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Lizzy Caplan is among the New Yorkers put in peril in 2008’s “Cloverfield.” (Paramount Pictures)

Ultimate Movie Year finds the best films from weekends past to build an all-star lineup of cinema.

“Cloverfield”
Released Jan. 18, 2008
Directed by Matt Reeves
Where to Watch

The modern day marketing of films is focused on raising as much awareness of a new movie as possible, even if that means revealing most of the story beforehand, in order to engage its intended audience. But sometimes it’s thrilling to walk into the theater without having any idea of what to expect as another way to build anticipation. Enter “Cloverfield.”

And for better or worse, JJ Abrams is certainly good…


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Warrick Davis played the title character in the 1993 horror-comedy, “Leprechaun.” (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)

Ultimate Movie Year finds the best films from weekends past to build an all-star lineup of cinema.

“Leprechaun”
Released Jan. 8, 1993
Directed by Mark Jones
Where to Watch

Hollywood isn’t releasing their best and biggest in the first month of the calendar year, as recent history is filled with critically-reviled, easily forgotten movies. Considering we are limited to movies released only on this weekend in history (and we already struck gold with our previous pick, “Paddington 2”), we might as well turn our attention to the few films we can remember, even if they’re not the greatest. …


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David Thewlis voices Michael Stone and Jennifer Jason Leigh voices Lisa in the animated stop-motion film, “Anomalisa,” by Paramount Pictures (Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures). finds the best films from weekends past to build an all-star lineup of cinema.

Ultimate Movie Year finds the best films from weekends past to build an all-star lineup of cinema.

“Anomalisa”
Released Dec. 30, 2015
Directed by Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson
Where to Watch

It says something about how infantilized American society has become that the terms “adult themes” and “mature themes” suggest a story more scandalous than it really is. Film has at…


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Four of the most well regarded movies from 1995 include (Clockwise from top left) “Toy Story,” Morgan Freedman and Brad Pitt in “Seven,” Justin Walker and Alicia Silverstone in “Clueless,” and Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke in “Before Sunrise.”

With the benefit of more than two decades of hindsight, 1995 is a monumental year in film. In the eyes of critics, only a few movies from this year would be placed on a best of decade (or all-time) list, but if you opened the question to movie lovers and enthusiasts, the results would be much more positive. “Before Sunrise,” “Friday,” “Clueless,” “Seven,” “Toy Story,” and “Heat” are among the movies that reserved places in our hearts and minds, while others began trends that impacted the industry in the years since.

This is the year that a few of this…


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Borat (Sacha Baron Cohen, right) returns to America with his teenage daughter Tutar (Maria Bakalova) in “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.” (Courtesy of Amazon Studios)

“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”
Released Oct. 23, 2020
Directed by Jason Woliner
Where to Watch

“Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit of Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” was an unexpected and instant phenomenon upon its release in 2006. The movie starred Sacha Baron Cohen as his comedy character Borat Sagdiyev, a culturally ignorant television personality from Kazakhstan, as he remained in character while interacting with real people to satirize American life. …


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Ultimate Movie Year finds the best films from weekends past to build an all-star lineup of cinema.

“Step Brothers”
Released July 25, 2008
Directed by Adam McKay
Where to Watch

The Pick

History suggests this weekend is a good place for beloved comedies, so my head is leaning here. Plus, the back half of the year tends to go heavy on dramas, so this might be our last chance to celebrate the genre before entering the dog days of August. Thus far, we’ve managed to recognize several decade-defining comedies, and when it comes to the 00s, there is a specific type of comedy that came to the forefront.

The Reason

There is an element of immaturity when it comes to comedy…


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Ultimate Movie Year finds the best films from weekends past to build an all-star lineup of cinema.

“When Harry Met Sally …”
Released July 12, 1989
Directed by Rob Reiner
Where to Watch

It takes a remarkable confluence of talent and circumstance to not only make a great movie, but also one that is remembered throughout the ages. “When Harry Met Sally …” was a notable hit in the summer of 1989, but its endurance and legacy over the other romantic comedies of its era stem from a director in the midst of one of the all-time great runs, a…


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Ultimate Movie Year finds the best films from weekends past to build an all-star lineup of cinema.

“Back to the Future”
Released July 3, 1985
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Where to Watch

We’ve spent the past few weeks charting the decade-long seismic changes in the film industry due to the emergence and profitability of big, audience-pleasing blockbusters during the summer months. “Jaws” in 1975 started the wave with Steven Spielberg crafting a tale of ordinary people thrown into thrilling adventures. George Lucas introduced science fiction and fantasy into the mix with 1977’s “Star Wars.” In 1984, Ivan Reitman helped make…


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“Magic Mike XXL”
Released July 1, 2015
Directed by Gregory Jacobs
Where to Watch

What a year, huh? It’s July, but that’s beside the point. It’s safe to say the vast majority of us have been locked down in our houses for the past few months, and we’ve watched a lot of shit. Tiger King was a topic of conversation for a hot minute there, with my social media feed blowing up with references along the lines like I have to see it ASAP, but I put my flag in the sand and said to no one in particular, “Naw…


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Ultimate Movie Year finds the best films from weekends past to build an all-star lineup of cinema.

“Do the Right Thing”
Released June 30, 1989
Directed by Spike Lee
Where to Watch

Raw, uncomfortable, and uncompromising, Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” was controversial when it was released in 1989 (and famously snubbed at that year’s Oscars), but has since earned acclaim and respect among many. However, when film critics and historians rank the greatest movies of all time, it rarely makes the cut.

Watching “Do the Right Thing” in 2020 makes it more evident than ever that those decisions…

Mark Ciemcioch

Founder of Capen Media and writer who looks back on film history every week. Read past columns at www.ultimatemovieyear.com.

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