One thing we at Place to Be Nation like to celebrate is the subjectivity inherent in entertainment — be it in wrestling, comics, music, television or, indeed, film. With that in mind, ten members of the PTBN staff will be picking the movies of the PTB generation. In this series, panel members will collect their five favorite films of each year, beginning with the year in which the oldest writer was born — 1976. The only rule given to each contributor was to provide his or her own criteria. Some writers may go with the most artistic films, while others might side with the most iconic blockbusters. We welcome your lists on Facebook and Twitter. Each staff member has submitted a list of five movies from 1999 ranked 1 through 5. A first-place vote is worth five points, a second-place vote worth four points, and so on. Using that point system, we have identified the top 5 movies of 1999.
1999 closes out the millennium with one of the most inventive action movies we had ever seen at the top of our list. But before we reveal the top 5, let’s see the movies that received votes, but fell short of making our final list.
Election — 8 points
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut — 6 points
Being John Malkovich — 6 points
Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace — 6 points
Dogma — 5 points
Fantasia 2000— 5 points
Office Space — 4 points
Boys Don’t Cry — 4 points
The Green Mile — 4 points
Toy Story 2 — 4 points
Galaxy Quest — 3 points
Bowfinger — 3 points
Stuart Little — 3 points
The Thomas Crown Affair — 3 points
Payback — 2 points
Any Given Sunday — 2 points
The Corruptor — 2 points
Girl, Interrupted — 2 points
The Iron Giant — 2 points
10 Things I Hate About You — 1 point
All About My Mother — 1 point
Beyond The Mat — 1 point
The Blair Witch Project — 1 point
Go — 1 point
And now, let’s see the top 5 movies of 1999, as voted by the Place to Be Nation staff.
10 points, ranked by 4 of 10 voters, highest ranked by Greg Phillips and Kati Price at No. 3
Kati Price: Life is a hilarious comedy featuring Martin Lawrence and Eddie Murphy. It follows Clyde and Rayford as they serve a life sentence in prison. This film is quite possibly the best film either of the two stars have ever done. Admittedly, I’ve only seen the movie on television so there is possibly things I have missed. But this doesn’t stop my love for this movie. If you are sensitive to language and content, I recommend waiting to see this on television as well. If not, go get this movie now! You will laugh from start to finish.
I always like to add a fun fact so here it is: During the scene where the comedic duo are forced to stand on a case of glass bottle for punishment, Eddie Murphy’s character Rayford says that his toe was stuck in a bottle. During filming, this actually happened. It was not scripted but Martin Lawrence went with it and the scene made the film. The film also features the late great Bernie Mac. I could watch Martin Lawrence and Eddie Murphy all day! This film deserved its place on our list and would easily make the list of top comedies of all time.
4. American Beauty
13 points, ranked by 3 of 10 voters, highest ranked by Steve Wille at No. 1
Steve Wille: When I first saw Sam Mendes’ directorial debut American Beauty in the theaters, I could identify with the teenage characters Jane and Ricky, confused and somewhat lonely as their parents struggle to deal with life, employment, and relationships. Now as I rapidly approach the start of my fifth decade, I look back at Kevin Spacey’s Oscar-winning portrayal of Lester Burnham, and well, I get him. Not in the “start smoking marijuana and have erotic images of my daughter’s friend covered in rose petals” way, for sure. But I get the general sense of feeling overwhelmed and unfulfilled, as suburban life, responsibility, and a different type of loneliness sets in.
Alan Ball’s screenplay, under Mendes’ direction (also both Oscar winners) masterfully demonstrates the conflicting emotions behind the seemingly mundane doors of suburbia. Despite its darkness, both in mood and humor, there are some positive messages. As Burnham changes his life, initially to garner the attention of teenage cheerleader Angela (Mena Suvari), he becomes calmer, more confident, and (mostly) healthier. As my life has shifted to parenthood, it’s easy to get sucked into the mundane, the tediousness of everyday life. But Ball and Mendes show the beauty within the every day, something to recognize and grasp.
In addition to the aforementioned Oscar victories, American Beauty picked up the award for Best Picture, as well as a photography trophy for Conrad Hall. Mendes, of course, is later known for such great films as Skyfall, Road to Perdition, and Revolutionary Road. Ball mainly shifted towards television, creating fan-favorites Six Feet Under and True Blood for HBO.
2 (tie). Fight Club
14 points, ranked by 4 of 10 voters, highest ranked by Aaron George at No. 1
Aaron George: I want to tell you a story about my friend. Adam is one of the most inspiring things I have ever seen. The message he spreads about letting go and just… being, is one of the more important messages you can learn. All the while he remains devastatingly eloquent and fluid and has a snap to his dialogue that pricks the ears for at least 139 minutes.
There are so many impressive parts to his personality: I wouldn’t know where to start in describing him to someone. It’s rare you can find a friend that is absolutely riveting but can bring you into hysterics (him watering a book comes to mind) at the drop of a hat. The mood and style he brings when he enters a room is incredible unique and his taste in music is perfect for every situation. He has a sense of style that just captures the feeling of rebellion which is infectious on every level. The man is a killer force of nature unfortunately ( and awesomely) always at war with himself.
He has a number of styles and looks all of which excel. One day he can look like the tired clichéd insomniac businessman and be excellent at that. The next he can look like a beautiful sleazebag. A word on the beautiful sleazebag: I think a beautiful sleazebag never gets the credit he deserves for being as great as he is. If there was some sort of a golden statuette to be won, well… it should have been given here, as it is one of the most relaxed and comfortable perform… actin… things I’ve ever seen. Adam even has a great feminine side that he slides into from time to time. The most surprising element of Adam though is his ability to cook Meatloaf. Holy shit is his Meatloaf good, all jacked up and sad. The moment where he burns and kills his Meatloaf is one of my favorite moments in.. hanging…out with him. The subsequent callback to that fateful day is also hilarious. Just good stuff all around.
He’s had lots of ups and downs, some violent (but never fully living up to his violent hype) some sexy (rubber gloves) but all wonderful. Fortunately Adam hit rock bottom in his life and then things got really great for him as he started struggling with the fact that he wasn’t the person he thought he was. It was a fantastic reveal for him and his sprint to “find himself” is one of the best parts of his life.
All in all Adam is clearly one of my top five friends of all time, and he’s the type of guy that once you’ve hung out with him once, the next time is going to be all the more fulfilling. If you don’t have a friend like Adam, you should be good to yourself and get one. Wait… is this a test?
2 (tie). Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
14 points, ranked by 3 of 10 voters, highest ranked by Greg Phillips and Russell Sellers at No. 1
Russell Sellers: The first Austin Powers film was a modest hit when looking at its total box office take vs. its production budget. But this 1999 sequel was the definition of blockbuster at the time! Mike Myers’ spy spoof won lots of fans to the International Man of Mystery thanks to jokes that landed with more punch and fervor than the previous effort. Sure, some of them were repeats from the first time around, but the execution was spot-on this time with a cast who delivered on all fronts. Heather Graham’s Felicity Shagwell was one of the most eye-popping and hilarious additions to the proceedings, to say nothing of the multiple new characters Mike Myers played himself (ahem, Fat Bastard). And this is the movie that gave us the oft-repeated moniker “Mini Me,” that we now apply to anyone who reminds us of ourselves, only smaller.
But what’s a good comedy spoof without a memorable villain? Myers’ second time out as Dr. Evil was 10 times what the first was. His timing has never been better and the number of quotable scenes trumps everything in the first film and the second sequel (though that movie isn’t as bad as it was originally billed by some fans). Add in some great cameos from Will Ferrell, Tim Robbins, Woody Harrelson and Willie Nelson and you’ve got a laugh-a-minute comedy for the ages. Mileage will vary on the first and third films, but this is a true comedy classic.
1. The Matrix
20 points, ranked by 5 of 10 voters, highest ranked by Anthony Estrada and Andrew Woltman at No. 1
Andrew Woltman: Something that should be considered is the effect that The Matrix had on modern filmmaking. Afterwards, ideas and effects became much more multi-layered and complex. It started here.
The acting of Laurence Fishburne as the calm and calculating Morpheus is transcendently welcome and he ushers us into a world of self-discovery and science fiction exploration. He is our gatekeeper that welcomes us to the universe outside of what the audience and Neo are aware of. It’s transitional in the same beat as Star Wars, as in we discover a world we never knew, and want to see more of immediately. (Although we did, and it didn’t impress.)
The action may be a little monotonous, yet the themes and universe keep you invested enough to overlook the minor flaws. The visuals are stunning and brought us into a spectacle we never knew could have been rendered before. And what the film inspired may leave more of a legacy than the film itself.
That does it for 1999. To see the full breakdown of all 10 ballots, click here. Check back soon to see the staff’s top 5 movies of 2000!