Some Of Your Favorite Movies Are Celebrating MAJOR Anniversaries This Year

Before writing this list, I couldn't tell you how old The Parent Trap was. After so many viewings and so many cultural references, that movie had acquired a sheen of timelessness for me. The knowledge that The Parent Trap is approaching its 20th anniversary comes as a shock — have I traveled so far from my first enraptured viewing of the movie, at age 5?
The movies haven't changed, but we have. These anniversaries give us older and wiser beings the opportunity to consider works as products of their historical era. For example, You've Got Mail, which will have its 20th anniversary in 2018, seems quaint. The movie was pitched as an exploration of modern love, and what happens when romance collides with the internet. In 2018, this a subject many of us are well versed in, after traversing the customs and habits of the ever-shifting online dating realm.
Advertisement
All of these movies are frozen in time. Some contain actors who are no longer with us (Alan Rickman in Die Hard). Some have spawned franchises, and seen storylines branch off from the original. Others are marred by our knowledge of misbehavior of the team behind the scenes. And some, believe it or not, were critically panned when they came out. Grease, for example, remains a relevant movie despite being 30 years old — but it was called "utterly without style" when it came out.
Over the years, these movies have acquired legendary status. With that in mind, let's travel back to the time to when they were just one of many movies out on a given weekend; back when critics couldn't fathom how famous they'd become, and their reviews may have been anything but fawning. Some of the Rotten Tomatoes scores for your favorite movies will surprise you.
Read These Stories Next:
1 of 19
The Wedding Singer
Celebrates its 20th anniversary on January 12

Long before he launched a Netflix comedy empire, Adam Sandler was an aspiring singer in the sappy yet endearing rom-com The Wedding Singer. Critics actually liked this one: "Finally, an Adam Sandler comedy that you can sit through without wanting to throw a mallet through the screen," Liam Lacey of Globe and Mail wrote.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 67% `
2 of 19
Planet Of The Apes
Celebrates its 50th anniversary on February 8

The original Planet of the Apes looks much different than the current, technologically advanced incarnations of the franchise. The apes in this movie are clearly humans wearing masks and makeup, not the CGI get-up they have now. Special effects aside, Planet of the Apes was a ground-breaking movie, and was a critical and box office smash. Even Roger Ebert was surprised by how good it was: "What I'm getting at, I guess, is that Planet of the Apes is much better than I expected it to be. It is quickly paced, completely entertaining, and its philosophical pretensions don't get in the way," he wrote.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%
Advertisement
3 of 19
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
Celebrates its 15th anniversary on February 7

Ah, the days when romantic comedies were laden with unwieldy, unlikely, but still appealing plots. In How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Andie Anderson (Kate Hudson) and Ben Barry (Matthew McConaughey) are both on missions when they meet each other. Andie's trying to get a guy to leave her in 10 days for an article she's writing; Ben's trying to get a woman fall in love with him in 10 days for a bet.

Though many reviewers found the premise interesting, they were disappointed by the execution. "Both lead players are appealing and attractive enough to make an otherwise tepid movie at least un-excruciating. But even at their best they can't make How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days the movie it might have been," wrote Ann Hornaday in The Washington Post.

Rex Reed wrote in The Observer that the movie was, "More an exercise in how to lose an audience in 10 minutes."

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 42%
4 of 19
Old School
Celebrates its 15th anniversary on February 21

In Old School, a bunch of college friends reunite and reenact some of their old hijinks, this time as middle-aged people. Some reviewers were charmed by this movie's raucous, frat boy brand of humor. "This is a raucous frat-school comedy that's dopey, degrading, and disgusting — and consistently hilarious," said Richard Roeper of Ebert and Roeper. Will Ferrell especially was praised. But some reviewers didn't find frat humor enough to sustain a whole movie. "Not quite enough to justify giving this movie 91 minutes of your life, but as stupid gross-out comedies go, you could do worse," Moira MacDonald of The Seattle Times said.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 60%
5 of 19
Bend It Like Beckham
Celebrates its 15th anniversary on March 12

This little British indie launched Keira Knightley's career. The endearing movie centers on Jess (Parminder Nagra), a 20-something woman living in the midst of her overbearing Punjabi family in England. They want her to get married; she wants to play soccer. Jess rebels and joins a soccer team, where she meets Juliette (Keira Knightley), and a foxy soccer coach (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). For its sweetness and heart, Bend It Like Beckham was a major crowd and critic-pleaser.

"[Director Gurdiner] Chadha created something magical; an atmosphere of happiness and hope, in which we could all bend a ball like Beckham — or like Jess," wrote Moira Macdonald in the Seattle Times. Carrie Rickey of the Philadelphia Inquirer said it was "No mere feel-good movie, it's a feel-great movie."

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%
6 of 19
Beetlejuice
Celebrates its 30th anniversary on March 30

Beetlejuice is a wacky comedy with a undercurrent of the macabre. In the movie, a young couple dies in an accident, and then discovers they've been assigned to haunt their home for eternity by the afterlife's highly structured bureaucracy. Michael Keaton plays Beetlejuice, an unhinged spirit. Beetlejuice is a bizarre, one-of-a-kind romp, and critics were into it as a result. As Kyle Counts of The Hollywood Reporter put it, "That's what makes Beetlejuice such a delight; it's an experience, rather than another helping of the same old thing."

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 82%
7 of 19
Heathers
Celebrates its 30th anniversary on March 30

Thirty years on, Heathers is still a cultural fixture. It's even on Broadway! Heathers tapped into the same truth that the more contemporary Netflix show The End of the F***ing World does: High school pulses with dark, malevolent energy. Variety summed up Heathers' greatest virtue in one phrase: "super smart," especially in contrast to the '80s other teen movie fare.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%
Advertisement
8 of 19
2001: A Space Odyssey
Celebrates its 50th anniversary on April 3

Stanley Kubrick's space opera changed the sci-fi genre forever. Even if you've never sat through the three hours of 2001, you've seen its influences arise in other movies. It has, and essentially always been, called a masterpiece.

Let Roger Ebert explain why. "Only a few films are transcendent, and work upon our minds and imaginations like music or prayer or a vast belittling landscape...2001: A Space Odyssey is not about a goal but about a quest, a need. It does not hook its effects on specific plot points, nor does it ask us to identify with Dave Bowman or any other character. It says to us: We became men when we learned to think. Our minds have given us the tools to understand where we live and who we are. Now it is time to move on to the next step, to know that we live not on a planet but among the stars, and that we are not flesh but intelligence," he wrote.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%
9 of 19
Jurassic Park
Celebrates its 25th anniversary on June 11

Everyone was astonished by Jurassic Park. Visitors to the fictional Jurassic Park in the movie were astonished by the dinosaurs brought back to life, before they were terrified. Critics and audiences were astonished by the visual feats in the movie.

Since the Washington Post clearly can't resist a pun, the publication's review ended by saying the movie "saurs."

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%
10 of 19
Grease
Celebrates its 40th anniversary on June 16

Grease was a musical set in Chicago before it became the John Travolta and Olivia Newton John-starring movie set in California. Some critics, like John Wasserman of the San Francisco Chronicle, went full snob. "The screenplay is a prepubescent shambles, the direction is by acne out of disposable douches, the dubbing and looping of the songs is painfully obvious, the characterizations are generally repulsive and the whole thing is utterly without style," he said.

But most were fans. "What makes it work is its youthful vitality, the tremendous energy and imagination expended on its virtually wall-to-wall song and dance number," said Arthur Knight of the Hollywood Reporter.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75%
11 of 19
The Parent Trap
Celebrates its 20th anniversary on July 29

Nancy Meyers was the perfect filmmaker to remake the 1966 Disney movie The Parent Trap. Known for clever romantic comedies set in sprawling houses, she applied her sensibility to tell a charming (if a little far-fetched) family story — one that kick-started Lindsay Lohan's career. As Roger Ebert recommends, don't read too deeply into the plot. "Movies like this remember how much fun escapism can be," he wrote.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86%
12 of 19
Big
Celebrates its 30th anniversary on June 3

In Big, an amusement park fortune-telling machine grants 13-year-old Josh his wish of growing up. He becomes a full-blown adult overnight — but even though his body aged, his mind didn't. Tom Hanks plays a man who approaches the adult world with a childlike sense of wonder. And Hanks, the critics all agreed, is what made the movie. "Mr. Hanks's funny, flawless impression that much more adorable. For any other full-grown actors who try their hands at fidgeting, squirming, throwing water balloons, and wolfing down food in a huge variety of comically disgusting ways, this really is the performance to beat," Janet Maslin of the New York Times wrote.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%
Advertisement
13 of 19
The Big Lebowski
Celebrates its 20th anniversary on March 6

Since its release, this neo-noir movie about a bowler (Jeff Bridges) caught up in another man's mob-related business has become a cult classic. Roger Ebert caught onto this movie's particular brand of charm early on. "Some may complain The Big Lebowski rushes in all directions and never ends up anywhere. That isn't the film's flaw, but its style," he wrote.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81%
14 of 19
Mulan
Celebrates its 20th anniversary on June 19

Mulan is approaching its 20th anniversary. Do you feel old yet? You'll be seeing more of Mulan soon — the animated retelling of the legend of Mulan will soon get the Disney live-action treatment.

As well as being simply enjoyable, critics appreciated that Mulan broached topics that other Disney movies didn't – obedience, honor, duty, familial love. The San Francisco Gate called it "spectacular."

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86%
15 of 19
Die Hard
Celebrates its 30th anniversary on July 15

Well, someone at the Washington Post really liked Die Hard. "The new Bruce Willis picture...is a logistical wonder, a marvel of engineering, and relentlessly, mercilessly thrilling," the review read. Die Hard is likely still as popular today as it was back then, especially now that it's been officially included in the Christmas movie canon.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%
16 of 19
Shakespeare in Love
Celebrates its 20th anniversary on December 3

Twenty years ago, Shakespeare became officially sexy. This movie's version of Will Shakespeare, played by Joe Fiennes, used his lovesickness over a noblewoman as fuel to write Twelfth Night. Critics loved it — Roger Ebert said he was "carried along by the wit, the energy, and a surprising sweetness." Marjorie Baumgarten of the Austin Chronicle wrote, "The end result is delightful reminder of one of the reasons we so enjoy going to the movies: perchance to dream."

The movie ended up winning the Academy Award for Best Picture, likely due to producer Harvey Weinstein's interventions. Knowing what we now know about Weinstein — his decades of alleged sexual misconduct, including inappropriate actions said to be directed at Gwyneth Paltrow, the film's star — we can't ever look at Shakespeare in Love the same way again.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%
17 of 19
You've Got Mail
Celebrates its 20th anniversary on December 18

You've Got Mail, a romantic comedy centered entirely around the cutting-edge technology called email, is entirely a product of its time. It followed the typical formula seen in other rom-coms that Meg Ryan starred in — man and woman meet, hate each other, then bridge differences, then fall in love. Lael Lowenstein of Variety called it, "The most successful version yet of this familiar premise."

Mostly, critics were fixated on the way the movie explored "modern love" and the intersection of romance and that thing they called the web. Looks like we've been talking about the same topics ever since.
18 of 19
Twilight
Celebrates its 10th anniversary on November 21

A clumsy girl. A glittery, fanged boy. A love that captured the hearts of every teenage girl in the country. Ten years ago, the Twilight phenomenon hit the silver screen, and fans could not have cared less about critical response. They'd watch this movie no matter what. Critics weren't impressed, though — Marc Savlov of the Austin Chronicle wrote, "I've had mosquito bites that were more passionate that this undead, unrequited, and altogether unfun pseudo-romantic riff on Romeo and Juliet."

Many reviews for Twilight probed the movie's cultural impact, and asked why these movies were so popular. "As a life lesson for teenage girls, Twilight (excuse the pun) sucks. As a parable for the dark side of female desire, it's weirdly powerful," Dana Stevens wrote for Slate.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 49%
19 of 19
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of celebrity news, fun takes on pop culture, and trending stories on the Refinery29 Entertainment Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!
Advertisement

More from Movies

Watch

R29 Original Series