Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg had already scored a geek coup with their marvelous series Spaced, but no one could imagine what they’d follow that up with. Shaun of the Dead, a spot-on satire of the zombie apocalypse, made a fan out of no less a luminary than George A. Romero, as well as turning both men into genre icons almost overnight. The end of the film settles into overt familiarity, but the set-up is pure comic genius. Shaun of the Dead opened today in 2004.
Ten years’ earlier, Richard Linklater put his name on the map with Dazed and Confused: a celebration of 70s stoner culture that quickly earned a cult following. Today it’s best known as the movie that put Matthew McConaughey on the map, but the cast contains a number of future stars, including Mila Jovovich, Ben Affleck, and Parker Posey. It opened today in 1994.