The difference of a decade

Life was different in 1999, and so were the movies

31 DEC 2008  •  by Zack Smith

In 1999, life was good: The economy was strong and jobs beckoned for college students like me. George W. Bush was just a Texas governor, and the only threat to our booming economy was the looming Y2K bug. Remember those times?

It was a markedly good year at the movies, too. Perhaps no film from that year helped set the tone for the ensuing decade more than Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. A mega-budgeted sequel full of hype, anticlimax and sound and fury, Menace nonetheless became a huge hit because of a built-in base of fans who would hate it—but lined up for it and its sequels nonetheless. This was the ultimate triumph of marketing over content.

But while Phantom Menace might have been a harbinger of the remakes, sequels and general pointlessness of the next 10 years, the films of 1999 are noteworthy in other ways, too.

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