2004 was not a very good year for movies. I’m sorry, but it had to be said. For every Mean Girls, Anchorman, Shaun Of The Dead or Sideways, 2004 offered up a dozen or so widely released movies that were more along the lines of Mr. 3000, Alexander or Fat Albert. In the years since, we’ve pushed these films out of our brains and pretty much forgot they even existed, despite the fact that millions of dollars were spent hammering them into our brains at the time. So, ten years later, let’s play a little game.
Just like we did for 2008 and 2009, we’ll give you a release date, a box office gross, a cast list, a plot description, an excerpt of Cinema Blend’s review and a still image. All you need to do is search deep into the corner of your brain to come up with the film’s name. Are you ready? Then let’s begin…
Release Date: July 30, 2004
Worldwide Box Office: $28,283,637
Stars: Bill Paxton, Ben Kingsley, Vanessa Hudgens, Brady Corbet
Plot: A bunch of brothers live on a secret island alongside their father, an eccentric billionaire who runs International Rescue in an effort to save lives across the world. Eventually, they must do battle with Ben Kingsley who plays the film’s villain.
Excerpt From Cinema Blend’s Review: "The central plot of this movie is what bothers me the most. The movie is entitled ___________ but I don’t know anything about them. I know the dad is a billionaire- widow turned superhero but his boy-band reject sons are background scenery. I couldn’t tell you their names if I tried."
This movie was based off of a 1960s British television show, and hardcore fans did not like it at all…
Release Date: April 2, 2004
Worldwide Box Office: $37,666,766
Stars: Julia Stiles, Luke Mably, Miranda Richardson
Plot: A member of Denmark’s Royal Family decides to attend college in Wisconsin because an episode of Girls Gone Wild leads him to mistakenly believe all women who live there will readily show him their breasts. While at school, he hides his true identity and falls for Julia Stiles. She discovers his ruse and chicanery ensues.
Excerpt From Cinema Blend’s Review: "This corny, tacked on ending reeks of compromise, like some Paramount bigwig took Coolidge aside and told her: ‘Look Marty, we need to really sell this film to our target audience (teenage girls between the ages of 13 and 16), so whittle down this ridiculous theme of female empowerment, add in a funny scene where the Prince competes in a lawnmower race, and kick the romance up a notch.’"
Fun fact: this movie got three sequels, none of which starred Julia Stiles.
Release Date: April 2, 2004
Worldwide Box Office: $103,951,461
Stars: Roseanne, Judi Dench, Cuba Gooding Jr, Randy Quaid
Plot: A group of cows decide to go after a cattle rustler in exchange for the $750 needed to save their owner’s farm from foreclosure. There’s a rival bounty hunter, some weird usage of yodeling and enough jokes to keep viewers mildly amused.
Excerpt From Cinema Blend’s Review: "You have the necessary battle between good and evil. You have the requisite funny background characters. And you have the story of a hero or heroine who feels like they don’t fit in and is seeking that special place where they belong. In ______________ that heroine just happens to be… a cow, or three cows, to be precise.""
This was supposed to be Disney’s last 2D animated movie, but John Lasseter put a stop to that.
Release Date: December 17, 2004
Worldwide Box Office: $34,586,268
Stars: Dennis Quaid, Giovani Ribisi, Tyrese Gibson, Hugh Laurie
Plot: A crew led by Dennis Quaid crash lands their plane into the desert. Initially, they decide to wait it out, but after some run-ins with locals, they attempt to rebuild the aircraft and fly out on their own.
Excerpt From Cinema Blend’s Review: "The screenplay is rife with awkwardness and bizarre behavior. It’s filled with bad, cringe-worthy conversations and idiotic characters who lay out in the sun complaining about the heat when there’s perfectly good shade two feet behind them."
It’s a remake of a 1960s movie…
Release Date: September 24, 2004
Worldwide Box Office: $117,592,831
Stars: Julianne Moore, Dominic West, Gary Sinise, Anthony Edwards
Plot: A woman who may or may not be delusional tries to get over the death of her son, despite the fact that everyone around her says the boy never existed. She eventually goes on the run and a bizarre conspiracy involving the "them" emerges. Seriously, this movie is off the rails.
Excerpt From Cinema Blend’s Review: "_______ is a fun thrill of a movie, and during the month of September, after the summer fanfare and before Oscar season, that’s usually a nice thing to have. The film has some interesting visual choices, making decisions from the opening credits on that clue the viewer into something, even if they can’t tell what it is."
This is probably the weirdest movie on this entire list…
Release Date: December 25, 2004
Worldwide Box Office: $34,409,206
Stars: Anna Paquin, Lena Olin
Plot: There’s an occult ritual that needs to be finished, a house that keeps losing power, a Satanic cult and various other shenanigans, all taking place in Spain on the anniversary of an eclipse.
Excerpt From Cinema Blend’s Review: "’Tis the season to confuse the hell out of people. In a year where the Red Sox won the world series, Surviving Christmas opened before Halloween, and now _________ debuting on Christmas Day, it’s easy to say the world is officially gone upside down."
This movie was actually shelved for two years by Miramax after it was completed because they had no confidence in it. The film was savaged by most critics, but it actually performed fine enough at the box office…
Release Date: September 3, 2004
Worldwide Box Office: $21,568,818
Stars: Josh Hartnett, Rose Byrne, Matthew Lillard and Diane Kruger
Plot: Josh Hartnett was in love with some chick back in the day, but she up and vanished. Years later, he overhears someone who might be her inside a coffee shop. So, he cancels a business trip and spends a stupid number of days trying to find her while avoiding his girlfriend who thinks he’s on the business trip. On paper, it sounds like a romantic comedy, but it’s definitely not that at all.
Excerpt From Cinema Blend’s Review: "Guys, if you’re worried about the pressure that your girls are putting on you to go see Vanity Fair, offer _________ as a friendly alternative. There are enough interesting twists and turns here to keep everyone flinching and plenty of struggling romance to keep the ladies happy."
Remember when Josh Hartnett was going to be a thing?
Release Date: June 25, 2004
Worldwide Box Office: $62,172,050
Stars: Guy Pearce, Freddie Highmore, Jean-Claude Dreyfus
Plot: Two tigers are separated when they’re cubs. Years later, they recognize each other in the middle of an illegal underground Tiger fighting ring. They break free from their captors and go on a crazy adventure together.
Excerpt From Cinema Blend’s Review: "Anyone who has dreamt of witnessing the Bengal tiger in its natural habitat will certainly enjoy the opening sequence of __________, where Koumal and Sangha frolic through the jungle kicking a coconut back-and-forth like a soccer ball. But like all animal dramas, ________ contains material that may be inappropriate for children younger than 7."
This movie made way more money than I would have guessed.
Release Date: April 30, 2004
Worldwide Box Office: $30,016,165
Stars: Pierce Brosnan, Julianne Moore, Michael Sheen, Parker Posey
Plot: Two divorce attorneys? Falling in love with each other? NO! Yes, that’s the plot behind this Peter Howitt romantic comedy. Much of the movie takes place in Ireland; so, at least it’s beautiful.
Excerpt From Cinema Blend’s Review: "From the old "forget to put on the car’s brake while in a foreign country" bit to the "hey we got married while we were drunk" conceit, _____________ fails to offer anything funny or original. Brosnan may be charming, but ___________ is a total drag."
This movie's title tries really hard to let you know exactly what the film is about in a cute and extremely frustrating way.
Release Date: February 20, 2004
Worldwide Box Office: $14,615,099
Stars: Gene Hackman, Ray Romano, Maura Tierney
Plot: A former President of the United States moves to a small town and is roped into running for mayor. He’s opposed in the election by his neighbor who is pretty sure the former Commander In Chief is trying to steal his girl.
Excerpt From Cinema Blend’s Review: "_________ just isn’t mean spirited enough to give us genuine small town comedy. Instead it substitutes a few aw-shucks gags and treads water while Hackman and Romano scrape bottom trying to find something funny."
Gene Hackman didn’t exactly go out on a high note in his last on screen role here…
Release Date: August 27, 2004
Worldwide Box Office: $11,416,075
Stars: Aaron Eckhart, Ben Kingsley, Carrie-Anne Moss
Plot: Two FBI agents are on the hunt for the serial killer to end all serial killers. He works all over the country and doesn’t leave any evidence of his crimes behind. Fortunately, there are ways evidence can be collected that don’t involve fibers and DNA.
Excerpt From Cinema Blend’s Review: "_____________ at least tries to differentiate itself by mixing in a lot of hazy, psychic mumbo jumbo right from the outset, when our FBI agent hero starts getting these weird flashes of himself standing next to a copier. As far as flashes go, seeing yourself faxing a few minutes in the future isn’t particularly inspired, but that’s what Agent Thomas Mackelway is getting when he’s transferred from Dallas to Albuquerque in disgrace."
Why doesn’t Aaron Eckart pick better movies?
Release Date: January 9, 2004
Worldwide Box Office: $12,313,323
Stars: Mandy Moore, Matthew Goode, Jeremy Piven
Plot: The President of the United States’ daughter goes on a European trip to get away from the meddling Secret Service Agents in charge of watching her. While in Prague, she slips away from her handlers and starts hanging out with a dashing man she meets on a motorbike. Little does she know said dude is also a Secret Service agent. Love and betrayal ensue.
Excerpt From Cinema Blend’s Review: "Mandy Moore has potential as an actress, but if she’s ever going to take that anywhere, she’s going to have to grow up. Maybe she’s content to be nothing more than a former pop idol who pops out a watchable movie or two every January. The kinds of movies teenagers tell their parents they are going to see, when they’re really sneaking out to see The Matrix."
This was not the only movie to come out in 2004 with a main character exactly like this.
Worldwide Box Office: $10,592,180
Stars: Katie Holmes, Michael Keaton, Forest Whitaker
Plot: The President of the United States’ daughter goes to college in California to escape the meddling Secret Service Agents in charge of watching her. While at school, she meets a boy. Love and betrayal ensue.
Excerpt From Cinema Blend’s Review: "__________’s first weakness is that while it presents itself as a fairy tale, it doesn’t do a good job of maintaining that illusion. Even in the opening narration where the fairy tale theme is first established, the theme fluctuates as it presents Samantha as being a princess who went through all of this ‘normal stuff’".
And this is that other film I was talking about. Hint: it has a more generic name…
Release Date: August 6, 2004
Worldwide Box Office: $22,034,832
Stars: Brittany Murphy, Holly Hunter, Ron Livingston, Kathy Bates
Plot: An aspiring journalist with an emotionally unavailable and somewhat mysterious partner decides to look into three of his prior ex-girlfriends in order to get to know him better and figure out whether he’s the right long-term partner.
Excerpt From Cinema Blend’s Review: "With a movie centered around snooping around of course there are going to be moments when the liar gets tangled in their web of lies only to get themselves out of the jam with a quick and logically ludicrous lie. There are boat loads of those kinds of moments in __________, and all of them make sense and work."
This movie is better than the average rom com
Release Date: January 16, 2004
Worldwide Box Office: $46,546,197
Stars: Ice Cube, Adam Scott, Martin Henderson, Jaime Pressly
Plot: Motorcycles! Stolen drugs! Murder! Bike gangs! In short, the main character skips town thanks to a drug deal gone wrong, and when he returns to clear his name, he gets framed for murder.
Excerpt From Cinema Blend’s Review: "________ is the worst movie of the year. I realize it’s only January, but I think it’s bad enough to hold on to that title for quite awhile. Granted, the competition for such things is always fierce, but _________ comes rolling out of the gate as a legitimate contender."
True story: I forgot the name of this movie between the time I wrote the plot description and when I headed to the Internet to find pictures.
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