This century has been witness to a number of exceptional Hollywood movies. These American movies have set the standard for good cinema over the years. All of these movies have enjoyed critical acclaim and some have even acquired the status of modern classics. In this article, we will focus on some of the best Hollywood movies of recent times, i.e. the 21st century. These movies have made an eternal mark on World Cinema. Also, we have decided not to add the Pixar movies to this list because all of them are so brilliant that they require a list of their own. Let’s cruise across genres to find some of the best Hollywood movies of recent times (in random order) and appreciate the sheer brilliance of these creations.
1. Kill Bill (Volume 1 and 2) (2003-2004)
This list would have been incomplete without a Quentin Tarantino movie, and this Uma Thurman classic is a perfect choice. From the way the movie starts ( can’t help but sing Bang Bang) to the way it ends, everything is just so brilliant! If you haven’t seen this movie, you are missing out on an experience of a lifetime. Did I just oversell this movie? No, I didn’t.
2. La La Land (2016)
Hollywood might not produce as many musicals as Bollywood does but it sure offers more than a few wonders. La La Land is one such musical that can be proclaimed as the best Hollywood musical of this century so far. It is the story of Sebastian, a jazz pianist, and Mia, a struggling actress, who fall in love with each other while chasing their respective dreams in the city of Los Angeles.
3. A Beautiful Mind (2001)
This is a biographical movie following the life of genius mathematician Josh Nash and his struggles. It is based on the biography of the same name written by Slyvia Nassar. The movie won the Academy Award for Best Picture in the year 2001 and is hailed as one of the best movies of this century.
4. The Conjuring (2013)
The story follows paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren as they try to protect a family from a supernatural presence that is haunting them. The Conjuring series is one of the most popular and successful horror franchises of recent times. Although Hollywood has also seen recent fresh development in the horror genre in the movies of Jordan Peele such as Get Out.
5. Avatar (2009)
One of the highest-grossing films of all time, Avatar is an epic science fiction movie that is a treat to the senses. A James Cameron masterpiece, this movie took 15 years to come into shape. Essentially it is a story of greed versus survival, a conflict between humans and aliens that is sure to keep you engaged.
6. Her (2013)
This science fiction romance movie is one of its kind. A writer buys an Artificial Intelligence system to help him write, but he ends up falling in love with it. This beautifully written movie won the Academy Award for Writing in the year 2014.
7. 12 Years A Slave (2013)
A free African-American, Solomon Northup, is tricked by the prospect of a job and sold into slavery. This intense and compelling story strikes the very core of the history of slavery in America. This Academy Award-winning movie is one of the best Hollywood movies of recent times.
8. Moonlight (2016)
The movie is as delicate and mesmerizing as the name itself. A young boy named Chiron puts up barriers around him in order to survive the harsh environment that he is surrounded by. As devastating as this movie can be, it also gives some rare comforting moments that are cherishable. Winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, y’all.
9. The Tree of Life (2011)
This highly philosophical experimental film shines in a different light with each fresh watch. The story is of a young family living in Texas in the 1950s. The eldest of three sons of the O’ Brien couple visits his past to examine his conflicting and complex relationship with his parents and search for the true meaning of life. This profound and exquisite film is a rare masterpiece.
10. Boyhood (2014)
It was difficult to imagine that Richard Linklater would ever be able to outdo himself after the epic Before Trilogy. But he proved us all wrong. This coming-of-age drama is pure cinematic bliss. Shot over a period of more than 10 years, the film follows the life of MJ, a child coming from a broken family.
11. Inception (2010)
This Christopher Nolan mind-bender is complex and at times confusing, but it is never incoherent. Leonardo di Caprio shines, as always, in the character of Cobb, a man who performs inceptions and enters the dreams of people to steal information. It is said that it took Nolan a decade to put together the screenplay of this movie. The movie is, no doubt, highly intriguing and engaging.
12. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
This heartbreaking story is the saga of two lovers struggling to keep their love alive in a time when same-sex relationships were considered taboo. Two shepherds, notwithstanding the fact that they are married, fall in love with each other. They find a safe haven amidst nature to express their love for each other. This movie was groundbreaking in so many different ways.
13. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
This highly original story follows two lovers who meet each other on a train journey, having no memory of their past encounter. This movie beautifully shows how when two people are meant to be together, no external force can separate them. Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet give a brilliant performance as Joel and Clementine. This movie is a treat for the eyes and for the mind.
14. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
This contemporary classic is a delight to watch. The family of a little girl decides to go on a road trip across the country so that she can participate in a beauty pageant. There’s a reason why this movie is one of the most loved movies of the century. In the most hilarious yet beautiful way, it paints the picture of an American family that is relatable beyond cultures. This movie is sure to make you happy cry.
15. Under the Silver Lake (2018)
Let’s take a moment to just accept that Andrew Garfield is a highly underrated actor. This neo-noir movie is a thriller that follows the overnight disappearance of a woman. Sam (played by Garfield) turns detective and tries to untangle the mystery. But it’s not that straight forward as you would expect it to be. Ever heard of surrealism?
16. The Lord of The Rings Trilogy (2001-2003)
Fans of J.R.R. Tolkein could have never imagined that Peter Jackson would be able to do justice to the grandeur of the epic series. But he proved everyone wrong by directing 3 back to back movies that could capture the essence of the books to near perfection. The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King together form one of the best Hollywood epic movie franchises of all time.
17. Interstellar (2014)
It is an astounding story about a group of astronauts that travel across the universe to find a habitable planet for the survival of the human species. The way it deals with the theme of family is heart-touching. It dives into the dark recesses of human nature and explores just how far a person can go for the sake of survival. At the same time, it celebrates the power of sacrifice that humans possess.
18. Black Panther (2018)
The first and the only superhero movie that has received an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, Black Panther is a movie that glows! This movie celebrates diversity and is so much more than just being a superhero movie. I think the only thing left to say is – Wakanda Forever! (We will miss you, Chadwick Boseman.)
19. Lost in Translation (2003)
This gem of a movie is a boon to the world of cinema. In a world filled with romantic comedies that lack depth, this movie presents itself with the perfect balance of humour and tender love. Two Americans meet each other in Tokyo and find solace in each other’s company. This Sofia Coppola wonder is a must-watch.
20. The Dark Knight (2008)
When it comes to a list of the best Hollywood superhero movies ever made, this movie tops the list every single time. The out-of-the-world performances, the deep philosophical thoughts, the engaging drama, the excellent action; it’s a complete package! It was nominated for 8 Academy Awards, it won 2. Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker is one of the best character portrayals in the history of cinema.
It is difficult to pick out just a few movies from the scores of brilliant movies that have been released in the past few years. It is inevitable to miss out on a few. Which of your favourite movies from this century did we miss out on? Do let us know in the comments section.