RIFT Rewind: Top Films of 1999
16th June 2020
At RIFT, we’re celebrating 21 years as the UK’s top tax experts with another glance back through the Time Telescope into the misty depths of 1999. This month, we’re taking a look at our favourite films from the year RIFT was born - it's a good time to catch up on some classics because it will be while until the cinemas re-open yet.
5) The Blair Witch Project
Whether you were terrified, chilled to the bone or simply baffled by the hype, this film changed the face of horror for a decade. The set-up seemed simple enough, with a handful of desperately irritating young adults griping, blubbering and panicking their way toward their inevitable woodland doom. According the promotional material flying around at the time, a lot of people were genuinely confused by the “found footage” format, honestly believing that this was a documentary. That’s a little hard to swallow, but nevertheless The Blair Witch Project was a surprisingly effective and influential horror flick – spawning 2 sequels, endless imitators and even a couple of “adult parodies”.
4) The Sixth Sense
Yeah, we know that M. Night Shyamalan’s career since this has been a bit... hit-or-miss - but The Sixth Sense still passes the Marmite test with flying colours in our book. Strong performances, incredible atmosphere and a kicker ending that still gives us chills to remember. Haley Joel Osment was a legitimate discovery with (we assumed) a bright future ahead of him, and Bruce Willis still cared enough about acting to stay awake through his entire performance. These days, at the end of a Willis film it’s actually a surprise to realise that he hasn’t been dead the whole time. Still a film to revisit - if only to pretend that The Happening never, um, happened.
3) Being John Malkovich
Well, if you’re going to throw a weird one into a top 5 list, you might as well aim high. Being John Malkovich is simply one of the most furiously, ambitiously strange films we’ve ever seen. With most films this great, you’d expect the next few years to be full of sequels and copycats. Being John Malkovich, on the other hand, is basically immune to imitation. Frankly, it’s a minor miracle that it got made at all, given how impossible it is to explain in the standard “this meets that” Hollywood format. It’s extremely funny, more than a little creepy and also somehow sad, with off-beat, neurotic performances from some serious big-name talent.
2) The Matrix
Yeah, you knew this was coming. A couple of limp sequels and a half-hearted videogame spin-off have done nothing to take the green-tinted shine off this sci-fi masterpiece. The Matrix put Keanu Reeves on the action movie map in a way that a decade’s worth of Point Breaks and Speeds never could. “Bullet Time” and “Gun-Fu” suddenly became core components of the action flick vocabulary, and big-screen fight choreography got its most significant leap forward in technology since the balsa wood barstool.
Perhaps most important of all, The Matrix put Keanu together with a stunt double by the name of Chad Stahelski. That young stand-in went on to direct the John Wick films, so I think we can all forgive The Matrix for a couple messy follow-up flicks.
1) Fight Club
Surprisingly, despite taking the top slot in our list this month, Fight Club wasn’t a monster success at the box office. Like a lot of sharp-edged satires (we’re looking at you, Starship Troopers), many people really didn’t seem to “get” Fight Club, thinking it was some kind of toxic man-boy anthem. There’s actually a lot going on under the hood of Fight Club, including some serious discussion about consumer culture and the uneasy position in history of Generation X. It’s an uncomfortable thing to watch in some ways, and it makes a point of never really picking a side on anything. Even so. It’s got amazing performances, incredible visuals and Edward Norton hitting Jared Leto in the face - a lot. What more could you want?
So there you go – RIFT’s top 5 films of 1999. Were any of your favourites on there? Were you outraged because we didn’t mention The Iron Giant, The Phantom Menace or Toy Story 2? Get in touch to set us straight – and set your next tax refund rolling at the same time.
RIFT are the UK's leading tax rebate and tax return experts who've been in the industry since 1999. If you're interested in finding out if you're owed overpaid tax, check out our tax rebate calculator for a free instant estimate of what you could be owed.