Today in Movie History: January 17

Children of the 80s doubtless remember the California Raisins, an advertising phenom created by the Claymation artists at the late Will Vinton’s studios. The same studio produced a rather marvelous animated feature shortly thereafter: The Adventures of Mark Twain, a fantastical collection of the celebrated author’s short stories loosely wrapped around the premise of Twain himself (along with his most beloved creations) rocketing off to meet Halley’s Comet. It’s quite the shaggy dog, but it’s also a unique example of Vinton’s animation style, which has informed everything from Wallace and Gromit to The Nightmare Before Christmas. It opened today in 1986.

To that, I’ll add Freejack, an objectively terrible science fiction movies about a dystopic future that uses time travel to pull people about to be killed from the present so that rich people can live forever. Or something. Mick Jagger’s the bad guy, Emilio Estevez is that star, and it’s exactly, precisely as goofy-in-all-the-wrong-ways as you’d think. It is also, however, a look at how Hollywood greenlights project sometimes. Anthony Hopkins also appears in it… and with the immense success of Silence of the Lambs the year before, he was officially The Shit. (He won the Oscar about a month after this film came out.) So they rushed this turkey to market hoping to capitalize on the new hotness. It bombed, Hopkins survived, and the rest of us are left with a cheesy novelty typical of January releases. It came out today in 1992.



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