For whatever reason, 1999 was the best year for American film in at least three decades. With competition like “The Matrix,” “South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut,” “The Sixth Sense” and “Toy Story 2,” it was hard to pick a No. 1. And yet I'll still stand by my choice of “Being John Malkovich” — a movie that managed to be vastly entertaining, funny, and moving, even while being indescribably far off all paths, beaten or unbeaten.
The original 2000 DVD was OK, but the new Criterion version is packed with a terrific bunch of extras that are true to the spirit of director Spike Jonze and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman. That is, it's hard to determine how much of the material is real and how much an imaginary construct — what we usually call “a put-on.”
The included pamphlet is dominated by an interview of Jonze, conducted by culture critic Perkus Tooth ... except Tooth is, in fact, a fictional character created by Jonathan Lethem. In a 15-minute short, Jonze celebrates the film's “30th anniversary” by showing us his on-set photography.