Tuesday, December 29, 2009

1999 v 2009 / Reader Submission #3

This post comes to us from loyal R3 fan Oliver C. It is a simple look at 1999 movies compared to those that have come to us this year in 2009. While I do not agree with everything he says below, it is interesting to look back at 1999 and think about how you felt after seeing the movies he references below. Did you feel like you'd still be talking about them 10 years from the day you had your ticket ripped? Will you still be quoting The Hangover 10 years from now? Oliver's post looks at the end of 2 decades, and while you could just as simply compare 1999 to 2008 or 2006, it's still fun to look at the end of a decade and see where we were, where we've been, and where we're going... I should note that this was submitted to us before December movies were released.

Always feel free to email us your very own submissions to be posted on the site. Enjoy Oliver's contribution and here's to looking forward to 2010.

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As we approach the end of the decade, many people will look back at the year and reminisce on the past movies that made 2009 the year that it was. I look back and I think… Really? Is that it??? What do we have to work with here? This year was marked off with remakes and sequels trying to be bigger and better then their first: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Terminator Salvation. Movies made to inspire us like Whip It fell flat. And even the biggest smallest horror movie was really just a re-imagination of the Blair Witch Project. All in all, once the dust settled from the battling robots, 2009 really went out with a fizzle. You’re probably asking, “geez, man, what do you expect?” I expected another 1999. Now that year truly ended the decade with a bang (I’m not eliminating Avatar to wow me… but I’m not holding my breath for it either).
1999 brought us a plethora of future classics, first-time directors, and even a sequel that lived up to the original in Toy Story 2.

1999 introduced the audience to M. Night Shyamalan(The Sixth Sense), Sam Mendes (American Beauty), Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich), Sophia Coppola (The Virgin Suicides), Alexander Payne (Election), and Brad Bird (The Iron Giant) all of which had their first wide releases in this year. Four of those directors were nominated for Oscars in their aforementioned debuts, with Mendes actually walking away with the trophy for Best Director. Since then Spike Jonze picked one up for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Sophia Coppola for Lost In Translation, Alexander Payne for Sideways, and Brad Bird for Ratatouille. And The Sixth Sense went ahead to be one of the highest grossing movie of all time.

It’s not just the directors that came out of the shadows, 1999 also introduced us to the on-screen talent who were once barely on the public’s radar to center-stage. Angelina Jolie not only outshined co-star Winona Ryder, but also took home Oscar gold with Girl, Interrupted. Reese Witherspoon proved that she wasn’t just another cute blonde with her Golden Globe nominated role in Election. Jake Gyllenhaal took his first adult role in October Sky. Michael Clarke Duncan went from bodyguard to the stars to Oscar Nominated actor in The Green Mile. And Russell Crowe went from Aussie bad-boy to future Academy Award Winning Aussie bad-boy in his Nominated performance in The Insider.

1999 was also a big comeback year. Whether it be from constant box-office flops like Julia Roberts or tabloid fodder like Martin Lawrence and Hugh Grant, each of these actors re-established themselves with Notting Hill and Blue Streak.

Two sets of brothers took us in opposite directions in the movie viewing experience. The Wachowski brothers taught us that Keanu Reeves can actually make a movie that will make you think in The Matrix. They also gave us a need to see everything in HD. The Weitz brothers taught us that you can have a sex-comedy with heart in American Pie. They also gave us a need to see everything in HD (I’m talking about you, Shannon Elizabeth).

Finally, 1999 taught us that Box Office grosses means nothing in the general scheme of things when it comes to making a movie that will always stick with the viewers. Fight Club, Boondock Saints, and Office Space suffered huge box-office hits (Boondock barely even saw the light of day), but each one resurfaced with a huge cult following in the DVD world.

All is not perfect though. 1999 brought us one thing that the true movie fan can do without. Jar-Jar-Binks and Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace.

I never said it was a perfect year.

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