Category: Retrospectives

Scream

Long before films like Cabin in the Woods and Shaun of the Dead were praised for subverting and reinventing the tired horror genre and the zombie subgenre, respectively, Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson gave us Scream.  The horror genre, more so than most others, has faced some hard times over the years, although our Editor-in-Chief is marking 2014 as a win for scary movies.  And even though the topic of the quality of modern horror is constantly sparking fiery debates all over the internet, I think we an all agree that, for the most part, the late 80’s and early 90’s royally sucked for the fans of the scary.  Production companies were cranking out a plethora of cash grab sequels of established, guaranteed moneymaking slasher franchises such as Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Nightmare on Elm Street. In the midst of this lull, Craven and Williamson swoop in with their young, recognizable cast and revitalize the genre, spawning a new generation of horror. Scream managed to breathe new life into horror by being one of the first to combine both humor and self awareness with gore and scares.  Comedy is very rarely inserted into horror, because, well, why would they want you to laugh when you’re suppose to be scared?  The goal of a horror film is to evoke fear, not laughter or enjoyment, so if an audience is chuckling, chances are high something...

Read More

Dead Right or Crazy? Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, 75 Years Later

Yesterday, the political classic Mr. Smith Goes to Washington celebrated its 75th Anniversary.  That means, in terms of historical placement, Frank Capra’s movie is now closer to the adoption of the 13th Amendment than it is to our current moment.  That chronological context might, at first, seem to explain the film’s moral simplicity, its distinct straight line between good and bad (the Capra-line, if you will).  It was a simpler time, a newer art form, a younger democracy, and a country not yet fully aware of the violently dark corners of humanity that would be navigated during World War...

Read More

Screw It, I’m Talking About Fight Club, a 15th Anniversary Retrospective

When I first watched Fight Club my film knowledge was abysmal. But, I was, in that moment, convinced that I had just seen a contemporary masterpiece. It’s worth noting: I had no idea what that meant, nor will I attempt to act like I did. Fight Club was released fifteen years ago today. And I was nine. Yeah, nine. Most of what I think about the film now I have gathered from later viewings. I probably watched it 20 times in my teens because I thought it was so, so cool. That word stuck with me for years when...

Read More

Shaun of the Dead

In 2004, I was 14 years old and had idea of what my own interests were. My family never took trips to the theater, and I didn’t have the means to go on my own, but shortly after Christmas, somehow, my brother convinced our dad to bring home a DVD. That’s the first time I remember watching Shaun of the Dead and the first time I connected with a film on a substantial level. I distinctly remember after the film had ended, it was as if someone had finally laid the foundation for my personality. I watched the film on repeat for the next few months. Like any teenager, I still wrestled with other facets of my identity, but one quality-of-self was a fixture from then on:  I loved film. And since Shaun of the Dead was the first film to teach me that I had that sort of passion within, it’s not just my favorite movie, but one of my favorite parts of myself. While layered and intelligent, Shaun of the Dead is not a film that demands heavy analysis or the application of advanced film theory (though I’m sure one could manage if one were so inclined). It’s the perfect film for a teenager to carry into adulthood without having to step away from that attachment.  There’s enough to enjoy here in straightforward homage and patiently crafted...

Read More

Still So Cool, Still So Cool: True Romance Turns 21

In 1993, Terrence Malick was a fable, a ghost, a legend in hiding who had disappeared from the public-facing film landscape after dropping two of the greatest films of all time (Badlands, Days of Heaven).  There was buzz of his eventual return, hopeful but unconvincing, as he was reported to have been working on several projects early in the decade.  Malick was a director whose status of untouchable film royalty was informed and preserved by the same reclusive antics to which he still adheres. I imagine cinephiles in attendance for True Romance’s premiere must have watched with both eyebrows...

Read More

Who You Gonna Call? Ghostbusters: 30 Years Later

Just like most cinephiles out there, many of the movies I’ve seen throughout my life have a way of linking themselves permanently to specific memories or time periods.  Sometimes the memories that resurface are expected ones that are often remembered fondly, and other times they pull forward a time and place I had otherwise forgotten.  I was excited when I read Ghostbusters was being re-released in theaters for the 30th Anniversary, not because it had special meaning, but because I jump at every chance to have a theater experience with a movie I enjoy.  Recently, the trailer for the new...

Read More

Mary Poppins 50th Anniversary Retrospective

I did not have the pleasure of viewing Mary Poppins upon its initial release 50 years ago in 1964. Nor did I see it when I was a young child. I was first introduced to this practically perfect lady when I was in high school. Mulling through these teenage years, I did not lose sight of the awe and wonder threaded into the antics of the two British children, Jane and Michael, and the lessons from a woman who appeared with the changing winds. I recall being fascinated by the diluted colors, the faint colloquialisms, and the catchy musical...

Read More

The Sixth Sense – Fifteen Years Later

The Sixth Sense came out in 1999. I was 5 years old (almost 6). I don’t remember very much from that time, but I do vividly remember watching this film for the first time and being absolutely chilled to the bone. It has always taken a lot to scare me. I was raised on the horror genre. I can remember staying up late at night, clinging to my covers and craving the adrenaline rush that came with watching a really bone-chilling scary movie. But The Sixth Sense terrified me. Not because it was violent or gory, but because The...

Read More

The Iron Giant – A 15th Anniversary Retrospective

The Iron Giant isn’t the first movie I ever saw. It is the first movie I remember wanting to see. In fact, I wanted to see it so much that I overcame my trepidation surrounding movie theaters (the loud noise made me anxious) and convinced my parents to take me twice. I remember buying the VHS as soon as it came out, and I remember my dad exchanging it for the fullscreen version because he thought the letterboxing was a mistake. Though the prevalence of other movies from that time in popular culture drowned it out, The Iron Giant...

Read More

Mean Girls: Ten Years Later

Overview: A teenage girl (Lindsay Lohan) struggles to find her place when she is introduced to the cattiness and cliques that make up high school girl world. 2004; Paramount Pictures; rated PG-13; 97 minutes. Fetch Is Still Happening:  Where Mean Girls excels is in its innate ability to relate to the mind of the teenage girl in a manner that is now proven timeless.  Your average teenage girl has two all-consuming burning desires:  1) Popularity.  2) Hot Boyfriend.  These desires haven’t changed over the years and they probably never will. Even though the basic premise of high school cliques...

Read More