Movie reviews for movies released theatrically in 1999, the year I turned 18.
1. The Blair Witch Project, directed by Eduardo Sánchez, Daniel Myrick (10/10)
One of the greatest horror films of all time, and a very significant film, in the sense that it re-launched indie cinema by demonstrating
- the potential the internet has for advertising / buzz – which was virtually unknown up until this point – and
- by demonstrating that, for only tens of thousands of dollars, even you could actually make a great film.
Some of the below movies may be better quality, but this is greater, due to its reach – and, also, due to that ending, among the greatest in horror movie history.
2. Being John Malkovich, directed by Spike Jonze (10/10)
One of the most creative movies I had ever seen at 18. Still just a remarkable, unique thing; kind of crazy that it exists.
2. Herod’s Law aka La ley de Herodes, directed by Luis Estrada (10/10)
One of the best political satires you will ever see, only nobody has seen it. So said I at the time; I would have been in my mid 20s or so.
4. American Beauty, directed by Sam Mendes (10/10*)
At 18, this was a masterpiece. I watched it again in my early 20s and still liked it, though slightly less. I have not seen it since. So I really don’t know what I would think now.
4. South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut, directed by Trey Parker (10/10)
A fucking amazing parody of Disney musicals.
6. Election, directed by Alexander Payne (9/10)
I underrated this the first time I saw it. The second time, I was in a different mood I guess. More receptive to the satire.
7. Cradle Will Rock, directed by Tim Robbins (9/10*)
I absolutely loved this at the time – 22? 23? – but I do think I should maybe re-visit it given its terrible reputation.
8. Magnolia, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (9/10*)
Seen once at 18, and so I don’t know if I can really say this opinion is accurate.
9. Titus, directed by Julie Taymor (9/10)
One of the most interesting and original interpretations of Shakespeare I have seen. And for once it’s not one of the most performed plays.
10. The Virgin Suicides, directed by Sofia Coppola (9/10)
An excellent film though I have never read the source familiar.
11. The Limey, directed by Steven Soderbergh (9/10*)
Absolutely loved this at 18 or 19. I saw part of it recently, while really tired, and I guess I still don’t feel comfortable about changing the rating if only because I probably fell asleep.
12. The Straight Story, directed by David Lynch (9/10)
The least Lynchian movie he ever made.
13. Ravenous, directed by Antonia Bird (9/10*)
No, this is not a 9/10 movie but I am too close to it to be reasonable about it. It’s still great fun, but it’s hardly a great film.
14. American Movie, directed by Chris Smith (8/10)
I just watched American Movie and as much as it was very funny it made me realize that I haven’t done anything with my life and my dreams are pretty much all empty, just like Mark’s dreams (Mark being the star of the film). Well, I’m just not driven enough to achieve any of mine, as far as I know. I guess that doesn’t really make them dreams. More like illusions. I don’t do anything about it. I just stay in school to avoid reality.
15. Office Space, directed by Mike Judge (8/10)
One of the great office comedies – the greatest? – and so iconic that I feel like rating it 8/10 is unfair to its cultural status.
16. Eyes Wide Shut, directed by Stanley Kubrick (8/10*)
I first watched this during my “Kubrick is God” phase. I watched it once since, and adjusted my rating slightly, but like so many of his movies, I have never watched it in my movie-viewing maturity. I still think that most if not all of Kubrick’s films are dark comedies at heart, and this one is no exception.
17. Fight Club, directed by David Fincher (8/10*)
I should re-watch this because I loved this until the ending the first time, but I tried to tell myself the ending wasn’t terrible. Somewhere in there I adjusted my rating up, I believe. I don’t know would think of it now that I am a Palahniuk fan.
18. Sweet and Lowdown, directed by Woody Allen (8/10)
One of his better films without him in it, from memory.
19. Mr. Death, directed by Errol Morris (8/10)
I have lost my review for Morris’ excellent documentary about the so-called execution expert.
20. Boys Don’t Cry, directed by Kimberley Pierce (8/10)
This is an affecting and generally well made (for a debut) film that probably got a little more acclaim than it should have because of its relatively novel plot. (I guess it’s the first fictional film to address transphobia?)
This film has the naturalistic feel of many late ’90s indie films and everyone is generally good, but that’s because actual actors are in it.
As a personal note, I have a really hard time putting myself in the shoes of the murderers, who are portrayed as relatively regular guys. Maybe it’s because I was born and grew up in a city, but I can’t imagine caring so much about someone else’s gender.
The film is probably more notable for its impact on US culture than for its actual quality – not that it’s bad, it’s just not going to change your life – but it’s still very much worth seeing, especially if you’re somebody who is scared of trans people.
21. All About My Mother, directed Pedro Almodovar (8/10)
I struggle a lot with Almodovar’s films, as I cannot normally relate to where he’s coming from. But here he seems to have assembled something rather impervious to any criticisms I can come up with – aside from, perhaps, the overly episodic nature of the film. This is a melodrama, sure, but it the actors in it are all excellent. And Almodovar’s awareness of the history of melodrama (Sirk in particular) and his use of all sorts of film conventions (including some noir ones) in weird and wonderful ways, makes it really easy to digest what might be rather hysterical in the hands of some other filmmakers.
He hasn’t exactly won me over, I just actually liked this, which I can’t say for some of his other films.
22. The Minus Man, directed by Hampton Francher (8/10)
This is an interesting and often funny twist on the serial killer genre. It’s so unlike most of those movies I’ve seen; it’s utterly fascinating. I guess offbeat might be the best word for it. The premise, the main character, and the execution are all so different than what we usually get in these movies that it makes for a really interesting movie. I don’t know what else to say, really. Well worth watching.
23. Beyond the Mat, directed by Barry W. Blaustein (8/10*)
I really enjoyed this at 19. And I think wrestling is stupid.
24. The Ninth Gate, directed by Roman Polanski (8/10*)
I probably liked this a little too much at the time, and I saw it twice.
25. Sleepy Hollow, directed by Tim Burton (8/10*)
Seen right in the middle of my Tim Burton phase.
26. Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai, directed by Jim Jarmusch (7/10)
A fascinating film. Wish I wrote my thoughts down at the time.
27. Audition, directed by Takashi Miike (7/10)
One of the creepiest movies I have ever seen.
28. Dick, directed by Andrew Fleming (7/10)
A lot of fun. Read the review.
29. eXistenz, directed by David Cronenberg (7/10)
Another to re-watch as maybe I overrated it.
30. The Insider, directed by Michael Mann (7/10)
At this remove I cannot remember the thing that made me drop this down to a 7.
31. Man on the Moon, directed by Milos Forman (7/10*)
Saw in theatres at 18 and I haven’t seen it since.
32. Payback, directed by Brian Hegeland (7/10)
Point Blank for the ’90s; it lacks most of the humour and all the romance of Grosse Pointe Blank but it is still pretty awesome.
33. The Winslow Boy, directed by David Mamet (7/10)
The most un-Mametian movie Mamet has ever made.
34. The Iron Giant, directed by Brad Bird (7/10)
I remember being pleasantly surprised by this.
35. The Matrix, directed by Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski (7/10)
Time as weakened the appeal of this for me. It was an absolutely brilliant marketing campaign, and a brilliant technical achievement but it’s a little less effective than I think 18-year-old me wanted it to be.
36. Buena Vista Social Club, directed by Wim Wenders (7/10)
Definitely has its problems, but the music is enjoyable. Read the review.
37. 10 Things I Hate About You, directed by Gil Junger (7/10)
I watched a few minutes of this as a teen and rated it 5/10. I watched it at 36 and upped my rating. Read the review.
38. Notting Hill, directed by Roger Michell (7/10)
Surprisingly funny. Read the review of Notthing Hill.
39. The Sixth Sense, directed by M. Night Shyamalan (7/10*)
Probably overrated. Never seen it as an adult.
40. The Boondock Saints, directed by Troy Duffy (7/10*)
At 20 or 21 this was pretty cool, but it’s pretty fucking ridiculous if memory serves.
41. Three Kings, directed by David Russel (7/10)
I enjoyed this movie a lot until the drastic character changes that are required for the ending.
42. The Talented Mr. Ripley, directed by Anthony Minghella (6/10)
I generally liked this film but thought it went on way too long.
43. Galaxy Quest, directed by Dean Parisot (6/10)
44. Arlington Road, directed by Mark Pellington (6/10)
I loved this as a teen. Then I re-watched and sort of saw the light. Sort of.
45. Dogma, directed by Kevin Smith (6/10*)
I really liked this at the time. It was my favourite Kevin Smith movie. I can’t say what I would think of it now.
46. Top of the Food Chain, directed by John Paizs (6/10)
I have lost my review for this entertaining but pretty stupid film.
47. American Pie, directed by Paul Weitz (6/10)
I used to defend this by saying “High school is about embarrassment and so is this movie.” I still think it’s decent for what it is, but I guess I am a little less defensive.
48. Austin Powers: the Spy Who Shagged Me, directed by Jay Roach (6/10)
Not quite as good the second time.
49. Bowfinger, directed by Frank Oz (6/10)
I seem to remember this as pretty funny.
50. Deja Vroom (6/10)
This is a DVD of a King Crimson concert in Tokyo from 1995.
On the one hand, we get to see King Crimson, one of my favourite bands of all time:
- the musicianship is absolutely impeccable: at one point Robert Fripp pulls off some of the fastest guitar playing I think I have ever seen
- and it’s pretty neat to see the Warr guitars, Chapman Stick, and the crazy effects, which make the guitars (particularly Belew’s) sound like anything but.
On the other hand,
- the mix is a little off at times – you rarely seem to be able to hear Gunn
- the lighting really doesn’t translate well
- the majority of the songs are from Thrak (also the ’80s albums)
- most of the songs are pretty similar to their studio versions
- and this version of the band has a truly terrible fashion sense.
So I got to see King Crimson, which makes me happy. But I still would have much preferred to see the band circa 1974; too bad I wasn’t born yet.
52. Summer of Sam, directed by Spike Lee (5/10)
Don’t remember it.
53. The Mummy, directed by Stephen Sommers (5/10)
Enjoyable for what it is.
54. The 13th Warrior, directed by John McTiernan (5/10*)
At 18 I enjoyed this. Then I guess I adjusted the rating when I heard the rest of the world hated it. Don’t think I actually watched it a second time, though.
55. The Cider House Rules, directed by Lass Hallstrom (5/10)
Never read the book but now I don’t want to.
56. EDTV, directed by Ron Howard (5/10)
Though nowhere near as compelling, in my mind, as The Truman Show, this is probably the more prescient film.
57. The World is Not Enough, directed by Michael Apted (5/10*)
Don’t really remember it now. I seem to remember being kind of annoyed, though.
58. Any Given Sunday, directed by Oliver Stone (5/10)
59. Mumford, directed by Lawrence Kasdan (5/10)
Made no impression.
60. The Phantom Menace, directed by George Lucas (5/10*)
The first time I saw this, I said it wasn’t bad. I don’t really know what I was thinking. But this still seems charitable.
61. The Thirteenth Floor, directed by Josef Rusnak (5/10)
The Thirteenth Floor could have been so much better than it is. It is interesting, but the potential for greatness was possibly there, and instead they pulled the usual Hollywood bullshit. Very interesting to watch next to the Matrix, since they came out at the same time and have similar plots. Needed a better screenwriter and director. Also, the title of the book should have been kept as the movie title.
62. The Thomas Crown Affair, directed by John McTiernan (5/10)
I don’t like remakes, but this isn’t horrible. [I have since re-watched the original and I think I need to re-watch this.]
63. Toy Story 2, directed by John Lasseter, Ash Brannon (4/10*)
Watched when I was definitely not even willing to appreciate it.
64. The Messenger: Joan of Arc, directed by Luc Besson (4/10)
Certainly the oddest shot middle ages-set film I can remember seeing.
65. The Green Mile, directed by Frank Darabont (4/10)
This made my friend cry!
66. The Bone Collector, directed by Phillip Noyce (4/10)
I feel like there were a million of these around this time.
67. The Muse, directed by Albert Brooks (4/10)
I remember this being really underwhelming.
68. For the Love of the Game, directed by Sam Raimi (4/10)
69. Guinevere, directed by Audrey Wells (4/10)
Though I watched this when I was perhaps too young to fully get it, I found it slow.
70. Life, directed by Ted Demme (4/10)
Moderately funny, I suppose.
71. Random Hearts, directed by Sydney Pollack (4/10)
72. True Crime, directed by Clint Eastwood (4/10)
73. Best Laid Plans, directed by Mike Barker (4/10)
Don’t remember it.
74. Mansfield Park, directed by Patricia Rozema (4/10*)
I was really young when I saw this. Probably a little too young to accept it for what it is.
75. Go, directed by Doug Liman (4/10*)
I think I should watch this again. I don’t remember it being any good but everyone else seems to remember differently.
76. Smiling Fish and Goat on Fire, directed by Kevin Jordan (4/10)
77. Bicentennial Man, directed by Chris Columbus (4/10)
78. Bats, directed by Louis Morneau (4/10)
4 seems very charitable.
79. The Haunting, directed by Jan de Bont (4/10*)
I don’t know how I could have rated this so high.
80. Black and White, directed by James Toback (3/10)
81. Idle Hands, directed by Rodman Flender (3/10)
I saw this when it was called The Hand but likely saw this first.
82. The Item, directed by Dan Clark (3/10)
I have lost my review for this terrible horror movie.
83. Detroit Rock City, directed by Adam Rifkin (3/10*)
You must understand, I fucking hate KISS.
84. 8MM, directed by Joel Schumacher (3/10)
My favourite thing about this movie is still that joke (from Ghost World? I can’t remember) where someone goes in to what looks like a Blockbuster and asks for 8 ½ and the staff keep trying to get them to rent 8MM.
85. Blast from the Past, directed by Hugh Wilson (3/10)
86. Wild Wild West, directed by Barry Sonnenfeld (3/10)
There is a giant mechanical spider in this movie.
87. Deep Blue Sea, directed by Renny Harlin (2/10)
88. Runaway Bride, directed by Garry Marshall (2/10)
89. The General’s Daughter, directed by Simon West (2/10)
I can’t remember this, and that’s okay.
90. Virus, directed by John Bruno (2/10)
91. Universal Soldier: the Return, directed by Mic Rodgers (2/10)
I don’t really remember it.
92. The Clown at Midnight, directed by (2/10)
Oh Christopher Plummer, what happened?
93. In Dreams, directed by Neil Jordan (2/10)
A horrible mess of a movie.
94. Totem, directed by Martin Tate (2/10)
This is a truly atrocious film. It is ridiculously short – shorter than Zip.ca says in its description – with one of the longest opening credit sequences I can remember – because apparently they didn’t even have an hour of footage.
It is basically a teenager’s attempt at writing a play: every time anything needs to be conveyed to the audience a character steps forward and tells us what we already figured out. The ‘native American guy’ has an accent that sounds slavic. And so on.
How this ended up on my list, I don’t know.
95. Universal Soldier III: Unfinished Business, directed by Jeff Woolnough (1/10)
Can’t distinguish it from the rest, really.
96. Cybermaster: Shepherd II, directed by Eli Necakov (1/10)
I haven’t seen the first. How can I judge this?!?!