December 31, 1999
Goodbye ninety-nine - THE COMMENTARY
By Joseph Planta
VANCOUVER - For the last column of 1999, let me look at the year that was, as well as the year that will be, in a few hours. One of the things that really bugged me this year, was (is) this constant harping about this being the end of the century and the start of a new millennium. Well Iíve been told, by better sources than I, that January 1, 2000 is not the start of the millennium. The new millennium will commence on January 1, 2001, some one year and one day from today.
1999 has been a year of the same old, same old. Itís practically been a rehash of the years before, pop culturally speaking. We had the mother of all hype machines in the release of the Star Wars prequel. That turned into a lacklustre crock. Austin Powersí sequel surprised more.
In terms of the Oscars, Shakespeare In Love upset the world by defeating the World War II epic, Saving Private Ryan. It was a huge surprise, but I did predict the Bard winning, days before the Oscar telecast. The lovely and ultra-talented (one of my faves) Judi Dench won the Oscar, as well as the Tony this year. Liza Minnelli returned to Broadway and Julie Andrews sang in public again. Those two dames have had a rough time, but have bounced back. 2000 will be a big year for them.
In film, the year was a breakout year for unconventional films. The Blair Witch Project scared some, if not most, filmgoers with its unconventional story and filmmaking. It also scared film producers, who saw how cheaply made this film was, but earned millions and millions.
We heard about Monica, again this year, but it was another Monica. The one that Lou Bega wanted a little bit of. The music world was full of Latin singers, from Ricky Martin to Christine something or another, we all went gaga over them. At least, some of us.
In television, Regis Philbin proved the game show could return to primetime television with Who Wants To Be A Millionare. Millions tuned in and it proved, yet again, you donít have to be smart to win a million bucks, or do you? Susan Lucci finally won an Emmy, and proved at the same time luck is not all you need to get what you really want.
Hillary Clinton came out of the closet and admitted publicly that sheíd seek the Senate seat in New York. But the year in American politics belonged to George W. Bush. Not only does he seem destined to win the Republican nomination for president, he could win the White House.
The benchmark of the century, in Canadian culture and politics, Pierre Trudeau turned 80. The benchmark of Canadian shopping, Eatons, crumbled. In my honest and modest opinion the yearís Canadian political personality, wasnít even a politician. Adrienne Clarkson, is easily, in my opinion the yearís newsmaker. The GG, reeks of class, glamour and culture and her spending habits were duly noticed in the press.
While Britainís Royal family celebrated the wedding of Andrew and Sophie, Americaís royal family, the Kennedyís, suffered another loss. John Kennedyís death hit our collective consciousness hard.
Glen Clark finally stepped down, Gordon Wilson jumped ships and The Zalm made a political comeback. The newsmaker of the year in BC has to be a tie. I think Gordon Wilson and Bill Vander Zalm equally deserve this distinction. Wilsonís defection from the PDA to the NDP added some blood to that caucus and somewhat resurrected that party. Heís not really an NDPer and I worry for both him and the party.
Bill Vander Zalm proved, through Glen Clark and the NDPís mismanagement, that he isnít BCís worst premier. He resurrected a dormant political career and made great headlines. The man that fought off the NDP, now was a man who almost helped it.
A few giants in my life died this year. The legendary Webster left us, as did the brilliant George C. Scott. Both have had immeasurable impact on my life. The world of cinema lost one of its finest auteurs in Stanley Kubrick, and one of its best critics in Gene Siskel. The Velvet Fog, Mel Tormť, faded out and left a terrific legacy and not a bad Christmas tune in The Christmas Song. Richard Kiley, a great actor and stage performer died and left behind a stirring legacy in his performance in Man of La Mancha. The Godfather architect, Mario Puzo died and left behind an amazing saga that is still being dissected today. And a couple of weeks ago, we lost the delightful Madeline Kahn. Ms. Kahn was a terrific performer on the stage and the screen, as well as television.
Iím the last one to review the year in sport, so Iíll leave that to Macrae or Russell.
Who knows whatíll happen in the year 2000. I hate to predict, but journalists are cautioned to predict early and often. I think Lucien Bouchard will resign as premier of Quebec. Gordon Campbell will form a minority government in BC, and Hillary Clinton will lose the election for the US Senate.
I got to do a lot of fun things this year. I had a hell of a time interviewing some important people for school projects. MPís, MLAís, government officials and opposition folk; as well as people in the media. I got get to know Rafe Mair personally, and got to stand next to Judi Tyabji. She is kinda pretty. Itís stuff like that, that make the year a memorable one.
Whatever happened in this year for you, itís been one thatís been the best of all possible worlds, much like the years before and after us in the rest of our lives. Thereís been joy, happiness, sadness, and love. The sun always rose from the east, people fell in love and children were born. Thatís what life is all about, and today we say bye-bye to another year in that very journey of life.
Best wishes to you and yours, in the New Year.
Questions and comments may be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
An archive of Joseph Planta's previous columns can be found by clicking HERE .