High Plains Drifter

Today in Movie History: August 22

Having found himself a western superstar, Clint Eastwood didn’t have any compunctions taking the gloves off when he felt he had something to say. Case in point: High Plains Drifter, a searing indictment of the basket case our country had become at the time (unlike now, when we’re all doing just fine, thanks). It’s raw and searing and quite crude at times, but the power of Eastwood’s vision cannot be denied, and it eventually opened up a long and fruitful career for the man as a director. Also, John Wayne hated it. HATED it. High Plains Drifter opened today in 1973.

As Gen-X icons go, Pump Up the Volume doesn’t have quite the cache of, say, Heathers or The Goonies. But it’s a fine film in and of itself, featuring Christian Slater as a lonely high school student who finds his voice — and a surprisingly discontented audience — when he starts broadcasting a pirate radio show out of his basement. Credit it for taking its concept to its logical conclusion without once losing sight of its core message. Don’t trust The Man, kids. The Man lies. Pump Up the Volume opened today in 1990.


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