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In many ways, the Summer of 1982 is the reason I am a film critic today.
After all, that was the summer I learned conclusively that I do not always agree with the herd, either critically or commercially, and there were films that were important to me that year, films I believed with my whole heart were great films, that came out and tanked completely. At the time, I felt like I was out there on my own regarding these movies, and it was only later, after time had passed, that people came around and the films began to grow in reputation. I believe that time has ultimately sided with me on these films, and now "Blade Runner" and "The Thing" are considered classics of their genre, but at the time of release, these were not movies that garnered any easy acclaim.
Five years ago, I was still working for Ain't It Cool News, and I decided I wanted to run a series of articles on the site celebrating the 25th anniversary of what I consider the greatest single genre year of my life. I recruited some of the other writers from the site and asked them to write about the movies that mattered to them that year. Nordling's piece about "E.T" won him a piece of handwritten fan mail from none other than Steven Spielberg. Harry wrote up "Tron," one of his favorite movies. My writing partner Scott Swan put together a look back at "Creepshow." We covered "Poltergeist," "Porky's," "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," "The Last American Virgin," "The Secret Of Nimh," "The Dark Crystal" and more. It was one of those series that made me enormously proud, and I still think of it as a high watermark for the site.
Now, the Alamo Drafthouse is celebrating the 30th anniversary of that same summer in a fashion that only they could pull off, and I am very pleased to announce that HitFix will be involved. Heck, we're going to get to kick things off with the first screening on May 11th.
"A screening?" you say. "A screening of what?" Well, I'm glad you asked. This summer, the Alamo Drafthouse is going to be bringing the films of the Summer of 1982 back to the bigscreen, on the same weekends that they originally opened. That means that on the weekend of May 11th, they're going to be opening "Conan The Barbarian," and I get to be the one to introduce the film. Anyone who read my work at Ain't It Cool knows how many times I referenced "Conan" and how important that film is to me. I think John Milius absolutely crushed it, perfectly capturing the spirit of what Robert E. Howard wrote even if he didn't adapt any single piece of material. I wrote about the Oliver Stone draft of the film in one piece, and I also covered the script that Milius wrote for a proposed sequel, "King Conan: Crown Of Iron," but I'm always happy to take any opportunity to write about the film and to speak about it.
In addition to our "Conan" screening, sites like Badass Digest, Collider, Movies.com, Film School Rejects, and, yes, Ain't It Cool, will all be presenting different films like "E.T.," "The Thing," "Rocky III," and "Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan." You can see which sites and which films right here, which is also where you can buy tickets for the screenings, or you can just read the following press release from the Alamo:
Alamo Drafthouse is recreating the “Summer of 1982” to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the greatest summer of movies… ever! From May through July, the theater will replicate 1982’s earth-shaking release schedule, screening eight of the biggest genre classics on the same weekends they were released exactly 30 years ago. These gargantuas include CONAN THE BARBARIAN, THE ROAD WARRIOR, ROCKY III, POLTERGEIST, STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN, E.T., THE THING and TRON, all presented in 35mm.
As you can see, the “Summer of 1982” was an unprecedented super-tornado of Hollywood magic, mixing high adventure with interstellar impossibilities and unthinkable horrors. A generation of imaginations were set aflame, and there has never been another stretch of cinematic dynamite to match it. These movies endured beyond their opening weekend and decades later the releases throughout the “Summer of 1982” are forever tattooed on the hearts of movie fans across the globe.
Alamo Drafthouse is excited to partner with eight film sites on “Summer of 1982”, working collaboratively to honor this very special (and relentlessly fun) chapter in movie history. The editors and writers of these sites all cite this summer as being formative to their movie geekdom. Ain’t It Cool News, Badass Digest, Collider, Film School Rejects, First Showing, HitFix, Movies.com & Slashfilm will each co-host their own “Summer of 1982” movie.
The programmers are currently scheming additional ways to turn back the clock to 1982 at the Alamo, including lining up all of the 35mm trailers that originally played with each film on their opening weekend! There will be fun ballyhoo, special guests and stunning new Mondo posters for select films.
Alamo Drafhouse will celebrate the “Summer of 1982” in all markets across Texas and Winchester, VA. The following schedule is set at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz in Austin. Stay tuned for news from other Alamo theaters on their schedule.
May 11 - CONAN THE BARBARIAN
May 18 - THE ROAD WARRIOR
May 25 - ROCKY III
June 1 – POLTERGEIST
June 3 - STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN
June 8 - E.T.
June 22 - THE THING
TBA – BLADE RUNNER*
July 6 – TRON
*Note, the Alamo programming team is working hard to schedule the sci-fi opus BLADE RUNNER. Watch for updates via @drafthouse and Facebook.com/AlamoDrafthouse.
Still not totally pumped up and hyped? How about a trailer? If they had cut a trailer like this for the Summer of '82 the first time around, I'm not sure my 12-year-old heart could have taken it:
Great work by Tommy Swenson on that one. How about a poster for the entire screening series, designed by Luther Himes?
This is another example of the Alamo thinking outside the box. It's one thing to show these films, but to actually release them on the right weekends and then to program trailer rings that should be accurate to when the films originally came out and to bring in guests and to make the entire thing a celebration of this one glorious moment when it felt like they got genre right everywhere you turned… well, that's pure Alamo, and I am honored to be part of this event.
I hope I'll see some of you there, and I trust that anyone who comes to my "Conan" screening is there because they know what is good in life. Together, we will crush our enemies… see them driven before us… and we will hear the lamentations of their wimmen.
And it will be 1982 all over again.
We'll have special articles about these films as each weekend arrives, and we look forward to writing more about this very special summer as we celebrate it right here at Motion/Captured.