Tim Curry as the Lord of Darkness in Legend

Today in Movie History: April 18

Legend is one of those movies that the Hollywood machine just chewed up and spat out. The initial release was a disaster, critically and commercially, and the film was written off for years. But the release of Ridley Scott’s director’s cut — including the return of the original Jerry Goldsmith score — saw its fortunes improve immensely. These days, it enjoys well-deserved status as a cult classic, and serves not only as evidence that movies are really created in the editing room, but reminds us that time can help a misunderstood movie find its audience. Legend opened today in 1986.

Evaluating the ranks of comedies can be tricky, not only because laughter is so subjective, but because the films that keep us laughing year in and year out can’t show the proof of their pudding until sufficient time has passed. Nine years out, I’m prepared to call Forgetting Sarah Marshall one of the funniest films of the 21st Century. The story of a hapless TV composer (Jason Segel) who flies to Hawaii to get over his titular ex-girlfriend (Kristen Bell) only to fit her shacked up in the room next door with her new beau (Russell Brand), has stood the test of time. It works not only for its painfully funny skewering of the ways we debase ourselves after a breakup, but because of the strong supporting cast who play out their shtick without detracting from the central players. It opened today  in 2008.

 

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