If there is one thing the movie-loving Internet-reading masses love, it’s celebrating the anniversary of a favorite film. After all, yesterday unofficially became Can’t Hardly Wait day around the world (or possibly just on my Twitter feed, but still) as cinephiles joined together to talk about how much they loved a Jennifer Love Hewitt-starring nineties-era teen movie that turned fifteen years old in the middle of a nondescript workweek.
Encouraged by the Internet’s adoration of weirdo movie anniversaries, I decided to plunge back into the archives and turn up some other titles that are celebrating anniversaries this week. The results were insane – and also incredibly amusing. Given the box office tradition of opening films on Fridays, and given that today is the thirteenth of the month, I’d assumed that a surplus of horror films would pop up from recent years. I was wrong – and while there were no horror films, there were plenty of horrifying films. Please, join me in celebrating some unsung anniversaries, as The Happening turns five, Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd reaches a decade in existence, and Speed 2: Cruise Control celebrates its Sweet Sixteen. Bet you wish it was still June 12th, right?
M. Night Shyamalan‘s The Happening was released on June 13, 2008, and while the film could be sold as a thriller to anyone who has never seen it (or even heard of it), it’s one of the least thrilling films involving global crisis, mass death, and terrorism-laced hysteria ever made. Mainly because it’s not really about any of those things – it’s about plants trying to rid the world of human beings because they’ve finally had enough. It’s sort of like Falling Down for beings that rely on sunlight to live.
The Happening was, at the time, the death knell of Shyamalan’s career, coming on the heels of the maligned The Village (which I still sort of like) and the heavy-handed Lady in the Water. Shyamalan would follow the film with The Last Airbender, star Mark Wahlberg would later call it “a bad movie,” and the world’s plants and human beings continue to live together in peace.
Happy birthday, The Happening!
If you’re still in need of that probably-never-going-to-happen Dumb and Dumber sequel, it’s likely because you’re trying to sandblast the imagery from 2003’s Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd off your eyeballs. The film opened on June 13, 2003 to near-universal hatred, despite its super-fun eighties-era wardrobe and truly disturbingly (and weirdly spot-on) performances by Eric Christian Olsen and Derek Richardson as Lloyd and Harry. Why this movie exists, we’ll never know for sure, but it does, and it’s ten years old today.
Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd made fun of special needs kids, featured Shia LaBeouf in a puffy star suit, and made the poop gags in the original film seem like they were in good taste. Don’t weep for director Troy Miller, however, he’s gone on to direct episodes of Parks and Recreation, The Office, and Arrested Development. Just when we thought he couldn’t possibly be any dumber, he goes and does something like this…and totally redeems himself!
Happy birthday, Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd!
Oh, my God, you guys, do you remember Speed 2: Cruise Control? If there is one guilty pleasure, Sunday afternoon, just-happens-to-be-on-TNT-again film out there that did not need a sequel in any way, shape, or form, it was 1994’s Speed. But on June 13, 1997, we got one anyway, in the form of Speed 2: Cruise Control. While the film reunited director Jan de Bont and star Sandra Bullock as Annie, it also jettisoned original leading man Keanu Reeves (huh, guess that relationships that start under intense circumstances really do never last) in favor of Jason Patric. Seriously, Annie, you need to get away from these cop dudes. Whatever, it was a high seas adventure (not) about a crazy guy (again) who wants to destroy a cruise ship by crashing it into an oil tanker (for funsies). There was also a deaf girl.
Speed 2: Cruise Control didn’t sink the careers of its stars (and good for them), but it did crash a cruise boat straight into a tropical harbor, featured Willem Dafoe cleansing his blood with leeches, and was later derided by Bullock. At least it came with that maximum chill reggae-infused soundtrack.
Happy birthday, Speed 2: Cruise Control!
Now, tell us, of these three birthday babies, which would you rather pop in the ol’ VCR right now?