t they” romantic comedy for Smith fans does, of course, involve a bit of raunchy imagery and talk. The fact that the movie, at some points, seemed like it was close to an NC-17 rating is understandable.
Before Neil Gaiman’s American Gods was adapted for TV screens and aired on Stars, there was Coraline.
As a movie adaptation of Gaiman’s 2002 novel by the same name, Coraline follows a precocious and adventurous young girl who finds herself in an idyllic parallel world.
At first it appears to be a dream come true, but Caroline soon discovers that the new world is actually dark and sinister, in the vein of “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side idea.” Director Henry Selick, whose previous credit includes The Nightmare Before Christmas, among others, brings Gaiman’s terrifying tale to life with inspiring stop-motion animation.
16. Hot Fuzz
Hot Fuzz, the second movie in the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, finds writer and actor Simon Pegg playing London cop Nicholas Angel, as he’s transferred from a city to a small English village and paired with a bumbling partner Danny Butterman, played by Nick Frost.
Angel soon finds out that the quiet English village’s residents aren’t exactly what they seem. Hot Fuzz, along with the other films in the trilogy, focuses on the underlying story of friendship and camaraderie, as Nicholas learns to appreciate his new partner and they begin to work together to solve the mystery surrounding the town.
15. Across the Universe
Following in the recent wave of movie musicals in the early 2000s, Across the Universe was a little different from the rest. For example, Chicago and Rent were based on popular Broadway musicals and Moulin Rouge was a mash-up of original songs and popular favorites. However, all of the songs featured in Across the Universe were all from The Beatles.
Set among the tumultuous 1960s, Across the Universe follows Jude, played by Jim Sturgess, a teenage boy who he sets out to find his father. Along the way he meets Lucy, played by Evan Rachel Wood, and a slew of other eccentric characters who are all on their own journeys.
Unlike the movie musicals before it, Across the Universe has the advantage of having been directed by Broadway veteran, Julie Taymor, who it definitely brings a unique take on the movie musical format.
14. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
Is The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: The Beginning so bad that it’s actually good or is it just bad? You can be the judge.
The film takes place several years prior to the 2003 remake of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and tells the origin of Leatherface and his first kills. Two brothers (one being Matt Bomer before the White Collar and Magic Mike fame) and their girlfriends are traveling across the country when they come across a biker who draws a gun on them.
A crash follows, and the injured brothers and women come across the creepy Sheriff Hoyt, played perfectly by R. Lee Ermey. The young couples quickly find out that the Sheriff isn’t quite as friendly as he seems, and neither is his family. Leatherface makes his appearance, and the torturing of the teens soon turns into a blood bath.
Maybe The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning was trying to compete with the popularity of the Saw movies at the time, but it went from mild horror in the 2003 remake to slaughterhouse gruesomeness in the prequel.
13. The Prestige
In 2006 The Illusionist, Scoop, and The Prestige all had a focus on stage magicians, however the most impressive and deceptive of the three was the latter. Writer and director Christopher Nolan had jumped from short films, to independent films, to major motion pictures in less than 10 years.
The hallmark of his movies has been the smartly done twist endings, and The Prestige, based on the 1995 novel of the same name, is no exception.
Two rival magicians, played by Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale, spend most of the film trying to one up each other with elaborate displays of showmanship. By the end, you’re left scratching your head wondering how Jackman and Bale pulled off their respective tricks.
Elizabethtown may not be Cameron Crowe’s best work – the A.V. Club even coined the term “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” as a result of Kirsten Dunst’s character– but at least it’s not Aloha.
Elizabethtown follows Orlando Bloom as Drew, a downtrodden designer for a shoe company who’s latest design has a costly flaw. Just as he’s about to commit suicide, he gets a phone call from his sister telling him his father has just died.
While Drew is flying out to his home state of Kentucky he meets Kirsten Dunst’s Claire, a helpful flight attendant, and an inevitable relationship ensues. Elizabethtown certainly has it’s charms: a picturesque setting, a somewhat dysfunctional family tone, and a contemporary soundtrack.
11. Friday After Next
The Friday series features Ice Cube as Craig, a man was recently fired from his job and decides to confront the neighborhood bully. In the sequel, Next Friday, Craig learns of the bully’s plans to break out of jail, so he goes in to hiding but somehow trouble still manages to find him.
In the third movie of the series, Friday After Next, Craig and his cousin are robbed of their Christmas presents and rent money by a man disguised as Santa Claus. Craig and his cousin try to come up with a plan to make up the rent money so that they won’t get evicted.
10. The Manchurian Candidate
Before Hollywood thought it was a good idea to remake films that were under 20 years old, it looked to the 1960s for inspiration.
The Manchurian Candidate, based on the 1959 novel and 1962 film, stars Denzel Washington in perfect paranoid form as Bennett– a war veteran and former commanding officer who begins to see that not everything is at it seems.
During the Gulf War, two members of Bennett’s unit perished and the rest were saved by Sergeant Raymond (Liev Schreiber). Several years later, Bennett encounters one of the members of his unit who has been having visions about the war.
Raymond is now a congressman and is on the fast track to becoming a candidate for Vice President, however, Bennett is on the verge of figuring out what exactly happened during the war, and how it all leads back to Raymond.
9. Mona Lisa Smile
The early-to-mid 2000s saw a steady flow of female fronted dramas– from the Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood in 2002, to The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants in 2005. In between these releases was Mona Lisa Smile in 2003. While Ya-Ya Sisterhood dealt with familial female relationships and Traveling Pants dealt with female friendships, Mona Lisa Smile ran the gamut of female issues.
Set in the 1950s, the film starred Julia Roberts as a UCLA graduate student in art history, who takes a teaching position at a conservative women’s liberal arts college in Massachusetts. Roberts’ students include a whos-who of popular young actresses including Julia Stiles, Kirsten Dunst, and Maggie Gyllenhaal.
What follows is a lesson on what it was like to be a woman during the 1950s – receiving an education, becoming a homemaker, or deciding to go against the grain and follow an entirely different path.
8. Bad Boys II
Like a lot of Michael Bay’s movies, Bad Boys II lacks plot and drive but contains a surplus of explosions.
Picking up eight years after the events of the first Bad Boys movie, Martin Lawrence and Will Smith team up once again as Miami Police Department’s narcotics division detectives Marcus and Mike.
This time around, however, the detectives are investigating a movement of extremely potent ecstasy coming into Miami. Unfortunately, raid on supposed distributors goes awry for the duo and they’re left wondering if they should continue being partners.
While it isn’t the greatest film of the early 2000s, it does have its moments. There really hasn’t been a buddy cop movie, dramatic or otherwise, that features two black male protagonists since White Chicks.
The religious thriller Frailty was released among the onslaught of religious horror films that came out around the new millennium. The late Bill Paxton’s directorial debut is not as schlocky or gratuitous as Stigmata and End of Days, and, in contrast, it’s actually much more psychological.
Bill Paxton, in addition to directing, plays Dad Meiks who is looking after his two young sons after his wife died. One night, Meiks wakes up his two young sons and informs them that their family has been called upon by god to kill demons disguised as people. The sons go along with their father’s godly duty but the eldest son, played by Matthew McConaughey in the present, has his doubts.
While the movie was lauded as one of Paxton’s best roles, it also proved how capable he was as a director, which means that Frailty definitely deserves a viewing.
6. The Punisher
The Punisher movie from 2004 is bad, so bad, in fact, that it’s holds a measly 29% on Rotten Tomatoes. Although it should be worth noting that it’s not the worst reviewed comic book movie in the 2000s – Catwoman holds this prestigious title.
It’s hard to pinpoint why the critical masses loathed The Punisher – it may have been the grimness, the acting, or a combination of both. Thomas Jane stars as Frank Castle, a former FBI agent turned vigilante after his family is brutally murdered by crime lord Howard Saint’s (John Travolta) minions.
For some unknown reason the production value of the movie makes it look like it was made in the early-to-mid-90s, and it should be noted that this adaptation of The Punisher looks on par with the 1989 version. The dated feel of the movie and the action are reason enough to grab some popcorn and watch it again.
After you suffer through The Punisher you can compare it with Jon Bernthal’s portrayal of the Punisher in Netflix’s Daredevil.
5. Anger Management
Not surprisingly, Anger Management isn’t the highest reviewed movie of either Jack Nicholson or Adam Sandler’s careers. In fact, Roger Ebert has said: “the concept is inspired. The execution is lame.” However, this is no reason not to give this movie a second look, as the movie has a few good jokes that will keep you laughing.
Sandler’s character, Dave, loses his temper after dealing with an annoying passenger on a flight and is then sentenced to take anger management classes. Much to Dave’s chagrin, his new therapist, played by Nicholson, is the same annoying passenger from the flight. What ensues is a slapstick comedy of sorts that features Woody Harrelson, Marisa Tomei, and funny duet of West Side Story’s “I Feel Pretty”.
4. Waking Life
Richard Linklater’s 2001 movie Waking Life falls somewhere in between Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, MTV’s Liquid Television, and the documentary film The Nightmare.
The film follows an unnamed young man who is moving through a dream, of sorts, and meeting with various people. The people the young man encounters range from restaurant patrons to scholars. Conversations are filmed documentary-style, in which the young man sometimes interjects but mostly is focused on listening, as the person he’s currently speaking with discusses everything from lucid dreaming and existentialism.
Waking Life also features a reoccurrence of some of Linklater’s most well-known characters Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) of Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight.
Amélie is a whimsical film about a young Parisian waitress (Audrey Tautou) with a wild imagination, who, after spending most of her life home schooled by her withdrawn father, decides to devote her life to making other people happy. As she journeys through the city trying to secretly help those in need, she finds something she least expects: love.
Tautou, who had done mostly television work prior to the release of Amélie, became an international star after its release. Along with Tautou’s star-making turn, the movie’s fanciful quality was buoyed by CGI and a combination of visually stunning cinematography and a memorable original score.
Like Memento, Amélie gained critical plaudits and earned several Academy Award nominations for the 74th awards ceremony, including Best Original Screenplay.
2. Atlantis: The Lost Empire
Disney’s animated feature films didn’t diverge too much from the magical princess and talking animals story-lines until the early 2000s. A year before Lilo & Stitch, Disney released Atlantis: The Lost Empire – the first animated science-fiction feature film to be released by the studio.
While Atlantis finds itself among the worst reviewed Disney animation movies, it is also considered an underrated classic by many fans. Featuring a voice cast that includes Michael J. Fox and Leonard Nimoy, the story follows cartographer and linguist Milo who strongly believes that the lost city of Atlantis truly exists. He teams up with a group of explorers in search of the fabled kingdom.
A cartographer in search of a lost island may not seem all that interesting to young children, but Atlantis: The Lost Empire managed to find an audience after its theatrical release due to its vivid imagery, and is certainly worthy of a second look on Netflix.
The neo-Noir psychological thriller Memento follows Guy Pearce as Leonard, a man who suffers from short-term memory loss. Through a collection of tattoos and Polaroid photographs, Leonard tries to piece together enough information to find out who robbed him and murdered his wife.
During Leonard’s search, he interacts with Natalie (Carrie-Ann Moss) and Teddy (Joe Pantoliano) who may either be helping or hindering his journey.bAfter its release in 2000, Memento went on to garner critical acclaim and earn Acadamy Award nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Film Editing.
Seventeen years later, Memento still has a strong cult following. Due to this, word of a remake was making its rounds a few years ago, but fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your opinion of remakes), there haven’t been any new details about a remake since the initial announcement in 2015.
Are there any other 2000s movies that you enjoy on Netflix? Are there any you’d love to see added to the streaming service? Let us know in the comment section!
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