I recently was able to see Spotlight, one of my favorite films of the year. Not only was it a highly entertaining film, but it was an incredibly impactful film that goes deep into the story of uncovering some of the heinous offenses made by the Catholic Church during a time when the epidemic of sexual abuse in the papal ranks was very much kept "hush hush".
Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams and Stanley Tucci lead the star-studded cast and all four do an exceptional job telling the story through their different characters.
There was certainly a lot of hesitancy in breaking this story out of Boston, a very Catholic city, that many of the characters knew well. It was difficult for the real-life characters to try to do what was right, and I think it may have been equally as difficult for the cast to get their depictions right too.
So, in the spirit of great ensemble casts, here are 6 of the best big-time casts from 2000 onward (to keep it fresh, of course).
1. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
Wes Anderson struck gold with this movie... and this cast in 2001. When you can throw Danny Glover, Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Bill Murray, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller, Luke and Owen Wilson into a project as fun as this, you're pretty much setting yourself up for a hit.
2. Love Actually (2003)
Although this is another comedy-type film, there was clearly a big budget for this, one of the best rom-coms I can think of in recent memory with a massively awesome cast. The cast includes Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Keira Knightley, Martine McCutcheon, Bill Nighy, and Rowan Atkinson.
3. The Dark Knight (2008)
Christian Bale, Michael Kane, Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Morgan Freeman? Wow. And of course we all know how well this one turned out.
4. The Departed (2006)
Another magnificent film with an ensemble cast set in... you guessed it, Boston! This movie was epic and even took place in some of the same buildings as were used in Spotlight. Most notably, the FBI HQ.The film was packed with stars in Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, and Mark Wahlberg.
5. Oceans Eleven (2001)
Yet another classic film with a huge cast led by some of the most recognizable actors of all time. They may have milked this franchise for all it was worth, but I do believe the first film was excellent. With George Clooney, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, and more... this cast was strong.
6. American Hustle (2013)
In the most recent film on this list, David O. Russell brought a big-time "current" cast of some of the brightest stars in modern film. It ended up being an excellent film. Christian Bale completlely transformed for the role, Bradley Cooper was excellent, and it didn't hurt to throw Jeremy Renner, Amy Adams, and Jennifer Lawrence into the mix either.
I'm sure Spotlight will be mentioned down the line as one of those great projects that brought together some of the best actors of our time. And I think that we'll learn a lot about how our country will react to something like this - a great movie that can literally spark change through awareness on topics that affect a great deal of us.
Great movie. Definitely recommend it. I'm Catholic, and I understand the importance of this film being made. I'm glad to say I was able to get an early peek at it and I think it'll generate even more buzz over the weekend.
'Spotlight' is out in theaters now.