Today in Movie History: May 16

We start out the week on the highway…. to the danger zone! Top Gun, Tony’s Scott’s over-the-top ode to Reagan-era military worship and hunky guys with oily pecs exploded onto screens today in 1986. I still can’t quite take the movie seriously, and I’m not prepared to called it “good,” but we’ll never see anything like the extraordinary flight scenes that Scott captured in an era way before CGI made it all too easy. And as a relic of a specific time and place, it definitely holds its share of charms.

Further down the blockbuster scale, we find Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. It’s generally regarded as the weakest entry in the Star Wars saga, and since we’ll be dealing with the prequels more formally later in the week, it’s best not to dwell on it. It opened today in 2002.

Finally, there’s Peeping Tom, Michael Powell’s unnerving thriller exploring sexual obsession and the power of the camera. The critics destroyed it on first release, but it has since risen in the canon and is now considered a genre masterpiece. It opened today in 1960, just a month of so ahead of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, which carried similar themes.


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