The 9 best from 1999

Since we’re about to plunge headfirst into the cool waters of 2009, we thought it apt to set the wayback machine to 1999 and look at some of the gems from that vintage cinematic period.

It was the year of The Matrix. The year that American History X brutalized us all and we talked a lot about Fight Club (sorry, Tyler). It’s tough to pick just none films, but here are some of our favourites, along with reviews from the mag, in date order…

A Bug’s Life
Compared to some of Pixar’s future successes, it now seems a minor achievement in the company’s canon. But it remains a fun take on The Seven Samurai and leagues ahead of DreamWorks’ wanna-bug Antz.

We said: “A fun, often astonishing bug movie”

The Thin Red Line
Terrence Malick returns after 20 years with an audience-dividing, free form meditation on war and nature. Endlessly engrossing, it swaps OTT battle violence for carefully crafted characters.

We said: “Malick's return to movie-making will go down as one of the finest films of the year”


The Matrix
While the sequels have diluted our love for the franchise as a whole, nothing can change the impact of this pure cinematic energy burst. The trailers teased us and the answer was a thrill.

We said: “No-limits film-making at its finest, and will surely change all the rules of action-movie production”

10 Things I Hate About You
Back in the day when every other rom com was a modern take on Shakespeare, this version of Taming Of The Shrew towered above them all. Introducing us to Heath Ledger and making Julia Stiles seem the perfect foil, it was a comic delight.

We said: “Re-establishing the respectability of teen comedy, 10 Things I Hate About You is lovably lightweight without being clichéd or patronising”


Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
Ah, Mike Myers… We still remember when you were funny. Capitalising on the success of the original, Spy added to the character canon and kept the joke levels high.

We said: “Myers is on tip-top form, hurling out knob gags, poo jokes and crap innuendos at every available opportunity”

American Pie
Dragging the corpse of American teen sex comedies back into the gutter – but with a sweet-natured core that helped make it work, this was a fresh slice of raunch.

We said: “American Pie is so low-brow it's Neanderthal, yet it manages to make you care about the characters while you hyuk at all its juvenile japery”


The Blair Witch Project
Or, the horror that surfed its way to success. An ultra-low-budget scary movie rode the first real push of Internet publicity with an intriguing “is it real?” tag to huge success.

We said: “One of those rare films with the power to haunt long after the final frame”

The Sixth Sense
M Night Shyamalan has never bettered this frosty, moody tale of a boy (Haley Joel Osment) who sees Dead People. Twisty and perfectly formed.

We said: “Intense and genuinely haunting, this is compulsory viewing for anyone who loves to be spooked”

Fight Club
Hello, old friend. A huge Total Film favourite that remains superb to this day, David Fincher’s fractured, intense and amazing take on Chuck Pahlniuk’s book still has the power to shock.

We said: “Don't you dare leave the century without seeing this”