Today in Movie History: November 11

  Roustabout (1964) On this Veteran’s Day, we saw a trio of Best Picture winners first released in theaters. True to form, the Academy decided to honor Gentleman’s Agreement in 1947… because being denied entrance to a country club was the worst thing Jewish people have ever had to deal with. The Oscars did better in 1951 by selecting An …

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Today in Movie History: October 21

The Right Stuff was billed as a major Oscar contender upon its release, and critics rightfully hailed it as one of the best films of the decade. Its Academy campaign was derailed, however, by the now-absurd premise that it was helping then-senator John Glenn (whom the film depicts) launch a presidential campaign. But its box-office failure and short-handed night at the Oscars …

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Today in Movie History: October 14

The word “game changer” gets thrown around a lot with flavor-of-the-month movies that tend to fade with time. But the phrase has rarely applied more aptly than it has to Pulp Fiction, which cemented the rise of indie cinema in the 1990s, altered the face of crime drama forever, and permanently put Quentin Tarantino on the map. It’s perfection incarnate, and …

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Bread and Circuses? Why Movies Like Rogue One Make a Difference

The latest Rogue One trailer has arrived, with all the pomp and circumstance one would expect. With the rest of reality going completely bananas, it comes amid questions we wouldn’t have considered just a few months ago. Specifically, how can we watch the Rebel Alliance fight the Empire when the real world is scarier than ever? Why should we put …

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Today in Movie History: October 7

On the surface, Spartacus is second-tier Stanley Kubrick at best. The legendary director was brought in at the behest of co-producer/star Kirk Douglas after Anthony Mann was fired a week into shooting. Kubrick got the job done, but the film features few of his signature flourishes, and remains solid Hollywood product more than the work of a celebrated auteur. Its …

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Today in Movie History: September 30

Tim Burton has recovered from his recent (and lengthy) slump with the modestly delightful Miss Peregrine opening today. It’s fitting, then, that today would also mark the anniversary of hands-down his best movie ever. Ed Wood, the affectionate biopic about the worst filmmaker ever made, paints the infamous shlockmeister as an earnest misfit who’s so madly in love with what …

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Today in Movie History: September 23

Though well-received critically, The Shawshank Redemption failed to generate much heat at the box office, and was swamped at the Oscars by the competing behemoths of Pulp Fiction and Forrest Gump. Hourly screenings on TNT changed all of that and today, it’s considered one of the greatest movies of the 1990s… as well as cementing director Frank Darabont’s reputation as …