Saturday, January 18, 2014
The Favorite Films Of My Lifetime: 1999
If you didn't have the word "The" in your title you were by default the winner of the 1999 Academy Awards. This was an interesting year where my list is probably the most "pop friendly" of any of them so far. At least to me. This year is also notable as it contained what I consider the worst film I've ever plopped down money to see in a theater. I'm speaking of Wing Commander. A film my friends and I went to ONLY to see the trailer for The Phantom Menace. See, back in the day you HAD to go to the theater to see the new trailers. They weren't online weeks before they finally showed up on the silver screen. They even turned the house lights back on after the trailer so people could leave if they wanted to. We should have left. After the movie, we all realized we wanted to ask the others if they wanted to leave, but were afraid someone might have been enjoying themselves.
Here's the Best Picture race in 1999
WINNER - American Beauty
The Cider House Rules
The Green Mile
The Sixth Sense
Here's what I dig
Eyes Wide Shut
When this was released in 1999, I wasn't ready for it. I was 19 years old, having grown up in the midwest and sex stuff was all sort of taboo. I didn't have the maturity, film education or patience for this one. And I totally wrote it off as a film that was interesting for about 15-20 minutes and pretty much boring for the rest of it. If you would have told me at 19 that it'd be one of my favorite films and totally fascinating to me, he'd tell you to slap his future self. But, it's the truth. Growing up, I've learned something very important about Stanley Kubrick, he doesn't make movies for younger audiences. He makes films for adults. He doesn't make movies for popcorn munching ADD movie fans, he makes them for film lovers and appreciators. There is so much more going on in Eyes Wide Shut beneath the surface that its incredibly amusing. I see and learn new things about it with each watch. Its got his masterful touch all over the place. That he died before anyone saw it, has only assisted in the mystique of the film. I absolutely love all the interpretations and conspiracies that have arrived from people regarding the film. And then you watch it looking for those things and it becomes a whole other experience. Its become one of my favorite films of his and one I don't think a lot of people get. Luckily on Blu-ray we have the appropriate cut of the film and don't have those embarrassing silhouettes covering up people getting freaky.
Believe it or not folks, this one sneaked on the list. It edged out The World Is Not Enough in the end. I really like this movie a lot...but I can't tell you the last time I watched it. Its a "cool" thriller with a pretty solid twist ending. In my youth and college I really thought this movie was "bad f***ing A", but I've kinda cooled down as I got older. I think this one was put on a uber high pedestal by the "bro" population of the world and there it sits as an all time great. I'll need to pop it in and revisit it soon and see what I think nowadays. Maybe the movie is just a bit ingrained in my brain that I don't really feel the need to watch it that often. But, there was no denying how hot this movie was back in '99 and how awesome I did think it was back then. It does feature an iconic performance/character/costumes from Brad Pitt, I'll give it that much.
I said it best when I said it HERE.
Another movie I went to opening weekend to an empty auditorium only to find that people finally checked it out when it came on video. These are the same people who claim "I can't believe it didn't do well". Just like those people that complain about Arrested Development getting canceled but didn't check it out til Netflix (The answer is, because of YOU, dumb dumb. Anywho, this is a really funny movie. And it makes me wonder why we don't see comedies from Mike Judge but once every X many years. Once again, I laughed hysterically at this movie and then had nobody to share the love of the jokes with as nobody I knew had went to see it. Once again, I'm surprised that this movie has become a bonafide classic and one that constantly is referenced by people. Who knew?
The Sixth Sense
Its hard to believe how far M. Night has fallen, but this guy was once one of the greatest prospective auteurs we had. His first film hit pop culture really hard and had everyone talking about the "twist" that I think it watered down its overall greatness as a movie. Aside from the films 3rd act surprise, there's also a really finely acted and precisely directed film that really hits a lot of greatness. One thing I really liked about this movie is how people raved about this movie, but nobody divulged its secret. I don't know that we'd be so lucky nowadays in a freely talk about spoilers society.
This movie is both the beginning of an era and the end of one. Its the beginning of what would become Tim Burton's career from this movie forth. Take a known book or property, put Johnny Depp in it and slap his style and branding on it. This was also the end of the era that Tim Burton was one of my premiere directors. I loved his take on Sleepy Hollow. Its a really fun, kooky and classically creepy little film. But when this is all Tim Burton decided to do, I increasingly lost interest. What I had fallen in love with Tim Burton for was his originality, the worlds and characters he himself created. I quickly feigned interest on just him taking already existing things and "doing his thing" with them. It feels to easy. Yes, he did sneak Big Fish in there and I did enjoy Sweeney Todd quite a bit, but on the whole it was just far from what I had enjoyed from someone who was one of my absolute favorite directors at one time.