13 Best Hollywood Movies of 2004 is the 4th installment of our series of best movies of the 20th century. 2004 witnessed a lot of good movies and some of my absolute favorites.
13 Best Hollywood Movies of 2004:
With almost religious devotion, Duke, a kindly octogenarian inmate of a peaceful nursing home, reads daily a captivating story from the worn-out pages of his leather-bound notebook to a fellow Alzheimer’s-stricken woman. To keep her company, Duke recounts the fascinating love affair of the impecunious but poetic country boy, Noah, and the affluent city girl, Allie, unfolding, little by little, a lumber-scented Southern summer romance beneath the trees of late-1930s North Carolina. More and more, the silver-haired patient finds herself immersed in the strangely alluring fairy tale of the young ardent lovers’ highs and lows as if the silent manuscript possessed the unfathomable power to penetrate the opaque clouds that shroud her sad soul. But, what does the future have in store for Allie and Noah? Are all summertime idylls doomed to fail?
Released: 25 June 2004
Runtime: 123 min
Genre: Drama, Romance
Director: Nick Cassavetes
Writer: Jeremy Leven (screenplay), Jan Sardi (adaptation), Nicholas Sparks (novel)
Actors: Tim Ivey, Gena Rowlands, Starletta DuPois, James Garner
Rotten Tomatoes: 53%
Trevor Reznik is a lathe-operator who suffers from insomnia and hasn’t slept in a year. Slowly, he begins to doubt his sanity as increasingly bizarre things start happening at work and at home.
Haunted by a deformed co-worker who no one seems to think exists, and an ongoing stream of indecipherable Post-It notes he keeps finding on his fridge, he attempts to investigate what appears to be a mysterious plot against him and, in the process, embroils two women in his madness.
Language: English, Spanish
Released: 03 Dec 2004
Runtime: 101 min
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Director: Brad Anderson
Writer: Scott Kosar
Actors: Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, John Sharian
Rotten Tomatoes: 77%
11Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
Ron Burgundy has got it all. He is the anchor of the top-rated news program in San Diego alongside his best pals, sportscaster Champ Kind, weatherman Brick Tamland, and reporter Brian Fantana.
He gets to go to lots of swinging parties. And he has great hair. Life is just about perfect. And then there comes that pesky word “diversity”.
Ron learns that diversity is not a famous Civil War battleship but the reason that for the first time the news team will include a woman, the beautiful, talented, and very ambitious Veronica Corningstone.
Language: English, French, Spanish
Released: 09 Jul 2004
Runtime: 94 min
Director: Adam McKay
Writer: Will Ferrell, Adam McKay
Actors: Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell
Rotten Tomatoes: 66%
10Kill Bill: Vol. 2
The Bride continues her revenge-fueled quest to kill the traitorous Deadly Viper Assassination Squad in part two of Quentin Tarantino’s graphic homage to the martial arts films and spaghetti westerns.
This time, The Bride tracks down Sidewinder in the desert, where she also gets her shot at revenge on Elle Driver. And after many close calls, The Bride finally finds the man she’s been after – Bill.
But after tracking him down in Mexico, The Bride gets the shock of her life when Bill reveals the secret he’s been hiding for four years, just before he injects her with truth serum.
Language: English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Spanish
Released: 16 Apr 2004
Runtime: 137 min
Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Writer: Quentin Tarantino, Quentin Tarantino (character The Bride), Uma Thurman (character The Bride)
Actors: Vivica A. Fox, Ambrosia Kelley, Michael Parks, James Parks
Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Hitler’s private secretary Traudl Junge narrates with book-ended documentary footage her experience during the last days of Adolf Hitler’s reign over Nazi Germany in 1945, leading up to and just past his death by suicide.
Drawn from Junge’s memoirs and multiple other accounts of those in Hitler’s inner circle during the Red Army’s takeover of Berlin, the film portrays Hitler’s increasing paranoia and split from reality in his underground bunker.
Meanwhile, those close to him commanding officers, family, and friends such as girlfriend Eva Braun and propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels and his wife, Magda, scramble to escape or solidify grim solutions as they realize that the war is lost and that they have no existence without Hitler.
Language: French, English, German, Russian
Released: 08 Apr 2005
Runtime: 156 min
Genre: Biography, Drama, History, War
Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel
Writer: Bernd Eichinger (screenplay), Joachim Fest (book), Traudl Junge (book), Melissa Müller (book)
Actors: Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Maria Lara, Corinna Harfouch, Ulrich Matthes
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
In THE INCREDIBLES, Elastic girl, a superheroine whose limbs and torso can stretch the length of an Olympic swimming pool, pauses for just a second on the way to saving the world to check out her rear end in the form-fitting super-suit.
Seems that after three kids, there’s a bit of stretching there that doesn’t have anything to do with superpowers. Her super-strong husband, Mr. Incredible, finds that if he isn’t careful throwing evil robots around, he can throw his back out, too.
Everyday life is challenging enough for these superhero parents, especially with a young baby, a super-speedy son, and a middle-school daughter who can create force fields and make herself invisible.
Cleverly these super-powers resemble some familiar family roles: powerful dad, stretch-thin mom, hyperactive jock son, shy and awkward daughter, and add resonance to this story of a family who sticks together, no matter what.
Language: English, French
Released: 05 Nov 2004
Runtime: 115 min
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure, Family
Director: Brad Bird
Writer: Brad Bird
Actors: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson, Jason Lee
HOTEL RWANDA reveals the story of Paul Rusesabagina (Don Cheadle), manager at a luxury hotel, and the man who always knows what it takes to get things done and survive in an explosive political situation.
Two ethnic groups, the nomadic Tutsis (also known as Watutsis) and the agricultural Hutus had been pitted against each other by the white Belgian settlers, who literally measured skin tone and nose width to elevate the Tutsis to preferred positions.
When the conflict exploded into violence in 1994, the Hutus began a full-scale slaughter of over 800,000 Tutsis and many Hutus who supported them. Amidst this madness, Rusesabagina hid more than 1000 Tutsis in his hotel.
Using the same skills that made him successful as a hotel manager, he cajoles, barters, and bluffs his way into keeping them safe, and keeps hoping for help from the UN or the US.
Language: English, French, Kinyarwanda
Released: 04 Feb 2005
Runtime: 121 min
Genre: Biography, Drama, History, War
Director: Terry George
Writer: Keir Pearson, Terry George
Actors: Xolani Mali, Don Cheadle, Desmond Dube, Hakeem Kae-Kazim
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Early thirty-something American Jesse Wallace is in a Paris bookstore, the last stop on a tour to promote his best selling book, This Time. Although he is vague to reporters about the source material for the book, it is about his chance encounter nine years earlier on June 15-16, 1994 with a Parisienne named Celine, and the memorable and romantic day and evening they spent together in Vienna.
At the end of their encounter at the Vienna train station, which is also how the book ends, they, not providing contact information to each other, vowed to meet each other again in exactly six months at that very spot.
As the media scrum at the bookstore nears its conclusion, Jesse spots Celine in the crowd, who only found out about the book when she earlier saw his photograph promoting this public appearance.
Much like their previous encounter, Jesse and Celine, who is now an environmental activist, decide to spend time together until he is supposed to catch his flight back to New York, this time only being about an hour.
Beyond the issue of the six-month meeting, what has happened in their lives in the intervening nine years, and their current lives, they once again talk about their philosophies of life and love, this time with the knowledge of their day together and how it shaped what has happened to them.
Language: English, French
Released: 30 July 2004
Runtime: 80 min
Genre: Drama, Romance
Director: Richard Linklater
Writer: Richard Linklater (screenplay), Julie Delpy (screenplay), Ethan Hawke (screenplay), Richard Linklater (story), Kim Krizan (story), Richard Linklater (characters), Kim Krizan (characters)
Actors: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Vernon Dobtcheff, Louise Lemoine Torrès
Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
5Million Dollar Baby
Tired old trainer Frankie (Clint Eastwood), abandoned by the prospect he hoped to take to the title bout, meets a scrappy but untrained would-be boxer. He initially refuses to train the kid, but he’s won over, at first by the persistence, then by the heart of the young fighter. There’s another connection between them, too. Frankie has no family but a long-estranged daughter, and the boxer’s father is dead. The bond between them helps to ease both of their losses. One reason the relationship becomes so important to Frankie is that the boxer is a young woman. Maggie (Hillary Swank) gives Frankie the chance to bring all that’s best in him to a nurturing relationship with a young woman about the age of his daughter, and Frankie gives Maggie the chance to be a champion.
Language: English, Irish
Released: 28 January 2005
Runtime: 132 min
Genre: Drama, Sport
Director: Clint Eastwood
Writer: Paul Haggis (screenplay), F.X. Toole (stories)
Actors: Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman, Jay Baruchel
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Texan oil fortune heir Howard Hughes refuses to wisely invest and enjoy his millions, preferring to riskily spend on his passions: airplanes and Hollywood, so in the 1930s he produces an unprecedented air combat blockbuster Hell Angel, which he keeps improving to staff’s despair, with Katherine Hepburn as bonus lover.
He moves on to improve airplane design and running airline TWA, the sole US-overseas challenger for PanAm. His germophobia gets utterly out of hand and test-piloting himself nearly breaks every bone in his body, but the worst challenge comes from senator Ralph Owen Brewster.
The senator uses the FBI to threaten Hughes with ruin and public exposure as a ‘war profiteer’ unless he accepts personal friend Juan Trippe’s company PanAm being given a virtual monopoly on international flights.
Released: 25 Dec 2004
Runtime: 170 min
Genre: Biography, Drama
Director: Martin Scorsese
Writer: John Logan
Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale, John C. Reilly
Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
In THE TERMINAL, Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks) arrives at New York’s JFK airport from a fictional Eastern European country. While he was in the air, his country suffered a “regime change,” and so his passport and visa are now invalid.
He can’t enter the U.S. but he can’t go back due to immigration laws. This creates a problem for Frank Dixon (Stanley Tucci), a by-the-book bureaucrat who wants a promotion. He hopes the Navorski problem will just go away literally. But Navorski, unlike others who are held back by immigration officials, is disinclined to try to sneak out into the U.S. So he ends up living in the airport.
The story of heroes who have to go somewhere gives us a chance to see their journeys as symbolic of their learning and spiritual growth. A quest is compelling because we identify with a hero who is moving toward a goal. But this movie is the story of a journey interrupted, and the way that interruption became a journey of its own. It reminds us that, like its lovely dual-meaning tagline, sometimes “life is waiting.”
Language: English, Bulgarian, Spanish, Russian, Mandarin, German, French
Released: 18 June 2004
Runtime: 128 min
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Andrew Niccol (story), Sacha Gervasi (story), Sacha Gervasi (screenplay), Jeff Nathanson (screenplay)
Actors: Tom Hanks, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Stanley Tucci, Chi McBride
Rotten Tomatoes: 61%
2Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
On Valentine’s Day, Joel Barish feels the impulse of going to Montauk instead of working. After spending the cold day on the beach, he meets Clementine Kruczynski on the train station and they have a crush on each other.
Joel and Clementine do not know that they were mates in the past. Joel has just erased Clementine from his memories when he found that Clementine did exactly the same when their relationship ended.
However, along with his erasing process, Joel becomes astonished when he finds that he still loves Clementine and he does not want to lose her, fighting for keeping the memories of their moments together instead.
Released: 19 March 2004
Runtime: 108 min
Genre: Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi
Director: Michel Gondry
Writer: Charlie Kaufman (story), Michel Gondry (story), Pierre Bismuth (story), Charlie Kaufman (screenplay)
Actors: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Gerry Robert Byrne, Elijah Wood
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
1Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter is having a tough time with his relatives. He runs away after using magic to inflate Uncle Vernon’s sister Marge, who was being offensive towards Harry’s parents. Initially scared for using magic outside the school, he is pleasantly surprised that he won’t be penalized after all.
However, he soon learns that a dangerous criminal and Voldemort’s trusted aide Sirius Black has escaped from Azkaban Prison and wants to kill Harry to avenge the Dark Lord. To worsen the conditions for Harry, vile creatures called Dementors are appointed to guard the school gates and inexplicably happen to have the most horrible effect on him.
Little does Harry know that by the end of this year, many holes in his past will be filled up and he will have a clearer vision of what the future has in store.
Released: 04 Jun 2004
Runtime: 142 min
Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy, Mystery
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Writer: J.K. Rowling (novel), Steve Kloves (screenplay)
Actors: Daniel Radcliffe, Richard Griffiths, Pam Ferris, Fiona Shaw
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
This concludes our list of 13 Best Hollywood Movies of 2004. Which is your favorite movie of 2004? Do let us know in the comments below.