What Is The Best Movie Ever – From a veteran culture writer and modern film expert, A Celebration and Analysis of the Movies of 1999 – “A riveting snapshot of American film culture at the turn of the millennium … an absolute must for any film lover or pop culture. nuts.” (Gillian Flynn)
In 1999, Hollywood as we know it exploded: Fight Club. matrix Office space. election The Blair Witch Project. The Sixth Sense. Being John Malkovich. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. Nice coat. Virgin suicide. Men don’t cry. The Best Man. three kings Magnolia. Those are just a few of the landmark titles released in a wild year of film, where a group of daring filmmakers and actors pushed cinema to new frontiers — and took audiences along for the ride. Freed from the constraints of budget, technology, or taste, they created several classics that took on every subject imaginable, from sex to violence to the end of the world. The result was an unbridled, deeply influential set of films that not only revolutionized filmmaking, but also gave us our first glimpse into the coming twenty-first century. It’s a watershed moment that also made The Sopranos; Apple Airport; Wi-Fi; And unlimited Netflix DVD rentals.
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“A rousing celebration of the year’s films” (Kirkas Review), Best. movie year ever This is a story not only of how these movies were made, but how they changed our own worldview. It stars Reese Witherspoon, Edward Norton, Steven Soderbergh, Sofia Coppola, David Fincher, Nia Long, Matthew Broderick, Taye Diggs, M. Contains more than 130 new and exclusive interviews with directors and actors such as Night Shyamalan, David Or Russell, James. Van der Beek, Kirsten Dunst, the Blair Witch kids, Office Space Friends, the guy who played Jar-Jar Binks, and dozens of others. It’s “the perfect picture of what it’s like to spend a year inside a movie theater at the best of times” (Chuck Klosterman).
It was New Year’s Eve, and at a private beach resort in Mexico, several couples had gathered to celebrate the turn of the century. Brad Pitt and his girlfriend Jennifer Aniston were there. Also director David Fincher and his partner, filmmaker Sean Chaffin. Over the past few months, they’ve watched the world react with outrage to Fight Club, Pitt and Fincher’s new tale of mayhem-loving alpha-maniacs. The film is an aggressive big-budget takedown of late-Nineties values with a catchphrase — “The first rule of Fight Club is: Don’t talk about Fight Club” — that Aniston faked while hosting of Saturday Night Live in the fall. . But even though people were talking about Fight Club, often angrily, few moviegoers actually showed up to see it. The film earned only half of its budget at the box office, making it the biggest commercial failure of the two men’s careers. By the time the group arrived in Mexico, Fight Club producer Chaffin said, “we were still licking our wounds.”
Joining them on vacation is Mark Gurwitz, a high-powered manager who worked for Aniston and will be visiting the island with her then-boyfriend. He remembers the first moments of their trip as more relaxed—so much so that he felt comfortable pranking his friends, putting fake snakes and scorpions on their beds. But even Gurwitz was a bit concerned as the decade drew to a close. Like millions of other people, he heard the warnings: how at midnight that night—just as the twenty-first century was raging and starting its centennial party—a global cataclysm would restart civilization. Skylines are blurred. Bank accounts will flatline. Things are getting worse. It’s a save-the-date disaster with a tight deadline and a catchy name: Y2K, short for “Year 2000.” “Everyone is afraid the world is going to end,” Gurwitz said. “It was very scary.” Fight Club also captures that pre-millennium tension, with its final scene showing a series of credit card company headquarters collapsing to the ground—an opportunity for a new beginning for society. As Pitt later recalled, the mood in 1999 was one of uncertainty: “What’s going to happen?” asked the actor. “People don’t go on a trip, too, because they’re afraid.”
Pete and his fellow vacationers arrive at their island resort, which is several hours away from the nearest town. Whatever happens when the clock strikes twelve, they are on their own. As the moment approached, Gurwitz and the others gathered for margaritas near the beach. As the new year approaches, the group descends into darkness. “It was three … two … one … and then all the power went out in the whole place,” Fincher said. “There was nervous laughter, like, ‘Y2K, ha-ha-ha!’?”
The group decided to move to a nearby bonfire. “Suddenly,” recalls Gurwitz, “two jeeps in the distance with lights flashing out of the darkness.” It was a group of local federals, mostly traveling in a big black car with the word Policia on it. “In the back were three nineteen-year-old kids with M16s,” Fincher said. “They came up the hill, pulled over, and got out and ran into the main lobby.”
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Eventually the palace hotel shows up, there’s a problem with the plane the group chartered to the island, and someone has to go with the police. The job will fall to Gurwitz, who is confused—all the way in the dark. Before he knew it, Gurwitz’s hands were being pulled up the back of his Hawaiian-print shirt and into the cuffs. The federals were speaking to him in Spanish, which Gurwitz could not understand. But he found out that he was being taken to jail. “Pitt walked up to the guys,” recalls Gurwitz, “and got in their faces: ‘Hey! You can’t go to the resort and hire an American citizen!’ The officers, unimpressed, threw Pete to the ground. You’re going to listen to my lawyer!’ said Fincher, who volunteered to go with Gurwitz.
As they pulled away from the beach, Gurwitz turned to his party, unsure of what to do next. “His fiancee was in tears,” Pitt said. “They were driving with him in pitch black, and he was surrounded by men with [guns].”
Gurwitz watched his friends grow up in the distance. Just as he feared, something went wrong. Something is broken.
In the last months of the twentieth century, millions of Americans believed we were headed for a reckoning—so they spent the rest of the nineties preparing for the fallout. Some have turned their homes into DIY fallout shelters, outfitting them with canned chow mein, toilet paper, or three-hundred-gallon waterbeds (which they can open and drink from in the event of a drought). Others prepare by buying guns—lots of guns. Less than two weeks before the turn of the new millennium, the FBI received 67,000 gun sales background check requests in one day, setting a new record. Many of those applicants were undoubtedly plagued by the “millennium bug”—a data hiccup that could cause thousands of computers to crash simultaneously, unable to recognize the change from 12/31/99 to 01/01 /00.
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The US government, along with several corporations, spent an estimated $100 billion to upgrade its time machines. In Silicon Valley, Y2K concerns were so heightened that Apple chief Steve Jobs commissioned a Super Bowl ad featuring HAL, the terrifying computer system from Stanley’s 1968 sci-fi trip Kubrick in 2001: A Space Odyssey. The ad finds HAL speaking from the future, where he apologizes for the trouble the change has caused. “When the new millennium came,” HAL said coldly, “we had no choice but to cause economic destruction worldwide.” (According to HAL, the only computers that survived the crash were made by Apple.)
The famously private Kubrick would call Jobs, telling him how much he enjoyed the place. But some in the tech industry didn’t find the possibility of Y2K funny. There was a real fear that, no matter what we did to prepare, Prince’s famous pop prophecy was bound to come true: “Two thousand-zero-zero / Party over / Oops / Out of time.” “I’ve seen how fragile many software systems are — how a bug can bring them down,” one longtime programmer told Wired. He retreated to the California desert and built a solar-powered, New Year’s Eve hideout (he even bought his first gun, just in case). Others saw Y2K as a possible biblical event: in Jerry Falwell’s home video Y2K: A Christian’s Survival Guide to the Millennium Bug, available for less than $30 a pop, the hypocritical televangelist — last seen warning his flock about the homosexual agenda of the teletubbies. Warned that Y2K “could be God’s instrument to shake this nation, to humble this nation” (he also advised loading gunpowder, just in case).
Whether they were afraid of technology or theology, there were many
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