"They say two thousand zero zero party over
Oops out of time
So tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1999"
"1999" - Prince
"1999" - Prince
If the world was gonna end in 1999, it was gonna go with a shitload of awesome movies. If, for the rest of my life, I could only watch movies from one specific year, it would most certainly be 1999. Why? Let me take you back...
In January, I went with a couple friends to see Val Kilmer and Mira Sorvino in "At First Sight". He played a blind man who undergoes surgery to get some of his sight back. It was good. Some other movies I saw in the early part of the year included Mel in "Payback", Bill Murray in "Rushmore", the cult classic "Office Space"
"The Other Sister", Nicolas in "8MM", "Analyze This", "Cruel Intentions", a sneak preview of "EdTV", David Spade in "Lost & Found", Connery in "Entrapment", "A Bug's Life" (meh), "Go" (an awesome flick), Drew in "Never Been Kissed", Reese in "Election" (fantastic satire), and two movies that dealt with the nature of reality, "Existenz" (great movie) and "The Matrix" (I was impressed, but definitely not blown away as some people were).
Summertime came and the movies came fast and hard. Did you read what I just wrote? Anyway, the big kahuna for the summer of '99 was "Star Wars Episode I - The Phantom Menace"
but first came "The Mummy" and Julia in "Notting Hill". There was a special midnight screening of "Ep I" at the Barclay Square 6, but I would've had to wait in line for hours to see it. So I waited until the following day and went to a late afternoon matinee. Quite a few people there, I have to say. I had to settle for an aisle seat rather than sitting in the middle as usual. I did enjoy the movie. It didn't blow me away like "Empire" did as a child, but I applauded over the credits like everyone else, happy that Star Wars was back again. An older guy in front of me said it was the 3rd time he had seen the movie that day (what a freak!). I went to the movie 3 more times that summer. It ended up being the top-grossing movie of 1999. "Star Wars" was done, but there was plenty more fun to be had.
Next came "Austin Powervich 2". I loved the sequel and went to it 3 times. But an even funnier movie came along a few weeks later, "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut" (a sexual euphemism, innit). I loved the TV show and went to the "SP" movie 3 days in a row. "SP", for me, was the funniest movie of the year.
Adam Sandler was good (not great) in "Big Daddy", and "American Pie" was jolly good fun, lewd and crude. I found Cruise and Kidman to be quite solid in "Eyes Wide Shut" while Liam Neeson and Catherine Zeta-Jones were crap in "The Haunting".
During this time (July of '99), "The Blair Witch Project" was generating a lot of buzz. It was being rolled out very slowly. I noticed on the internet that it was playing in Inver Grove Heights (a suburb of the Twin Cities). It wouldn't be coming to Rochester for two more weeks. I couldn't resist, so drove up there that weekend. I ate at McDonalds in Inver Grove before heading over to the theatre. When I went up to the lady to get my ticket, I said, "I'll take one to the "Blair Bitch Project". Like "Star Wars" earlier in the summer, the screening was super packed. Now I knew what I was getting into (I had a subscription to Entertainment Weekly). I knew that the movie was a faux documentary shot very low budget, definitely not a conventional scary movie. I was quite satisfied with it, while some others actually booed as the credits rolled (they must have been expecting something more "Hollywood"). I headed home, happy to have seen it. A few months later, a friend said she had seen the movie with a couple of her friends. She said it was sad that the 3 college students had disappeared (she was actually under the impression that the movie was totally genuine). Holy shit! I couldn't believe that she bought it! I told her that the kids in the movie were alive and well. I'm sure it was much more scary, though, watching it believing that what you were seeing was totally real.
I'm gonna have to continue this entry in the next few days. 1999 was just too memorable to write about in one sitting.