Jaws (1975)
Roy Scheider
Credit: Universal Pictures/Courtesy Neal Peters Collection

Today in Movie History: June 20

In 1974, Universal Pictures handed the adaptation of a dreadful little potboiler to an untested director with just a couple of films under his belt. The production was plagued by accidents, delays and cost overruns. The script was a mess, the cast cantankerous, and the main selling point depended on special effects that just didn’t work. It looked for all …

G-228  Max (Russell Crowe) enjoys the company of his supposed long-lost cousin Christie Roberts (Abbie Cornish) in A GOOD YEAR.

Today in Movie History: June 19

People have called The Music Man an ode to small town Americana, which is ironic since the movie — and the stage musical on which it was based — clearly hates small towns with every fiber of its being. Nevertheless, it’s a terrific musical, full of just enough snark to keep the sugar coating from getting too sweet and featuring a …

Olivia-Newton-John-John-Travolta-grease-1978-billboard-650

Today in Movie History: June 16

We’ll give Grease the nod for the pole position. It is the word after all, and while the film’s subtext remains troubling — basically saying that in order to get the man of your dreams, you have to change everything you are — it’s hard to stop the toes from tapping once those songs get going. And say what you will …

batman-begins-2005-62-g

Today in Movie History: June 15

It’s a big day today, and we’ll start with the most recent. Amid all the hubbub over 2008’s The Dark Knight, it’s easy to forget just what an amazing job its predecessor, Batman Begins, did after Tim Burton’s singular-but-flawed vision and the depressing crassness of the Joel Schumacher Batman films. Bat-fans were hungry for the kind of lean, grounded tale that Christopher Nolan …

Matt Damon in a scene from the motion picture The Bourne Ultimatum. --- DATE TAKEN: rec'd 07/07  By Jasin Boland   Universal Studios        HO      - handout   ORG XMIT: ZX61392

Today in Movie History: June 14

When talking about underrated franchises, the Jason Bourne films might be at the top of the list. They don’t have the profile of James Bond or the MCU, but with five movies in the can, they established a reasonably high standard of quality that belies their airport paperback originals. Credit for that goes both to directors like Doug Liman and …

Spartacus

Movies for the Resistance: Spartacus

(Welcome to Movies for the Resistance, a weekly column intended to showcase films with particular pertinence for 2017. One of the fundamental purposes of art in general, and movies in particular, is to serve as a spiritual armory: bringing hope, timely lessons and shared experiences when times are dark. They can move us to positive political action, lend insight to …

Lolita

Today in Movie History: June 13

Stanley Kubrick still hadn’t quite established himself as, you know, Stanley Kubrick, when he tackled the supposedly unfilmable Lolita from a screenplay by Nabokov himself. The results were imperfect at best, but demonstrated a filmmaker willing to work on the high wire without a net, and set the stage for the breathtaking string of masterpieces that followed. Lolita was released …

Indy

Today in Movie History: June 12

It’s a big day for movie releases today, but there’s no doubt which one leads the list. Action and adventure have been a part of the movies since the Lumiere brothers sent audiences diving for cover with the approach of a moving train. We’ve seen some amazing entries in the genre over the ensuing 120 years, but none of them …

Lady from Shanghai

Today in Movie History: June 9

Orson Welles’ filmmaking career wasn’t always a pretty one, mostly fueled by a desperate need to fund his own projects and leading to some very intriguing results. Few are most fascinating than The Lady from Shanghai, his 1948 noir thriller in which he co-starred along with his soon-to-be-ex-wife Rita Hayworth. Their deteriorating cat-and-mouse relationship — augmented by the obsessive jealousy of studio head …

ghostbusters

Today in Movie History: June 8

We’ve been getting our 80s on recently, and today is a red letter date for that. We’ll start with the earliest: Trading Places, John Landis’s Wall Street retake on The Prince and the Pauper, remains a doggedly entertaining comedy provided you can accept that its heroes emerge triumphant via insider trading. Buoyed by Dan Aykroyd’s fantastic blue-blood buffoon and Eddie …