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

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  169 ratings  ·  35 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
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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 o
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.
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
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
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
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
поверхностно, но хорошо
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!
Chris Leroux
May 05, 2019 rated it liked it
1999 is not a year I would have singled out as being entirely groundbreaking in film, and while some of the choices here are debatable Rafferty does connect them all eloquently and effectively. Detailing how the films came to be as well as comparing the cultures of ‘99 and 2019 makes for a thoroughly entertaining, and occasionally eye-opening, read. (3.5 out of 5)
Zohar -
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
For more reviews and bookish posts please visit:

Best. Movie. Year. Ever.: How 1999 Blew Up the Big Screen by Brian Raftery is a book in which the author examines movies from 1999, a groundbreaking year in cinema. Mr. Raftery is a culture writer and modern movie expect.

I never realized that 1999 was such a monumental year for movies. In his book Best. Movie. Year. Ever.: How 1999 Blew Up the Big Screen author Brian Raftery makes exactly that claim, the year where some l
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
BEST MOVIE YEAR EVER makes an argument for 1999 being exactly what the book's title professes. Brian Raftery backed up that argument by spending two years researching and interviewing the actors, casts, and crews responsible for creating a slate of classics. Some of my favorite movies were released that year, and Raftery digs into them all: The Matrix, Fight Club, American Beauty, The Sixth Sense, Office Space--and that's just scratching the surface.

Raftery's adjectives occasionally cross over i
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: movies, history, favorites
Lots of great interviews in here, lots of well-drawn connections (my favorite is the interviews with Chris Klein about his roles in both "American Pie" and "Election"). Though some of these movies randomly came out in 1999 ("Eyes Wide Shut") and some of them seemed destined to become millennial fairy tales ("Fight Club," "The Matrix," "Office Space") it is kind of spooky how great these directors were in that particular year. There were so many good movies that he can only spare a sentence for S ...more
Jeremiah Dollins
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This walk down memory lane offers up some great insider trivia about some of the most important films from 1999, and also puts these films into an insightful cultural context. Who would’ve thought AMERICAN BEAUTY would actually be the most relevant film 20 years later because of how troubling and problematic it was? The biggest a-ha I had was just how many of these great films flopped upon release because the studios didn’t know how to market them. It’s hard to believe that FIGHT CLUB, RUSHMORE, ...more
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received an advanced digital copy of this book from the author, and the publisher, Simon and Schuster. Thanks to all for the opportunity to read and review.

If you are a fan of the movies, you are going to want to grab yourself a copy of this book. It should become required reading for film and art history students. 1999 was an amazing year for cinema. Mr. Rafferty touches on all the hits and misses of the year with interviews from all involved in the film making process.

Best quot
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Best movie year ever? Nope. However, this was a great read. Very entertaining with a bit of philosophizing about the current state of movies. There were several movies that the author selected that were spot on, but others of which I question their "greatness". If nothing else, this book made want to revisit some excellent films ("Fight Club", "The Sixth Sense", "Election"...) and has made me want to see a few that I've missed ("Magnolia", "Being John Malcovich", Three Kings"...). Obviously writ ...more
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: movies
You may have forgotten what a great movie year 1999 was—it saw the releases of Office Space, The Matrix, Election, American Pie, Rushmore, The Virgin Suicides, The Sixth Sense, American Beauty, Fight Club, Being John Malkovich, Boys Don’t Cry, Magnolia, and many, many more. Raftery not only gives great portraits of the films, he situates them in the zeitgeist. The book is chock-full of back stories, making-of moments, and alternative casting ideas, and I could not put it down.

Also recommended:
Joe Meyers
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
1939 is often cited as the peak Hollywood year for all the classics it gave us - from ‘Gone with the Wind’ to ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington’ - but Brian Rafferty makes a strong case for the movie year that came long 60 years later.
1999 produced ‘Magnolia’ & ‘Fight Club’ among other modern classics but it also included highly influential movies such as ‘The Blair Witch Projecr.’
Add ‘Election’ ‘The Sixth Sense’ and ‘Office Space’ to the mix and you have a movie year well worth this deeply repo
Ystyn Francis
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: film, non-fiction
While I'm not sure if it ever answers the question or justifies the statement "How 1999 Blew Up the Screen", the fact that 1999 possibly was the "Best. Movie. Year. Ever." is well argued by the author through simple examinations of the so many great films released in that particular year. I found it to be a very interesting, engaging and insightful read and was disappointed that the book had to end. However, now I have time to go back and start rewatching each and every one of them.
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As a movie fan, loved this. I have to admit that I didn't put together that all of these movies were released in 1999 - holy crap. I loved Raftery's behind-the-scenes dish, as well as the sociological explanations for that year's phenomenal movies (including pointing out that a lot of these movies that we revere today were not actually commercial and/or critical successes that year).
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Yeah, yeah -- it's got the depth of a really good Premiere Magazine article (which I was reading regularly in 1999), but it's more than just a nostalgia-trip. Really puts the films in context (and what an INSANE year for films), and reasons why we're likely to never get a year of films this good again...
May 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you've been away too long, this will definitely inspire you to revisit some or all of these films. Your enjoyment will vary depending how much interest you have in pop culture and film in general, but it's informative, entertaining, and never boring.
May 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Filled with interesting trivia and anecdotes. Raftery does a neat job of putting the films in their context in the industry and at their specific points of history. I do sort of wish more international cinema was represented, though. But mostly this is what I wanted and expected out of this book.
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Yes there was a lot of well known movies released in 1999 but i have only watched a handfull of them and the two mentioned in this book was the Matrix and Fight Club. Personally i rate them as two of the worse and boring movies i have watched. Still a good book.
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Exhaustive and thorough survey of the films, directors, actors, and culture (both Hollywood and beyond) of a surprisingly influential year of cinematic art. Great book for film buffs; fun read for any who enjoyed the embarrassment of riches that was 1999 in film.
Matthew Fitch
May 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A magnificent book and makes a compelling case as 1999 being indeed the best year for film. Great behind the scenes stories for such films as Election, The Matrix, American Beauty, and makes a case for Jar Jar Binks. Right up there with “Easy Riders/Raging Bulls”.....Loved it....
Shaun Bossio
May 12, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. Parts were really interesting.
John Lamb
May 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is a nice nostalgic ride through 1999.
Tom Lehmann
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As an avid movie lover I just gobbled this book up. Engagingly written, with enough new material to make it worth it.
Cristie Underwood
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
The author's painstaking research and attention to detail is obvious in the writing of this book. There were many facts that I only discovered after reading this!
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author did many interviews with producers, actors, and directors from the movies in 1999. I really like behind the scenes pop culture stuff so this was a fun book. It wasn’t deep enough/there weren’t enough details for me to really love it. If you were plugged into movies in 1999 you would probably enjoy it.
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
You forget what a phenomenal year it was for movies. Until you see presented with all of them in this extensive history. Well researched and written, whomever illustrated this book cover...blech.
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