So many movies were moved this week because of a global pandemic. It’s time we take a trip to the future. For this Weekly Movie Thread, we take a trip to the far off future of The Year 2000.
The year 2000 is a curious year in film. First off, everyone was caught up in the optimism of millennium fever, man! We were living in the future! So toss off those glum, self-absorbed 90’s and embrace glitzy pop music, techno, and mindless action! This giddy recklessness would last until, oh, say September the next year.
The year 2000 was also when everyone was trying to be The Matrix. Or more precisely… everyone was trying to be John Woo. Even John Woo! Mission: Impossible 2 may be the most John Woo movie ever made, with egregious use of white doves and wirework and jumping off of motorcycles and firing at each other in the air. And speaking of nu metal… Limp Bizkit is on the M:I-2 soundtrack.
Also trying to be John Woo… the Charlie’s Angels remake, which traded in the glamor of the original for music video quick cuts and a lot of explosions. Does McG have better musical taste than John Woo (or whoever was responsible for the M:I-2 soundtrack)? Blink-182 definitely seems like an upgrade.
The Matrix influence would be strongly felt in the movie that would transform the film landscape for decades to come. X-Men traded in the colorful comic book costumes for Matrix-ready black costumes, making superheroes cool for general audiences. This (and Blade before it) would dictate the mood of superhero movies for years to come: ditch the fantastical elements and keep the heroes grounded. Who better to exemplify this than Marvel’s mutants that were thinly disguised allegories for persecuted groups in the real world? The formula worked, and Marvel’s bad rep as heroes that would not be ready for box office glory was forever altered.
The Matrix‘s influence would also be felt in movies where people weren’t all dressed up in black leather. Its wirework also prepped audiences for the high-flying elegance of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. This was the first time many American audiences were exposed to Hong Kong superstars Michelle Yeoh and Chow-Yun Fat.
This was an era when Hollywood opened the door to Hong Kong stars… though Jackie Chan had already done that, and was starring opposite Owen Wilson in Shanghai Noon this year. Also this year: Jet Li breaking into Hollywood as a leading man with Romeo Must Die. It’s been pointed out by Avocado commenter Troubled that this was because we were in the middle of the transfer of Hong Kong to China, and several of its stars didn’t know if they’d be allowed to do their thing back at home under the new government.
Beyond the main films, 2000 would feature some low-key classics that would be embraced by future generations: Pitch Black, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, High Fidelity, Requiem for a Dream, American Psycho, Almost Famous, Cecil B. Demented, Shadow of the Vampire, and Timecode.
The year 2000 also provided a Best Picture winner that also went over huge with audiences. I remember when Gladiator ran ads during the WWF. After all, it’s Russell Crowe engaged in bloody combat with wild animals and fellow humans. Crowe also won the Best Actor award… a shocker to me, considering that 2000 was also the same year Tom Hanks acted opposite a volleyball in Cast Away.
In a weird twist, Wilson made a comeback recently with the hospital staff gifting Hanks a volleyball while he is in quarantine.
There are a lot of movies I’d like to talk about — from terrible movie classics like Battlefield Earth and Dungeons and Dragons to the vital comedy genre with Meet the Parents and Dude, Where’s My Car? — but you get the picture. 2000 was a damn great year for movies.
Today’s prompt: What’s your favorite movie of the year 2000?