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Fabulous 15: Movies from 2002 celebrate their anniversary

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Universal Pictures

Most of us were in grade school in 2002, exchanging Pokemon cards or talking about the latest “Kim Possible” episode. While we may have watched some of the year’s hits, such as “Lilo and Stitch” or “Spirit,” we may have missed others. Read ahead for a blast from the not-so-faraway past with these 15-year-old movies.

“My Big Fat Greek Wedding”

This sleeper hit gripped the world by storm. This Greek-style comedy follows Nia Vardalos’s character, Toula, as she tries to break away from her overbearing family and scandalously chooses to date, and subsequently marry, a non-Greek. After seeing Ian (John Corbett) in her family restaurant, Toula decides to change her looks and her life. She opts for contacts, curls and college courses, which land her a job at her aunt’s travel agency, away from her parents’ restaurant business. Ian asks her out, and the rest falls into place. Toula’s family “helpfully” aids in the planning of her wedding, often with hilarious results. From Toula’s eclectic and eccentric relatives to her own misadventures in romance, this film is entertaining all the way through. It’s available on Netflix DVD or through Amazon with an HBO subscription.

RELATED: Late 90s classics turn 20

“Lilo and Stitch”

Set in Hawaii, the story follows Lilo, a young Hawaiian girl living with her older sister Nani, who is struggling to care for Lilo on her own with pressure from a social worker named Cobra. Seeking a change, Nani allows Lilo to adopt a dog, and that “dog” happens to be Stitch, an escaped genetic experiment that, through a series of events, has wound up at the animal shelter. Lilo educates Stitch on the “model citizen” in the form of Elvis Presley, and ultimately teaches him the meaning of “ohana,” the Hawaiian word for “family.” Revisit the Hawaiian tale of your childhood with this endearing and heartwarming film, which you can stream on Netflix or view on Amazon Video.

“Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron”

Set in the old American West, we watch as Spirit, a wild stallion born into a herd of horses, grows up alongside his mother and his herd. Narrated by Matt Damon as the voice of Spirit, we learn that while Spirit is a great leader, he has limitless curiosity about the things around him. It is this curiosity that unfortunately causes him to be captured by horse wranglers that take Spirit to a U.S. Cavalry post. Spirit is angered by the treatment of his fellow horses around him, and holds a grudge for “The Colonel,” a brutal military man determined to tame him. Later, Spirit meets Little Creek, an Indian brought to the fort and held prisoner. The two escape together, and Spirit meets the beautiful Rain, Little Creek’s mare. This is a noble story detailing friendship, freedom and family, and it’s worth your viewing time. You can watch Spirit on Netflix DVD or Amazon with an HBO subscription.

“Sweet Home Alabama”

A facetious Southern comfort, “Sweet Home Alabama” follows Melanie, played by Reese Witherspoon, a fashion designer living in New York City intent on forgetting everything and everyone from her past until she has no choice but to face it once again. In order to marry Andrew Hennings, played by Patrick Dempsey, Melanie must first divorce Jake Perry, played by Josh Lucas, her childhood sweetheart. Upon returning to Alabama to serve Jake the divorce papers, Melanie’s world is turned upside down as she rediscovers her roots, reacquaints with friends and family and finds that the world she was trying to escape may hold some of the things she’s been looking for all along. The movie is available on Netflix DVD or with a Starz subscription on Amazon.

“The Bourne Identity”

Matt Damon stars as Bourne, a man who cannot remember who he is because of amnesia. Yet, he is capable of advanced combat and is fluent in several languages. A fishermen who rescues Bourne finds a laser projector under Bourne’s hip, which leads Bourne to a safe deposit box full of money in various currencies, several passports and identity cards and a gun. The previously unknown man then assumes the name on the identity cards: Jason Bourne. 

In a whirlwind of events, Bourne finds himself on the run with three agents on his tail to take him down, and must also avoid local police while he’s at it. Be prepared for lots of action, adventure, gunfire and much more in this spy thriller. It’s available on Netflix DVD or Amazon Prime.

RELATED: Movies from 1992 turn 25 this year

“Spider-Man”

 This 2002 superhero film stars Tobey Maguire as the title character, Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Parker, a high school bully victim and outcast, is bitten by a genetically engineered super spider while on a school field trip. After falling ill, he is no longer near-sighted, and has gained a more muscular physique. As Parker learns to control his newfound abilities, which include shooting webs and quick reflexes, he also attempts to impress his love interest, Mary Jane Watson, played by Kirsten Dunst. Upon graduation, Parker dons the mask we are all familiar with and officially becomes Spider-Man, using his powers to fight crime. Watch Parker learn what it means to be a true hero with an HBO subscription on Amazon.

“Snow Dogs”

Cuba Gooding Jr. stars in this adventure comedy as Ted Brooks, a Miami dentist who inadvertently learns he’s adopted when his biological mother dies and leaves him her team of sled dogs in Alaska. From day one, everyone from the locals to the film viewers can see that Ted is out of his element. We also watch him learn about his roots and search for his biological father, fall for one of the locals, get sprayed by a skunk in an old Volkswagen Beetle and learn to drive a sled. To quote Thunder Jack, played by James Coburn, you’ve “got something wrong with your head” if you don’t view this film, which is available with an HBO subscription on Amazon or with Netflix DVD.

The year 2002 bore other cinematic gems such as “Two Weeks Notice,” “Scooby-Doo,”  “A Walk to Remember,” “xXx,” “Blue Crush,” “Analyze That,” “Maid in Manhattan,” “Van Wilder,” “Ice Age,” and “The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood” for your viewing pleasure.


Follow Kacie Lillejord on Twitter.


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