Monday, January 27, 2014

Important Anniversaries Marked in 2014

* The Oscar winners noted were released in the previous year, but given the award in the year noted.

10 Years Ago (2004)



Mel Gibson made waves of controversy and took his first irreversible steps toward becoming a racist and anti-Semitic Hollywood pariah with the release of The Passion of the Christ.

Number of films I've seen: 109
My average rating: 6.33/10
My best of the year: Sideways directed by Alexander Payne
My worst of the year: The Phantom of the Opera directed by Joel Schumacher

directing debuts: Zack Snyder (Dawn of the Dead)
notable deathsActors Marlon Brando (80) and Christopher Reeve (52); President Ronald Reagan (93); Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat (75); musician Ray Charles (73)

Top grossing film for the year (domestic): Shrek 2 ($441.2 million)
(worldwide): Shrek 2 ($919.8 million)
Academy Award Best Picture winner*: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King directed by Peter Jackson
Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or winner: Farhenheit 9/11 directed by Michael Moore

Movies from my collection
Before Sunset
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
Garden State
The Incredibles
Kill Bill: volume 2
Million Dollar Baby
Napoleon Dynamite
Ocean's 12
Sideways

Non-movie related
Facebook launched on 4 February
- The Madrid train bombings committed by al-Qaeda on 11 March
- Groundbreaking for the new World Trade Center tower began on 4 July. The skyscraper is still not completed.
- On 26 December, a major earthquake under the Indian Ocean caused a massive tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people in as many as 14 countries.


20 Years Ago (1994)


This was the year I really discovered cinema as art. Pulp Fiction was truly what brought me along, but this year I also saw Clerks, Reservoir Dogs. These were the gateways to the likes of Hal Hartley and Jim Jarmusch, years later expanding to the entire world of cinema.

Number of films I've seen: 82
My average rating: 5.26/10
My best of the year: Pulp Fiction directed by Quentin Tarantino
My worst of the year: It's Pat directed by Adam Bernstein

acting film debuts of future Oscar nominees: Cate Blanchett^ (Police Rescue); Cameron Diaz (The Mask); Ewan McGregor (Being Human); Mark Wahlberg+ (Renaissance Man); Natalie Portman^ (The Professional); Kate Winslet^ (Heavenly Creatures); Scarlett Johansson (North); Greg Kinnear+ (Blankman); Haley Joel Osment+ (Forrest Gump)

directing debuts: Danny Boyle^ (Shallow Grave); Frank Darabont+ (The Shawshank Redemption); Peter and Bobby Farrelly (Dumb and Dumber); David O. Russell^ (Spanking the Monkey); Kevin Smith (Clerks)

+future Oscar nominee
^future Oscar winner

notable births: Actors Dakota Fanning, Saoirse Ronan+; pop star Justin Bieber
notable deaths: Actors John Candy (heart failure at 43) and Raúl Juliá (stroke at 54); rock star Kurt Cobain (suicide at 27); President Richard Nixon (81); serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer (beaten to death in prison at 34)

Top grossing film for the year (domestic): Forrest Gump ($329.7 million)
(worldwide): The Lion King ($877.6 million)
Academy Award Best Picture winner*: Schindler's List directed by Steven Spielberg
Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or winner: Pulp Fiction directed by Quentin Tarantino

Movies from my collection
The Hudsucker Proxy
The Professional
Pulp Fiction
Quiz Show

Non-movie related
- Remember Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan getting clubbed on her knee ahead of the Olympics and the whole scandal involving rival Tonya Harding? Yep, that was 6 January 1994
- On 27 April, South Africa held its first multi-racial elections, electing Nelson Mandela president.
- Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman were brutally murdered on 12 June. Five days later O.J. Simpson and a friend led police on a low-speed highway chase that ended in Simpson's arrest for the murders.


25 Years Ago (1989)


Most 25 year anniversaries and commemorations will be covered in my month-by-month reports, so for the new year I'll just highlight a few things that won't be covered in a specific month.

Number of films I've seen: 80
My average rating: 5.21/10
My best of the year: Do the Right Thing directed by Spike Lee
My worst of the year: Teen Witch directed by Dorian Walker

Top grossing film for the year (domestic): Batman ($251.2 million)
(worldwide): Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade ($474.2 million)

Movies from my collection
Do the Right Thing
The Killer
Say Anything...

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame eligibility (debut recordings in 1989 with nominees chosen at the end of 2014 for induction in 2015)

Tom Petty released his first solo album, Full Moon Fever, apart from The Hearbreakers in 1989. It featured the hits "Runnin' Down a Dream," "Free Fallin'," and "I Won't Back Down." He may not be a first year entrant, but it seems likely he'll eventually get in as a solo act.

Nine Inch Nails, although I'm not personally a fan, seems like it should be a contender one day, if not in the first year of eligibility.

Green Day will almost definitely be voted in this year.

30 Years Ago (1984)

Touchstone Pictures was created by Disney as a means of releasing movies that don't fit the Disney family image.

The Motion Picture Association of America established the PG-13 rating in direct response to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, which fell somewhere in between a child-friendly PG and a clearly grown up-oriented R.

Number of films I've seen: 48
My average rating: 5.56/10
My best of the year: Paris, Texas directed by Wim Wenders
My worst of the year: Conan the Destroyer directed by Richard Fleischer

film debuts: Jennifer Connelly^ (Once Upon a Time in America); Johnny Depp+ (A Nightmare on Elm Street); Colin Firth^ and Rupert Everett (Another Country); Heather Graham (Mrs. Soffel); Andie MacDowell (Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes); Kyle MacLachlan (Dune); Val Kilmer (Top Secret!); John Malkovich+ (Places in the Heart); Frances McDormand^ (Blood Simple); Tim Roth+ (The Hit); Elisabeth Shue+ (The Karate Kid); Marisa Tomei^ (The Flamingo Kid); Charlie Sheen (Red Dawn);  Ken Watanabe+ (MacArthur's Children)

directing debuts: Joel^ and Ethan Coen^ (Blood Simple); Roland Emmerich (The Noah's Ark Principle); John Hughes (Sixteen Candles); Rob Reiner+ (This Is Spinal Tap); Lars von Trier (The Element of Crime)

+future Oscar nominee
^future Oscar winner

notable births: Actresses Jena Malone and Scarlett Johansson
notable deaths: Actor Richard Burton (58); Writer-director Francois Truffaut (52); Director Sam Peckinpah (59)

Top grossing film for the year (domestic): Beverly Hills Cop ($234.7 million)
(worldwide): Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom ($333.1 million)
Academy Award Best Picture winner*: Terms of Endearment directed by James L. Brooks
Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or winner: Paris, Texas directed by Wim Wenders

Movies from my collection
This Is Spinal Tap

Non-movie related
- On 24 January the Macintosh personal computer went on sale for the first time.
- The discovery of the AIDS virus by United States researchers was announced on 23 April
- On 6 November Ronald Reagan won re-election over Walter Mondale by taking 49 states and 59% of the popular vote.



40 Years Ago (1974)


Number of films I've seen: 11
My average rating: 8/10
My best of the year: The Godfather Part II directed by Francis Ford Coppola

film debuts: Denzel Washington^ (uncredited role in Death Wish); Jeff Goldblum+ (also Death Wish)
directing debuts: John Carpenter (Dark Star); Jonathan Demme^ (Caged Heat); Wolfgang Petersen+ (One or the Other of Us); Steven Spielberg^ (The Sugarland Express); Oliver Stone^ (Seizure)
notable births: Actors Christian Bale^, Penélope Cruz^, Hilary Swank^, Michael Shannon+, Amy Adams+, Joaquin Phoenix+, Leonardo DiCaprio+, Chloe Sevigny+, Giovanni Ribisi, Ryan Phillippe, 
notable deaths: Actor and comedian Bud Abbott (78); actors Jack Benny (80) and Walter Brennan (80)

^future Oscar winner
+future Oscar nominee

Top grossing film for the year (domestic): Blazing Saddles ($119.5 million)
(worldwide): The Godfather Part II ($193 million)
Academy Award Best Picture winner*: The Sting directed by George Roy Hill
Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or winner: The Conversation directed by Francis Ford Coppola

Movies from my collection
Blazing Saddles
Chinatown
The Conversation
The Godfather Part II
Young Frankenstein

Non-movie related
- Carrie was Stephen King's first novel published without a pseudonym
- On 8 August Richard Nixon announced his resignation from the presidency.
- Vice President Gerald Ford was sworn in as the 38th President of the United States on 9 August.


50 Years Ago (1964)

Number of films I've seen: 8
My average rating: 7.125/10
My best of the year: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb directed by Stanley Kubrick

film debuts: James Earl Jones^ (Dr. Strangelove); Morgan Freeman^ (The Pawnbroker); Olympia Dukakis^ (Twice a Man); Judi Dench^ (The Third Secret)
directing debuts: Milos Forman (Black Peter); Philip Kaufman (Goldstein)
notable births: Actors Nicolas Cage^, Bridget Fonda, Laura Linney+, Matt Dillon, Juliette Binoche^, Rob Lowe, Russell Crowe^, Courtney Cox, Sandra Bullock^, Marisa Tomei^

^future Oscar winner
+future Oscar nominee

Top grossing film for the year (domestic): Mary Poppins ($92.7 million)
(worldwide): Mary Poppins or Goldfinger or My Fair Lady
Academy Award Best Picture winner*: Tom Jones directed by Tony Richardson
Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or winner: The Umbrellas of Cherbourg directed by Jacques Demy

Movies from my collection
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
A Hard Day's Night

Non-movie related
- The "British Invasion" started with the introduction of The Beatles in the United States and their first American #1 single: "I Want to Hold Your Hand." On 9 February they made their famous appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show."
- On 13 March Kitty Genovese was not saved from a stabbing death in Queens as 38 neighbors heard her screams, but did nothing.
- "Jeopardy!" game show debuted on ABC on 30 March with host Art Fleming.
- Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life in prison and sent to Robben Island on 12 June.
- On 2 July the Civil Rights Act became law.



75 Years Ago (1939)

Number of films I've seen: 9
My average rating: 7.11/10
My best of the year: The Wizard of Oz directed by Victor Fleming

notable births: Actors Paul Sorvino, Harvey Keitel+, Ian McKellen+, Terence Stamp+, Lily Tomlin+, F. Murray Abraham^, John Cleese+; Directors Francis Ford Coppola^, Michael Cimino+, Joel Schumacher, Peter Bogdanovich+, Wes Craven
notable deaths: Actor Douglas Fairbanks (56 - heart attack)

^future Oscar winner
+future Oscar nominee

Top grossing film for the year (domestic): Gone with the Wind
(worldwide): Gone with the Wind
Academy Award Best Picture winner*: You Can't Take it with You

Movies from my collection
Stagecoach
The Wizard of Oz

Non-movie related
- The Spanish Civil War came to an end and Francisco Franco assumed dictatorial control until 1945.
- Batman made his first comic book appearance on 1 May.
- After aggressive moves throughout the year, Germany invaded Poland on 1 September, thus beginning WWII. Britain and France then declare war on Germany. Also, Nepal declared war on Germany, thank you very much.



Centennial (1914)


Charlie Chapin debuted his "Little Tramp" character in The Kid Auto Races at Venice.

Number of films I've seen: 3 Chaplin short films

film debuts: Charlie Chaplin^ (Making a Living); Theda Bara (The Stain); Emil Jannings^ (Passionels Tagebuch)
directing debuts: Cecil B. DeMille (The Squaw Man); Charlie Chaplin (Twenty Minutes of Love)
notable births: Actor Alec Guinness^ (d. 2000); Director Robert Wise^ (d. 2005)

^future Oscar winner

Non-movie related
- On 28 June the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated in Sarajevo, setting off a chain of events that led to WWI.
- Babe Ruth made his major league debut with the Red Sox on 11 July.

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