Friday, June 12, 2009

Flashback Friday: 1999 Movies

Sorry for no blogs this week, I'm chilling up here in Seattle for my cousin's graduation at the Univ. of Washington. That makes it 3 college grads in the fam this decade and another English degree in the fam. But as promised, the long-awaited return of the Flashback Friday posts: 1999 movies

As I continue racking my mind to realize that 1999 is now 10 years ago, I thought about the great films that came out from that year (as well as the cult classics and personal favorites). This was probably the year when I started getting immersed more in pop culture so in addition to the music, I also take a bigger interest in the movies.

No movie in 1999 had a bigger impact now and then than the Matrix. I swear you had everybody and their mama interpreting something from that. The graphics were out of this world, the multilayered story was intense and everybody was copying the martial arts style in there.

I remember everybody came back to school that summer talking about it and I remember saying there’s no chance this movie couldn’t get Oscars for its graphics. My school had chapels devoted to it and 10 years later, it’s message is still relevant with who’s controlling our reality.

That movie was almost a perfect storm and outside of its forgettable sequels, it’s a movie that will continue to down as not just a classic but one of the most influential movies of any era.

We also had some great high school movies that may have seemed corny to older folks, but are still worth watching now. 10 Things I Hate About You and She’s All That were pretty cool and Varsity Blues still gets some play (Ali Larter’s whipped cream scene alone is worth repeating) but nothing tops American Pie (or Shannon Elizabeth’s performance on video). A sleeper hit that sparked a few careers.

*It tripped me out that the same kid from Rookie of the Year and A Kid In King Arthur's Court was in this movie. haha*

American Pie is great because everyone can relate to one of the four main characters, knows a Stifler and knows one of the girls. To be honest, Judd Apatow revived this formula for “Superbad” and it showed how you can make a great, funny, high school movie.

It was also Disney’s last stand as Tarzan was their last hit before Dreamworks and Pixar blew them out of the water. $100 million, an Oscar for Phil Collins and the end of an era. Dreamworks took off where Pixar continued with Toy Story 2 in 1999 and produced classics in Shrek, The Incredibles, Ratatouille and others while Disney just focused on expanding their empire.

I remember being freaked when I saw Sixth Sense with my sis and Dad. It was the first time a thriller had me spooked and stuck with me for a while. It’s a darn shame that M. Night Shamlayan – who I considered the best director of thrillers after Signs – has yet to make a great movie since “Signs” and went from being the next Spielberg to the next wunderkind to struggle recapturing that magic.

Two cult classics came out that I discovered in college. I didn’t get Office Space when I watched it the first time but now it’s one of my favorites. I find myself relating to it better now that I’m working which shows that it still holds up. Then there’s Boondock Saints – I still haven’t seen all the way through but in the scenes that I saw, Willem Dafoe just takes control with his character. Another movie that holds up well.

It was the first year I learned that you could make a lot of money and flop (see Wild Wild West and The Phantom Menace). I remember liking WWW but watching now, that’s some terrible doo-doo with 4 Academy Award nominees (Will Smith, Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh and Salma Hayek). Star Wars I had a lot of buzz and a lot of people got anxious for it but I still haven’t seen it and never will. Nearly a billion $ can’t be wrong – or can it.

Another favorite was Sleepy Hollow. I was pretty excited to see it (one of the few R-rated movies Moms let me see) and I wasn’t disappointed by Tim Burton. The gore, the great story, Johnny Depp doing his thing and a crazy villain, it was great.

Finally, you had the most successful indie movie at the time, the Blair Witch Project. Everybody spoofed it, everybody got freaked by it, everybody laughed at it – and everybody took a cheaply made, $22,000 budget movie to the bank ($248 million worldwide). Just like Sixth Sense, we had another great horror classic.

1999 Movies Worth Watching Again

American Pie
American Beauty
Sleepy Hollow
The Hurricane (Denzel should’ve gotten the Oscar but eh, Kevin Spacey has two)
The Sixth Sense
The Matrix
The Mummy (Brendan Fraser had a nice run of successful blockbusters)
Austin Powers 2 (Heather Graham had every dude's attention– even Lenny Kravitz's)
10 Things I Hate About You
Big Daddy
Blair Witch Project
Boondock Saints
The Best Man
Cruel Intentions
Fight Club
Office Space
She’s All That
South Park
Tarzan (Disney’s last stand)
Varsity Blues
Virgin Suicides (introduction to future Oscar winner Sofia Coppola)
The Wood
The World Is Not Enough (James Bond flop)
Green Mile (tell me why Michael Clarke Duncan has NOT done another great drama since then)
The Talented Mr. Ripley (Matt Damon is really an underrated actor)

Feel free to add on and share memories

1 comment:

  1. I can live with never seeing Austin Powers or Virgin Suicides again.

    This was a fun reminder though.