the-sixth-sense-1

Today in Movie History: August 6

Today marked a trio of notable films — well, okay, two notable films and one amusing outlier — all released the same year. The one everyone was talking about at the time was The Sixth Sense, M. Night Shyamalan’s calling card about a terrified little boy (Haley Joel Osmond) who can see ghosts and a troubled therapist (Bruce Willis) who resolves …

Damon_motorcycle

Today in Movie History: August 3

Jason Bourne has been through his ups and downs at the moves. Yet it’s important to note just how improbably successful this series has been overall: turning a turgid series of bestselling airport paperbacks into the most muscular and credible spy franchise since James Bond. Director Paul Greengrass and star Matt Damon deserve the lion’s share of the credit for that. …

Heat of the Night

Today in Movie History: August 2

We have two movies about the night, and what happens in them on this date. We’ll start with In the Heat of the Night Hollywood’s always-late-to-the-party attempt to discuss the changing face of race relations in America. Though straightforward and by-the-numbers in many ways, Norman Jewison’s murder mystery plot — in which a black Philadelphia detective (Sidney Poitier) is tasked …

hitch_39

Today in Movie History: August 1

One of the brilliant things about directors like Alfred Hitchcock is how their work evolves over time… and in this case, how his work in England differs from his work in Hollywood. The 39 Steps makes an outstanding example of earlier efforts informing later triumphs. This one follows one of the master’s standard scenarios — the innocent man wrongly accused —  into a …

Kiefer_Sutherland

Today in Movie History: July 31

It’s big day for the 80s. We’ll start with The Lost Boys, Joel Schumacher’s teen vampire romp that became an indispensable shared experience for Generation X. I’ll be honest: it’s not great, especially when compared to Kathryn Bigelow’s brilliant Near Dark which came out the same year. But Schumacher did find a dangerous vibe to a movie aimed squarely at adolescents… and he had …

mister-roberts

Today in Movie History: July 30

The big film today from an artistic perspective is Mister Roberts, John Ford’s tale of of lieutenant (Henry Fonda) on broken-down WWII cargo ship who longs for combat, but finds himself thwarted by the ship’s captain (James Cagney). Frankly speaking, it’s not among Ford’s best, but the cast is in fine form and the film picked up a slew of Academy …

pee-wee

Today in Movie History: July 26

I was the exact wrong age for Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure when it first came out: 13 and oh so ready to stop being a kid. But every other age should be delighted by Pee-Wee’s ramshackle journey to find his beloved bicycle: reminding us in his unique Pee-Wee way to look at the world the way a child does from time to …

caddyshack3-front

Today in Movie History: July 25

We’ll start with the greatest golf movie ever made, the greatest movie featuring a gopher puppet ever made, and the 34th greatest stick-it-to-the-Man comedy ever made. We’re talking about Caddyshack and it opened today in 1980. I used to marvel at how Stephen King could crank out 10,000 words a day without breaking a sweat. Turns out, he was loopy on …

PrivateRyan

Today in Move History: July 24

The pole position today unquestionably goes to Saving Private Ryan, Steven Spielberg’s ode to the Greatest Generation with a permanent spot on the short list of his absolute masterpieces. The bravura opening sequence remains one of the most harrowing depictions of combat ever put on film (emulated by fellow directors for decades), and the story that unfolds afterwards depicts the grunt’s eye …