Dirty-Dancing-lift

Today in Movie History: August 21

Look, I don’t get Dirty Dancing. I just don’t. I’ve looked at it maybe three times in the course of my life, and while Patrick Swayze can, in fact, lay it down, the rest of the movie just doesn’t speak to me. It does, however, speak to a LOT of people out there, helping to make it a beloved 80s cult …

Brian

Today in Movie History: August 17

Everything’s turning up Jesus today… though not quite in the way you might expect. We’ll start with Monty Python’s The Life of Brian, the legendary comedy troupe’s follow-up to Holy Grail that ignited the expected firestorm of controversy among those least able to appreciate what it was trying to say. It remains brilliant, of course, and while time has blunted the …

Usual

Today in Movie History: August 16

Film lovers often talk about the joy of being surprised: walking into a movie expecting nothing more than a couple of hours’ worth of entertainment, and delighted to discover a masterpiece in its place. So it was with The Usual Suspects, a seemingly by-the-numbers crime thriller than morphed into something extraordinary. Two Oscars later (one for Kevin Spacey and one for …

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Movies for the Resistance: Cabaret

(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 …

apocalypse now

Today in Movie History: August 15

Disaster or masterpiece? That distinction can hinge on the razor’s edge sometimes, especially when an ambitious, talented and possibly crazy filmmaker is involved. Case in point: Apocalypse Now, Francis Ford Coppola’s effort to encapsulate the war in Vietnam as seen through a variation of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. The shoot was infamous for its delays, debacles and outright danger, …

hard-days-night

Today in Movie History: August 11

It’s kind of amazing watching A Hard Day’s Night with the benefit of hindsight. It was originally intended to catch a rapidly fleeting pop culture phenomenon: raking in a few bucks on the backs of those four lads from Liverpool before the bubble burst and they vanished into obscurity. It was the From Justin to Kelly of its time: a …

Buckaroo Banzai

Today in Movie History: August 10

I was tempted to start with Red Dawn here, because when you’re talking batshit crazy movies it should be at the top of the list. But I’m going to follow my heart and go with The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the 8th Dimension, one of the most absurdly marvelous things the 80s ever produced. It jump-starts its own comic-book universe …

The-Abyss-Water-Face

Today in Movie History: August 9

Stories of the infamous shoot for James Cameron’s The Abyss are almost as harrowing as the movie itself. The director’s penchant for perfectionism led him to engineer an unprecedented underwater shooting schedule, pushing cast and crew to the limits, and endangering people’s safety more than once. One particularly grueling evening triggered a furious emotional meltdown from actress Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, still spoken of in …