The 60 Best 2000s Movies You Can Stream Right Now

The 60 Best 2000s Movies You Can Stream Right Now

The 2000s, in some ways, feel, culturally, neither here nor there: They don’t have the strong neon vibe we associate with the 1980s, and lack the grunge appeal of the ‘90s. There’s plenty to appreciate, however, in movies over the decade that was bookended by blockbusters: Lord of the Rings in the early years, and Iron Man, Dark Knight, and Avatar at the end. None of those feel particularly cookie-cutter in the way that their successors would often be, and, in the middle years, there were many successful movies of the kind they don’t really make anymore: mid-budget movies with personal, rather than galactic, stakes, that still managed to do brisk business at the box office. It was a decade on the cusp of our mega-blockbuster era, and that tension between the indie-loving ‘90s and the present kept things interesting.

What are some of your favorites?

Ghost World (2001)

Enid (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson) face high school graduation, and a crush on Steve Buscemi, in Terry Zwigoff’s indie dark comedy.

Dreamgirls (2006)

The cast here is incredible: Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx, and Beyoncé, just for starters. Even more incredible are the absolutely electric musical numbers, including, and especially, “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.”

Almost Famous (2000)

Cameron Crowe’s ‘70s-era comedy/drama about a young music journalist going on the road with a major band is a funny, touching crowd pleaser that’s not afraid to veer off in some unexpected and idiosyncratic directions. Hold me closer, tiny dancer.

The Incredibles (2004)

This Pixar triumph hit before the superhero movie wave really crested, and is all the better for it. If only they were all this good.

Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Ang Lee’s cowboy drama has a big heart and a minimal understanding of the mechanics of gay male sex, while also deserving far better than its fate as an Oscar also-ran to the inferior Crash.

Love & Basketball (2000)

Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps play next-door neighbors who, over the course of several years, struggle with their growing attraction to each other, even while their basketball ambitions pull them apart. Off-the-charts chemistry here.

Jennifer’s Body (2009)

Only the real ones knew what to do with Jennifer’s Body in 2009, and the film took a long time to become the cult classic it was probably always destined to be. Here, popular teenager Jennifer (Megan Fox) is turned into a succubus by abusive men, gleefully killing boys around school to the general horror of her friend, Needy (Amanda Seyfried).

Mean Girls (2004)

Given the movie’s impressive longevity, it’s tempting to call Mean Girls a cult classic—except that it made boatloads of money back in the day, as well. When Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) gets accepted into the cool clique at her public school, she quickly realizes that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

Barbershop (2002)

Everything from sex, to relationships, to O.J. and civil rights is on the agenda in this comedy/drama, and the cast of lively and entertaining characters make it a fun place to spend time.

American Splendor (2003)

Starring greats Paul Giamatti and Hope Davis as underground comic creators Harvey Pekar and Joyce Brabner, Splendor is a stylish portrait of a couple of everyday people who also happen to be great American artists.

The Departed (2006)

Martin Scorsese’s remake of the 2002 Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs finds Leonardo DiCaprio going undercover in a crime organization, while Matt Damon infiltrates the police. It’s all very twisty-turny, and provides a last, great performance from Jack Nicholson (barring a surprise un-retirement).

Infernal Affairs (2002)

Or you could watch the Hong Kong original from directors Andrew Lau and Alan Mak—a smart, emotional crime thriller in its own right.

Casino Royale (2006)

Daniel Craig’s first Bond outing is one of the series’ very best, introducing a leaner, meaner 007 in the first formal adaptation of the very first Ian Fleming book.

Secretary (2002)

There’s genuine heat here between Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader—but also a sense of humor that makes the passionate intensity of their relationship that much more titilating.

The Princess and the Frog (2009)

Proving there’s still a place for traditional animation at Disney, the gorgeously animated film set in New Orleans of the 1920s introduced Tiana (Anika Noni Rose) to the pantheon of Disney princesses.

Y Tu Mamá También (2001)

Two teenage boys set out on an impromptu road trip with the slightly older (and married) woman on whom they both have a crush. Alfonso Cuarón’s film is a sweet, funny, and sad coming-of-age movie.

Brown Sugar (2002)

Brown Sugar finds Taye Diggs and Sanaa Lathan as friends, and sometimes rivals, in the music industry who very gradually come to recognize their mutual attraction.

Rec (2007)

This Spanish import is top-tier found footage, involving a group of firefighters on an emergency call who wind up trapped inside a building at the center of a creeping zombie infection. That limited, specific geography is key to the movie’s brisk, efficient, and nerve-jangling effectiveness.

Shrek (2001)

The filmmakers behind Shrek turned the Disney formula on its ear by blending some slightly crass, but very funny humor with a genuinely heartfelt story about self-acceptance. In the process, they won the inaugural Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, and the movie picked up an Adapted Screenplay nomination—the first ever for an animated film. Not bad for a gassy ogre. Plus: The movie opens with a montage set to Smash Mouth, and it doesn’t get more 2000s than that.

Legally Blonde (2001)

Reese Witherspoon was charming and funny enough here as unlikely law student Elle Woods that it birthed a franchise that continues over two decades later. The fun here is that Elle only looks like a stereotypical dumb sorority girl…all she lacks is the confidence to show everyone how smart she is. Once you’ve seen the sequels, the reboot, the TV movie, the musical, and the reality show, c’mon back here to the still-superior original.

How High (2001)

Pals Method Man and Redman get some help from their dead friend after smoking his ashes, acing their college entrance exams and winding up at Harvard. A goofy stoner classic.

Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)

In plenty of other stoner-type comedies, Indian- and Korean-Americans are most likely to show up as secondary characters and broad stereotypes—here they’re in the lead. It doesn’t hurt that the movie is pretty damn funny.

Session 9 (2001)

A bona fide horror cult classic, Session 9 stars David Caruso as part of an asbestos abatement crew working at abandoned mental asylum. The location is appropriately creepy, but the movie is ultimately a psychological mind-bender, with the experiences of the work crew beginning to parallel those of former patients.

Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)

Bruce Campbell plays an aged Elvis Presley alongside Ossie Davis’ John F. Kennedy in a nursing home plagued by an ancient Egyptian mummy. For that offbeat premise, the movie can be surprisingly moving.

Eating Out (2004)

The kick-off to a series, this one’s a convoluted, Three’s Company-esque series of mix-ups involving gay guys pretending to be straight and straight guys pretending to be gay, with the right amount of dorky charm and nudity that this kind of movie needs to succeed.

Marie Antoinette (2006)

Sofia Coppolla’s candy-colored historical drama is positively loaded with willful anachronisms—all of which serve to erase the distance between us and the story of France’s clever, tragic queen (Kirsten Dunst).

Cloverfield (2008)

Yeah, it’s a monster movie—but, in Cloverfield, we got something unique. There are plenty of low-budget, scrappy found footage-style movies; this is a big budget spectacular, and a very effective one at that.

Unbreakable (2000)

M. Night Shyamalan’s take on superheroes was seen as a slightly disappointing follow-up to the director’s breakthrough with The Sixth Sense. Time, though, has been kind to the distinct and deliberately paced story of a man (Bruce Willis) who discovers that he’s nearly indestructible following a train crash. Samuel L. Jackson is fabulous as his extremely brittle counterpart.

Juno (2007)

Diablo Cody won an Academy Award for her screenwriting debut in this sweet and quirky story about a very independent-minded teenager dealing with an unplanned pregnancy and the various ways in which it complicates her life. Elliot Page stars, with Michael Cera, Allison Janney, and J. K. Simmons are among the pretty flawless cast.

The Descent (2006)

Getting lost in those caves is scary enough, even before we discover that we’re not alone down there. The ultimate in spelunking horror.

Gladiator (2000)

Ridley Scott’s sword-and-sandals revival didn’t spark a new flourishing of the genre, but it did make a ton of money and win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. And inspire a two-decades-later sequel.

Million Dollar Baby (2004)

The Clint Eastwood-directed boxing picture felt like a throwback, even in 2004, but a good old-fashioned boxing drama is always welcome, especially as they’ve become more rare. The movie won four Academy Awards, including for lead Hilary Swank.

Beauty Shop (2005)

This Barbershop spin-off follows widowed hairstylist Gina Norris starting over in Atlanta with her daughter, and opening her own shop when a job doesn’t pan out. Queen Latifah is as delightful as ever, and is joined by a great cast including Alfre Woodard, Della Reese, Alicia Silverstone, Andie MacDowell, Kevin Bacon, and Djimon Hounsou.

Pitch Black (2000)

The resulting franchise gets weird very quickly, but the first Riddick movie is a smart, and very effective sci-fi horror story. A prisoner transport goes down on a desolate planet full of creatures that feed after dark. And an eclipse is coming. Fortunately for the survivors, convict Vin Diesel also works better with the lights out.

Ray (2004)

Jamie Foxx gives a memorable performance (and won an Oscar) in this biopic covering three-or-so decades in the life of legendary musician Ray Charles.

Donnie Darko (2001)

Jake Gyllenhaal stars in this memorable emo mind-bender about a troubled teenager who dodges disaster thanks to a bit of sleepwalking. An instant cult classic, it’s the movie all the cool kids were talking about back in the day.

Training Day (2001)

Director Antoine Fuqua and company crafted a tense, brutal crime drama that won Denzel Washington his single Best Actor Oscar. Is it his best performance? Probably not, but he’s memorably over-the-top as thoroughly corrupt cop Alonzo Harris.

Lars and the Real Girl (2007)

The sweetest, most charming movie about the romance between a man and his life-like love doll that you’re likely to encounter.

Waitress (2007)

Before catching another performance of the popular musical adaptation, revisit the source material starring Keri Russell as a small-town diner waitress with a secret pregnancy and an obnoxious husband. An affair with town doctor Nathan Fillion might be just the thing.

Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

A fascinating cultural artifact, Napoleon Dynamite was a legit pop sensation for a year or two, and there wasn’t a soul on the planet who didn’t have a take on Jon Heder’s memorable line delivery. All that aside, it’s a cute, funny, and sometimes surprisingly astute take on high-school awkwardness.

Spider-Man (2002)

In an era when superhero movies were mercifully fewer and far(ther) between, Sam Raimi’s inaugural Spider-film felt like a revelation: a fast-paced, enjoyably quirky story of a nerd who becomes a hero. Its 2004 sequel was even better.

American Psycho (2000)

With an over-the-top satirical style, director and co-writer Mary Harron came to mock and bury misogyny, not to praise it. And yet still some audiences came away thinking that Christian Bale’s Patrick Bateman was a cool guy.

Super Troopers (2001)

A movie of patchwork scenes that somehow birthed not only a bevy of in-jokes but a couple of decades worth of sequels and side-quels (Super Troopers 2, Beerfest, Club Dread, The Slammin’ Salmon, etc.).

Cinderella Man (2005)

Teamed with Russell Crowe, director Ron Howard was at his crowd-pleasing best with this film inspired by real-life Cinderella Man, James J. Braddock.

Mulholland Drive (2001)

This love/hate letter to Hollywood has come to be (justly) regarded as one of director David Lynch’s best, and most oddly crowd-pleasing, works: an L.A. noir about murder and obsession and a blue box that’s very significant of, well, something or other.

Lost in Translation (2003)

A declining American movie star in the midst of a midlife crisis and a young grad student facing a similarly uncertain future meet while staying at an upscale hotel in Tokyo. The movie that cemented director Sofia Coppola’s spot in the filmmaker pantheon.

Drumline (2002)

A classic comedy-drama set in the high-stakes world of college marching bands, starring Nick Cannon as a guy with more talent than social skills.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)

A movie musical about a gender-queer punk rocker with a title referring to the results of a botched gender affirmation procedure, the movie has a huge heart and a score that genuinely rocks.

The Great Debaters (2007)

Set in 1930 and directed by, and starring, Denzel Washington, this genuinely engaging drama brings inspirational-sports-movie tropes to the more unlikely theme of college debate societies.

A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)

It’s not necessarily Spielberg’s best-loved film, but this sweet and poignant story of a robot boy (Haley Joel Osment) searching for a family at the end of the world is as heartbreaking as it is humane.

Whale Rider (2002)

Pai is a 12-year-old M?ori girl and the direct descendant of their tribe’s traditional notable ancestor, the Whale Rider—except that, traditionally, women can’t lead. Star Keisha Castle-Hughes became the youngest nominee for a Best Actress Oscar for her open, genuine performance.

Josie and the Pussycats (2001)

Josie gained an audience over time because of its goofy charm, but also because it came to feel increasingly more relevant in its satirizing of the crass commercialization of mass entertainment.

Superbad (2007)

High school is awkward as hell, and Superbad is another classic of the genre: a movie about two nerds (Michael Cera and Jonah Hill), each looking to have sex before graduation, but with a surprising amount of heart.

Star Trek (2009)

J.J. Abrams’ kinda-reboot brought a blockbuster budget to Trek, giving the then-sleeping franchise the kick in the pants it needed to fly into the 21st century.

Children of Men (2006)

Alfonso Cuarón’s dystopian thriller is a truly great high-concept science fiction film, and offers up as depressingly prescient a vision of the near future as we’ve seen. Still: it’s beautiful, exciting, and often moving.

High Tension (2003)

A slasher movie that kicked the “New French Extremity” genre into high gear, this one doesn’t feel like a cliche. It’s brutal, tense, and uncompromising—even if it doesn’t always make perfect sense.

District 9 (2009)

With parallels to South African apartheid, writer/director Neill Blomkamp crafted the kind of smart, pointed sci-fi film that studios think audiences don’t care for—except that District 9 was a blockbuster, earning many times its budget at the box office.

Spirited Away (2001)

After her parents are turned into pigs by the witch Yubaba, 10-year-old Chihiro takes a job working in her bathhouse with the hope of finding a way to free them. This might be my favorite Hayao Miyazaki movie, but I say that a lot.

Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005)

Tyler Perry (who wrote and starred in this one, but didn’t direct) introduced the street-smart Madea, brought over from his stage plays featuring the character. The box office hit kicked off a franchise that’s still going strong.

Avatar (2009)

People like to neg James Cameron’s film (right before buying tickets), but he’s the only director operating at this budget point who can make exactly the movie he wants. There’s something very cool about that, whether you love the finished product or not.

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