Well folks, we are already in the thick of August, and the future looks dim. Er—sorry, what I meant to say was that this month has, overall, been a bad month for movies, and the coming weeks don’t hold much promise. Knowing August, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise.

Along with its pal January, August is well-regarded as a pretty bleak month for cinematic goods, but every once in a while, a gem shines through. Inspired by the release of “Guardians of the Galaxy” (which was released on August 1 and has received fantastic reviews across the board), I decided to take a look back at the films released in August from 2000 on. After sifting through the crap, it turns out there’s more to August than “TMNT,” “Final Destination 5,” “G.I. Joe,” “Rush Hour 3,” blah blah blah. And, surprisingly or unsurprisingly, most of them are comedies. Anyway, it’s best if you just have a look.t

Note: I excluded Werner Herzog’s “Grizzly Man” because it is a documentary and, to help things run more smoothly, I stuck to narrative features. Okay? Thanks.

1. “Inglourious Basterds” (directed by Quentin Tarantino, 2009, starring Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Michael Fassbender, Mélanie Laurent, Eli Roth, Diane Kruger)
And here we are. The only Best Picture Oscar nominee on the list, and it’s a violent, funny, and suspenseful piece of Tarantino historical revisionism. If this were thirty years earlier, no one would’ve blinked if a B-picture-esque film was left to be released in August. Maybe that’s why the Weinsteins pushed it there, as a kind of joke. Either way, “Inglourious Basterds” is pure cinema, on both a visual and emotional level. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll flinch, you’ll rethink WWII, and all that. The film also leaves us with one of the greatest villains in cinematic history, Christoph Waltz’s chuckling, methodical, and pastry-loving Hans Landa. An epic as only Tarantino could make one.

2. “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” (directed by Judd Apatow, 2005, staring Steve Carell, Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen, Romany Malco, Jane Lynch, Elizabeth Banks, Kat Dennings)
Judd Apatow’s first and best film, “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” created a new wave of adult comedies, but none of them quite reached the levels of this. To be fair, there is nothing visually interesting going on in the film whatsoever. Where the film thrives, however, is in its script, the hilarious ensemble (led by Steve Carell in his star-making turn), and its heart. Who would’ve guessed that a film opening with a boner joke would be as sweet as it is?

3. “The World’s End” (directed by Edgar Wright, 2013, starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Pierce Brosnan, Eddie Marsan, Rosamund Pike)
Yes, another Edgar Wright film, but this one stands at the top of his filmography along with 2004’s “Shaun of the Dead.” On the surface, “The World’s End” is a kind of spoof on “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”-type sci-fi, but there are a lot of gears at work beneath that. Every element (performance, cinematography, genre, etc.) is in service of another, leaving us with a film that is visually interesting and a hilarious yet sad look at friendship and middle age.

4. “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” (directed by Edgar Wright, 2010, starring Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin, Chris Evans, Anna Kendrick, Alison Pill, Brand Routh, Jason Schwartzman)
A comic book movie that actually looks and feels like a comic book (plus videogames), “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” may have gained most of its initial attention for the eye-popping visuals and overall sense of style, but there’s more to it than that (I mean, it’s an Edgar Wright film). From the deadpan humor to the reflections on relationships and the burdens people carry with them, “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” bursts with life and energy.

5. “Short Term 12” (directed by Destin Daniel, 2013, starring Brie Larson, John Gallagher, Jr., Kaitlyn Dever, Rami Malek, Keith Stanfield)
Finally, something that’s not a comedy. Instead, here’s an achingly realistic drama about a group home for troubled teens to lighten your spirits! But in all seriousness, “Short Term 12” is a well-acted and perfectly paced film, all centered around Brie Larson’s powerful and star-making turn (shame shame on the Oscars for ignoring her). It’s refreshing to see an indie drama that’s so utterly human.

6. “Superbad” (directed by Greg Mottola, 2007, starring Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Seth Rogen, Bill Hader, Emma Stone)
At once a vulgar teen comedy and an honest, sincere look at male friendship, “Superbad” captures the perils and the stupidity of a night out as a teenager. The film is at its best, however, when simply capturing a scene of dialogue between stars Jonah Hill and Michael Cera, who brilliantly play off of one another. Also, who can forget McLovin’?

7. “Pineapple Express” (directed by David Gordon Green, 2008, starring Seth Rogen, James Franco, Danny McBride, Kevin Corrigan, Craig Robinson, Gary Cole, Rosie Perez, Amber Heard)
“Pineapple Express” has quickly risen in the ranks as the stoner comedy ideal, and it nails the shaggy, improvisatory style that would seem typical of such a thing. Throwback action movie elements are also at play, especially in the ultimate buddy pairing of Seth Rogen and James Franco (at his best). Bonus: it introduced a large number of people to M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes” via the trailer.

8. “Tropic Thunder” (directed by Ben Stiller, starring Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black, Steve Coogan, Jay Baruchel, Brandon T. Jackson, Bill Hader, Nick Nolte)
Who would’ve guessed that Ben Stiller had quite a knack for directing? Following “Zoolander,” “Tropic Thunder” also takes a look at grade-A narcissists, but those of a different sort. Biting into celebrities, actors, directors, and other showbiz types, it also features inspired performances across the board. From Robert Downey Jr.’s Oscar-nominated role as a prestige actor to a barely recognizable Tom Cruise as a crude, obnoxious executive, “Tropic Thunder” seems to get everything right.

9. “Hot Rod” (directed by Akiva Schaffer, 2007, starring Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, Bill Hader, Danny McBride, Isla Fisher, Ian McShane, Sissy Spacek, Will Arnett, Chris Parnell)
A critical and commercial flop when it was first released, “Hot Rod” has since gained a cult following, and rightly so. With a hilarious ensemble cast and an offbeat sensibility rare in big studio films, “Hot Rod” may have been dumped into the netherworld of August to be forgotten, but it’s well worth your time.

10. “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” (directed by Adam McKay, 2006, starring Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Sacha Baron Cohen, Gary Cole, Michael Clarke Duncan, Amy Adams, Jane Lynch)
It’s no small feat to attempt to follow in the footsteps of the absurd comedy classic “Anchorman,” but “Talladega Nights” (along with Will Ferrell and Adam McKay) did just that. Turns out they succeeded in creating another film built on a devoted Will Ferrell performance and a specific brand of inspired silliness. It also kickstarted the genius pairing of Ferrell and John C. Reilly, which is reason enough to watch right there.