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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 …

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, Cary Guffey, 1977

Today in Movie History: November 16

Ask anyone what their favorite Steven Spielberg movie is, and few will say Close Encounters of the Third Kind. But ask them what their top five Spielberg films are, and most people would likely find room for it. It’s as strong a film as he’s ever made — an early sign that he could do far more than just scare people …

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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 …

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Today in Movie History: December 17

12 years ago today, Peter Jackson’s Return of the King arrived in theaters: eventually winning 11 Oscars, cementing our current franchise-heavy cinematic culture and finally validating fantasy movies as an undeniable art form. It’s actually an auspicious date for fantasy movies: Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal came out on the same day in 1982, moving the celebrated puppeteer beyond the …