Is it just me, or did the last decade really fly by so fast? As a New Year’s special, this week’s Friday Movie Flashback installment – our first for 2014, I might add – will feature five films released in 2004, presented here in chronological order!
Directed by Jared Hess
Topbilled by Jon Heder
Premiered on January 17, 2004
Comedy flick “Napoleon Dynamite” follows the life of a high school student whose default appearance seemed to be sullen and standoffish (though he did have his close friends Pedro and Deb). Set in Preston, Idaho, the movie debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and was given a limited and wide release later that same year. It has since become a cult favorite, winning a handful of awards from different award-giving bodies as well as spawning a short-lived animated series. The character Napoleon Dynamite, too, has been regarded as one of Entertainment Weekly’s 100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years in 2010.
“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”
Directed by Michel Gondry
Topbilled by Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey
Premiered on March 19, 2004
Gondry ‘s Academy Award-winning, beautiful romantic/sci-fi opus is, like “Napoleon Dynamite,” a cult favorite. It was first released in North American theaters to overwhelming praises both by the critics and the public. The movie itself, its screenplay, and its characters has been included in a number of “best of” and “greatest” lists by respected media entities such as Empire and Entertainment Weekly magazines, the Writers Guild of America, and the American Film Institute.
Topbilled by Issey Ogata
Directed by Jun Ichikawa
Premiered on August 11, 2004
“Tony Takitani” and “A Very Long Engagement” are the only non-English language films in this list. “Tony Takitani” was a full-length feature based on a short story by acclaimed Japanese author Haruki Murakami. A quiet film overall, it centered on the life of Tony – from the life of his father Takitani Shozaburo before him, Tony’s relationship with his wife Eiko who loved shopping for clothes, until how he coped with her death. “Tony Takitani” was first screened at the Locarno Film Festival, and was released in January the following year in Japan.
“A Very Long Engagement”
Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Topbilled by Audrey Tatou
Premiered on October 27, 2004
“A Very Long Engagement,” or “Un long dimanche de fiançailles,” was based on a 1991 novel of the same title penned by Sebastien Japrisot. This romance film set during the First World War was about a girl named Mathilde and her quest to find the truth about the reports that her fiancé Manech’s death received numerous awards and nominations from various critics and award-giving bodies in France, UK, and the US.
Directed by Mike Nichols
Topbilled by Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman, Jude Law, and Clive Owen
Premiered on December 3, 2004
This romantic drama film centering on the intertwined lives of four individuals was based on a British play of the same name first staged in 1997, both of which were regarded by some as a “modern and tragic” adaptation of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera “Così fan tutte, ossia La scuola degli amanti (Thus Do They All, or The School for Lovers)”. “Closer” was first screened in North American theaters and has received many wins and nominations, most notably by the Golden Globes, the Academy, and the British Academy Film Awards.
Based on this list by Wikipedia, hundreds, if not thousands, of films were released in 2004. We’re pretty sure we missed a couple or few of your favorites, which is why we want you guys to add yours to this list by hitting us up in the comments section below!
This list was inspired by Buzzfeed’s 35 Movies That Are Turning 10 Years Old in 2014, though we’ve come up with a slightly modified version featuring a couple of films not mentioned in the original. Technical information in this article were sourced from the Wikipedia pages of Napoleon Dynamite, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Tony Takitani, A Very Long Engagement, and Closer.
Like this article? Check out our articles from the Friday Movie Flashback series in the Lomography magazine!