Today in Movie History: February 14

Because nothing says “I love you” more than serial killers who wear their victims’ skin…

Before Silence of the Lambs opened, it looked shaky in the extreme. The source material — a bestselling potboiler by Thomas Harris — was terrible, Jodie Foster got the female lead only after fighting like mad for it, and Anthony Hopkins was still largely considered a stage actor without much currency in Hollywood. We all know what happened next. The film turned into a classic, as well as sweeping the “Big Five” Oscars for only the third time in the Academy’s history and becoming the only horror film to date to win Best Picture. Hopkins became a household name, Foster waltzed off with her second Oscar, and their performances are now considered two of the greatest ever put on screen. The Silence of the Lambs opened today in 1991.

If that’s a bit intense for you and your paramour, there’s always Wayne’s World a seeming throwaway effort to catch one of Saturday Night Live’s patented flashes in the pan that actually turned into a delight. Mike Myers and Dana Carvey play best buds whose basement-run public access show earns the attention of some heavy hitters, and zany mayhem ensues. It opened today in 1992, and after The Blues Brothers, remains the best of the admittedly less-than-brilliant batch of SNL-based comedies.


Today in Movie History: December 10

“Nothing is written…”

In your drop-the-mike moment for this week, Lawrence of Arabia was released in theaters in 1962. That should leave it all alone on the podium for today, but we’ll squeeze in room for one more: Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s Sleuth, released this day in 1972. With a pair like that, we really shouldn’t squeeze in any more…

Okay, Wayne’s World 2 was released today in 1993. We know, guys, we know. You’re not worthy. But we like you, so we’ll let you soar with these eagles for a bit. Just sit in the back please. Behind the towering giant of cinema as an art form. Thanks much.