10 Forgotten '00s Films That Were Too Cool for Their Decade

10 Forgotten '00s Films That Were Too Cool for Their Decade
Image credit: Legion-Media,, Fórum Hungary, Gaumont, Columbia Pictures

Whether you're into mind-bending sci-fi, philosophical dramas, or quirky romances, there's something for everyone.

Waking Life (2001)

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So, let's imagine you're taking a nap, right? And you're dreaming of a weird, fluid world where nothing makes sense but everything is deeply philosophical. That's Waking Life for you. Richard Linklater took a bunch of dreams and slapped them together into a fever dream of a movie. The protagonist, played by Wiley Wiggins, wanders through a dreamscape, encountering characters who philosophize on the nature of life and consciousness. It's like a film made by an existentialist philosopher with a penchant for psychedelics. We're not even sure if this film is for everyone, but if you're down for some deep thoughts with your popcorn, give it a shot.

Adaptation (2002)

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Imagine this: a movie about a screenwriter struggling to adapt a book into a screenplay, that's actually adapted from a book, and the screenwriter is played by Nicolas Cage, who also plays his fictional twin brother. Confused? Welcome to the world of Charlie Kaufman. Adaptation is so meta it hurts. With Cage as Charlie and Donald Kaufman, Meryl Streep as Susan Orlean, and Chris Cooper as John Laroche, this film explores the difficulties of adaptation, writer's block, and the anxieties that come with creativity. And, by the way, this movie was nominated for four Oscars. So there's that.

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002)

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Who would have thought that the host of a 70s game show was a CIA assassin? Confessions of a Dangerous Mind is the allegedly "true" story of Chuck Barris, played by Sam Rockwell, who claimed to have led a double life as a television producer and a government hitman. This dark comedy, directed by George Clooney, juggles tones like a seasoned circus performer. And Julia Roberts as a femme fatale? Yes, please.

Primer (2004)

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Alright, let's get one thing straight: Primer is not just a movie, it's a brain teaser on steroids. Ever heard of a film so convoluted that even Stephen Hawking would need a flowchart to figure it out? This is it. It's the brainchild of Shane Carruth, who basically created a whole new genre of time-travel films. So here's the deal: two engineers accidentally discover time travel while tinkering in their garage. What follows is a mess of double-crossing, looping timelines, and paradoxes that would make your head spin. You know that saying, "Too many cooks spoil the broth"? Well, in this case, too many timelines spoil the plot – or do they?

Equilibrium (2002)

Now, imagine a world where emotions are illegal, and everyone takes drugs to suppress their feelings. Sounds like a tough place to live, right? That's the world of Equilibrium, a dystopian action flick that has some of the coolest fight scenes this side of The Matrix. Christian Bale plays John Preston, an enforcer who begins to question the system he's sworn to protect. The story may not be Shakespeare, but the gunplay is poetry in motion. If you're into stylish action and don't mind a bit of melodrama, this one's for you.

Frailty (2001)

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Aren't family secrets the worst? A widowed father, played by the amazing Bill Paxton, receives instructions from a supposed "angel" to destroy demons on Earth. Now, I don't mean the fire-and-brimstone kind. Nope, we're talking people who the dad believes are the devil incarnate. What follows is a spiral of religious fanaticism, moral dilemmas, and the consequences of one man's convictions. The movie is told from the perspective of one of the sons, played by Matthew McConaughey, who's all grown up and recounting the harrowing tale to an FBI agent. When you have a family like this, who needs enemies?

Thirteen Conversations About One Thing (2001)

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"What's the meaning of life?" is probably the oldest question in the book. This film weaves together several interconnected stories that explore the eternal quest for happiness. Featuring an ensemble cast of Alan Arkin, Matthew McConaughey, and Amy Irving, this movie explores the emotional facets of life's ups and downs, and how we each cope with them. Is there one true thing that makes us happy? Or is it all just a bunch of unrelated moments?

The Fall (2006)

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Sometimes, a movie comes along that's just so beautiful, you can't help but stop and stare. That's The Fall for you. Directed by Tarsem Singh, this visually stunning film tells the story of Roy Walker, played by Lee Pace, a stuntman recovering in a hospital who befriends a young Romanian girl named Alexandria. Roy spins a fantastical tale of five mythical heroes on a quest to defeat an evil governor. But here's the kicker: the story is interwoven with the realities of Roy's life, as he battles depression and heartbreak.

Ghost World (2001)

What happens when two sarcastic teenagers graduate from high school and have no clue what to do next? Enter Ghost World, a quirky coming-of-age story based on a graphic novel. Starring Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson as Enid and Rebecca, two best friends who spend their summer pranking people and navigating the weirdness of adulthood. They even befriend a lonely man named Seymour, played by Steve Buscemi, and things get weird.

The Science of Sleep (2006)

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Gael García Bernal stars as Stéphane, a shy, eccentric man who moves to Paris and falls for his neighbor, Stéphanie, played by Charlotte Gainsbourg. But here's where things get trippy: Stéphane's dreams and reality start to blur, and his vivid imagination takes on a life of its own. The film, directed by Michel Gondry, features whimsical visuals and a quirky sense of humor.