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Today in Movie History: August 28

With the screenplays for Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Empire Strikes Back under his belt, Lawrence Kasdan was ready to try his hand at directing. His freshman effort proved to be a stunner: Body Heat, a super-steamy update of the classic Double Indemnity, in which a sleazy Florida lawyer (William Hurt) falls for a routinely naked woman (Kathleen Turner) who needs help …

StandbyMe

Today in Movie History: August 8

Rob Reiner was still known as a comedic filmmaker when he tackled Stand by Me, based on a nostalgic Stephen King story that ran dead-set against the author’s own reputation as a scare master. It turned out to be one of the best King adaptations to date, with strong performances from a very young Wil Wheaton, Jerry O’Connell, Corey Feldman and …

truman_primary

Today in Movie History: June 5

Peter Weir’s career constitutes one of the more fascinating in modern films, and he was never better than with The Truman Show, a eerily prescient look at life in the digital era. it features Jim Carrey as a man who has unknowingly lived his entire life as the subject of his television show, complete with parents, friends, co-workers and romantic interests …

5.0.2

Today in Movie History: June 2

Only one film on the docket today, at least for now. (I suspect that next year a certain star-spangled Amazon might make a prominent appearance.) For now, we’ve got Dead Poets Society, Gen-X’s answer to Goodbye Mr. Chips that used utterly conventional ways to talk about defying convention. Frankly, the film shouldn’t work, but guided by the sure direction of Peter Weir and …

Taxi Driver

Today in Movie History: February 8

Petrified Forest (1936) A big day for movies starts with the one of the most problematic. D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation opened today in 1915, marking a seismic advance in motion pictures as a technical art form while simultaneously pushing a narrative so grotesque it causes one to despair for humanity. Film students are obligated to watch it. Once. …