In the year of 2021, I will be honouring the history of film by posting a monthly Reel Anarchy article detailing up to four films from the past that are celebrating an anniversary. I try to pick films that are at least 10 years old, but the emphasis is on films that are at least 20 years old. You might see some high-profile classics show up, but you might also see some more obscure picks as well.
In the history of film for the month of February . . .
This 1931 supernatural horror film is one of Hollywood’s finest classics. The Universal film stars Bela Lugosi in the timelessly iconic role of Count Dracula, was directed and co-produced by Tod Browning, and written by Garrett Fort. The movie was adapted from the 1924 stage play, which was adapted from the 1897 Bram Stoker novel of the same name. Dracula, one of the most iconic and archetypal horror films of all-time, was given the National Film Registry status by the U.S. Library of Congress in 2000. I highly recommend watching this classic for anyone interested in learning about the rich history of cinema.
Perhaps the most famous Adam Sandler comedy in all of his filmography – including my favorite of his as well – is the 1996 Universal classic, Happy Gilmore. Directed by Dennis Dugan and written by Tim Herlihy, Happy Gilmore remains a seminal comedy classic to this day. Adam Sandler stars as the title character: a hockey player playing golf. Carl Weathers, Christopher McDonald, and Julie Bowen also star in the film, along with an unforgettable cameo from the (now former) host of The Price is Right, Bob Barker. It is a cannot-miss comedy!
Celebrating 20 years of existence somehow is the Columbia Pictures raunchy comedy, Saving Silverman. The film stars Jack Black, Jason Biggs, Steve Zahn, Amanda Peet, and Amanda Detmer. The Dennis Dugan-directed film revolves around a guy’s two best friends scheming to prevent him from marrying a controlling woman and instead getting together with his high school sweetheart, whom is going to nun school. Fun fact: the main character (portrayed by Jason Biggs) shares the same first name as me. If you love Jack Black – or Neil Diamond – then this might be a fun watch for you.
Last, but not least, is Hannibal. Also celebrating its 20th anniversary, this MGM/Universal film was nominated for and won numerous awards. It was a stellar horror/thriller from director, Ridley Scott. The main cast includes Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore, Gary Oldman, and Ray Liotta. The plot synopsis on IMDB reads, “Living in exile, Dr. Hannibal Lecter tries to reconnect with now disgraced F.B.I. Agent Clarice Starling, and finds himself a target for revenge from a powerful victim.”
Despite pre-production issues with a new director, screenwriter, and main cast member (Jodie Foster opted not to return), the sequel adaptation to The Silence of the Lambs – set ten years later – drew a mixed response from critics, but went on to break box office records in multiple countries. During the time of its theatrical release, it garnered the fourth-best opening weekend box office of all-time. Hans Zimmer has also received high praise for his musical score for the film. If you love thrillers, this is a must-watch!
Have you seen any of these films? Are there any that you thought should have been on my list instead? Make sure to let us know! Thanks!
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