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Today in Movie History: December 19

It’s another big day for notable movies: December gets very crowded with event films in an effort to either rake in the box office while the kids are on break or make a play for an Oscar nod or two. One notable movie managed to do both. The Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring was Peter Jackson’s opening …

theterminator

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: August 9

Stories of the infamous shoot for James Cameron’s The Abyss are almost as harrowing as the movie itself. The director’s penchant for perfectionism led him to engineer an unprecedented underwater shooting schedule, pushing cast and crew to the limits and endangering people’s safety more than once. One particularly grueling evening triggered a furious emotional meltdown from actress Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, still spoken of in …

Joker

Today in Movie History: July 18

Mid-July is blockbuster time — usually when the last of the heavy hitters shows up to crush the box office before giving way to the earthier guilty pleasures of August. A pair of great sequels mark the day, notably The Dark Knight: Christopher Nolan’s follow-up to his already impressive Batman Begins. In 8 short years, it’s already become the stuff …

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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: December 18

Mumble, mumble… something, something…  highest grossing movie of all time that somehow turned into a pop culture afterthought… Avatar… freaking Avatar opened today six years ago in 2009. A far less well-known (and as underrated as Avatar is overrated) movie shares the same release date: Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon. Long viewed as a runt in the master’s litter, it remains something of a forgotten …