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. The Virgin Suicides. Boys Don’t Cry. The Best Man. Three Kings. Magnolia. Those are just some of the landmark titles released in a dizzying movie year, one in which a group of daring filmmakers and performers pushed cinema to new limits—and took audiences along for the ride. Freed from the restraints of budget, technology (or even taste), they produced a slew of classics that took on every topic imaginable, from sex to violence to the end of the world. The result was a highly unruly, deeply influential set of films that would not only change filmmaking, but also give us our first glimpse of the coming twenty-first century. It was a watershed moment that also produced The Sopranos; Apple’s Airport; Wi-Fi; and Netflix’s unlimited DVD rentals.
Best. Movie. Year. Ever. is the story of not just how these movies were made, but how they re-made our own vision of the world. It features more than 130 new and exclusive interviews with such directors and actors as Reese Witherspoon, Edward Norton, Steven Soderbergh, Sofia Coppola, David Fincher, Nia Long, Matthew Broderick, Taye Diggs, M. Night Shyamalan, David O. Russell, James Van Der Beek, Kirsten Dunst, the Blair Witch kids, the Office Space dudes, the guy who played Jar-Jar Binks, and dozens more. It’s the definitive account of a culture-conquering movie year none of us saw coming…and that we may never see again.
Brian Raftery is a senior writer for Wired magazine, where he covers film, television, and internet culture. His work has also appeared in GQ, Rolling Stone, Esquire, and New York magazine. He lives in Burbank, California, with his wife and daughters.
“Best. Movie. Year. Ever. is a terrifically fun snapshot of American film culture on the brink of the Millennium. Brian Raftery is the ultimate pop-culture savant. From indies to blockbusters, auteurs to amateurs, he covers it all, as both a keen-eyed journalist and a true movie fan, delivering inside information and no small amount of laughs. I loved this book—even though it made me want to call in sick for a week, and go back and watch (or re-watch) the movies from this great year in film. An absolute must for any movie-lover or pop-culture nut!” —Gillian Flynn
"Two decades on, modern filmmakers still reference, study and worship the incredible films of 1999. Brian Raftery more than gives this era its due in this tremendously well-researched and insightful book." —Diablo Cody, Academy Award-winning screenwriter of Juno, Young Adult and Tully
"Even while it was happening, 1999 felt like an unusually interesting year for film. But what Brian Raftery illustrates in this deeply researched book is that classifying 1999 as interesting doesn't go far enough. It was a hinge moment for cinematic entertainment that still reverberates today, in ways I had either forgotten or never knew originally. This is the complete portrait of what it was like to spend a year inside a movie theater at the best possible moment in time." —Chuck Klosterman
"Brian Raftery expertly wields a journalist’s exhaustiveness and a novelist’s prose in Best. Movie. Year. Ever. His exclusive reporting and inside-out examination of 1999’s groundbreaking movies explain why the year remains the best movie year recorded and one who’s impact and reach will be felt in cinema for years to come." —Jonathan Abrams, New York Times bestselling author of All the Pieces Matter: The Inside Story of The Wire