The Anniversary Edition: Movies Turning 25 This Year
There’s a lot that can be said about getting older. It makes your car worth less, your experiences bigger and your wine more expensive. In some cases, it has little to no impact at all. This seems to be the fate of movies. When movies get old, one of two things typically happens. One, they become a classic, and two, they fade away. Maybe this is why so many of us revisit our favourite movies or watch some of the less popular films. We don’t want them to fade away, not completely.
When I was writing my Indiana Jones article and realized just how old the movies actually were, I started thinking of movies that were celebrating their twenty-fifth anniversary this year. I was curious to take a look at the list. Were they popular films? Did they survive anonymity, that final fade? I had to find out.
Here are just a few of the films turning twenty-five this year, forgotten or not.
John McClane was on everybody’s mind last month with the release of A Good Day to Die Hard, the fifth film in the Die Hard series. It’s hard to believe that John McClane has been fighting international terrorists for that long, but it’s true. The first film, which some believe is still the best, was released July 15th, 1988. This is surprising since the film centers around a Christmas party takeover. Talk about having Christmas in July! Still, it’s obviously emerged as a classic, spawning a number of sequels. I especially liked the one where John McClane retired and the bad guys still came after him. Oh wait… sorry, that was Red.
I haven’t met anybody who hasn’t enjoyed this movie (and please, don’t accept that as a challenge). Whether it be the fabulous performance from Bob Hoskins, the story and concept, or the combination of toon and human worlds colliding, this movie has it all. And, surprise surprise, it is being released to a special Blue-Ray edition on its twenty-fifth anniversary. Little known fact: the villainous weasels were originally from Disney’s short adaptation of The Wind in the Willows.
Having never seen this movie before, I decided to track it down and give it a watch. Unfortunately (and this is only my opinion), this is one of those films that has suffered slipping into anonymity. Eddie Murphy has fallen on hard times as an actor more than once, and while this film catches him in his early years, it is hardly a showcase for his talent. I hesitate to call this movie a rom-com but that is essentially what it is. The film isn’t that bad, especially with appearances by Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones and Samuel L. Jackson. There’s even some great bits where both Hall and Murphy play dual roles as barbers and other characters (foreshadowing Murphy’s schtick that would make him famous in The Nutty Professor). It’s just not enough to move it up to noticeable status. Then again, it has been released onto Blu-Ray, so maybe I’m just missing something.
Like most of Miyazaki’s movies, I’m going to have to say that when it first came out in America, it didn’t have a great box office turnover. But, also like most of Miyazaki’s movies, this film has gone on to become a classic (in certain circles). The story of two little sisters discovering that their new house is next door to that of a forest spirit and his friends is heartwarming. What makes the movie so engaging is that the story isn’t really about Totoro, but about the little girls. With Disney now distributing this and other of Miyazaki’s films, My Neighbor Totoro will no doubt become a classic for everyone.
Oh Val Kilmer, where have you gone? It’s revisiting movies like this that makes me wonder what has happened to some of my favorite actors. This film, which I had no idea was actually imagined by George Lucas, is one of those movies that you remember with fondness. Although there was a great deal of fantasy movies churned out in the late ’80s and early ’90s, this is still one of the better ones. It has definitely found its place as a cult classic, especially among fans of the fantasy genre. And if some of Val Kilmer’s lines to Sorsha aren’t funny, then I don’t know what is.
Now, granted, this is just a glimpse of a year. If you figure there are anywhere from 3-5 movies coming out a week, 52 weeks in a year, then that’s anywhere from 156 to 260 movies that were released in 1988. To only discuss five would be like discussing one week in film. I would love to hear the favorites that I’ve missed.
Follow me on Twitter @TheRealAtellix