Today in Movie History: July 20

We’ll start today with one of the most unusual comic book adaptations ever: Terry Zwigoff’s Ghost World, the story of two alienated teenage girls and their almost surreal journey throught the wasteland of suburbia following their high school graduation. It’s a reminder that comic books can be about more than pretty people in tights (though YES, one of the girls is played by Scarlett Johansson), and a sterling example of indie cinema at its prime. It opened today in 2001.

Speaking of comic books, today also saw the release of The Dark Knight Rises, the conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s celebrated Dark Knight trilogy. Though rightfully viewed as the weakest of the three, it was hobbled by the untimely death of Heath Ledger four years earlier, and yet itĀ still comes through with a number of wonderful conceits. (Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman is perhaps the best incarnationĀ of the character in a very crowded field of contenders.) It opened today in 2012.

Finally, there’s Midnight Run, a personal favorite about a down-on-his-luck bounty hunter (Robert De Niro) tasked with bringing a mob accountant (Charles Grodin) across country before being nicked by the feds, the Mafia or De Niro’s sleazy rival. The madcap chase is expertly delivered by director Martin Brest, who mined the comic chemistry of his two leads to make the film one of the best buddy comedies of all time. It opened today in 1988.


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