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19. "Little Miss Sunshine"
Director: Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
Starring: Steve Carell, Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Alan Arkin, Abigail Breslin, Paul Dano
Why: One of the Sundance Film Festival's greatest success stories, this unconventional road trip movie was a summer smash, earned Alan Arkin an Academy Award, featured Paul Dano's breakout role, proved that Steve Carell was a real box office star and introduced the world to Abigail Breslin. It also was touching and hilarious, featuring a beauty pageant performance that's been part of 21st Century pop culture ever since.
- Gregory Ellwood