Happy International Beer and Pizza Day! We’re not totally clear if that means you drink international beers while you eat international-style pizza, or if across the globe everyone drinks beer and eats pizza together, but either way, it involves two of our favorite things so we’re in.
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October 9 in Nerd History
Here are five things that happened on October 9th for those of us who every now and then fall apart.
Birthdays of honor: John Lennon (1940), Guillermo del Toro (1964), Eddie Guerrero (1967), Scott Bakula (1954), John Entwistle (1944), PJ Harvey (1969).
One of the most influential movies in cinematic history saw wide release today with The French Connection in 1971.
Directed by William Friedkin, and starring Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider, it’s just your classic tale of a couple of cops trying to intervene in the biggest heroin smuggling operation anyone’s ever heard of. It’s widely regarded as one of the best movies ever made and was the first R-rated film to win the Oscar for Best Picture. It also won for Best Actor (Hackman) and Best Director, and Sheider got a nomination of his own.
But what many remember and honor The French Connection for is its revolutionary car chase scene (or more accurately, a car chasing a train).
In particular, the mounting of a camera on the front bumper of the car to create a sense of speed and danger had a profound effect not only on filmgoers at the time but future filmmakers. Directors from Akira Kurosawa to David Fincher to Steven Spielberg have cited it as highly influential.
In 1984 generations of parents began to be tormented when Thomas The Tank Engine & Friends (aka Thomas & Friends) first premiered on television in the UK.
Taking place on the fictional Island of Sodor seemingly at the turn of the 20th century, the series follows Thomas and several other trains who have creepy-as-hell faces and say really sketchy things like, “I’m a very useful engine!”
Based on The Railway Series books, the show was pretty much an immediate hit for kids and families, and has steadily reinvented itself in the decades since. From live-action models to full CGI to internet memes (do NOT Google the phrase “curse Thomas the Engine”), Thomas is inescapable.
Back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger dominated the action-movie box office. But in their wake was the battle for third place, and today in 1992 a man by the name of Steven Seagal threw his damn hat in the ring with the release of Under Siege.
Let’s just be honest, the plot of this movie is basically Die Hard but on a big boat. That’s it — and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
It’s so not wrong, the movie made over $155 million worldwide and received two Academy Award nominations (for sound, but still). Unfortunately, Seagal didn’t have the same savvy as those other action dudes to spin the movie’s success into the same level of stardom, instead spending most of his time for some reason trash-talking Jean-Claude Van Damme.
40 years ago today, in 1983, “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler was the number one song in the country.
In other news
There’s Still Hope We’ll See ‘Night of the Living Dead’s Nine-Minute Lost Scene
Night of the Living Dead is the most important zombie movie in the entire subgenre, so if there were ever to be any deleted scenes of George A. Romero’s original game-changer, fans would do anything to get their hands on it. Well, it sounds like we’re in luck… or at least it sounds like we might be in luck. Back in 2015, Romero revealed to the world that a lost, deleted nine-minute scene had been discovered, was in the works to be restored, and planned to be released to the world. Well, unfortunately, nothing ever came of that. But what would this nine-minute scene have been, who worked on it, and what happened to it? Will we ever see this missing chunk of one of the most important movies in all horror history?
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What year did Dungeons & Dragons come out?
While it feels like it’s been with us since the time of the ancients, it turns out there was a time when Dungeons & Dragons didn’t actually exist.
Whether it’s informing basically all of Stranger Things, bringing us new movies to look forward to, or giving us a way to stay connected through the years and across borders, D&D is culturally probably the most important thing to have happened in the last few centuries.
But when did it first come out?
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