Golden Tomatoes: The 10 Best Movies for each of the Last 10 Years

RT highlights the best reviewed movie for each year we've been around.

by | July 16, 2008 | Comments

What better way to celebrate RT’s 10th
birthday than with a film retrospective that focuses on the very basis of our
existence? Take a look back, all the way through our
formative years, to see which movies had garnered the best critical responses.
Those of you who have been with us for a while now are already familiar with
our Golden Tomato Awards, and the memory of last year’s winner might
still be fresh on your mind. But between a handful of animated features, a
political satire, and a sentimental turn from a wild comedian, you might find
one or two surprises in our list of each year’s best-reviewed film.

more info…

1998’s Best-Reviewed:
The Truman Show

Media appropriation, voyeurism, ditching our jobs and sailing to Fiji — these
are issues we mull over every day at Rotten Tomatoes. So it’s fitting that The
Truman Show
, Peter Weir’s gentle treatise on pop culture and art, is the movie
to inaugurate the site. The movie stars Jim Carrey as meek Truman Burbank, an
insurance adjustor slowly realizing his hometown a giant set, his life nothing
more than televised pap. But just like everyone else, critics loved tuning in to
The Truman Show: “Adventurous, provocative, even daring,” wrote Kenneth Turan.
And the movie demonstrated Carrey need not resort to falling out of a rhino’s
ass to make the audiences laugh and take home the box office; The Truman Show
has heart, hijinks, and, according to Owen Glieberman, it turns “Carrey…into a
postmodern Capra hero.”

Shakespeare in Love
Saving Private


more info…

1999’s Best-Reviewed:
Toy Story 2

Rarely does a sequel outshine its predecessor, especially when the first
installment has been universally hailed as a triumph; if there is a film for
which this case can be made, however, it’s Toy Story 2. After Pixar wowed
audiences worldwide with its feature-length debut, Toy Story, people wondered
how TS2 would measure up. So how did it fare? “The storytelling is so tight,
urgent and inventive there doesn’t seem to be a wasted moment,” says David Ansen
of Newsweek. “Not only is it just as visually stunning and witty as the first,”
writes Janelle Brown of, “but it’s funnier, more thoughtful and more
grown-up.” With a 100% Fresh rating based on 121 reviews, the continuing
adventure of Woody, Buzz, and their crew of new and old friends is not only the
best reviewed movie of 1999, it’s the best ever featured on RT.


Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,

The Iron Giant
The Insider
Chill Factor

more info…

2000’s Best-Reviewed:
Chicken Run

Even we were surprised this is 2000’s best-reviewed movie, beating out tough
competitors like Traffic, You Can Count on Me, High Fidelity, and
Almost Famous.
But then we cleared our heads: why not Chicken Run? It’s fresh, it’s funny, it’s
action-packed, and it’s (as rumor has it) the movie that prompted the Academy to
create the Best Animated Feature Oscar. As a story of chickens planning escape
from a farm coop, critics found nothing to cluck at. “Before our disbelieving
eyes, a pageant of jeopardy, romance and rescue unfolds,” Kenneth Turan said,
while David Ansen agreed: “There is something wonderfully improbable,
anachronistic and quixotic about Chicken Run.”

Best in Show
You Can Count
on Me

Battlefield Earth

more info…

2001’s Best-Reviewed:
Monster’s Inc.

What’s the deal with some vocal weirdos crying foul about Wall-E‘s
environmentalism when Pixar did it seven years earlier with Monster’s Inc? Like
Wall-E, Monster’s Inc. is an odd love story (a father/daughter relationship
between a monster a girl) with sharp commentary on human consumption and moral
corruption (this time, the California energy crisis). And Monster’s Inc. is the
best-reviewed movie of its release year — again, just like Wall-E (though
Dark Knight
is poised to deliver some Tomatometer justice). So remember, Pixar
naysayers, to heed Lisa Alspector’s call: “The analogy to our dependence on,
say, oil is soon abandoned, the better to blur the distinction between abstract
and concrete — something older viewers…may appreciate more than younger


The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
In the Bedroom
Corky Romano

more info…

2002’s Best-Reviewed:

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Ironic, isn’t it? The worst of The Lord of the Rings series is the only one to
claim the best-reviewed title of its release year. Of course, when you’re part of one of the
greatest movie trilogies ever, being worst is a relative term. It simply suffers
from being the middle child: The Two Towers doesn’t have the charming
innocence of the
first nor the sweeping closure of the last, but it’s still full of the epic
grandeur and small character intimacies that distinguishes Peter Jackson’s
movies. As Carrie Rickey puts it, Jackson “is an imaginative filmmaker who can
see the forest for the trees.”

Catch Me If You Can
Spirited Away
for Columbine

Ecks vs. Sever

more info…

2003’s Best-Reviewed:
Finding Nemo

Yep, Pixar strikes again! The unstoppable animation studio scored their fifth
consecutive hit (and highest U.S. grosser to date) with Finding Nemo, the story
of a neurotic clownfish traveling the ocean for his son. “A thing of beauty,”
gushes reviewer of the people Peter Travers, “Hugely entertaining and way cool.”
Finding Nemo was also Pixar’s first effort to leave the Best Animated Feature
ghetto and into more “prestigious” territory with a nomination for Best

The Fog of War
the Friedmans

Worst-Reviewed: Gigli

more info…

2004’s Best-Reviewed:
The Incredibles

Nobody likes a worn-out pun, but sometimes they’re so apt, you can’t resist.
The Incredibles is…really, really good. Like, “Pixar’s best movie” good. An ode to
superheroes that’s also fearless in raising the action stakes in American
animation, critics responded in kind. “Exemplary mixture of top-notch
storytelling, visual razzle-dazzle, accessible humor, and involving action,”
said James Berardinelli. “[Feels] modern and classic at the same time,” cheered
Salon’s Stephanie Zacharek. “The often wry and pointed dialogue reminded me of
the glory days of radio,” wrote Andrew Sarris. Modern and classic sensibilities?
Visual razzle-dazzle combined with radio-reminiscent dialogue? No wonder both
the young and old come out of the woodwork for Pixar.

Runners-Up: Sideways,
Maria Full of

Worst-Reviewed: Twisted

more info…

2005’s Best-Reviewed:

Reflecting back just a few years, one wouldn’t have thought that a small,
independent documentary about a little-known sport could have streaked to the
top of most critical lists. But that’s exactly what happened when Murderball was
released and people began to take notice. A gripping portrayal of competitive
spirit and an insightful look into the lives of the sport’s lively
personalities, Murderball earned wide acclaim and secured its place as the best
reviewed film of 2005. Jean Lowerison of San Diego Metropolitan wrote of it,
Murderball is a sports film, an inspirational piece and a portrait of people
who face unusual challenges.”


Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Good Night, And Good Luck

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

Alone in the Dark

more info…

2006’s Best-Reviewed:
The Queen

Not only did Helen Mirren earn herself a slew of top awards, including a Best
Actress Oscar, when she owned the screen as Queen Elizabeth II in 2006’s The
, but the film itself won several awards of its own all across the board.
It was a stunning accomplishment for director Stephen Frears, who utilized
elements of drama, humor, and social commentary to bring audiences a glimpse,
albeit fictional, of royal life in the wake of Princess Diana’s tragic passing.
It’s not surprising, then, to find out that The Queen was the best reviewed film
of 2006, with a 97% Fresh rating based on an impressive 177 reviews. As Michael
Booth of the Denver Post writes, “This imperial mix of wit, humor, and
compassion manages to humanize at once the prickly worlds of royalty, politics,
and popular culture.”

Runners-Up: Pan’s
Casino Royale
The Departed
Basic Instinct 2

more info…

2007’s Best-Reviewed:

Pixar caps a decade of reviews domination with Ratatouille, the studio’s
unusual picture about a kitchen, a rat, and cross-species harmony and
understanding. Production was the most troubled out of all Pixar’s efforts
(original director Jan Pinkava was replaced by animation guru Brad Bird), but
effort was paid off in spades with major box office, a nomination for Best
Screenplay and a win for Best Picture. Pixar takes a cheeky poke at
professional critics with the Anton Ego character, but writers took the joke
in stride: “Ratatouille never overwhelms, even though it’s stocked with
action, romance, historical content, family drama and serious statements about
the creation of art,” praised the San Francisco Chronicle.

No Country
for Old Men
, Once,
The Band’s Visit
Because I Said So

  • Piquerish

    I stopped reading when I saw The Truman Show touted as better than Saving Private Ryan. Nothing after that has credibility.

    • Joey Copenhaver

      Truman Show was an entirely original concept; one that had never been translated to screen before, and it was impeccably executed for a lighthearted drama/comedy. Is it really so surprising? Movies like Apocalypse Now, Dear Hunter, and Platoon already hit all the same notes Saving Private Ryan went for many years before

Tag Cloud

rom-coms 24 frames Polls and Games HBO Go Action Chernobyl BBC America Fox Searchlight mockumentary werewolf Trivia tv talk 90s Paramount Plus black Spectrum Originals casting 99% TBS lord of the rings 2017 OneApp deadpool Fox News Animation Oscars PBS First Look E! versus book Infographic Logo SDCC Year in Review BET Awards disaster documentary Legendary child's play basketball women GLAAD VH1 MSNBC Toys Rocky Red Carpet CMT Shudder 2019 cartoon TCA 2017 aliens Election The Academy Funimation Fantasy Best and Worst Avengers DC Universe Nat Geo sports renewed TV shows rt labs critics edition rt labs Television Critics Association twilight news heist movie true crime National Geographic Sneak Peek Disney war cops Tomatazos anime A24 dexter target Nickelodeon robots Writers Guild of America Marathons SXSW television CNN Bravo critics Lifetime Christmas movies hist Creative Arts Emmys Western Rock adventure Universal Pictures kaiju adenture Lifetime Comic Book indiana jones comic books 93rd Oscars Paramount Network Hear Us Out Kids & Family Discovery Channel IMDb TV Ovation marvel cinematic universe Stephen King Disney+ Disney Plus mutant DGA The Purge The CW marvel comics spain Crunchyroll golden globes festivals monster movies Drama TCA USA hispanic heritage month San Diego Comic-Con new zealand Mystery Netflix Christmas movies DC Comics sequels crime drama TV renewals independent MTV The Witch foreign talk show 4/20 Tarantino young adult romantic comedy hidden camera BBC One Acorn TV Heroines action-comedy nbcuniversal TV movies comics cancelled television President Apple TV+ supernatural crossover Tubi Netflix TCA Awards DirecTV rotten Podcast Valentine's Day Schedule docudrama Instagram Live technology harry potter Teen movies RT History Musicals serial killer biopic Britbox superman Martial Arts period drama Watching Series ESPN franchise dceu Cartoon Network laika X-Men Star Trek Horror Sundance Now discovery Reality worst movies Superheroe Marvel elevated horror TLC BBC canceled TV shows green book ViacomCBS children's TV satire indie jamie lee curtis social media Television Academy olympics unscripted History stoner E3 See It Skip It Crackle international Sundance TV black comedy king arthur Mary Tyler Moore zombie dramedy Trailer cancelled posters screenings Mary Poppins Returns dark Ellie Kemper streaming asian-american comic book movie biography The Walking Dead criterion blaxploitation TV One spanish WGN Warner Bros. Endgame TruTV reviews 2016 films MCU best Neflix Film Opinion Universal series TCA Winter 2020 Amazon Studios Amazon Prime Video NBC game show Disney streaming service prank Spike FOX Pop TV halloween tv Awards IFC Films Apple TV Plus Holiday Alien teaser ABC Family Country fast and furious New York Comic Con travel natural history ITV Showtime festival cats concert Image Comics royal family Food Network 21st Century Fox Grammys Emmy Nominations sag awards TV Land game of thrones scary movies Exclusive Video new star wars movies wonder woman based on movie joker Black Mirror worst OWN zero dark thirty trailers Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt italian Shondaland legend Premiere Dates Broadway halloween king kong Pirates venice politics LGBT hollywood Esquire strong female leads australia Christmas Winners Music GIFs ID Awards Tour historical drama BAFTA Masterpiece aapi ratings Mary poppins crime PaleyFest cancelled TV shows all-time Women's History Month Comedy Thanksgiving award winner Cannes japan football composers finale name the review psychological thriller art house screen actors guild chucky Extras dragons Brie Larson anthology cars docuseries sitcom Nominations Interview ABC Signature Photos Lucasfilm boxing adaptation Countdown AMC Plus FXX WarnerMedia Wes Anderson mission: impossible fresh rotten movies we love boxoffice scary Reality Competition what to watch doctor who Rocketman debate Adult Swim spy thriller blockbusters FX on Hulu Calendar spanish language golden globe awards die hard revenge Pop American Society of Cinematographers Winter TV Pride Month slashers high school comedies christmas movies police drama Holidays Comedy Central Sony Pictures Marvel Studios Tumblr dc LGBTQ 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards jurassic park 2018 Musical Marvel Television japanese Quiz reboot gangster VICE toronto singing competition El Rey theme song saw SundanceTV breaking bad video on demand GoT new york Emmys Binge Guide Captain marvel ABC Disney Plus dogs slasher dreamworks 1990s Apple Lionsgate Classic Film genre crime thriller blockbuster Paramount 71st Emmy Awards Film Festival AMC feel good YA archives Hallmark scorecard spider-man 73rd Emmy Awards book adaptation telelvision superhero Amazon know your critic Fall TV USA Network The Walt Disney Company Elton John romance CW Seed Travel Channel 007 Disney Channel ghosts Set visit 45 TIFF mob TV rt archives Cosplay Syfy quibi james bond Sundance zombies Superheroes Song of Ice and Fire Biopics directors mcc Trophy Talk Certified Fresh Dark Horse Comics Epix nature Anna Paquin Arrowverse APB NBA 72 Emmy Awards thriller Mindy Kaling First Reviews diversity video FX Turner psycho free movies CBS All Access popular latino Peacock Black History Month A&E Mudbound transformers suspense binge DC streaming service Comics on TV richard e. Grant critic resources south america NYCC stop motion pirates of the caribbean Hulu a nightmare on elm street cinemax HBO Max razzies 2015 vampires spinoff kids TNT Tokyo Olympics Walt Disney Pictures science fiction justice league 20th Century Fox Baby Yoda scene in color toy story IFC Hallmark Christmas movies Sci-Fi french Starz comic YouTube Premium YouTube Red Pixar remakes TCM cancelled TV series canceled PlayStation Vudu Comic-Con@Home 2021 VOD Amazon Prime CBS live action 2021 Summer Star Wars 2020 comic book movies documentaries classics streaming movies hispanic live event facebook cults medical drama Pet Sematary sopranos spider-verse Columbia Pictures miniseries Turner Classic Movies Character Guide YouTube space HBO witnail vs. Pacific Islander The Arrangement Super Bowl Family Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Video Games movie political drama obituary sequel cooking Box Office nfl stand-up comedy animated batman parents Ghostbusters kong Freeform Academy Awards RT21 emmy awards Spring TV Rom-Com universal monsters comiccon godzilla BET