[On a formatting note: I've tried to both embed the trailers (where possible) and link to the trailers someplace where I know they won't be pulled. If there's no embed, blame YouTube. Just click the link on the movie's title and you'll get it.]
3. The Hours (2002)
Whenever I talk about how much I love it when a difficult-to-market somber drama cuts a trailer that sells it as a tense thriller, The Hours is always the movie I'm talking about. It's not about lying, or showing something that isn't there; it's about selling Laura Brown's crisis of maternal confidence as a life-or-death race against time. (Which, incidentally, it was.) It's mighty effective. I loved The Hours on its own, considerably more low-key terms, but hearing the music ratchet up, and Meryl Streep tell me she's unraveling, and the strings screech, and then Nicole Kidman turns roundabout on that staircase with some kind of murderous scowl on her face? AAAAHHHH! Gotta watch! Gotta see who she kills!
Awesome trailer attributes: iconic performance; misdirection
6. The Rules of Attraction (2002)
For whatever reason, there are about a half-dozen trailers to this fairly inconsequential movie out there. This is by far the best. The "Nutcracker" music manages to be so over-the-top ironic that it works even after years of ironic music cues have dulled the senses. And I liked the jettisoning of all plot concerns to just sell the laundry list of bad behavior on hand. It actually manages to work even better as an after-the-fact trailer, reminding me of all the parts of this not-that-good movie that I really enjoyed. Specifically: Swoosie Kurtz and Faye Dunaway getting wasted, Jessica Biel's slutty hallway dance, the look on Kip Pardue's face as he's blowing off Shannyn Sossamon, and of course Ian Somerhalder dancing to "Faith" in his boxer-briefs. Always that one.
Awesome trailer attributes: cool song/score; teaser; masking crap; funny!