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Thursday, October 22, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Time to celebrate a few cinematic anniversaries

Dan Webster

Above: Gabriel Byrne (left) and John Turturro in a scene from "Miller's Crossing." (Twentieth Century Fox)

Most of us like to celebrate anniversaries. The greeting-card industry has built its whole existence around one such observance after the next.

Same with certain corners of the film industry. Before movie theaters in Washington (and, more recently, Regal’s Riverstone Stadium 14 in Coeur d’Alene) closed down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fathom Events was regularly offering regional movie fans anniversary screenings of various films.

We might have had the chance to see the 60th-anniversary screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s film “Psycho.” Or the 40th-anniversry screening of Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” (just in time for Halloween).

So I was thinking offhandedly of movies that were made 30 years ago. And I came up with a list of movies made in 1990 that I would like to see again:

  1. “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Directed by Volker Schlöndorf, screenplay adapted by Harold Pinter from Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel. In this oh-so-appropriate-today blast from the past, Natasha Richardson stars as a woman caught up in a world where religious orthodoxy has responded to widespread sterility by subjugating women and treating them as little more than vessels for procreation. (Note: The novel was redone as a three-season HBO miniseries starring Elisabeth Moss.) Streaming through Amazon Prime, iTunes, etc.
  2. “Awakenings.” Directed by Penny Marshall, adapted by Steven Zaillian from Oliver Sacks’ 1973 book. Robin Williams stars as Sacks, who oversaw treatment of patients in catatonic states who responded favorably (at first) to experimental drugs. Streaming through Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Hulu, etc. (Note: The documentary "Oliver Sacks: His Own Life" is also available for home viewing.)
  3. “Miller’s Crossing.” Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen from their own original screenplay. Gabriel Byrne stars as the right-hand man of a mob boss (played by Albert Finney). Though he’s seeing the boss’ girlfriend (Marcia Gay Harden) on the sly, our anti-hero protagonist tries to stay loyal as the city's gangs go to war over the distribution of booze. Streaming through Amazon Prime, iTunes, etc.
  4.  “Edward Scissorhands.” Directed by Tim Burton. Johnny Depp stars as the title character, a humanoid left unfinished by his late creator (Vincent Price) and who is left to navigate his way through a world that can never understand him – until he falls in love (with Winona Ryder). Streaming through Amazon Prime, iTunes, etc.
  5. “Dances With Wolves.” Directed by Kevin Costner. This multiple Oscar-winner stars Costner as a Civil War veteran who is stationed on the far Western frontier, who  befriends the local Indians and then must choose sides when his fellow soldiers come calling. Streaming through Amazon Prime, iTunes, Hulu, etc.

Those are just a few of the offerings available. But they make a good celebratory start.

Before tuning in, maybe I’ll bake a cake and decorate it with some candles. That's what you do during anniversary events, right?


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