There is an old adage that states that people create their own worst enemies. Considering the fact that Rotten Tomatoes now has the ability to dictate whether or not people end up going to films, especially a lot of recent films released by Warner Brothers, it’s quite ironic that WB once owned a majority stake in the review aggregator website.
That works both ways, however, as many films actually point out their RT score in their television commercials. A high percentage means that a vast majority of critics gave the film a favorable review. Let’s take a look at the top 15 movies of the 2000’s as ranked by RottenTomatoes.com!
15. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens
When it was announced that J.J. Abrams would be helming the first film in a new Star Wars trilogy, people were optimistic. They ended up being rewarded as the film earned great reviews.
While some pointed out that The Force Awakens was a modern remake of the original Star Wars film, it was still such an amazing spectacle that hit all the right notes and brought back characters and actors that people genuinely never believed they’d see together again.
As of the writing of this piece, The Force Awakens is the highest grossing movie of all time. With its sequel, The Last Jedi, coming next month, it’ll be interesting to see if Disney/Lucasfilms can continue its hot streak both critically and financially. It’ll be hard but it looks like they’re on the right path so far.
Zootopia is the first animated film on this list and one of the films that people point to as an example of Disney Studios’ animation arm basically coming back with a passion.
After acquiring Pixar, Disney’s in-house animation studio basically disappeared. While Pixar is still releasing classics, it’s amazing to see Disney return to their bread and butter.
And while it may be surprising that Frozen didn’t make this list, Zootopia is an amazing film. It balanced an amazing message — you can be whatever you want to be as long as you believe in yourself and work hard — with humor for the entire family.
Released in 2014, Selma is a historical drama that is based on the civil rights marches that occurred in Selma, Alabama back in 1965. Essentially, the marches took place along the 54-mile highway from Selma to the state capital of Alabama in the city of Montgomery.
Organized and led by Martin Luther King, Jr., they were designed to be a non-violent protest over voting rights issues that African Americans faced in the segregated south. On Sunday, March 7th, the Alabama State Troopers came out in full force and violently attacked the non-violent protestors.
The film captured this important moment in American history. It received a 99 per cent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an average 8.7/10 rating. The critical consensus reads:
“Fueled by a gripping performance from David Oyelowo, Selma draws inspiration and dramatic power from the life and death of Martin Luther King, Jr. — but doesn’t ignore how far we remain from the ideals his work embodied”
The film was released at the perfect time as America still deals with races issues and police shootings that have plagued this nation for decades. Audiences also loved the film, giving it an A+ rating (according to CinemaScore).
Fox has a spotty track record when it comes to the their handling of the X-Men franchise but they do deserve credit for helping kickstart the super hero film era, with the original X-Men film debuting way back in the year 2000.
While the first two X-Men films are generally beloved, they’ve missed the mark more than once. So, when it was announced that not only that they would be adapting the Old Man Logan storyline but that it would be Jackman’s last turn as the character that made him an A-lister, people were cautiously optimistic.
That optimism was rewarded by a film that genuinely gets thrown in with The Dark Knight in conversations for what the best super hero film of all time. It’s a completely different sort of movie in that it’s much more personal. It really feels a lot more like a spaghetti Western than a comic book film.
It’s a great sign that Fox is aware of what viewers want especially as they move forward in expanding their universe with 2018’s New Mutants, for example.
Directed by Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity was a one of the best received blockbusters of the decade and also one of the more profitable— it grossed seven times its budget. Bringing in over seven hundred million dollars on a budget of $100 million dollars, Gravity stars A-listers George Clooney and Sandra Bullock.
Most “credible” sources gave the film a perfect score, including Rolling Stone, RogerEbert.com and The Guardian. On top of that, Gravity was largely rewarded at the 86th Academy Awards.
It received 10 nominations, including for Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Director and Best Visual Effects.
10. 12 Years a Slave
12 Years a Slave is based on a real story, and pulls no punches while displaying the horror that Solomon Northup and his fellow slaves endured.
While slavery was an abhorrent practice regardless of who it was practiced against, Northup was raised a free man in New York State, only to be kidnapped and sold into slavery after traveling too close to the South as a fiddle player.
It gave him the additional perspective of someone who knew life as a free man. So it made his story crueler and more horrible. The film made over 100 critical top-ten lists for 2013 with 25 of them placing it as the best film of the year, something that was backed up at that years’ Academy Awards where it ended up going home with three awards, including for Best Picture.
Filmed over the course of 12 years, Boyhood depicts the coming-of-age of Mason Evans Junior (played by Ellar Coltrane) and was filmed from 2002 to 2013.
Most movies would hire two to three different actors, but the creators of Boyhood instead hired one actor and simply waited for him to grow up before filming. It required a tremendous amount of patience and commitment. And it paid off in spades.
Boyhood was nominated for five Golden Globes (Winning Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director and Best Supporting Actress for Patricia Arquette), five BAFTA awards (winning for Best Director and Best Film) and six Academy Awards (including for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actors for Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette).
While many films who break the mold are often copied (copying is the best form of flattery) it’s highly doubtful that an industry that tries to balance art with finances will churn out a ton of copycat Boyhoods.
8. The Big Sick
The Big Sick is based on the real life story of the relationship between Kumail Nanjiani (of Silicon Valley fame) and Emily V. Gordon, who co-wrote the film with Nanjiani. Gordon was diagnosed with Adult onset Still’s disease, a rare systemic auto-inflammatory disorder that can be life threatening.
The film was a relatively safe bet for producer Judd Apatow — it only cost $5 million. It smashed all expectations, grossing almost $60 million at the box office.
This film addresses social issues for people of Muslim and Christian faith in inter-religious relationships. It became a great teaching moment within a film that’s just really genuinely funny and heartfelt.
That wasn’t lost on some critics. Like Manohla Dargis of The New York Times, who praised the screenplay for “revitalizing an often moribund subgenre with a true story of love, death and the everyday comedy of being a 21st-century American.”
Dunkirk is based on the Dunkirk evacuation of World War II. The film covers the evacuation from three perspectives, each of which is a different type and phase of the war (air, land and sea) while also providing nearly endless action.
So, while the setting is one that has basically been covered by Hollywood countless times at this point, it’s never really been covered this way before. On top of the way it’s filmed, there’s also the reality surrounding the event.
Hundreds of thousands of Allied soldiers had retreated to the seaside French town by the fall of 1940 only to end up stranded between the sea and a million German soldiers who often toyed with them by flying overhead and shooting them down on the beach.
On the business side of things, Dunkirk grossed a ton of money ($525 million against it’s $100 million budget).
Spotlight tells the story of the Boston Globe‘s role in bringing attention to the Catholic Church’s cover up of rampant sexual abuse of young boys by its priests. Boston is a huge Catholic town. The film shows the power of the Church as well as the reporters’ struggle with bringing down the institution that they all believe in.
While it was nominated for only three Academy Awards it won for Best Picture. It’s the first Best Picture-winning film to earn less than three awards since 1953’s The Greatest Show on Earth.
Moonlight is an amazing film. It covers the life of an African American male as he grows up and struggles with life in general but also his budding homosexuality. It deserves to be recognized on its own merit but will be remembered for the rest of time for the debacle that occurred during the Academy Awards.
It won the Oscar for Best Picture but because neither of the presenters had been wearing glasses, they incorrectly announced that La La Land had won. The ensuing fiasco was hilarious and nearly broke the Internet.
Nevertheless, Moonlight was a watershed film. It was the first movie with an all-black cast, the first LGBT film and the second lowest grossing-film domestically to win the Oscar for Best Picture.
4. Inside Out
One film that had no trouble at the box office though was Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out, which ended up winning the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2015. It grossed nearly $900 million dollars at the global box office.
Inside Out is the creme de la creme of Pixar films. A lot of that has to do with it’s focus: the personified emotions within the mind of a young girl. Each emotion is represented by anthropomorphic creatures that are in constant battle with one another.
The critics obviously loved the film bestowing a 98 per cent Rotten Tomatoes score and an even more impressive 8.9/10 from metacritic. The consensus reads: “Inventive, gorgeously animated and powerfully moving, Inside Out is another outstanding addition to the Pixar library of modern animated classics.”
It also topped Rotten Tomatoes list of Top 100 Animated Movies list.
3. Mad Max: Fury Road
Mad Max: Fury Road is perhaps one of the most surprising movies of the new century. Critics loved this film, perhaps more than audiences did—it failed to clear $400 million at the box office. And it was the second most nominated film of the year in terms of Academy Awards after The Revenant.
It’s the first film from the Mad Max franchise to be nominated for any Academy Award and it ended up basically winning all of the non-“Big” awards —for things like Best Film Editing, Best Production Design, etc. — and bringing home six awards at the end of the night.
The film was so well received that its star, Tom Hardy, actually apologized to those involved for being a jerk on set. He said he didn’t understand the director’s vision and wasn’t too happy to be there. If you can make a film so good that the diva on set apologizes after seeing it, you know you’ve hit pay dirt.
2. Wonder Woman
Critics loved Wonder Woman — the most well-received super-hero/comic book movie of all time. Directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot, it was the first big screen adaptation of Wonder Woman, one of the DC “Trinity” (with Batman and Super-Man).
It was also the first female led major studio/major comic book movie ever. If this list really shows you anything about these type of movies it’s that both fans and critics are pining for something different than super buff men and a CGI villain.
1. Get Out
Get Out is as much social commentary as it is a horror film. It’s surprising that it’s the first directing gig for Peele, as well as his first non-comedy feature film writing credit. As of the writing of this article, the 2017 Academy Award nominations haven’t yet been released but it would be a huge shocker if Peele didn’t end up with a nomination or two.
Many consider Get Out the best film of 2017. The only negative reviews for the film come from sites with political leanings, like National Review, which renamed the film “Get Whitey” and stated that it “reduces racial politics to trite horror-comedy, it’s an Obama movie for Tarantino fans.”
Regardless, the film is a shoo-in for a ton of awards. It makes you feel good for Peele, especially after the failure that was Keanu.