We’ll start with the junkies. Trainspotting, Danny Boyle’s celebrated adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s equally celebrated novel, helped cement the careers not only of Boyle but of many of his cast, including Ewan McGregor (never better), Robert Carlyle and Kelly MacDonald. It also showed a side of Scotland rarely seen in the movies, and has become — along with Requiem for a Dream — the final cinematic word on drug addiction. It opened today in 1996.
And I’ll give a personal shout-out to one of my all-time guilty pleasures, Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey, which opened today in 1991. They totally melvined Death!
There are times when you want to revel in the artistry of cinema as an art form, when the possibilities of the medium greet you in an overwhelming rush, when the combination of a brilliant director, a perfect script and a talented team of hard-working artists creates a masterpiece for the ages. Then there’s times when you just want George Carlin to help you pass your history test with a time-travelling phone booth. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure opened today in 1989.
If 80s icons are your thing, there’s also Footloose, the tale of Kevin Bacon and a bunch of feelgood teens sticking it to John Lithgow’s stuffy preacher who wants to outlaw dancing. DANCING. It opened today in 1984.
Director William Castle didn’t quite have the brutal efficiency of Roger Corman or the strangely beautiful incompetence of Ed Wood. What he did have was gimmicks — tons and tons of gimmicks — designed to get boomer kids into the theater just to watch skeletons come at them on strings or nurses take their blood pressure in the lobby to ensure that they were physically fit enough to endure whatever schlock was waiting for them on screen. One of his better efforts, the original House on Haunted Hill, first hit screens today in 1959.