Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Best. Movie. Year. Ever.: How 1999 Blew Up the Big Screen” as Want to Read:
Best. Movie. Year. Ever.: How 1999 Blew Up the Big Screen
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Best. Movie. Year. Ever.: How 1999 Blew Up the Big Screen

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  1,506 ratings  ·  252 reviews
From a veteran culture writer and modern movie expert, a celebration and analysis of the movies of 1999—arguably the most groundbreaking year in American cinematic history.

In 1999, Hollywood as we know it exploded: Fight Club. The Matrix. Office Space. Election. The Blair Witch Project. The Sixth Sense. Being John Malkovich. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. American Beauty.
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published April 16th 2019 by Simon Schuster
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Best. Movie. Year. Ever., please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Best. Movie. Year. Ever.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,506 ratings  ·  252 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Best. Movie. Year. Ever.: How 1999 Blew Up the Big Screen
Best. Movie. Year. Ever. : How 1999 Blew up the Big Screen by Brian Raftery is a 2019 Simon & Schuster publication.

I love pop culture books, but they aren’t all created equal. At my age, what stirs up feelings of nostalgia are movies, television, and music which were popular a lot longer ago than twenty years.

Still, it is hard to believe the movies discussed in the book are already approaching the ‘classics’ stage.

While it is certainly debatable, and even dubious, especially for someone of my
Hal Johnson
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: movies, pub-2019
I would have picked the title “The Last Mediocre Year,” which is why I don’t get more book deals. Nevertheless, that’s what this book is about: after 1999, movies would stop aspiring to be even mediocre, and devolve into CGI cartoons for the foreign market.

I’m not persuaded that 1999 is better than 1998 (Big Lebowski, Last Days of Disco, Happiness, Buffalo 66, etc.) or 1997 (Jackie Brown, Chasing Amy, Lost Highway, Boogie Nights, etc.), or any other year from the ’90s, but this book isn’t either
Keith Bradley-Hewitt
Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was a very entertaining and nostalgic trip down memory lane. Raftery certainly provides a robust number of exceptional films that made 1999 a great year for movies, examining their importance through the cultural context of the time as well as their lingering influence on films to come in later years. Among others, this year brought along such classics as "Office Space," "The Sixth Sense," "Fight Club," The Matrix," and many more. It was a year in which some of today's most celebrated ...more
J Earl
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Best. Movie. Year. Ever. from Brian Raftery makes a very compelling argument for 1999 being (one of) the best movie year ever.

The book is broken into chapters that cover one or a few films, usually grouped by some common element, each. Raftery walks a fine line between being too much film business or too much just gossip. There is enough behind the scenes narrative to satisfy our curiosity, plenty of explanation of how and why each film was made (and often almost not made), and plenty of context
Noah Goats
Jul 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't think I realized what a great movie year 1999 was while I lived through it. I'm a guy who loves classic movies, and was familiar with the claim that 1939 was the best movie year ever. But judging them side by side, I think I have to go with 1999 over 39. In fact, I don't think it's even close. While I respect Gone With the Wind, the Wizard of Oz, and Stagecoach, I have to admit that I don't actually enjoy watching them very much. And while I love Ninotchka and Gunga Din, are they better ...more
Briskly paced and entertaining. I've seen nearly every movie the author mentions (I've had plenty of time to catch up), but if you haven't, be aware that he gives away important plot points of several films. ...more
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
A readable and very well researched look at some of the most memorable films from 1999 - including The Matrix, Fight Club, American Beauty (and Pie), Election, Office Space, The Phantom Menace, to name only a few - and how the culture and media of the late 90s and the end of the 20th century spoke to these film and filmmakers. Raftery also contrasts 1999 with 1969 (the Raging Bulls, Easy Rider film year) and 2019. A fun read for film fans.
Eric Gilliland
Apr 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
There's no doubt the year 1999 marked a high point for American movies, each month brought out one challenging film after another. Brian Raftery's book revisits these movies and the people who made them.

Raftery takes the reader through a year marked by erratic mood shifts. The economy was booming and the international situation appeared stable. At the same time fears of Y2K and global terrorism had folks on edge. As the year unfolded the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal would end with an anti-climatic i
Jul 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Your level of enjoyment will depend on how old you were in 1999 and how much of a pop culture junkie you are now.

While I enjoyed the nostalgia associated with reliving 1999 through the films that were released in that year, I wished the author had delved deeper into the sociopolitical changes of 1999, the shifting priorities of the film industry, the rise of digital technology, the changes in film viewing and consumption etc. - the epilogue was actually the most interesting part for me, as the
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love movie-year exegeses. Mark Harris' Pictures at a Revolution is the gold standard, tackling the five 1967 Oscar nominees for best picture - the hows and whys. Raftery's book does the same thing with 1999, a year I remember thinking was kind of a big deal at the time. The author doesn't generally focus on the Oscar nominees for Best Picture (and in fact calls one - The Cider House Rules, basic fake-highbrow Oscar bait. What's interesting about that is that I just read an entire book on the m ...more
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, 2019
This was so much better and more interesting than I was expecting. I figured it was going to be a book of individual essays, and planned on skipping the ones about movies I hadn't seen or didn't care about. Instead, the author ties the whole of 1999 together, giving context not just for what happened in getting these films made, but what else was happening around them. I loved it. ...more
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
In the late 1990s and very early 2000s, I remember it seemed that there were an usually large number of very unique films coming out, but I didn't realize until this book just how many groundbreaking movies were released in one year: 1999.

This book tells many interesting background stories that lay behind the making (and reception) of many 1999 films that were influential, box office hits, or both. But the author goes further to show some of the common threads and conditions that lead to the cre
Ron S
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
One of those books that's entertaining to read, even though you don't agree with the central premise behind it. ...more
Joe Pontillo
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Look, I’m VERY biased, given the fact that I was a teenager in 1999 and an avowed cinephile, and nothing is ever as important as the art and culture you experienced when you were a teenager. But 1999 was an amazing year all around, and this book hits the sweet spot of placing you into the context of the time, and reminding you about so many excellent movies and how they came to be
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, culture, movie, 2019
could have had much more about reasons about why this movies are so mind blowing than making-of stuff
Aug 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pop-culture
Although on the whole I very much enjoyed this book (thus, the 4-star rating), it was not exactly what I expected it to be--somewhat in a good way and somewhat bad.

The book was organized roughly chronologically by movies' release dates in 1999. Each chapter was dedicated to 1-3 movies, with some movies meriting standalone chapters (like The Matrix), and others being grouped together by genre (i.e., teen movies). The thing I loved the most about this book was one of the things I was not expecting
Tom Gase
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow, a really fun and well-researched book that took me back to 1999 as if I was still there seeing all these movies. This book meant a lot more to me because 1999 was the last year I lived in Thousand Oaks before heading to college at SF State. My first job at SF State was to work at a Blockbuster Video on Ocean Avenue, and a lot of these films discussed in the book were new releases on the shelf during that time. Loved all the info on the Blair Witch Project, Office Space, Election, The Matrix ...more
Aug 20, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book suffers from false advertising and a poorly chosen marketing angle. If you're in the market for a summary of 'some' of the years best remembered movies with added 'how we made it' flavour from the people involved this is a fine read. Raftery has a talent for phrasing and writes well.

However, this book is not a critical analysis of why one could claim that 1999 might be the best movie year ever. There is no structured argument. Raftery never states a thesis or explains how he's going to
Joe M
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Whether 1999 was the best year *ever* for movies is questionable, but there's no denying it was interesting! After reading this, it's clear that 1999 was a watershed moment for moviegoing when filmmakers were granted huge amounts of unrestrictive creative freedom and audience goodwill, which resulted in an adventurous crop of films unlike any year before it. The oral histories behind some of the year's biggest hits (and misses) are fascinating; whether it's the harrowing and unorthodox ordeal th ...more
Jack Herbert Christal Gattanella
This is a not entirely comprehensive but largely satisfying and certainly Zeitgest-compelling look at the films that got a release of some kind, from Phantom Menace to Virgin Suicides (a couple of films likr Rushmore and Thin Red Line, which were 1998 releases, opened wide early 99 so they count here I suppose, though Suicides was really 2000, but dont nitpick that stuff here). Rafferty uses archival and new interviews with the directors and actors - sometimes notably the people one wouldn't thi ...more
Jan 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Really fun read about an amazing year in movies. When this was published, I realized for the first time that several of my favorite movies were all released in 1999, including Election, Fight Club, Office Space, The Iron Giant, Being John Malkovich and the Matrix. Even a 400-page book barely gets to all the really good movies from that year. Princess Mononoke, the Talented Mr. Ripley and Notting Hill barely get passing mentions in Raftery's book.
I didn't actually plan to read it, but happened a
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
As a big movie fan, I enjoyed this trip down memory lane to the great movies of 1999 and the behind the scenes stories. It was really interesting to read the box office and critical/societal reactions to these movies, some of which I had forgotten (eg. I loved Fight Club and saw it when it was released, but it was a box office bomb and really controversial after the Columbine shootings).
Also a good analysis of how 1999 fits into movie history and can be seen as the peak of cinema, which has been
Kyle Croese
Aug 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you have even the slightest bit of interest in film or film history, this book is a must read. Not just for the very insightful albeit zany behind the scenes tales about some of our favourite movies but for the inspiration it gives a new generation of people to be touched by this medium and the drive that will fill the new filmmakers that will want to make something as soon as they turn the final page. Just like the beginning of 1999, its a call to create something daring, something fresh and ...more
May 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book, I actually learned quite a few things I didn’t know. The author really seemed to know his stuff and seemed well regarded- he got quite a number of interviews with pertinent people. I don’t necessarily agree or buy the author’s argument that 1999 was the best movie year ever, but I think it was definitely a transformative year for film (that’s not as exciting for a title though). Overall a very entertaining read!
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a brilliant overview and analysis of late 1990s cinema, and social/pop culture. Raftery gets great access to film makers and expertly provides detailed context to the movies’ productions. I devoured it.
Rory Toohey
Dec 31, 2020 rated it liked it
I was enjoying the nostalgia trip, but the epilogue really lost me in its "Everything sucks now and was better back then" analysis. It's hard to call 1999 "the good old days" when a) half the movies bombed upon release and b) almost all the movies were about how terrible the world is. ...more
Jake Harris
May 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read a lot of pop culture books, and this one stands out among the rest. Meticulously researched, expertly sourced and very informative- I learned a lot! Now time to start on a 1999 movie binge...
Lauren  Tomlinson
Jun 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
An enjoyable look at how movies changed in 1999.
Matt Holsapple
Oct 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Interesting trivia that doesn't really add up to anything. Fun if you have seen the movies (which I have). ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Wild and Crazy Guys: How the Comedy Mavericks of the '80s Changed Hollywood Forever
  • Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood
  • Movies (And Other Things)
  • The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Years of Hollywood
  • A Long Time Ago in a Cutting Room Far, Far Away: My Fifty Years Editing Hollywood Hits—Star Wars, Carrie, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Mission: Impossible, and More
  • A Life in Movies: Stories from 50 years in Hollywood: Stories from 50 years in Hollywood
  • The Coen Brothers: This Book Really Ties the Films Together
  • Made Men: The Story of Goodfellas
  • The Big Picture: The Fight for the Future of Movies
  • Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance, and the Rise of Independent Film
  • Alright, Alright, Alright: The Oral History of Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused
  • Easy Riders, Raging Bulls
  • Raised in Captivity: Fictional Nonfiction
  • Nobody Does It Better: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of James Bond
  • I Like to Watch: Arguing My Way Through the TV Revolution
  • This Isn't Happening: Radiohead's "Kid A" and the Beginning of the 21st Century
  • The War for Late Night: When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy
  • The Sopranos Sessions
See similar books…

News & Interviews

  Melissa Albert burst onto the YA scene (and catapulted into readers' hearts) with her 2018 debut The Hazel Wood. This darkly fantastical...
65 likes · 0 comments