1999 – The Best Year For Movies
Is there any one year that we can say was ultimately the best year in the history of film? Possibly not, due to the magnanimous subjectivity of movies and the different reactions that different scenes elicit on different individuals with different lives and different personalities. We’re all going to find different types of movies enjoyable, that’s obvious enough to say, so coming up with a list of films in a given year and trying to say definitively that that was the pinnacle of film-making is a wasted exercise.
Alternatively, we can try and create a list of films in a year that either started off their own pop culture trends or simply don’t stop being talked about even if they lack the edgy lines that are constantly repeated by young adults on the internet. It’s fairly safe to say that if a film makes its way into widespread pop culture then they have had a lasting impact on society, cementing themselves in the hall of movie fame. Generally these films decline in their popularity quite slowly and their shelf life in everyday conversation is long lasting, for example when you hear the phrase ‘I’ll be back’ you know exactly what and who comes to mind (Terminator, for those of you too sleepy to think)
So with that in mind, was 1999 the best year in film history?
1999 was the year where we first saw Tyler Durden saunter into our lives. Fight Club was released on the 10th of September 1999 and brought with it an absolute rocket of a twist. One that should absolutely under no circumstances be disclosed here, for after all “The first rule of fight club is: you do not talk about fight club” The film burnt the minds of several generations with its anarchist agenda and remains one of the greatest and most ludicrous of story-lines that we are ever willing to see in our lifetimes.
It was also the year where we managed to frighten ourselves out of our socks from a horror film that was made on a shoe string budget of $22,000 and took home more than $240 million!! The Blair Witch Project essentially started off the trend of video camera filmography that we see in more modern films like Cloverfield, Rec and Paranormal Activity. It has gone on to forever make camping a wholly daunting experience and it is now rooted in horror history as a classic must-watch, just don’t watch it when you’re in the middle of the woods at night on your iPod, or any device for that matter unless your aim to go camping was to not sleep.
Now for something to lighten the mood a bit more, in the form of American Pie. 1999 was the first time we got to meet the lovely Stiflers. This was a film absolutely covered in teenage angst and sexual frustration. Even today it’s hard to look a homemade pie without thinking about Jim Leverstein in a highly uncomfortable trail of thought. And of course who can forget the original MILF, Stifler’s mum, who has led teenagers everywhere to look at their friend’s relations in a more than inappropriate manner.
Whenever some-one manages to expertly dodge a tennis ball that’s been launched at them by one of their less than classy friends and they can’t believe just how close they came to taking a big yellow fuzz-ball to the face there is usually one word straight out of their mouths “Matrix”. This was the year we met “the one”, “Neo”, the man who can fly and stop bullets mid-flight and the only man to have ever defeated an agent in hand-to-hand combat. The Matrix was a film flooded with some of the best fight choreography ever to be displayed on screen, it took the word epic to another level with famous scenes like Neo and Trinity diving back into the Matrix to try and rescue Morpheus. While the world is divided on the last 2 Matrix films there is no doubting the uproar that the original Matrix caused with people everywhere.
Cruel Intentions is a truly wonderful and messed up film. Incestuous fancies combined with high school love games is an interesting mix and one that clearly struck a chord with Western audiences, for any one of a thousand reasons. The scene where Kathryn teaches Cecile how to kiss by physically performing the act on her went on to be parodied in the film Not Another Teen Movie and has since gone on to become one of the most well-known scenes in film.
Going back to famous comedies we have the depressingly realistic, ‘hits a bit too close to home’, classic ‘Office Space’. A group of workers deal with the ever increasing stress and mundaneness of their jobs, from dealing with condescending bosses to office equipment that is 20 years too old to function. One such machine is their office printer, which the small team of office miscreants eventually get so fed up with they take it outside and smash it to pieces with a baseball bat, a scene replicated by Family Guy a few years ago. This is a film that so beautifully captured what it is to hate your job in a way that can still make you laugh your guts out and it has embedded itself in the film history books.
“I see dead people”, sadly not originally quoted in Scary Movie but instead in the Bruce Willis film ‘The Sixth Sense’. Another film with a twist in the tale that is so glorious and astonishing you almost feel like you’ve been violated! Whether this line has been sprawled across other shows and movies as a reference or whether you’ve seen the t-shirts there was a time where you had to go camp out in the woods just to avoid seeing a Sixth Sense reference, and if you did do just that then please say you didn’t take a copy of The Blair Witch Project with you to pass the time…
The list for 1999 could go on quite considerably, here are just a few other fantastic films that were released in cinemas across the Western World in the year 1999:
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
The Boondock Saints
Eyes wide shut
The Iron Giant
Toy Story 2
10 Things I Hate About You
James Bond: The World Is Not Enough
Star Wars 1
It really was a fantastic warm-up for the turn of the millennium. However, if you think you have a year in film that trumps 1999 then don’t be shy, let us know!