10. Syriana (2005)
Middle-Eastern intrigue and politics take center stage in this underrated drama. What the film really captures, aside from showcasing the acting talents of George Clooney, is the complexities of the culture and the climate. Still a good watch today.
9. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
This remake of the Rat Pack classic was very, very good in its own right. Clooney heads-up a truly ridiculous cast and extremely intricate plot. At the the end of the day though, the scenes between Clooney and Brad Pitt are what we remember.
8. The Good Shepherd (2006)
Matt Damon has a central role in a story about the formation of the CIA. For good and bad, Damon’s character has conviction. “The Good Shepherd” was one of the first roles to cement Matt Damon as a bona fide Hollywood leading man.
7. 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, Damon was extremely good as well.
6. Courage Under Fire (1996)
Denzel Washington is a military investigator with some serious baggage in this one, as he attempts to uncover the truth about Meg Ryan and her heroism during Operation Desert Storm. The film is undeniably complex and is as much a study on morality, as it is a war film.
5. The Martian (2015)
Given some recent disappointments, “The Martian” really put Ridley Scott back on the map as one of film’s best directors. The film is extremely dramatic, but also sharply funny. Matt Damon, in the title role, turns in possibly his best performance.
4. Interstellar (2014)
Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” is a technical and philosophical marvel. The film is also able to perfectly balance poignant science and effective drama. Damon plays the world’s greatest astronaut, who’s trying to find another inhabitable planet. Not surprisingly, he needs to be reduced once again.
3. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Nothing you’ve ever seen or read can prepare you for the Normandy beach landing scene. The action is frenetic, savage, and chaotic. Saving Private Ryan shows us the true horrors of war and the incredible courage it takes to face them head-on. You can’t help but come away with an exponentially greater appreciation for the sacrifice and bravery of the soldiers who invaded France 70 years ago today. The film is incredible and the acting is top-notch. If you’ve never seen this one, do yourself a favor, and see it today!
2. The Departed (2006)
What happens when you mix Martin Scorsese with Chinese crime drama…well, one of the best films of the past decade! Based on “Infernal Affairs,” The Departed is more tragedy than action flick. The characters are perfectly penned and the acting is on point. While DiCaprio, Damon, Wahlberg, and Martin Sheen are amazing, Jack Nicholson completely steals the show as crime boss, Frank Costello.
- Good Will Hunting (1997)
One of the truly great films of the 1990’s, “Good Will Hunting” is a bildungsroman for Gen X. Robin plays Will’s tortured psychiatrist, who’s a little too smart for his own good at times. This performance was a return to the hefty dramatic work Robin Williams pumped out in the late 1980’s, netting him an Oscar.