Fun facts and food for thought are in no short supply here, and some truly entertaining truths emerge in Raftery’s extensive research (which includes 100-plus new interviews with directors, writers, and actors). Movie and pop-culture nerds will relish this fizzy, nostalgic trip.
Raftery doesn’t just recap the movies or rely solely on previously published pieces meticulously acknowledged in endnotes. He conducted 130-plus new interviews with actors, directors, writers and crew members, and the distance allows reflection and freedom to relive jubilation, anxiety or disappointment ... a chance to revisit films you loved or loathed, a guide for what to stream, and a reminder that movies were written off once before and then the lights went down and 1999 came up.
Raftery’s book works best — and works rather well — as a report on moviemaking as it existed two decades ago ... Raftery’s interviews with scores of actors, directors, writers and others power interesting and intriguing backstories about several movies that are pretty darn good and others that are pretty darn forgettable. Funny thing, even if a movie isn’t much to look at, how it got to theaters can be engrossing when Raftery teases out a telling anecdote.