Today in Movie History: March 30

It’s all about the 80s today with a trio of iconic films from that era. No one expected a movie like Beetlejuice to do anything when it first opened. Indeed, the question remains how the darn thing got made in the first place: a second-time director with a truly strange point of view given free rein to pursue his vision, and a star widely perceived to be on his way down. How could this possibly work? It not only worked, but it worked spectacularly well: turning into a big hit based on its uniquely weird charms, and making stars out of Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis and Winona Ryder in the process. Michael Keaton’s career got a shot in the arm, Danny Elfman continued his development as a one-of-a-kind composer, and the director — some guy named Burton — is now a household name. It opened 30 years ago today in 1988.

Four years earlier, another journeyman director hit one out of the park to launch a career of some note. He shaded his Indiana Jones-style adventure with a gentle-yet-witty satire of Harlequin romance novels, aided by the nuclear chemistry between stars Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas. The film was Romancing the Stone, the director was Robert Zemeckis, and the movie is just as breezy and charming today as it was three decades ago. It opened today in 1984.

Though technically released in the 90s, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as another signpost of that bygone era. Though more pop culture artifact than good (or even watchable) movie, its turtle costumes (courtesy of the Jim Henson Company) are still pretty darn spectacular. It opened today in 1990.



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