I was merely a simple middle-school student back in 2004, and my taste in film was pretty undeveloped, to say the least. I vividly remember endlessly quoting, “Tina, you fat lard!” and “She doesn’t even go here!” with classmates in the halls. My brothers and I actually decided to name our family cat Napoleon (luckily, I can get away with saying he was named after that French guy). And to think about how many soppy make-out sessions were soundtracked by Natalie Portman’s go-to “life-changing” song sends a shudder down my spine.

2004 was also the year where: Clint Eastwood’s “Million Dollar Baby” ruled; celebrities got sexy in Mike Nichols’s “Closer”; Jamie Foxx starred in films for which he was later nominated for TWO Oscars; wine was the name of the game in Alexander Payne’s “Sideways”; children of all ages ran to see the new Harry Potter movie (the best of the bunch, in my opinion); people couldn’t stop arguing over Michael Moore and “Fahrenheit 9/11”; the revolt against M. Night Shyamalan began.

After ten years long years, looking back has a way of mutating perceptions and opinions. It appears that a lot of love thrown at certain films has soured and become antagonistic or mocking. “Napoleon Dynamite” is just something we used to know and love, and the jokes will now maybe lead to a mere chuckle. “Garden State” is actually a gushy, saccharin mess that is most memorable for its mega-popular indie mixtape of a soundtrack. One positive is that “Mean Girls” actually holds up and is now regarded as one of the greatest teen comedies of all time.

And yet, while our love may have faded for some, certain films that were shunned or given little attention have been given a second chance. When it was released, “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” was seen as the first scratch on Wes Anderson’s pristine track record. Now, opinions have brightened, and the film is seen as a unique stepping stone on Anderson’s continual growth as a filmmaker (bonus: it contains one of Bill Murray’s greatest performances). Jonathan Glazer’s Nicole Kidman-starring “Birth” was seen as an unsavory, high-minded melodrama, but is now viewed as a Kubrick-esque portrait of the upper class, imbued with deep mystery and complimented by an amazing, ever-shifting score by Alexandre Desplat. I admit that I get a little giddy when little-loved films are given the critical reconsideration they deserve.

While all of the films previously mentioned were important to 2004’s year in film (regardless of whether they were “good” or “bad”), they weren’t quite the cream of the crop. That’s why I’ve compiled a top ten list of the “best” films of 2004 to guide you on your nostalgia trips. Today I’ll be covering the bottom five, and tomorrow I’ll be exploring the top five, so be sure to check in. Yes, lists are all relative and subjective, but when the films are this great, it’s hard to object.

10. “Spider-Man 2” (directed by Sam Raimi, starring Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Alfred Molina, James Franco)
If “The Dark Knight” had never been birthed into existence by Christopher Nolan, then “Spider-Man 2” could still be called the greatest comic book movie ever made. Sam Raimi perfectly captures the tone of the comic book with humor, drama, and romance, while also improving upon the original movie in every way. The action set pieces are bigger and more visually interesting. The back-and-forth romance between Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) and Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) is enriched by their past and made incredibly believable by wonderful performances. The villain, Doctor Octopus (played by the great Alfred Molina), is more engaging and human. And the theme of “With great power comes great responsibility” is deepened to powerful effect. “Spider-Man 2” may be a near-perfect comic book movie, but it’s also one of the greatest blockbusters of all time.

9. “I Heart Huckabees” (directed by David O. Russell, starring Dustin Hoffman, Jude Law, Lily Tomlin, Mark Wahlberg, Isabelle Huppert, Jason Schwartzman, Naomi Watts)
Before David O. Russell was making big-time Oscar-winners, he assembled “I Heart Huckabees,” which may be the first and only film to be deemed a philosophical screwball comedy. Featuring an ensemble cast of characters, from Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin as existential detectives to Jason Schwartzman as the leader of an environmental group going through a crisis to Jude Law as an executive of a chain-store whose life comes undone to Mark Wahlberg (in one of his greatest performances) as an obsessive, quick-to-anger fireman. Sure, the plot is messy and nonsensical, but it’s rare to have a comedy this original. A hilarious and weird satire of our society’s need for quick spiritual fixes.

8. “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” (directed by Adam McKay, starring Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner, Fred Willard)
“Anchorman” was endlessly quoted back in 2004, and it’s still endlessly quoted now. Is that because of its layered, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it sense of humor or because it changed the course of film comedy by lending it a certain inspired absurdism and silliness? Turns out its both and then some. Led by a genius comic turn by Will Ferrell as a misogynistic, vain anchorman in 1970s San Diego (stay classy), the film takes a tongue-in-cheek look at the 1970s, specifically gender roles and sexual politics. But that’s not to say that it has any particularly big ideas on its mind. “Anchorman” is mainly a shaggy vehicle for getting some of the funniest people in comedy together for non-stop, ridiculous laughs.

7. “Tarnation” (directed by and starring Jonathan Caouette)
Jonathan Caouette’s experimental documentary “Tarnation” is at once empowering and tragically heart-breaking. Through home movie clips, photographs, recorded phone calls, and personal footage taken from over the course of twenty years, the film is at once a portrait of Caouette growing up gay and a portrait of his relationship with his mother and her history of mental illness. By watching and listening to Caouette, you get the sense that his making of the film was a means of exorcising his personal demons and, in turn, saving his own life.

6. “The Aviator” (directed by Martin Scorsese, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, John C. Reilly, Alan Alda, Alec Baldwin, Kate Beckinsale)
“The Aviator” is rarely brought up when discussing the genius of master filmmaker Martin Scorsese, and that’s quite a shame. Featuring outstanding performances all around, especially Leonardo DiCaprio’s leading turn as the obsessive, germophobic renaissance man/business tycoon Howard Hughes, the film also features some of Scorsese’s most bravura filmmaking. Huge set pieces are endlessly stacked alongside one another, but, when it comes down to it, “The Aviator” is one of Scorsese’s most personal films, a film about obsession and the overreaching American dreamer. He certainly knows a thing or two about that.