2003 was twenty years ago. Yes, you read that correctly!
While it may feel much more recent for many a millennial, the year that brought us P. Diddy, Nelly, and Murphy Lee’s “Shake Ya Tailfeather,” Comedy Central’s Chappelle’s Show, and the iPod 3G is now two whole decades in the past.
From teen rom-coms with “urban” flair to martial-arts-infused action thrillers, these films fueled many a trip to RedBox for years to come after their release. While some left us with quotables that remain recognizable to this day and others launched film franchises whose sequels and spinoffs persist into this very summer, some are cult classics that are near and dear to a select few but trigger exclamations of “hey, I remember that!” in others.
Gabrielle Union starred in multiple films this year, solidifying her spot as a Hollywood fixture, while Martin Lawrence was a star of several releases during the height of his film comedy career.
Check out the films that are experiencing their 20th anniversary this year. Did any of your faves make the classics list?
The then long-awaited sequel to the 1995 cop classic placed one of Hollywood’s most beloved duos, Martin Lawrence and Will Smith (Marcus Burnett and Mike Lowrey), back together once again – this time with the addition of Gabrielle Union as Marcus’ sister and Mike’s new love interest – across yet another action heavy comedy romp that sprung forth two additional sequels.
The teen rom-com that featured then real-life couple Nick Cannon and Christina Milian became an instant classic and gave us an 8-count to Busta Rhymes, Diddy, and Pharrell’s “Pass The Courvoisier Part II” that generations are still discovering and recreating to this day.
A modernized interpretation of of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, this neo-classic comedy found Gabrielle Union as a hard-nosed inspector falling into a romantic relationship with a man (LL Cool J) who’s been paid to prevent her from meddling in her three younger sisters’ lives.
What if America had its first Black president? This pre-Obama comedy found Chris Rock as a local alderman plucked from the lowest rungs of of political office for a bid at the highest station in the US. Hilarity ensues as he weighs the pros and cons of running the nation, representing Black America, and dodging his crazy ex (Robin Givens) who dumped him shortly before the campaign but will now stop at nothing to get back with him for a chance at becoming First Lady.
One of Denzel Washington’s most slept on thrillers finds him as Matt Lee, Chief of Police in a sleepy Florida town who finds himself in a jam when his paramour (Sanaa Lathan) turns up dead…and that $485,000 in evidence money he happened to allow her to “borrow” just before her passing is missing.
This action film found rapper DMX once again paired up with Jet Li for their second co-starring feature film. DMX plays Anthony Fait, a diamond theif with a recent haul, and Li portrays Agent Su, a Taiwanese special agent hot on his trail. But when Fait’s daughter (Paige Hurd) is kidnapped by Su’s former partner in pursuit of the black diamonds, the two must team up for both justice and revenge.
This sing-along comedy classic pairs the one and only Beyoncé with Cuba Gooding, Jr. to lead a rural Georgia church choir to victory in a local gospel competition.
“Forget about it, cuh!” The sequel that opened the door to a franchise that is still alive 20 years later found Paul Walker reprising his role as ex-undercover officer Brian O’Connel, this time teaming up with Tyrese (Roman Pearce) and Ludacris (Tej Parker) to catch another high-speed criminal – this time on the streets of Miami.
This reluctant-buddy comedy finds Martin Lawrence, a rowdy police academy reject and Steve Zahn, a discraced local officer tossed together in their new roles as security guards. When the two uncover a smuggling operation on their turf, the two must put their heads together and flaunt their true policing skills to save the day.
One of the earliest comedies dealing with the mishaps of online dating found Queen Latifah as escaped convict Charlene paired up with upper-crust lawyer Peter Sanderson (Steve Martin). The two form a quick partnership that results in Sanderson helping her prove her innocense in exchange for a few valuable lessons in swagger, romance, and happiness in life.
When criminal psychologist Miranda Grey (Halle Berry) wakes up imprisoned in the same facility she works at, accused of murdering her own husband (Charles S. Dutton) with an ax and with no recollection of the night it occurred, a mind-twisting thrill ride ensues that blurs the lines of reality, memory, the psychological and the supernatural.
After his father’s sudden death in a racing accident, Kid (Derek Luke) approaches his father’s old motorcycle gang in a bid to fill his slot and continue his father’s bike-racing legacy. Once denied a shot at the open road by a man he looked up to (Laurence Fishburne), Kid forms his own rival gang, The Biker Boyz – causing an ensuing rivalry before discovering some truths about his father’s life and his own budding legacy.
A cult classic of sorts, starring LisaRaye, Lil Kim, Monica Calhoun, Stacy Dash, and Marie Matiko, this western action drama finds Calhoun and her old crew teaming up to defend their sleepy town against the brutality of gang of gold theives led by Bobby Brown.