A few weeks ago on Facebook, Instagram, and other social sharing platforms, there was a decade (or ten year) challenge in which people were challenge to share their profile picture from 2008/2018 and compare it to the their more recent 2018/2019 profile picture. And I have to admit that I took part in that challenge and thought that I aged rather well when I compared my younger picture to my current picture. To be honest, thanks to exercise and diet, I think I look better in my current picture compared to my older picture. Even one of my friends commented, “You haven’t aged at all!” when commenting on my pictures. I don’t know, you tell me; take a look at my pictures below and tell me what you think:
See, I think I may have aged pretty good considering I am now forty years old. Anyway, I saw how popular the decade challenge was with my friends and how much fun I had doing it that I started thinking about what I was into ten years ago. You know, which five movies was I really into back in 2009 and why I was a fan of them and why I am a fan of them today still. Then I started thinking a bit more along those lines and started thinking about the five films I liked back in 1999; and then the films that I was a fan of in 1989. I kinda stopped there because I don’t remember watching movies at theaters in 1979 given that I was only a few months to a year old at the time and those films I would see at a later date, so I decided to concentrate on films that I saw in movie theaters during those years and share that with you here on gXp as a kind of pop culture decades challenge.
With that in mind, I hope you enjoy this list – and I hope that you will share with me which five films during those years were your favorites and why. Maybe we like some of the same films, maybe just a few, or maybe we have completely different taste. Either way, I am interested in seeing what you have to say about the whole thing.
Five Favorite Films of 2009
Directed by: James Cameron
Release date: December 18
Starring: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, and Sigourney Weaver
Why I Like It: Though Avatar didn’t present viewers with a new or original story, the visuals and sheer grandeur that it presented to moviegoers was simply amazing. Up to that point, I don’t remember seeing a movie as visually stunning as Avatar since I saw Jurassic Park way back in 1993.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Directed by: David Yates
Release date: July 15
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, and Ralph Fiennes
Why I Like It: I know some Harry Potter fans don’t like The Half-Blood Prince because of how dark the story got and deviated away from most of the light-heartedness that the previous films had built upon, I think that it did a lot more for the Harry Potter series in making it a more dramatic and relatable film for more moviegoers than the previous films in the series had.
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Release date: August 21
Starring: Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Michael Fassbender, Eli Roth, Diane Kruger, Til Schweiger, and Mélanie Laurent
Why I Like It: Seriously, what more do I have to say about Inglorious Basterds other than it was another masterpiece in filmmaking by acclaimed director, Quentin Tarantino? Actually, there is one more thing I can say about Inglorious Basterds that really has me still loving this film: it was the first time I remember seeing Christoph Waltz and I have been a fan of his ever since.
Directed by: J.J. Abrams
Release date: May 8
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Simon Pegg, Karl Urban, Anton Yelchin, Eric Bana, Leonard Nimoy
Why I Like It: While I look back on this film and don’t quite see it in the same light as I did back when I first saw it, what it did to reinvigorate the Star Trek franchise cannot be understated. With a fresh new cast reprising some of the most iconic roles in all of science fiction, and doing them justice, Star Trek was a love letter to the series that a lot of fans had been waiting for.
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Release date: March 6
Starring: Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Carla Gugino, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Patrick Wilson
Why I Like It: While Watchmen continues to be a divisive film amongst comic book fans and moviegoers alike, you just have to look at the impact the film made at the box office to see why its controversial legacy continues. It made Zack Snyder a big household name, it brought him even more attention over at Warner Bros., and it showed audiences that comic book films could be a more mature form of movie entertainment than previously thought.
Five Favorite Films of 1999
Directed by: Kevin Smith
Release date: November 12
Starring: Linda Fiorentino, Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Chris Rock, Salma Hayek, Jason Lee, Alan Rickman
Why I Like It: Many of you who know me know that I am no fan of organized religion or the idea of a “one true god” – but I do believe that being the best human being you can and doing the right thing matters more than what you believe in. That being said, I love a movie that can poke fun at religion – especially the Catholic faith; but Dogma also reaffirms what director Kevin Smith believes in as being the best parts of religion… even if he mocks and breaks it all down in the process.
Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
Directed by: George Lucas
Release date: May 19
Starring: Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Jake Lloyd, Ian McDiarmid, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Pernilla August, Samuel L. Jackson, Ray Park, and Frank Oz
Why I Like It: Okay, let’s get one thing straight here: yes, The Phantom Menace is more than a bore and bogs down the Star Wars mythos with unnecessary jargon and ideas, but this is still a Star Wars film and does introduce some elements to the Star Wars franchise that fans still love and adore. Darth Maul, dual lightsabers, Qui-Gon Jinn… they were all introduced in Episode I.
Directed by: Lana (as Larry) Wachowski & Lilly (as Andy) Wachowski
Release date: March 31
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, and Joe Pantoliano
Why I Like It: You know, while the last two films in The Matrix franchise sure as hell shat on the mystique and legend of this film, there is no denying how amazing and influential The Matrix was when it was first released. It was a new kind of science fiction film for the modern computer age and showed moviegoers that the cyberworld could be as wondrous and horrifying and fantastical as any other great works of science fiction.
The Sixth Sense
Directed by: M. Knight Shyamalan
Release date: August 6
Starring: Bruce Willis, Toni Collette, Olivia Williams, Haley Joel Osment, and Donnie Wahlberg
Why I Like It: At a time when many of us had never heard of M. Night Shyamalan or knew of his tendencies to add unexpected twist into his films, what The Sixth Sense managed to present to moviegoers and genuinely surprise almost everyone who saw the film. It had great character work, was amazingly scary, and managed to hide the plainly obvious (upon further viewings) from even the most astute moviegoer.
Toy Story 2
Directed by: John Lasseter (with Lee Unkrich & Ash Brannon)
Release date: November 24
Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Kelsey Grammar, and Wayne Knight
Why I Like It: The Toy Story series will always hold a special place in my heart, and Toy Story 2, more so than the first film, did a lot to cement that in my mind. The way the toys act like a family and even welcome more members to their family, just as some of us do in real life, speaks closely to what I believe in life. I thought this film was an even better animated film than its predecessor – and there aren’t too many sequels out there than are better than the film that came before them.
Five Favorite Films of 1989
Directed by: Tim Burton
Release date: June 23
Starring: Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Pat Hingle, and Michael Gough
Why I Like It: For a lot of comic book fans, myself being one of them, Batman was a reaffirmation of how important the Batman character was to DC and how the character has evolved from the goofy and campy Batman TV series to what the character would soon represent in film and in comics.
Born on the Fourth of July
Directed by: Oliver Stone
Release date: December 20
Starring: Tom Cruise, Kyra Sedgwick, and Willem Dafoe
Why I Like It: Tom Cruise leads a great ensemble cast in an unforgettable and mind-blowing film that manages to explore the grim and gritty reality of the Vietnam War and its aftermath on the individuals who took part in it while also humanizing and horrifyingly emotionalizing what war means to the people. Born on the Fourth of July is one of the best war/anti-war films I have ever seen – even thirty years later.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Release date: May 24
Starring: Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Alison Doody, Denholm Elliott, John Rhys-Davies, and River Phoenix
Why I Like It: Personally, this is my favorite Indiana Jones movie – even more so than Raiders of the Last Ark. The Last Crusade is a fun and exciting action film that perfectly encapsulates what makes everything about the Indiana Jones character special and how he is an iconic and relatable character that every movie fan can dream about being; men or women.
Lethal Weapon 2
Directed by: Richard Donner
Release date: July 7
Starring: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci, and Patsy Kensit
Why I Like It: Although Lethal Weapon 2 isn’t as great a film as the first Lethal Weapon film, it introduced one of my favorite comedic characters in film in the form of Joe Pesci’s performance as the ex-conman Getz. His inclusion into the Lethal Weapon series helped make the series even more human and memorable, and it’s rare that the inclusion of one new character into an established series can make that much of a difference – especially in a good way.
The Little Mermaid
Directed by: Ron Clements & John Musker
Release date: November 17
Starring: Jodi Benson, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Pat Carroll, Samuel E. Wright, Jason Marin, Kenneth Mars, and Buddy Hackett
Why I Like It: Disney has always been a house of imagination and wonder, but a number of the films that Disney released before The Little Mermaid were a bit lacking in terms of quality, story, and characterization. The Little Mermaid brought back that splendor to The House of Mouse and began the Disney Renaissance that led to a decade of Disney animated film domination at the box office that brought us future hits like Aladdin, The Lion King, and Beauty and the Beast; and it was The Little Mermaid that started that trend and helped the creative teams at Disney once again find their magic.