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  • Summer of Film
  • When Harry Met Sally

    The All-Inclusive Rom-Com

    When Harry Met Sally

    Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan make cute in New York. It was the late '80s channeling late '70s Woody Allen.

    Legacy: “I’ll have what she’s having.” Meaning: a romantic comedy that equally appealed to men and women, with plenty of catch phrases and a solid understanding of male-female dynamics behind it. And crafter of the best ever white man dancing GIF.

    View trailer here

  • Lethal Weapon 2

    The Better Sequel

    Lethal Weapon 2

    Admittedly, the story — something about gold, drug smuggling and South African apartheid — is severely dated. And so are Joe Pesci’s, ahem, Joe Pesci-isms. But ...

    Legacy: Though a foundation for a million terrible buddy cop flicks, the burgeoning bromance between Riggs and Murtaugh remains unparalleled (even by you, True Detective).

    View trailer here

    The Better Sequel

    Lethal Weapon 2

    Admittedly, the story — something about gold, drug smuggling and South African apartheid — is severely dated. And so are Joe Pesci’s, ahem, Joe Pesci-isms. But...

    Legacy: Though a foundation for a million terrible buddy cop flicks, the burgeoning bromance between Riggs and Murtaugh remains unparalleled (even by you, True Detective).

    View trailer here

  • Batman

    The Superhero Blueprint

    Batman

    Tim Burton understands misfits. And set design. And working with an A-level cast. Suddenly, the “dark” superhero movie was legit.

    Legacy: For one, if you craft a perfect movie trailer, the masses will come. And they’ll stay if you (stunt) cast a memorable villain.

    View trailer here

  • Dead Poets

    The Sleeper Hit

    Dead Poets Society

    An unconventional English teacher shakes up a stuffy prep school, channeling Walt Whitman and making literary clubs seem dangerous and cool.

    Legacy: A small drama can stand out in a sea of summer explosions. And a “funny” Robin Williams can make a good film when the material’s steady. Carpe diem, Mr. Williams.

    View trailer here

  • The Abyss

    The Flawed Masterpiece

    The Abyss

    Mature sci-fi? James Cameron begins his deep oceanic obsession with an adult-minded tale of divorce and translucent aliens.

    Legacy: Without this, there’s no Avatar (hmmmm ...). Also, it introduces the idea that a director’s cut can vastly improve — and flesh out — a complex movie. Spoiler alert: in the expanded version, those aliens were pissed off

    View trailer here

  • Sex Lies Videotape

    The Rebirth of Indie Film

    Sex, Lies and Videotape

    Steven Soderbergh’s debut centers on infidelity, sexual dysfunction and — pre-Internet, mind you — candid sexual confessions caught on tape.

    Legacy: The surprise success of SLV was the beginning of the fertile '90s indie film movement. I.e., no Sex = no Tarantino and no Miramax. And maybe no more Soderbergh.

    View trailer here

  • Do the Right Thing

    The Lightning Rod

    Do the Right Thing

    On the hottest day of the summer, a race riot breaks out in Brooklyn. But it’s how we got there that’s the real story.

    Legacy: Aside from proof that summer films can demand thought and push buttons, DTRT served as a launching pad for Samuel L. Jackson, Martin Lawrence and director/star Spike Lee. Also, one of the best opening credits sequences ever (kudos, Public Enemy).

    View trailer here

  • Last Crusade

    The Trilogy That Worked

    Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

    Spielberg re-ups with the Nazis, introduces Indy’s dad (Sean Connery, winningly cantankerous) and briefly flashes back to Jones’s childhood.

    Legacy: A clever meditation on father-son relationships disguised as summer romp. Also, a lighter step up from the gloomy Temple of Doom, and a fitting finale — we thought — for the best summer film trilogy ever.

    View trailer here

  • Road House

    The Cult Flick

    Road House

    Mulleted bouncer (Patrick Swayze) faces off against a corrupt businessman (Ben Gazzara), who wields an iron hand over a town. A town with two stores and a bar.

    Legacy: Roger Ebert coined this is a “good-bad” movie ... and, 15 years on, maybe it’s THE good-bad movie. 

    View trailer here

  • Weekend at Bernies

    The Gross-Out Comedy

    Weekend at Bernie’s

    Two insurance schlubs pretend their boss is still alive to escape a mob hit. Misunderstandings and broad physical comedy ensue.

    Legacy: Implied necrophilia. Murder as farce. Corpse as comedy prop. In other words, a film practically begging for a Seth Rogen remake.

    View trailer here

  • Honey

    The Not-So-Kids Film

    Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

    An in-his-prime Rick Moranis accidentally shrinks his progeny. Tiny dangers ensue: bees, sprinklers, scorpions — even Cheerios.

    Legacy: Mix some clever special effects, physical comedy and a real coming-of-age story, and you’ve got a “kids” film that appealed equally to adults. Side note: loved how Letterman always dismissed the film as “Mom, I Ate the Kids.”

    View trailer here