By the time Super Bowl XXXIX hit, 2005 was already shaping up to be a pretty crazy year. A spacecraft named after the film Deep Impact was launched in order to study a comet, George W. Bush had just been inaugurated for his second term, and a cavalcade of North Korean scientists were working on a technological breakthrough — functional nuclear weapons — that would stun the world just four days later and fuck with us to this day. But on February 6, most people were worried about the Mutually Assured Destruction that was going to happen on the field between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles, and a select few, folks who didn’t care that much about the game, probably went to the movies on that day to escape “sportsball” or whatever made-up noun was in vogue for people who loudly like to complain about sports at a party dedicated to the watching of a sporting event.
Here’s a survey of the Top 10 movies that were showing on screens across the country the last time the Patriots met the Eagles in the Super Bowl.
The top two films at the box office were new releases, and as the Box Office Mojo weekend roundup from the time aptly states, they were each their attempt at cashing in on Football disinterest. The number one spot went to the instantly forgettable horror flick Boogeyman, directed by New Zealander Stephen T. Kay (who previously earned the ire of Michael Caine fans all over the world with his Sylvester Stallone-starring remake of Get Carter), and it starred Emily Deschanel and 7th Heaven mainstay Barry Watson. Watson plays a dude who has to confront the big bad man in the closet in order to move on with his life, and it’s about as chill-free and forgettable as you’d expect. Funnily enough, it’s not even available for purchase on any modern VOD service, though its two DTV sequels are, and if you want to watch it without having to wait for it to be shipped to you, you’ll have to watch it — with limited commercial interruption — on Crackle.
The other was The Wedding Date, a Debra Messing/Dermot Mulroney romance which was somehow panned even more than Boogeyman was. English director Clare Kilner, who pretty much receded from Hollywood after this film’s release, brought us this tale of a woman who hires a gigolo to pose as her new beau to get revenge on her ex-fiance at her sister’s wedding. Yeah. The film is notable for one thing, though: Featuring a pre-Junebug Amy Adams in the role of Messing’s sister, back when she was still a blonde, but there’s really nothing else to say about it.
Two late-period Robert De Niro films were also present in the Top 10 that week, though they couldn’t have been more different. Meet the Fockers, the absolute juggernaut of that holiday season (it grossed nearly $280 million dollars that winter, and you should most definitely feel ashamed about that), was still going strong, coming in at #7. It’s De Niro versus Streisand and Hoffman as the family from Meet the Parents that interrogated Ben Stiller gets to be interrogated by his wild and weird family, and we could barely swallow the vomit we just nearly spat up before it hit our keyboard.
That was more memorable than the thriller Hide and Seek, which took the number one spot at the box office the week prior. Its success was short-lived, given that it dropped some 60 percent between weekends and fell to #4. This one featured De Niro as a father going up against… Dakota Fanning and her imaginary friend, who want to make his life a living hell after the death of Fanning’s mom. Well, at least it wasn’t Godsend!
If you were taking your family along with you, you had three choices, though none of them were particularly good. You could have seen the Ice Cube vehicle and road-trip comedy Are We There Yet?, then in its third week of release, which was at least popular enough to spawn a sequel a few years later. Honestly, this movie is probably the best remembered outside of any of the Oscar contenders, just given that it was responsible for the selling of Cube to the masses as a cuddly father figure, but you could have done significantly worse that weekend. You could have bought a ticket to #9 film Racing Stripes, which told the story of a Zebra who is entered into horse races, and starred, amongst others, a pre-Klitschko Hayden Panettiere and the voice of Michael Clarke Duncan (RIP).
Actually, if you can, take a look at the full voice cast, which is pretty much a roll call of mid-aughts C-listers. Racing Stripes also features a pretty crazy location substitution — South Africa standing in for the plains of Kentucky — and somehow grossed $90 million over the course of its run. But if you wanted something somewhat serious for your kids to watch, the Samuel L. Jackson-starring Coach Carter (#10) was available for you and yours, even if it meant they’d be super bored for the next couple of years, having already seen it before watching it in class on days after their gym teacher hit the sauce too hard the night before and needed some peace and quiet. That- that is the true purpose of the film: A hangover distraction for high school teachers.
Finally, if you were a capital-C Cineaste, you had the chance to catch up on your Oscar viewing with the last three titles in the Top 10, given that the 77th Academy Awards were only a scant 21 days away.
You could have bought a ticket to the eventual Best Picture winner, Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby (#5), which weirdly asserted itself as a force in aughts popular culture with its shocking third act (you will never look at a corner stool in the same way ever again) before disappearing into the pantheon of “pretty good” Eastwood flicks, never to be seen again. Or you could have made a shitty year for Merlot makers even worse by buying a ticket to Alexander Payne’s wine-tasting dramedy Sideways (#8), at that point the favorite for Best Picture, and your ticket purchase would have gone on to give the clout that Payne needed to get Downsizing made some 12 years later.
Finally, you could have given Leonardo DiCaprio the false hope that he’d win an Oscar for his portrayal of Howard Hughes in Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator, which is minor Scorsese but is still pretty good, even if it’s shaggy and an odd duck. At least you’d have an incredible Cate Blanchett performance (as Katherine Hepburn!) to get you through it.
So those are the movies that ruled the Box Office the last time that the Patriots played the Eagles in the Super Bowl, a game New England would ultimately win 24-21, becoming back-to-back champions. And remember: While it’s fun to pass judgement on the movies of years past, remember that people in 2027 are going to look back at us and our cultural love of The Greatest Showman and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and laugh heartily.
And, god willing, Tom Brady will still be there, tossing touchdowns to people young enough to be his children.
Featured image via MoviestillsDB.