Movie Essentials: 2001

On September 11, 2001, terrorists attacked the U.S. by hijacking two aircraft to bring down the Twin Towers in New York, leaving nearly 3,000 people dead.  A third aircraft crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, VA.  A fourth, flight United 93, crashed in a rural field in Somerset County, PA thanks to passenger interference.  Wikipedia went online, while Napster was shut down by court order.  Apple released the first iPod.  Popular songs included "Get Ur Freak On" by Missy Elliot, "Pop" by 'N Sync, and "Can't Get You Out of My Head" by Kylie Minogue.  On TV, Six Feet Under, Scrubs, 24, and Alias all premiered.
In theaters, 2001 marked the start of several new franchises that would continue for the remainder of the decade: Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Shrek, The Fast and the Furious, Ocean's 11, etc.  Honorable mention goes to the Steven Spielberg/Stanley Kubrick collaboration A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, the Oscar-winning A Beautiful Mind, Monsoon Wedding, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, and Training Day.
Other notable films released in 2001 include Monsters Inc., Pearl Harbor, Hannibal, Bridget Jones' Diary, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Joy Ride, The Mexican, The Others, Mulholland Drive, The Princess Diaries, Planet of the ApesThe Score, Spy Game, Super Troopers, Swordfish, Vanilla Sky, and Gosford Park.  And here are your Essentials:
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  • We now have our biggest disagreement in all of these lists. "Wet Hot American Summer." There is no possible way you can include that in this list over "Super Troopers." Everything about "Wet Hot" means that I should love it. I've not only been a fan of The State, but have also followed Michael Showalter and others through hapless vehicles like Stella (I even saw Stella live). This movie flopped. Meanwhile "Super Troopers" was the first great project from Broken Lizard and it hits virtually every comic note right on. That movie has got to be on the list and can easily push out "Wet Hot." I also think that Snatch, a second-rate heist film, doesn't make any best of lists. Moreover, Zoolander is not really even very good. There are plenty of movies that were better than both of those. This list includes, aside from "Super Troopers," "Ghost World," "Waking Life," "Godford Park," "Y Tu Mama Tambien," and even "Monsters, Inc." A note on "Waking Life," while it might not have been the most amazing movie plotwise or storywise it was groundbreaking animation and has had a tremendous impact, leading to commercial campaigns in the same style.

  • In reply to DSBecker:

    How many times have you seen Wet Hot American Summer? To say it flopped is kind of dismissive. Look I like Super Troopers - it's pretty funny in parts, but I don't love it. Comedy is kind of subjective in a way - what makes you laugh makes you laugh. And holy crap, does Wet Hot make me laugh. Plus, every other Broken Lizard movie has sucked, so they leave a bad taste in my mouth.

    Zoolander may not be as good as Y Tu Mama and Ghost World - two excellent movies by the way - but it's more of a landmark film than those two. People still talk about it, watch it, and quote it fondly, more so now than back then. That's what gives it that "essential" edge.

    You call Snatch a second-rate heist film, but I think you've got to recognize the visual punch and humor of Guy Ritchie's Lock Stock and Snatch. Some people like Lock Stock better - I won't argue with them. But whichever one you pick, it deserves a place on this list.

    Oh, and one more thing - Waking Life may have inspired commercials, but I hate those commercials. And I hate Waking Life even more. Waaaay too pretentious for its own good. Shut up Linklater - just make School of Rock already!

  • In reply to DSBecker:

    Can't imagine anyone not liking Amelie? Better start imagining. I can't imagine anyone not liking Mulholland Drive.

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