The 100 Best Movies of the 2000s: 80-71
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78. Wet Hot American Summer (David Wain, 2001)
Featuring a cast full of future superstars (Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper), Wet Hot American Summer is the strangest, dirtiest, and funniest movie about a Jewish summer camp that you’ve ever seen. Many of the bits in it completely defy explanation, but that’s why it works, because it creates its own comedic rhythm, defying the viewer’s comedy expectations at every turn. I challenge anyone not to laugh at Gene, the mentally unstable cook played by Chris Meloni, whose best friend is a can of food voiced by H. Jon Benjamin (Archer, from Archer). Exactly, it’s not possible.
77. Mean Creek (Jacob Aaron Estes, 2004)
Mean Creek is like a sadder, more messed up version of Stand by Me, a coming-of-age tale that takes a sharp, sudden turn. The story of a group of friends that decide to play a prank on a bully that goes horribly wrong, Mean Creek loses a bit of traction in it’s last third, but the rest of it is glorious. Smartly placing the emphasis on the group dynamic between the kids and the bully, who they decide too late that they actually kind of like, Mean Creek feels totally and utterly real. It will, however, depress you. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.