Letter from the Editor

March/April 2024

illustration by Brianna Ashby


As far back as I can remember, 1999 always seemed like a year worth paying attention to. As a kid growing up in the 80s, it seemed almost like the end of time somehow, as far out as you could possibly imagine. A new millennium didn’t make sense, and as we sat in the kids’ area of all those aerobics classes our moms dragged us along to, we could hear Prince through the paper-thin walls, singing to us about the end of the world.
They say 2000-Zero-Zero party over, oops, out of time.

Things didn’t end up ending, of course, and now, impossibly, it’s 25 years later. Despite the Y2K panic (funny in retrospect, nerve-wracking at the time), we moved into the new millennium with relative ease, and for all of the hullabaloo, 1999—in true Monster-at-the-End-of-This-Book fashion—ended up being mostly just another year. Though, as any movie lover will quickly tell you, it was actually quite an extraordinary one. 

It’s always tempting to look back and think you knew something amazing was happening at the time it actually was, and a full quarter of a century certainly provides the requisite distance for memories to blur a bit around the edges. Still, if you were there and paying attention, it was almost impossible to miss even while it was happening: 1999 was, quite possibly, the single best year in movie history. 

And I was paying (way too much) attention at the time, finishing up a Cinema Studies degree and working at the best video store on earth, with more free time than I’ve ever had in any year, before or since. I spent a whole lot of that time in movie theaters throughout Seattle—many of which (The Guild 45th, The Harvard Exit, The Egyptian, and my forever favorite, The Seven Gables Theatre) are sadly no longer standing—watching anything and everything I possibly could. But even then, it was hard to keep up. There was just so much to see. From top to bottom, the sheer number of standout films released—and big swings (successfully) taken—is almost mind-boggling. Pick almost any month and you’ll find a handful of now iconic films; the last three months of the year alone featured new movies from Paul Thomas Anderson,  Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, Spike Jonze, Jane Campion, Steven Soderbergh, David Fincher, Michael Mann, Tim Burton, Kimberly Peirce, Ang Lee, Oliver Stone, Miloš Forman, Anthony Minghella, Mike Leigh, and Julie Taymor. It was an embarrassment of riches.

So, while we’ll be looking back at 1999 in this issue, we certainly won’t be able to cover everything. Even a double issue—our first one, ever!—can’t hope to capture or contain all the abundance this singular year provided. (Thankfully, there are plenty of other great resources for that, and we’d encourage you to seek those out as a compliment to this issue). For the next two months, though, we’ll be trying our very best to provide you with a kaleidoscopic overview of some of the most fascinating films from this legendary year in cinema, from Belfast, Maine to Fight Club, and everywhere in between.

Yours,

Chad Perman
Founder & Editor-in-Chief