2000's Unfairly overlooked movies

Heath Ledger as the demented Joker in "The Dark Knight" (2008), a character impossible to overlook.

"When people look back on the early years of the new millennium they'll remember it for movies like The Dark Knight and Lord of the Rings. Or they'll geek out with their friends about the cult classics they discovered together, rewatching copies of the original version of Donnie Darko or spreading around copies of Idiocracy and laughing at its accuracy".

Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Roberta Sparrow/Grandma Death in "Donnie Darko" (2001).

The Girl Next Door (2004)Elisha Cuthbert, Luke Greenfield (director of "The Girl Next Door"), Emile Hirsch and Timothy Olyphant.

Elisha Cuthbert and Emile Hirsch leave their prom dance victorious after an improvised amateur porn shooting.

The Girl Next Door had the gross misfortune to be released at the height of America's religious fervor back in 2004. The Passion of the Christ was the biggest movie in the world and covering up Janet Jackson's nipples was our new obsession. So it's no surprise that a no holds barred teen raunch-comedy would slip out of theaters with barely a notice. That doesn't make it right. Sure The Girl Next Door is down with nudity and sex as entertainment and sure a lot of it takes place at a porn convention. But Emile Hirsch plays the lead and makes it something special beyond that, with a character that it becomes impossible not to identify with while whatever crazy hijinks ensue. It's legitimately hilarious and beneath the movie's tits and ass veneer is a movie that John Hughes would have been proud to call his own back in 1984. Timothy Olyphant steals scenes as a porn king and the movie's soundtrack kicks ass. Even now it seems like somewhere along the way there should be some sort of cult audience for a movie like this. Maybe it'll find it yet.

25th Hour (2002)
Edward Norton as Monty Brogan in "25th Hour" (2002).

In 25th Hour Edward Norton gives what is perhaps the best performance of his career in what is easily one of the best movie's of Spike Lee's filmography. Norton plays a convicted drug dealer headed to prison for seven years. Before he goes Monty Brogan has twenty-four hours to say goodbye, and he spends most of them coming to grips with his father and friends while venting his anger and frustration at the path he's taken. Anyone who's seen it will particularly remember Brogan's massive tirade against New York, America and everyone in it. “Fuck you all,” says Monty Brogan as his anger pours out of the screen. It's Lee's most compelling and thoughtful film, one that puts a new spin on the types of choices we're all faced to make. You'll identify with Monty Brogan, or you would have, if the movie had gotten enough attention to talk people into seeing it. A little movie like this needs support from critics and awards givers and somehow, 25th Hour never really got it.

The Lookout (2007)
Joseph Gordon Levitt as the amnesic Chris Pratt in "The Lookout".

Scott Frank's brilliantly written and directed heist movie should have earned, at the least, an Oscar nomination for star Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Instead, in part because it was released too early in the year to stick with Oscar voters and in larger part because it never received any real promotion, almost no one seems to realize it exists. The Lookout stars Levitt as a young man with brain damage. He's not exactly stupid he just has trouble keeping things straight. Through circumstance he finds himself involved in a complicated heist plot and things spiral out of control while Levitt tries to remember brush his teeth. Jeff Daniels co-stars as a blind roommate and delivers one of the best visually impaired characters this side of Scent of a Woman. But Gordon-Levitt is the film's anchor and he's stupendous in his portrayal of a former prom king reduced to disability assistance and a janitorial job at the bank after a reckless accident. The heist plot is just the icing on the cake as Levitt's Chris Pratt gets in over his head.

The Notorious Bettie Page (2005)
Gretchen Mol as Bettie Page, 50's pin-up and bondage model.

"In an era of sexual repression Bettie Page got out the whips and chains, but there's more to her biopic than the kink you've seen on posters flaunting the iconic pin-up. Gretchen Mol delivers an epic performance as Page, who, didn't really understand the impact her pictures had in a time when sexual repression and censorship fought with freedom. She challenged the establishment, but almost inadvertently. For Bettie, it was just a good time playing dress up. The story of America's first sex icon is compelling and yeah, of course, also sexy as hell. But mostly it's the story of a beautiful, purely innocent soul and a love for life which made her sometimes dark pinup pictures endure and end up on your bi-sexual girlfriend's t-shirt. Unfortunately awards voters overlooked Mol's performance and, of course, general audiences were scared off by nudity. Oh the irony".
Source: www.cinemablend.com