Also-Ran Movies of the Aughts – Difficult Dramas

Many bloggers and critics (my husband included) have been posting their lists of the best films of the 00s.  This is not one of those lists.  The following is one in a series of posts dedicated to the overlooked/underrated/hidden gem films of the Aughts.  I have handily included Netflix links with each film in case you want to add it to your queue.  And you should.  All of them.  For further inspiration, see the lists of romances, comedies, and dramas.

Some movies, no matter how banal, are so easy to watch that you can get sucked into a Saturday afternoon TBS marathon in five seconds (Hello there, Down to Earth).  Other movies, no matter how great, always seem like a chore to watch because the topic at hand is so heavy (Nice to see you, American History X).  The following are some of the movies of the 00s for which it was worth having your guts ripped out.

United 93 – This movie, deservedly, made some Top 10 lists, but it still remains one of those films that people are reluctant to see because of the sensitive 9/11 subject matter.  I say even though the ending is ultimately depressing, the story itself is one of triumph and heroism.  This film is not at all sappy or manipulative.  It’s just about what happened.

In America –  Jim Sheridan’s fine film  is about the difficulties of immigration and features brilliant acting by both Samantha Morton and Paddy Considine.

Dear Zachary – This documentary that a friend put together for his murdered friend’s son is going to set you back about three to seven boxes of Kleenex.  So wretchedly sad, but so worth watching.

House of Sand and Fog – This is one of the few movies that ended up being better than the book (another such movie makes my Top 10 Also-Ran All-Stars, but that remains a secret for now).  Ben Kingsley is heartbreaking and, in my opinion, should’ve won the Oscar over Sean Penn (jeebus, I hate the movie Mystic River so very, very much).

Hotel Rwanda – Like Children of Men and Big Fish, this is one movie that left me speechless for a long time afterwards because I knew the second I opened my mouth I would start bawling.  Don Cheadle, you are my hero.

The Machinist – Is there nothing Christian Bale won’t do for a role?  Here he shrinks down to Kate Moss size to play the role of a man who is living his nightmare.

Dancer in the Dark – It’s because of this movie that Bjork was invited to the Academy Awards and wore her infamous swan dress, so immediately, there’s that.  But there’s also the beautiful music and the poignant story of a mother trying to find the American dream and a more hopeful future for her son.

Little Children – Child molesters, adultery, and first date masterbation.  Oh, my!

What movies were worth all the hankies and the discomfort to you?


1 Comment »

  1. Ashby Said:

    I think you’ve got one mischaracterized. I netflixed Machinist per your above recommendation and it was SO [curseword] SCARY! I think it needs to go on the horror list, or at least the thriller list. I’m having a flashback to the “courtroom drama” incident. The amusement park scene keeps me up at night…for serious.

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