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20 in 2020: We look at the pop culture hits that turn 20 years old this year

Prepare to feel old, the new decade is here. The Nokia 3310, songs like *NSYNC's Bye Bye Bye, Bon Jovi's It's My Life and movies like Gladiator are turning 20.

It was the start of a new shiny new millennium, spread out before us, glittering and shimmering with promises and possibilities of modern technology.

Y2K – the pesky turn-of-the-century bug that was expected to cause global chaos and supposedly bring about the end of the world – had failed to (surprise surprise) materialise. And just like that, we entered into the super-charged aughts, 20 years ago.

The year 2000 was the dawn of a new digital age – one that encouraged different attitudes towards film, fashion, music, and yes, the now ubiquitous click-worthy Internet profile.

Knowing that many of these gems (or duds) that were born from this pop cultural shift are about to hit 20 years of age has made us feel, well, old.

But also nostalgic. So here’s a walk down memory lane where we take a look at the pop culture hits that will turn 20 in 2020.


Director Ridley Scott used the 1960s Hollywood classic Spartacus as the starting point for Gladiator, and created a cinematic epic that gave us a dynamic Russell Crowe as the wronged Gladiator Maximus Decimus Meridius and Joaquin Phoenix as the evil Commodus.

The film was a box office smash globally, and bagged five Oscars, including Best Picture.


Coming from a rock band that gave us hits that Livin’ On A Prayer, Always and I’ll Be There For You, this song is arguably Bon Jovi’s best-known post 1980s and 1990s hit single. It has since been performed at almost every live show since its release. 

It peaked at number one in music charts globally and even became a popular Mambo Jambo staple at Zouk in Singapore, complete with its own synchronised hand movements.

"Nobody had anticipated the song 'It's My Life'," lead singer Jon Bon Jovi said in an interview in 2007. "Except us. We knew we had a hit.” The song became a classic anthem that appealed to fans all over the world.


If you know what is a cheerocracy and what spirit fingers are, then you’re one of the millions of Bring It On fans that made the cheerleading film a box office hit worldwide and an instant cult classic.

"I'm sexy, I'm cute, I'm popular to boot!" Can you believe it's been 20 years since Kirsten Dunst and company uttered those immortal opening lines?

The fluffy film – which has spawned multiple straight-to-video sequels – has really stood the test of time. And it’s all thanks to the very likable combination of Dunst, Gabrielle Union and Eliza Dushku; sassy quotable dialogue and overall infectious energy.  All together now: “I said brr, it’s cold in her. There must be some clovers in the atmosphere!”


Bye Bye Bye is arguably *NSYNC’s magnum opus and the definitive pop anthem of the 00s. Love it or hate it, the pop ditty was in a league of its own, staying at the top of the charts for five weeks in 2000, and making everyone dance like erm… this.

The music video became a cultural phenomenon and was nominated for Video of the Year at the MTV Video Music Awards.  


Could a film adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’s ultra-violent novel even be made? Director Mary Harron did what no other male direction could and took on the challenge with spectacular results.

American Psycho may have divided fans and critics alike upon release, but this darkly hilarious Wall Street satire is now considered a cult classic and one of the greatest films of the aughts. So much so, it was even made into a West End and Broadway musical in 2013 and 2016 respectively.

It also allowed the brilliant Christian Bale (at the time only a minor actor most famous for his part in Steven Spielberg’s Empire Of The Sun in 1987 when he was 13 years old) to give a star-making performance as the narcissistic and psychopathic killer Patrick Bateman.

NOKIA 3310

A file photo of Nokia 3310. File photo of Nokia 3310.

Remember life before smartphones? That was when the Nokia 3310 –launched in 2000 – was king. The best-selling phone of its time, every handset came with the terribly basic but addictive Snake, which we're sure every hardcore nostalgist still pine for.


We shouldn't be that surprised that a movie that makes fun of classics like Scream, The Sixth Sense and The Blair Witch Project came out 20 years ago,  should we?

The film parodied the most popular horror films of the era, was a massive success and launched Anna Faris' acting career. It also sparked multiple sequels, all of varying and questionable qualities. 

Source: CNA/gl