Summer 2000: The Top 10 Hits and More

As I do every summer on the blog, I am looking back at the cinematic seasons of 30, 20, and 10 years ago and recounting the top ten hits, other notable pics, and some misfires. A week ago, I covered the summer of 1990 (when we all were “ghosted”). If you missed it, you can peruse it here:

Today brings us to the dawn of the new century. What struck me is that there weren’t a whole lot of outright flops, but the ones that were are rather significant bombs. Let’s take a trip down memory lane of 2000 and were we not entertained?!?!

10. The Patriot

Domestic Gross: $113 million

Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger teamed up with disaster flick specialist Roland Emmerich for this Revolutionary War era drama that managed to just achieve blockbuster status and barely top its reported $110 million budget stateside.

9. Big Momma’s House

Domestic Gross: $117 million

Negative reviews couldn’t prevent this Martin Lawrence comedy from nearly quadrupling its $30 million budget and spawning two eventual sequels. 30% also happens to be its Rotten Tomatoes score.

8. Nutty Professor II: The Klumps

Domestic Gross: $123 million

Eddie Murphy’s sequel to his 1996 hit certainly didn’t get the reviews of its predecessor, but it fell only $5 million short of the domestic gross of part 1 and introduced superstar Janet Jackson as his new love interest. Part 2 also greatly expanded Eddie’s work as other members of the Klump brood. As you can see from numbers 8 and 9, it was a big summer for comedians in fat suits.

7. Dinosaur

Domestic Gross: $137 million

The prehistoric Disney animated adventure is not one of their most talked about titles in recent decades, but it was still a profitable venture that grossed nearly $350 million worldwide.

6. What Lies Beneath

Domestic Gross: $155 million

Despite mixed reviews, Robert Zemeckis’s Hitchcockian thriller starring Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer landed big with audiences. Its filming schedule is a memorable one. Zemeckis was shooting Cast Away with Tom Hanks and there was a long break in filming so its star could shed weight and grow his long beard. It was enough time for the director to fit in Beneath. 

5. Scary Movie

Domestic Gross: $157 million

The summer’s biggest comedy was a Scream spoof from filmmaker Keenan Ivory Wayans. Shot for less than $20 million, it spawned four sequels and became its own franchise.

4. X-Men

Domestic Gross: $157 million

I recently wrote about the 20th anniversary of X-Men here:

That post talks about its significant impact on the comic book genre that has dominated the 21st century.

3. The Perfect Storm

Domestic Gross: $182 million

Wolfgang Peterson’s fact based disaster drama with George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg was not much of a hit with critics, but crowds were swept up in the waves.

2. Gladiator

Domestic Gross: $187 million

Ridley Scott’s historical action drama kicked off summer 2000 and made a global superstar out of Russell Crowe and provided a juicy supporting part for Joaquin Phoenix. The film became an Oscar darling – winning Best Picture and Crowe taking Best Actor. This is the rare summer popcorn pic that achieved awards glory.

1. Mission: Impossible 2

Domestic Gross: $215 million

This sequel cruised to the top spot of earners for the season. Now that there’s been six editions in the franchise, this John Woo directed experience is generally (and rightfully) considered the weakest of the bunch. Yet that didn’t prevent huge grosses.

And now for some other notable features:

Chicken Run

Domestic Gross: $106 million

This still stands as the highest grossing stop-motion animated feature of all time and it doubled its budget domestically. A sequel is in development, but it was recently announced that lead voice Mel Gibson will not be part of the proceedings.

Gone in 60 Seconds

Domestic Gross: $101 million

Despite poor reviews, Nicolas Cage and Angelina Jolie’s remake of the 1970s heist pic still zoomed (barely) past $100 million and was a solid performer overseas.

Me, Myself & Irene

Domestic Gross: $90 million

The Farrelly Brothers reunited with their Dumb and Dumber star Jim Carrey for this comedy that earned mixed reaction. This was nowhere near the hit that the brothers had two years earlier with their runaway success There’s Something About Mary, but it still made money.

Space Cowboys

Domestic Gross: $90 million

Clint Eastwood guided this “old guys in space” tale alongside Tommy Lee Jones to a very respectable gross and decent critical reaction.

Hollow Man

Domestic Gross: $73 million

Paul Verhoeven’s take on the H.G. Wells novel starred Kevin Bacon and earned a Visual Effects Oscar nomination (losing to Gladiator). While it didn’t make its budget back stateside, it ended up doubling its price tag when factoring in foreign markets. A direct to video sequel followed.


Domestic Gross: $70 million

Samuel L. Jackson took over the iconic private dick role from Richard Roundtree (who costarred here) in this sequel from the late John Singleton. Christian Bale memorably plays a villain here. Another sequel followed in 2019 and it was an outright flop.

Bring It On

Domestic Gross: $68 million

Made for only $11 million, this teen cheerleading comedy was an unexpected hit that gave Kirsten Dunst and Gabrielle Union a boost in their careers. Five direct to video sequels followed as well as a stage musical.

The Cell

Domestic Gross: $61 million

Despite so-so reviews, this twisty supernatural thriller with Jennifer Lopez easily topped its $33 million budget. It has continued to have ardent admirers including the late Roger Ebert, who awarded it four stars.

Coyote Ugly

Domestic Gross: $60 million

This tale about saloon life with Piper Perabo and John Goodman managed to take in over $100 million worldwide against a $45 million budget and has become a cult favorite since.

The Original Kings of Comedy

Domestic Gross: $38 million

A stand-up comedy pic grossing this much in theaters is notable. Spike Lee directed Bernie Mac, Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley, and Cedric the Entertainer and audiences turned out.

As I mentioned, the total bombs aren’t plentiful here. However, they’re notable:

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle

Domestic Gross: $26 million

A pet project of Robert De Niro, this loose take on the 1960s animated series grossed a third of its budget domestically and was quickly forgotten.

Titan A.E.

Domestic Gross: $22 million

20th Century Fox had a big failure here at the start of the 21st century with this animated sci-fi tale with Matt Damon as a leading voice. The price tag was reportedly around $90 million and it made just $36 million worldwide.

Battlefield Earth

Domestic Gross: $21 million

Based on a work from Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, audiences and critics savaged this sci-fi tale with John Travolta. It won a then record 7 Golden Raspberry Awards and was mocked relentlessly for its poor quality.

And that does it, folks! I’ll have 2010 recounted on the blog in the coming days…

Hustlers Movie Review

Designer clothes and designer drugs fill the screen in Lorene Scafaria’s Hustlers, inspired by a true story adapted from a New York magazine article. Focusing on a group of strippers who must figure out creative ways to make money after the 2008 financial crisis, this is a crime saga that often feels like a Mob movie trading tailored suits for Juicy Couture  and exotic heels. There are dramatic drawbacks and a lack of character depth in the director’s screenplay. It also features a dynamite performance from Jennifer Lopez and a pounding music score that renders this mostly gratifying.

Constance Wu is Destiny, who’s just nabbed a gig at NYC strip club Moves. She’s a novice in her new trade, but life perks up when she falls under the mentorship of fellow dancer Ramona (Lopez). They form a strong bond (Ramona is a mother figure that Destiny never had) and are a financial force among the Wall Street types that frequent the establishment. This turns out short-lived as the bottom drops out of the economy within a few months.

Destiny leaves the business and has a child from an unhealthy relationship. A lack of income brings her back to Ramona. However, the dollars aren’t rolling in like they used and Ramona is singularly focused on ways to keep the coffers filled. That’s when the duo enlist fellow employees Mercedes (Keke Palmer) and the weak stomached Annabelle (Lili Reinhart). The quartet takes on scores away from Moves and it involves drugging deep pocketed gentlemen and running up those black cards.

Hustlers is told in flashback as a journalist (Julia Stiles) interviews Destiny, who’s conflicted and guilt ridden about her actions. That trait does not apply to Ramona as she feels little sympathy for their marks. The picture is filled with energy when Lopez is onscreen, even if the script shies away from what motivates her (beyond the obvious monetary considerations). Destiny’s story and Wu’s portrayal is less captivating.

It is rather refreshing to watch something that has a Scorsese influence, but filled with much different looking glamorous law breakers. There’s no traditional score in Hustlers as the soundtrack is turned up loudly with primarily pop and hip hip hits from 2007 to 2014. A woozy sequence set to Scott Walker’s late 60s track “Next” turns out to be the musical highlight. We also hear a lot of Janet Jackson, who Lopez herself used to dance for. Other than some occasionally effective bits extolling the virtues of this odd family, don’t look for too much substance here other than the ones up a patron’s nose or mixed in their drink. Yet this is undeniably a pleasurable experience while it lasts.

*** (out of four)

Top 90 R&B Songs of the 1990s: Nos. 20-11

We have reached the Top 20 of my personal Top 90 R&B Songs of the 1990s, with the Top Ten coming tomorrow! For those wishing to peruse my previous entries, scroll through the homepage of the blog or click the Music tab to easily find them.

Let’s get it going!

20. “Back & Forth” by Aaliyah (1994)

The debut single from the late singer’s first album was written and produced by R. Kelly and remains one of her classics, staying at #1 for three weeks.

19. “Bump n’ Grind” by R. Kelly (1994)

This is the sultry track that turned Mr. Kelly into a superstar and it spent 12 weeks atop the R&B charts.

18. “Always Be My Baby” by Mariah Carey (1996)

From her Daydream album, this Jermaine Dupri produced track marks Mariah’s highest hit on my list.

17. “Humpin’ Around” by Bobby Brown (1992)

Bobby’s lead single off his Bobby album is a New Jack Swing classic from mega producers L.A.&Babyface.

16. “Only You” by 112 (1996)

This absolute banger includes rap verses from the great Notorious B.I.G. and Mase.

15. “If Your Girl Only Knew” by Aaliyah (1996)

The first single of her One in a Million album, this was the first time we heard the magic of Timbaland’s production with her voice.

14. “Right Here (Human Nature)” by SWV (1992)

Teddy Riley produced this fantastic track that incorporates Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature” with the girl group’s vocals. A masterpiece.

13. “Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder)” by Maxwell

The soulful classic was the debut single from Maxwell’s acclaimed Urban Hang Suite album.

12. “This Is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan (1995)

This one still kills if it comes on the club and Montell’s signature tune spent seven weeks at #1.

11. “That’s the Way Loves Goes” by Janet Jackson (1993)

Ms. Jackson’s first single off her janet album is her most memorable track of the 1990s, where she put out many terrific hits.

Alright folks! Tomorrow: the Top Ten!


Top 90 R&B Songs of the 1990s: Nos. 40-31

We’re at day six of my personal Top 90 R&B Songs of the 1990s. For those who wish to read my previous entries, just click on the Music category of this here blog and they’ll magically show up. Today brings us to numbers 40-31 and let’s go to it:

40. “Killing Me Softly” by The Fugees (1996)

This hip hop trio was tremendously influential in their too brief time together. This Roberta Flack cover is their one smash hit that can safely be classified as R&B with Lauryn Hill’s beautiful vocals.

39. “Motownphilly” by Boyz II Men (1990)

The hit single that started it all for this trio. They may be best known for their slow jams, but this deserves its spot on the list.

38. “I Get Lonely” by Janet Jackson (1998)

Ms. Jackson’s single on her acclaimed Velvet Rope album also featured a remix with Blackstreet.

37. “My Love Is Your Love” by Whitney Houston (1999)

“I Will Always Love You” may be her signature tune from the decade (it made #50 on here), but this Wylcef Jean produced track is my personal Whitney favorite of hers from the 90s.

36. “Any Time, Any Place” by Janet Jackson (1994)

Janet’s sultry and unforgettable single from her 1993 janet album earns her yet another entry.

35. “Vision of Love” by Mariah Carey (1990)

The great ballad that started it all for Mariah and was her first #1 single of many more to come.

34. “No, No, No Part 2” by Destiny’s Child (1997)

Most of their biggest singles came the following decade, but Beyoncé and company got off to their storied career with this gem from Wyclef Jean yet again.

33. “Scream” by Michael and Janet Jackson (1995)

The brother and sister finally got together for “Scream” and a fantastic song and video were the result.

32. “I’ll Make Love to You” by Boyz II Men (1994)

Coming off a successful first album, the Boyz became a phenomenon with this first single from their second album… an unforgettable concoction from producer Babyface.

31. “Don’t Take It Personal (Just One of Dem Days” by Monica (1995)

This Dallas Austin production gave Monica her first of many hits. For Monica, her debut single is still her best.

And that’s tonight’s edition! We’ll get into the top third of the list tomorrow with numbers 30-21.


Top 90 R&B Songs of the 1990s: Nos. 80-71

We have arrived at Day 2 of my list of personal Top 90 R&B Songs of the 1990s and this means numbers 80-71 coming your way. In case you missed Part 1, you can find it right here:

Let’s go right to it:

80. “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss” by PM Dawn (1991)

The soul duo had their largest hit with this jam.

79. “I’m Going Down” by Mary J. Blige (1994)

Ms. Blige had a soulful hit with this cover of the Rose Royce 1970s song.

78. “Water Runs Dry” by Boyz II Men (1995)

The Boyz make their first appearance on the list with Babyface produced slow track.

77. “100% Pure Love” by Crystal Waters (1994)

Crystal Waters techno/R&B blend hit #1 on the dance chart.

76. “Keep On Walkin” by CeCe Peniston (1992)

CeCe has a number of hits and her signature song is considered “Finally”, but this one has always been my persona favorite.

75. “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston (1993)

Ms. Whitney makes her first list appearance with this David Foster produced ballad from The Bodyguard.

74. “Candy Rain” by Soul for Real (1994)

The boy band hit #1 on the R&B singles chart with this track produced by Poke&Tone and Heavy D.

73. “Tell Me” by Groove Theory (1995)

This male/female duo had their biggest hit with this jam.

72. “One In a Million” by Aaliyah (1996)

The late great singer makes her debut on here with the title track from her critically acclaimed second album which featured the beginning of her groundbreaking collaborations with Timbaland.

71. “The Best Things In Life are Free” by Luther Vandross and Janet Jackson

Featured on the soundtrack to the Damon Wayans comedy Mo’ Money, the Jam&Lewis produced track also features a rap cameo from Bell Biv Devoe.

And that’s all for today, my friends! Back again tomorrow with numbers 70-61!


My Top 25 Michael Jackson Songs Of All Time: Nos. 15-11

Continuing along with my personal Top 25 Michael Jackson Songs Of All Time – tonight comes part three with numbers 15 through 11. You can read my two previous posts covering 25-16 here:

15. “I Wanna Be Where You Are” (from Got To Be There – 1972)

MJ’s oldest song on the list was released when he was just 13 years old and certainly sounds more Jackson 5 than anything else on here with its Motown roots. It reached #2 on the R&B chart. It’s not too well-known anymore, but it should be. This is the only song on the list pre-Off the Wall from 1979, but other noteworthy early MJ songs include “Got To Be There”, “Ben”, and “We’re Almost There”.

14. “Scream” (from HIStory – 1995)

The lead off single from 1995’s HIStory is from mega-producers Jam&Lewis and features his only duet with his sister Janet. It’s my highest track listed from that album, but other quality songs include “They Don’t Care About Us”, “Stranger in Moscow”, “This Time Around”, and “Smile”.

13. “Black or White” (from Dangerous – 1991)

The lead single from 1991’s Dangerous featured a controversial video that included Macaulay Culkin and MJ turning into a panther, but it’s a fantastic song with memorable guitar work from Guns&Roses’ Slash. This is the final Dangerous track included. Those that missed the cut but are great include “Jam”, “Who Is It”, and “Give In To Me”.

12. “Thriller” (from Thriller – 1982)

The title track from the bestselling album of all time is a Halloween time classic with one of the best known music videos ever shot. While one of his most famous songs, there’s plenty of other Thriller tracks still to come in top ten.

11. “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” (from Off the Wall – 1979)

The first single from his breakout solo work Off the Wall is a disco-infused club jam that marked MJ’s first #1 single on his own. The track also gave the artist his music video as a solo artist — a medium he would perfect better than anyone before or since.

Tomorrow – we get into the Top Ten! Stay tuned.