Today in Movie History: March 23

One of the best romances of recent years had very humble beginnings: shot in 17 days, starring a pair of professional musicians with limited acting experience, and intend as a showcase for lead Glen Hansard’s anecdotes about busking, it turned into a massive international success, and scored both Hansard and co-star Marketa Irglova an Academy Award for Best Original Song. (The moment when Jon Stewart brought Irglova back out to finish her speech after the band cut her off is one of the high points of recent Oscar history.) The film was Once and it opened in its home country of Ireland today in 2007.

If romance is in the air, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Pretty Woman, the ubiquitous tale of a hooker with a heart of gold that also became a massive hit and made a star out of Julia Roberts (who was favored to win the Oscar that year before losing it to Kathy Bates). We have our share of problems with the film, but it remains a favorite in the hearts of many. It opened today in 1990.


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