An eager reader writes:
I hope you’re going to publish some emails on this subject. I love movies. I love lists. And I love the contributions from Dish readers. If I may, I’d like to get the ball rolling:
1999 gave us Fight Club; South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut; Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (in retrospect a terrible film, but at the time I was jonesing for some new Star Wars); The Matrix; The Sixth Sense; The Insider; Office Space; Election; and a personal favorite: The 13th Warrior.
A more cynical contributor:
This of course is the sort of post designed to unleash a tsunami of comments, so whenever you need some time to perfect the latest think piece, you can turn out a quick “Ctd” to keep the masses engaged until it’s done.
OK, I’ll bite.
I’ve always (well, for 17 years, anyway) been partial to 1996. Any year that produces both the perfect Fargo and the equally perfect Lone Star has a good head start, but throw in Swingers, Bottle Rocket, Branagh’s Hamlet, Sling Blade, Trainspotting, Mars Attacks!, Beautiful Girls, and Big Night – plus the docs Looking for Richard and When We Were Kings – and it’s hard to think of a better 12-month run. Even the big studio productions seem have at least sipped from the same water source as the indies, with Jerry Maguire, Twister, and The People vs Larry Flynt.
The English Patient won best picture … some folks liked that one, too.
Another looks further back:
I’m sure you’ll get plenty of emails picking this year, but 1939 still gets my vote for GYIF. Just take a look at the Best Picture nominees: Dark Victory; Gone With The Wind; Goodbye, Mr. Chips; Love Affair; Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (one of my all-time favorites); Ninotchka; Of Mice And Men; Stagecoach; The Wizard Of Oz; and Wuthering Heights.
Other great movies that year include The Rules of the Game, Gunga Din, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Destry Rides Again, Son of Frankenstein, Young Mr. Lincoln, and The Women. I have a hard time believing that any other year can top that.
Another recalls working as an usher in 1982:
I was hired Tuesday, June 8, on the spot. They were desperate for help, and with good reason. I started work that Friday night, June 11: the opening night of E.T. Here’s what I remember about the six auditoriums, my first night on the job:
Screen #1: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Screen #2: Poltergeist
Screen #3: E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial
Screen #4: Grease 2
Screen #6: The Road Warrior
The lobby, that first night, was jam-packed. Stuffed. The line, four or five people across, stretched out of the front of the theater, into the mall, circling around the corner, going back at least 50 yards, maybe more like 60. The vast majority of that was for E.T.
In the above list, those first three screens were the big rooms, capacity somewhere between 350 and 400. E.T. would remain on screen #3 until the following January. It left the Ingram 6 exactly 52 weeks later. Remember: There was no home video market at this time. If you had home movie library, it’s because you were using your VCR to record movies of HBO (using blank tapes that probably set you back $6 to $10 each).
I remember one particular scene, towards the end of Poltergeist, that always caught people off guard. The on-screen action was punctuated by a music punch, and the whole room screamed. The people in the lobby, waiting with their tickets and popcorn, were maybe 20 feet from the doors. They could hear the screaming, and a few of them got bug-eyed. “I have tickets to see that?!”
Update from a reader:
For me, the answer is clearly 1994. It has my favorite film of the 1990s (Pulp Fiction), the top-rated film in IMDb (The Shawshank Redemption), the apex of the Disney Renaissance (The Lion King), and that doesn’t even include the Academy Award winner for Best Picture (Forrest Gump).
There’s a Youtube for that:
(Top video: 1976)