294: Retrospectating 1999 - AMERICAN BEAUTY

 
 

It’s a complicated movie with a complicated legacy. These are complicated times.
So it’s going to take a complex conversation to properly excavate the Best Picture winner from 1999 on the week of its 20th anniversary. Join us as we celebrate and ruminate [on] American Beauty, a film that–for better or for worse–defined the end of a decade and a bygone era of incorrigible ennui.
Listen closer. This is a complicated one.

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291: Retrospectating 1999 - BOWFINGER

 
 

If you’ve ever considered joining Mindhead, were always intrigued by the premise of “Chubby Rain,” or get nervous when someone asks you if you’re willing to cut your hair, then you’re probably going to get a lot out of this week’s episode. We’re revisiting the forgotten comedic gem Bowfinger, a film that got lost in the late summer of 1999 amid the feeding frenzy for repeated viewings of the The Sixth Sense. But there’s many things to glean from Steven Martin and Frank Oz’s sweet little 97 minute Hollywood satire (one of Eddie Murphy’s favorite of his own films) including some thematic and cultural cues that would signpost a comedic pivot that took place at the turn of the century. We hope that you’ll join us on this journey, and never forget- “Cash, every movie costs 2,184 dollars!”

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290: Retrospectating 1999 - THE SIXTH SENSE

 
 

In the tenth installment in our ongoing series about 1999 we revisit M. Night Shyamalan’s zeitgeist-rattling supernatural thriller The Sixth Sense; a film we had previously covered in our AFI Top 100 series and had been disproportionately hard on. This time around we look at the film with fresh eyes, examine its relationship to the horror movies that bookended it on the calendar (The Blair Witch Project and Stir of Echoes respectively), and even find time to throw some love toward under-appreciated gems Arlington Road and Deep Blue Sea- both of which also turned twenty last month to zero fanfare. Fasten your seatbelts, it’s gonna be a bumpy M. Night.

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287: Retrospectating 1999 - EYES WIDE SHUT

 
 

We’re a week late for our 20th anniversary celebration of Stanley Kubrick’s provocative final masterpiece, Eyes Wide Shut. But the added buffer gave us more time to stew and reflect upon the truly bizarre cultural real estate that the film occupies in the the filmmaker’s career, in Cruise and Kidman’s respective filmographies, and within the weird and wonderful contextual sphere of the summer of 1999.

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286: Retrospectating 1999 - AMERICAN PIE

 
 

It took practically the entire decade but teenagers of the nineties were finally gifted with their own defining sex comedy at the halfway point of the last year of it. July 9th, 1999 saw the release (snicker) of the Weitz Brothers’ gross, sweet, schmaltzy, and sporadically hilarious love letter to Losin’ It, The Last American Virgin, and, of course, Porky’s. Join us as we tiptoe carefully around the minefield that is American Pie- contextualizing the genesis of it, overanalyzing the complicated career paths of the deep ensemble cast, and ultimately disagreeing about the film’s relative merits. Avoid the pale ale, hide all the baked good, and cover your web cam. It’s gonna be a weird one.

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285: Retrospectating 1999 - SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER & UNCUT

 
 

On June 30th, 1999, Trey Park and Matt Stone’s HARD-R animated musical South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut first hit theaters. Released less than two years after the premiere of the Comedy Central series’ pilot episode, South Park’s move to the big screen was only a modest financial success. But it proved to be a legitimate creative breakthrough and eventual Oscar nominee that laid the track for Parker and Stone’s future animated experiments (Team America: World Police) as well as their celebrated foray into more ambitious, postmodern musical satire (The Book of Mormon).

Join us as we revisit a film for which the MPAA deemed us too young to buy a ticket in the summer of 1999. Yet not unlike our underaged, on-screen counterparts, we still managed to weasel our way into theaters for multiple screenings of this ground-breaking comedy.

Viva La Resistance!

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283: Retrospectating 1999 - RUN LOLA RUN (U.S. Release)

 
 

On this week’s edition of our ongoing series “Retrospectating 1999” we revisit the forgotten German crime caper Run Lola Run.
Now, this film is technically attributed to 1998, which is when it premiered in Germany, Venice, and Toronto. But it first screened in the U.S. during the Sundance and Seattle Film Festivals (where it racked up multiple awards) respectively before finally getting a stateside release on June 18th, 1999.

It’s a miraculous movie that rarely gets talked up and we’re here to remedy that with a spirited discussion about fate, determinism, the metaphysical properties of electronic music, and the unexpected benefits of risking your last five euros on a make or break spin of the roulette wheel.

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279: Retrospectating 1999 - STAR WARS: THE PHANTOM MENACE

 
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On the third Wednesday of May in the year 1999, an unprecedented cinematic event took place in movie theaters around the world. Twenty years later, we’re still trying to answer two questions about the most anticipated / most disappointing film of the 20th Century:
“What the hell happened?”
and
“What does it all mean?”
Join us for another edition of our ongoing series “Retrospectating 1999” in which we masochistically revisit THE PHANTOM MENACE in an effort to uncover the truth behind the infamous fiasco at the center of a legitimate cultural phenomenon.

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275: Retrospectating 1999 - GO / ELECTION

 
 

Twenty years ago today a film was released that caught director Doug Liman, writer John August, and a cast of hot young upstarts at a moment of perfect aesthetic and artistic unanimity. Go wasn’t a big hit at the time and was even dismissed by Leonard Maltin as a “junior Pulp Fiction.” But the film has aged in a lot of fascinating ways over the last two decades and on this week’s episode we engage in a rare disagreement about many of them.
We also dig deep into an analysis of Alexander Payne’s second (and best?) film Election and its significance in the context of Reese Witherspoon’s unique oeuvre.
Viva la ‘99!

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