(CBS Local)– 1999 was an all time great year for movies.
“The Matrix”, “Fight Club”, and “Office Space” all hit theaters 20 years ago and author Brian Raftery believes it’s time to properly label this time period. His new book “Best Movie Year Ever” features interviews with people like Reese Witherspoon, Edward Norton, Kirsten Dunst and Mike Judge about the masterpieces they created in 1999.
“I originally started working on a book proposal of that year,” said Raftery in an interview with CBS Local. “Halfway through, an editor at Simon & Schuster just emailed me out of the blue and asked if I had ever thought about just writing about the movies of that year. You can touch on the importance of Columbine and Y2K through the movies of that year. These films felt like they were accidentally trying to tell us what the future was going to be.”
Raftery’s favorite movie from that year was “Election,” which starred Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick. The author calls it a perfect movie.
“I watched all of these movies at least four or five times each,” said Raftery. “I watched them as movies and as commentary tracks. A lot of these movies are about middle aged guys that are stuck. It’s a really funny movie and really empathetic to all the characters. Reese Witherspoon is so good in this movie. She spent a couple of days in this high school in Nebraska, sneaking in as a student to blend in. She was a pretty big star at that point, but she was not Reese Witherspoon yet. You can see the timing that she has in movies like ‘Legally Blond’ starting in ‘Election.’
One of the most interesting movies of the year was “The Matrix.” The movie was filmed in Australia and it has several fascinating what ifs.
“The Wachowski’s hadn’t made anything like this before and they had written the script years ago,” said Raftery. “It had gone through all these executives, who didn’t fully understand it. It’s very compelling, but it’s very strange imagery. Warner Brothers had a tough time finding actors. They talked to Leonardo DiCaprio at one point, Will Smith, Michael Douglas, Arnold Schwarzenegger. At one point, they got so frustrated about not being able to find a lead that they even thought about rewriting Neo and offering it to Sandra Bullock.
“Best Movie Year Ever” is available now.