You know that moment when you look at the column and seriously consider opening it with Species? We’re at that moment now… and we’re resisting. Instead, we’ll start with A Scanner Darkly, Richard Linklater’s rotoscoping animation exercise in pure paranoia that may finally have nailed what Philip K. Dick was talking about in all those stories Hollywood insists on adapting. It opened today in 2006.
The very same day in the very same year saw a much bigger film hit theaters: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest brought Johnny Depp’s beloved Jack Sparrow back to the screen for the first time since the iconic original. The film itself suffered from a lot of the problems endemic of the series — overstuffed and too busy by far — but Depp’s performance remains as charming as ever and there’s something gleefully subversive about watching a Disney film take a turn for the Lovecraftian. It also opened today in 2006.
And while I can’t quite bring myself to give it the pole position, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention Species, guilty pleasure of guilty pleasures, in which Natasha Henstridge’s fetchingly naked alien goes mano-a-hot-Gieger-chick-o with a bunch of slumming Oscar winners who should really know better. It opened today in 1995.