Let us take it back for just a second. To a time before social media was a thing and if you wanted to meet a mate you would organise it on your respective house-phones and then just hope they arrive.
To a time when “get off the bus two stops after the McDonalds and I will be waiting to meet you outside the chemist” was a real thing
To a time when things were simple and movies? They were GOOD.
When I speak about my love for the films made in 1999 people think I am joking, they think I am trying to be obscure and different in my they-just-don’t-make-them-like -they-used-to-ness but once you are through with this list you will realise, that this year? This moment juuust before the turn of the century, was an elite time for cinema goers and my dear friend, you may also come to agree that they GENUINELY do not make them like they used to.
It may be hard to believe but all of the following films were in fact released in the same year so get ready to take a dive into the past with The Sistem’s top 10 films of 1999 (listed in no particular order and with some honorary titles thrown in)
Happy Movie Night!
THE GREEN MILE
It’s called The Green Mile because it is the last mile that the death row prisoners will ever walk and the floor is green.
Set in Louisiana and based on a Stephen King novel, the story follows Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) and John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan) as they navigate what are set to be the last months of John’s life.
What goes down on the wing over the course of the film is nothing short of sensational and even though John has the size and strength to crush even the largest of men, is he guilty of murdering two little girls? His demeanour says otherwise.
If you havent seen this film, you are out of your mind and you need to drop everything and watch it immediately… With tissues at the ready.
Think Clueless but… After-dark. Cruel Intentions was a rite of passage for every 80’s baby but don’t worry you 90’s & 00’s kids are invited along for the ride. You are going to love it.
A baby Reece Witherspoon plays the wholesome and virginal Annette. A teenager who unwittingly becomes the centre of focus in a devilish plot hatched by step ‘should they really be kissing?’ Siblings Sebastian (Ryan Phillipe) and Kathryn (Sarah Michelle Gellar)
With stars such as Selma Blair (Legally Blonde & Hell Boy) and Sean Patrick Thomas (Save The Last Dance)to name a few, it is a teen movie orgy, quite literally. Full of scandal, sex, first times and heartbreak, but not in the way it is traditionally done. A lot of movies try but none have done it quite like Cruel Intentions.
One word of warning though: saviour the first time you watch this absolute classic, you will never get a second chance at that first glance and this one is up there with the best.
P.S. The fact that this is where Ryan and Reece first got together and ended up marrying in real life is just the icing on this delicious cake.
NEVER BEEN KISSED
Think of every “coming of age” American teen movie ever, you know the one: geeky girl who wears braces and always misses the mark. She, of course, fancies the high school jock and gets pranked at prom.
The usual story is that she gets the glow-up of the Gawds and exacts her revenge Romy & Michelle stylee but that is a bit predictable isn’t it? Also it would make the title of this film make little sense.
Drew Barrymore plays Josie Geller, a baby-faced aspiring journalist who is sent on a mission back to high school to investigate teenage culture. The only problem is that Josie isnt exactly qualified to do this. She wasnt cool in school, isnt cool now and is in over her cute, unassuming head.
*Cue a quirky brother who helps her along* and the film, although somewhat predictable (like very romcom) is extremely enjoyable. 25 year old Josie finally gets the teenage years she deserved all those years ago and even falls in love.. But will she ever have her first kiss? Yes, of course
Did I mention that Drew Barrymore can pretty much do no wrong and is incredible in each and every film she is in? Well.. She is EXCEPTIONAL
What can I say about American Pie? You have probably seen it and if you have you know exactly why it firmly deserves a place on this list. The first in the seemingly never-ending saga is up there with teen-comedy royalty.
The cast were young and fresh. American Pie introduced us to a completely new type of teen film. No longer were we hiding away from the fact that teenagers are horny and are trying to ‘get it in’ so to speak. Gone was the notion that the only type of film we wanted to see was that of the geek getting the makeover and subsequently the guy. American Pie gave us what we craved. Sex.
Meet Jim and his band of merry-men on a quest to get laid. One problem: whilst his friends take their relationships to the next level, learning incredible lessons along the way. Our main character, Jim, is an idiot. We go through one failed conquest after the other with this guy and by the end you really want him to win the bet to lose his virginity by prom night.
No it isn’t a new concept- at all. But it is so much fun.
It gave us trials and tribulations, hormones, first times and the MILF. American Pie taught me a thing or two about accidental group messaging, consent, the nastiness that goes on at band camp and of course; the proper way to handle baked goods.
THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT
Is this film based on a true story? Well if it is, it is single handedly the scariest film of its generation. If not? Well it is still pretty creepy. Shot on a shaky hand held camera TBWP follows three friends as the endeavour to get to the bottom of a legend about a witch in the Black Hills.
Let us start by saying that Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams, and Joshua Leonard are absolutely out of their minds for heading into a forest with just a flash-light and a map in the hopes of confronting something otherworldly. It isn’t a shock when things take a turn for the worst but the thing that is absolutely horrifying abut this film is that it is shot as if the only thing remaining of the young explorers is this “footage”.
This film, in my opinion, was lightyears ahead of its time. Shot long before the selfie video became our preferred way of communicating with the world and before filming our every moment was the norm, this film was (at the time) a rare glimpse into what happens when the subject of the film take control.
DO watch this on a cold night, under a warm blanket
DO NOT expect the end of the film to give you all of the answers you crave.
I say this with love, integrity and maybe a teeny tiny pinch of sarcasm: you may have caught The Mummy on ITV2 over the last decade. If you haven’t? Well, where have you been? It’s on every week along with Harry Potter and that Twister film about the people who chase tornados.
Jokes aside this film is brilliant. First watch= unmatched. Rachel Weisz is stunning, Brendan Fraser is hilarious and the ‘mummy’ is terrifying.
Set in 1926 Egypt, a few historians and some good old fashioned grave robbers *waves at The British Museum* descend on the lost city of Hamunaptra to find the mystical Book of the Dead. Sound like a fools errand to you? Me too, but that is why I am at home writing about having watched this film 100 times rather than dusting of sarcophagus’ with a blusher brush.
Our hero Rick O’Connell (Fraser) and his unlikely partner in crime Evelyn (Weisz) accidentally and unfortunately awaken a very bad guy and with him comes a plague on all of Egypt. Well seven plagues.. THE seven plagues.
Add in a mummy who is pretty hot (once he gets his skin back) and a bit of romantic necromancy/ obsessive ex-type-behaviour and we have ourselves a great film.
*Confession* I am not a fan of the other films in The Matrix saga, I think that they get really whacky really quickly and I can’t deal with the whole ‘Digital Jesus” of it all HOWEVER! And this is a big however: I adore the first Matrix movie.
In the Matrix it is 1999 but in the real world it is presumed to be 2199, machines have taken over and Neo (Keanu Reeves) has a choice; take the pill that sends you back to sleep, back into the simulation that is life and remember nothing or… The pill that will show you what the world has become.
Can I just say that if presented with that option; I would still be asleep because for all of its wonder, insanely good special effects and riveting storyline. The Matrix is NOT pretty.
I think almost every adult in the modern world has seen this film and it is to you I am speaking, watch it again. There are little bits; quotes and certain things that happen in this move (beyond the bending of bullets and defying gravity) that really make it a great watch.
The Matrix was a genre defining film and it made way for the Inceptions and TENET’s of today and even after almost 20years, it stands its ground.
Very rarely does a film live up to the novel that came before. Fight Club- the movie just might be better.
I can’t tell you the main characters names and I cant tell you why they do what they do. To do so would
1. Break the first rule of Fight Club
2. Assume that the film gives us any of this information
What I can tell you though is that this film is terrific. From Edward Nortons snivelling, wimpy little character to the wild Helen Boham Carter stealing the show whenever she is on screen. The cast; which includes Brad Pitt, Jared Leto & MeatLoaf (lol) is faultless and the story line is sharp. You can watch this film 10 times and still not see the blows coming.
I am actually jealous of anyone who hasnt seen this film which shows Brad Pitt at his best, both physically and professionally. Fight Club was shot just before Snatch (released in the year 200) and just after Meet Joe Black (released in 1998) so it is easy to say that it is smack bang in the middle of Pitt’s best work.
Watch for mischief, for mayhem and for… Soap.
THE BEST MAN
What do you do when you best friend is getting married to the love of his life but you kind of, may have, slightly ‘kissed her on the earlobe’ a few years ago?
Write a book about it of course! As long as you you disguised the names and changed the town, no one will notice right? Right? Well, if that was the case this would be one boring movie.
You know those films that start off one way but then you start to add juicy characters with their own sub-plots? That is what this is. Part of me wishes that The Best Man was a tv show, so that I could check in with Harper (Taye Diggs) Lance (Morris Chestnut) & Jordan (Nia Long)
But that is only because I am greedy.
The Best Man was the first Black film I remember watching and it, til this day is still up there pretty high up on the list of my favourite rom-coms.
Watch for the star studded cast and stay because this film is a genuine classic.
10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU
How do I express my love for Julia Stiles? By rounding up this incredible list with one of her top tier films of course. 10 Things is Rom Com Royalty and not *only* because the entire cast is exceptionally goodlooking (even if a little pale)
Heath ledger, Joseph Gordon-Levitt & Gabrielle Union all join Miss Stiles for what can only be described as the best hour and thirty nine minutes you can waste. Ever.
Yes it’s predictable. Yes, we are dealing with another teenage ‘lets make a bet’ movie. But it is done inexplicably well. Kat (Stiles) is mean, her younger sister Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) is adorable and Cameron (Gordon- Levitts) wants to date her, but there is some bizarre household rule which means the baby sis can only date when the older sis does, this part makes sense when you watch it.
Cue Partick (Ledger) the ULTIMATE bad boy and anti-hero who gives us sass, cigarettes and superb hair. It is so nice to see a young Heath Ledger smash a role as light as this, especially because he is most well-known for his darkest appearance in Dark Knight before his untimely death.
10 Things is the kind of film that creeps up on you, you don’t think you care, you wonder when it’s going to end and then BOOM you’re crying and wishing the newly bloomed relationships make it past summer break.
And now for the honourable mentions, a few films that didn’t quite make into my personal top 10 simply because I ran out of space so it would be criminal not to mention these: The Sixth Sense, Notting Hill, The Wood, Deep Blue Sea, Bowfinger, Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, In Too Deep, She’s All That, Boys Don’t Cry, The Talented Mr Ripley, Stuart Little & Wild Wild West