While many critics are scouring their old notebooks to dredge up the “best of the decade” film lists, I wanted to venture back a little further, to a year not only immortalized by a Prince song, but one that may just be one of the best ever in film.
Historians often point to 1939 as the golden year for film, but if the films made six decades later do not get the silver, then the voting may be rigged. I would dare say that aside from a small handful, not one of the films released this past decade has spoken to me as much as some of the films of 1999.
They were innovative in a way that we have really yet to see since. They were amusing in bold and fresh ways, and they marked the end of some of the last quality work from many a dependable star/director.
Listed below is a fond reflection of a few of the films released one decade ago as we now prepare to enter a new one.
American Pie: Easily one of the funniest teen comedies in a long time, as well as an introduction of the term "MILF" into everyday vernacular. Its combination of sweet and salty situations would beget its own cottage industry and a host of palsied attempts to capture its charm. Sadly, it's name has since been sullied by Universal, who has pimped out the title in countless inferior direct-to-DVD sequels. Films in which you can see its influence: Sex Drive, Road Trip Euro Trip, Superbad, and The Girl Next Door.
Being John Malkovich: Charlie Kaufman, meet the world. World, Charlie Kaufman. Did it just get a little brighter here? Imagine the pitch for this film: A puppeteer, who lives with an animal-obsessed closeted lesbian, gets a clerical job in a vertically challenged office and discovers it also houses a portal into the mind of actor John Malkovich. What, another one of those films? It paved a path for writer Kaufman to enchant us time and again with Adaptation and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
The Blair Witch Project: A lightning-in-a-bottle wonder of marketing wizardry and filmmaking gumption, Blair Witch gave hope to every kid with a video camera and was perhaps the birth of the now commonplace viral marketing.