10. Megamind (2010)
In the vain of modern “smart” animated films, “Megamind” entertains, but also poses thoughtful questions. In fact, this one is pretty existential, and actually geared more towards teens and young adults, than kids.
9. Thank You for Smoking (2005)
Aaron Eckhart plays a shamed advocate for the tobacco industry in this satirical comedy. The plot is fairly predictable, as the character has a change of heart, of course. Nonetheless, the journey is fun and tugs on the heartstrings quite a bit.
8. Up in the Air (2009)
In recent years, George Clooney has evolved from Hollywood star into one of the best dramatic actors in the business. “Up in the Air” is another perfect example of this evolution, really showing the actor’s incredible emotional range. The plot can fall apart at times, but overall, a pretty good movie.
7. The Scout (1994)
For those who haven’t seen it, “The Scout” is a hilarious baseball movie starring Albert Brooks and Brendan Fraser. Brooks plays a scout on the edge, looking for a prized prospect. He finds exactly that in Steve Nebraska (Fraser). Nebraska has once in a lifetime talent, but he’s mega-quirky. The climax is amazing and tearjerking.
6. Zootopia (2016)
This recent animated entry is truly outstanding and perfectly mixes impressive wit with tons of heart. Jason Bateman is excellent at his wise-cracking best. The animation is also quite impressive. A fun watch for all ages.
5. The Cider House Rules (1999)
“The Cider House Rules” was a critically-acclaimed movie about a young doctor who experiences the world for the first time. Obviously, adventure and romance awaits. The acting is superb in this forgotten classic.
4. The Ref (1994)
This was truly Leary’s breakout role and his first major staring appearance. Denis played a burglar who kidnapps the wrong family on an ill-fated Christmas Eve heist. A young Kevin Spacey also makes a surprise appearance in an underrated comedy.
3. True Grit (2010)
The remake of the John Wayne classic, with a Coen Brothers twist of course, was a major critical and commercial success. While Jeff Bridges got all the pub, playing Rooster Cogburn, Matt Damon was extremely good as well.
2. Juno (2007)
Few movies in recent years have been quite as endearing as “Juno.” This wisecracking, pregnant teen (Ellen Page) tears up screentime along with her awkward boyfriend (Michael Cera). This some of the better screenwriting in some time, but Diablo Cody never could really follow-up.
- Whiplash (2014)
“Whiplash” features one of the more original plots of the last few years. A young musical prodigy (Miles Teller) must survive a brutal, yet brilliant, instructor (J.K. Simmons). The closer he get to mastery, the greater the risk of losing his sanity.