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29+ Movies We Can’t Believe Turn 20 This Year


| LAST UPDATE 08/14/2022

By Conner Goodman

It may feel like it was just last week we were headed to the theater to watch them, but believe it or not, these iconic movies were all released back in 2002. Here's a trip down movie memory lane...

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

The second installment of Peter Jackson's incredible J.R.R. Tolkien adaptation was released nearly two decades ago! The epic fantasy adventure film earned incredible reviews, just like the two other movies.

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The 2002 film release had gotten a ton of attraction - so much so, that it earned $218 million at the box office. And while the movie, starring Elijah Wood and Sean Astin, was nominated for 6 Oscars, it walked away with two wins for Best Sound Editing and Best Visual Effects.

A Walk To Remember

We can't believe it was 20 years ago that A Walk to Remember had people walking out of the movie theatres with tears pouring down their faces. But despite how sad the film starring Mandy Moore and Shane West was, it was an instant hit. Because, after all, who doesn't love a Nicholas Sparks adaptation? 

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The unforgettable storyline follows two teenagers who fall madly in love. But sadly, even though they are only in high school, the characters Landon Carter and Jamie Sullivan are faced with making heartbreaking life decisions. Let's just say, get those tissues ready!

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Ice Age

The first film of many of the Ice Age franchise was brought to theatres two decades ago! Since then, there have been 5 new installments, with the most recent one, The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild, being released in early 2022. But we can't lie... we don't think anything compares to the original hilarious Disney film.

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The storyline followed three main characters: Manny, a serious woolly mammoth, Sid, a carefree ground sloth, and Diego, a sarcastic saber-toothed cat. When they stumble upon a human baby out in north-western Canada, they have to work together to return the child to its home.

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My Big Fat Greek Wedding

The movie that was at one point named the highest-grossing romantic comedy of all time is celebrating its 20th birthday this year! My Big Fat Greek Wedding was a rom-com that was an instant hit. When a Greek American woman meets a none Greek man, she has to somehow convince her family to accept in after they get engaged.

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Despite it being an independently financed film both starring and written by Nia Vardalos, it received a whopping $223 million dollars at the box office and even earned Vardolas an Oscar nomination for the screenplay. A sequel for the iconic movie was released in 2016.

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Way back when before Tom Holland or Andrew Garfield took over the role of Spider-Man, Tobey Maguire was the only one known to play the iconic superhero. In 2002, the original film, Spider-Man, followed the storyline of Sam Raimi's comic book character Peter Parker and how he came to have superpowers.

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The movie that started it all was a mega-hit. Not only did it earn the spot as that year's highest grosser at the box office with a total of $825 million, but it received numerous Oscar award nominations. Twenty years later, and fans are still following the life of the webbed hero.

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Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones

It's almost hard to believe that Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones was released in theatres so long ago! The prequel, which was released following the 1999 re-release of the original trilogy, followed the life of Anakin Skywalker. From his childhood to how he became Darth Vader, the movie didn't miss one detail.

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Set 10 years following The Phantom Menace, fans are taken on the journey of Hayden Christensen's character and Natalie Portman's character, Padmé Amidala's prohibited relationship. Despite the not-so-good reviews from critics, the movie grossed over $310 million in the US, based on reports from Box Office Mojo. 

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On June 14th, 2002, the world was blessed by the release of Scooby-Doo. Following the adventures of Shaggy, his dog, and the rest of the gang, audiences were kept on the edge of their seats as they went about solving several mysteries - but there were also many moments filled with laughter.

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The movie version of the popular series Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! saw the group come together to solve a mystery at the popular horror-themed tropical island resort. Their journey leads them to run into numerous monsters and unexpected twists and turns.

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Austin Powers in Goldmember

It's pretty unbelievable that so many movies that came out 20 years ago remain to be some of the most popular ones in the industry! This includes Austin Powers in Goldmember, which arguably is known to be a pretty iconic movie that most people have either seen or heard of. 

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Mike Myers, who played Austin Powers, was joined by the legendary singer Beyonce for her theatrical debut as Foxxy Cleopatra! The spy comedy took audiences on the adventure of watching Austin go back in time to 1975, when he must take down the villain. Safe to say that even 2 decades later, we'd still suggest this for movie night.

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Sweet Home Alabama

We got to be honest - romantic comedies made these days simply can't compare to the rom-coms made back in the early 2000s. Right? Reese Witherspoon and Patrick Dempsey worked together on Sweet Home Alabama 20 years ago to give fans the ultimate swoon-worthy movie.

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The film is about a New York designer, Melanie, who gets engaged to an eligible bachelor. But before they can tie the knot, she must go back to her hometown in Southern Alabama to convince her redneck husband, whom she married in high school, to get a divorce after being apart for 7 years.

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The Ring

We have no doubt that till today people who have seen The Ring still get a fright when watching an unknown videotape. And for those who haven't yet seen the horror film starring Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, and Brian Cox, it's not for the faint-hearted.

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After learning that a mysterious video is haunted, a journalist (played by Watts) sets out to figure out what is it about the tape that causes everyone who sees it to get murdered. The movie was a remake of Hideo Nakata's 1998 Japanese horror film Ring, which was originally based on a book that was released in 1991. 

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8 Mile

Eminem is undoubtedly known by most people for his rap songs and impressive vocabulary skills. But back in 2002, the artist showed fans that he had more than just one talent when he starred in the drama 8 Mile. It featured many focal points from Eminem's real life!

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It showed how the rapper first began his career living in a trailer house in Detroit with his mom and younger sister. From rap battles to falling in love, Eminem's debut film had everything and more needed to leave audiences gripped to their seat. 8 Mile grossed over $116 million dollars.

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Thinking about how Harry Potter and the Chambers of Secrets was released two decades ago makes us feel really old! We can't believe it's been that long since we saw the young Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint on the big screen as they learned the ins and outs of Hogwarts.

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YouTube via Warner Bros. Entertainment

The second installment of the franchise followed the 3 wizards as they encounter new villains and figure out the truth about the school's chamber - without anyone knowing or before any innocent lives are taken. The fantasy adventure screenplay earned a whopping $879 million in box offices, based on Box Office Mojo records.

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Maid In Manhattan

Recently Jennifer Lopez starred in a movie called Marry Me. But even 20 years ago, the dance, singer, and actress blessed our screens when she appeared in the romantic comedy Maid in Manhattan. But what's even more shocking than how long it's been since it was released is how J. Lo practically looks the same today!

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A single mother, Marisa Ventura, works as a maid in a luxurious hotel in… well, obviously Manhattan. During one of her shifts, she meets a politician named Christopher Marshall (played by Ralph Fiennes). Despite being from opposite worlds, these two eventually end up falling for each other.

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Britney Spears isn't just a talented singer - she's also shown us that she is a talented actress! In her debut movie, Crossroads, her character, Lucy, and her two childhood best friends, Kit (Zoe Saldana) and Mini (Taryn Manning), embark on a crazy road trip across the country.

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During their adventure trip, they fall enough, get heartbroken, and make unbelievable family discoveries. The journey not only teaches the three teenagers about themselves but also about their friendship. The coming-of-age dramedy was written by none other than Grey's Anatomy's creator, Shonda Rhimes. 

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We couldn't believe it when we realized that Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Richard Gere graced our screens with Chicago two whole decades ago! Time really does fly by. The musical that was based on the stage musical of the same name was arguably executed perfectly.

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Filled with suspense, drama, crime, and comedy, we can see how the film grossed over $170 million dollars at the box office in the United States. The movie depicted many difficult aspects of the criminal life that was prominent in Chicago during the Jazz Age.

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The Bourne Identity

In 2002 The Bourne Identity franchise officially started. The first installment of the movies adapted from Robert Ludlum's novels starred none other than Matt Damon. His character, Jason Bourne, gets rescued by a fishing boat in the Mediterranean ocean after being hit by a bullet.

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Due to his injuries, he suffers from amnesia, and he can't seem to remember who he is or where he came from. The action-packed film was followed by The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum, The Bourne Legacy, and Jason Bourne. So it's safe to say these movies were a big hit.

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Catch Me If You Can

Leonardo DiCaprio has been showing off his talented skills in movies for over 20 years now! Back in 2002, he starred in Catch Me If You Can, alongside many other A-list stars, including Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken, Jennifer Garner, and more. DiCaprio's performance helped him get a good reputation in Hollywood.

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His character was a master of deception who forged and deceived his way through his life. The film was a major hit, even grossing $352.1 million dollars at the box office. Even up until today, the cultural reset the movie led is still admired by fans and critics.

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Minority Report

It comes as no surprise that a Steven Spielberg film that was made two decades ago is still critically acclaimed and loved by many. Minority Report starring Tom Cruise and Colin Farewell, was based on a 1956 short story with the same name that was written by Philip K. Dick. 

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The sci-fi action movie is set in the future in the year 2054 and is about a world where police are able to use advanced technology to find and arrest murderers even before they are actually able to commit the crimes. But things take a turn when the leader of the Precrime unit is accused of being the convict of a future murder.

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Panic Room

Believe it or not, Kristen Stewart has been in the industry for 20 years now! Back in 2002, at just 12 years old, the child actress starred in Panic Room alongside her movie mom, played by Oscar-winning actress Jodie Foster. Stewart earned early acclaim for her performance in David Fincher's hit thriller.

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In the movie, a recently divorced mom and her diabetic daughter move into a new home. But unfortunately, during their first night there, three strange men break into their home. Quickly, the mom and daughter duo hide out inside the panic room installed in the house by the previous owner.

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Punch-Drunk Love

All throughout the 90s, Adam Sandler was involved in numerous hilarious comedies. And although they were admired by fans, it wasn't until 2002 that the actor received his first good review by movie critics for the film, Punch Drunk Love, where he co-starred with Emily Watson.

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His performance as Barry Egan helped him establish himself in the film industry as more than just a goofy producer. Egan, an entrepreneur, deals with severe social anxiety, so when he falls for his sister's co-worker, things take an interesting turn.

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We're starting to feel really old thinking about the fact that Signs was first seen in movie theaters two decades ago. Starring Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, and Abigail Breslin, the science-fiction mystery thriller told a tale about a previous Episcopal priest who finds crop circles in his cornfield.

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Directed by M. Night Shymalan, the movie took audiences on an epic adventure as the main character tries to figure out where the mysterious crops have come from. Based on reports from Box Office Mojo, the freaky storyline earned roughly $228 million dollars.

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Lilo & Stitch

Disney's Lilo & Stitch earned specular reviewers from both movie reviewers and their audiences. It was so popular when it was first released back in 2002 that the feel-good cartoon movie was even nominated for a Best-Animated Feature by the Academy Awards.

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For those who may not already be familiar, the famous film is about two sisters living on Kauai Island all alone after their parents passed away. Eventually, Lilo's big sister lets her adopt a dog from the pound, but little do they know that the animal, Stitch, is a genetically engineered scientific experiment.

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Two Weeks Notice

Sandra Bullock dominated the movie industry in the 2000s! The talented actress was often cast as the lead women role in numerous romantic comedies. So when Two Weeks Notice came out in 2002, her fans rushed to the cinema to watch the film - and even today it's adored by many.

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After realizing that her boss takes advantage of her loyalty and hard work, a lawyer, Lucy Kenson, played by Bullock, decided to quit her job working for billionaire George Wade, played by Hugh Grant. But as she trains her replacement, Kenson starts to question if she made the right decision.

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Men In Black II

In 2002, the iconic movie franchise Men in Black II was released. The movie, starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, was the second installment of the science fiction action-packed screenplay. And just like its other films, it received great reviews - and even grossed $192.4 million dollars at the box office.

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The main characters Kay and Jay reunite in the sequel after they investigate an ordinary crime when all of a sudden, Jay discovers a plot masterminded by Serleena. Things take a turn when Serleena takes the MIB building hostage, and the only person who can rescue them is Kay.

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Mr. Deeds

Adam Sandler was one busy man in 2002! He had a couple of movies come out that year, including Mr. Deeds, in which he starred alongside fellow A-list star Winona Ryder. The two had audiences cracking up in their seats thanks to the rom-com directed by Steven Brill.

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When a small-town man, Longfellow Deeds, is given $40 billion dollars by a long-lost family member, his entire life is turned upside down. The rags to riches story shows how Mr. Deeds is able to go from his ordinary life to running a mega-media company - all while falling in love!

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Jack*ss: The Movie

It's unbelievable to think that Jack*ss: The Movie came out 20 years ago, especially since just this year, Jack*ss 4.5 was released. Because even though it's been 2 decades since the first hilarious movie was seen, fans are still devoted to watching the unbelievable action-filled documentary-styled film.

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The movie follows Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Bam Margera, Chris Pontius, and more as they take on adventures and tasks that seem too crazy to be true! With stunts, pranks, and gross gags, the film is undoubtedly hilarious... yet many of the things they do should not be recreated at home!

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Salma Hayek's incredible performance in Frida earned her an Academy Awards nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role. She played the iconic Frida Kahlo in the biography movie that told the story of the infamous Mexican painter that advocated for many minority groups.

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The life story of Frida was played out in the screenplay as audiences learned about the adventurous and incredible life she lived. The movie depicts her turbulent relationship with her mentor and her illegitimate affairs with Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky.

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About a Boy

Hugh Grant appeared in many early 2000's films, including About a Boy. In the movie, his character Will Freeman's life is flipped upside down when he goes from being a carefree, irresponsible single man to a father forced to face many new life challenges.

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Now, as a new father, he is forced to learn how to leave behind his life where he dates new women all the time and instead has to manage to go to parent-teacher meetings to raise a young boy. Who can believe that it's really been 20 years since this film came out?!

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Gangs of New York

From Leonardo DiCaprio to Cameron Diaz, this star-studded screenplay was a major hit back in 2002 when it first hit cinemas. The movie was based in the year 1862, where the main character, Amsterdam Vallon, goes back to his hometown in New York to seek revenge.

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Amsterdam must face William Cutting, a gang leader who took his father's life. The drama and action-filled journey left audiences on the edge of their seat, waiting to see what happened next. The smash hit movie, directed by Martin Scorsese, grossed $193.8 million dollars.

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Die Another Day

We can't believe that the fourth and final film of Pierce Brosnan as James Bond came out so long ago! Brosnan and Halle Berry took on yet another adventure that had thousands of fans rushing to the movie theater to watch. The film grossed in a whopping $431.9 million dollars!

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The storyline for this segment of the franchise was about James Bond being sent to secretly investigate a situation between a North Korean terrorist and a diamond mogul. The drama packed plot takes a twisted turn when Bond is accidentally kidnapped by the terrorist. Safe to say, we'd add this one to the Watch-List...

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