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Today in Movie History: October 26

Mighty oaks often grow from little acorns, and when the slick little sci-fi thriller The Terminator opened one quiet October Friday, no one thought much of it. Its director had helmed only one project before — the less-than-immortal Piranha 2: the Spawning — and the star was that jumped-up Austrian from Conan the Barbarian who looked like his 15 minutes was just about up. The …

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Today in Movie History: July 15

With apologies to The Boy Who Lived, I think Officer McClane is taking the pole position on this one. The original Die Hard initially looked like a huge disaster. Star Bruce Willis was mainly known for light comedy and his attempt to segue into action hero mode smacked of the worst kind of hubris. As it turns out, it represented …

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Today in Movie History: June 1

Though it didn’t foster a full-bore revival of the Hollywood musical, Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge! succeeded in updating the baggy old genre for an entirely new generation. Luhrmann’s trademark attention span deficit and the expert addition of modern pop songs into the mix turned an exercise in empty style into a beloved modern classic, and while I struggle with the film’s abrupt …