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In 2018, we celebrated the anniversaries of some of the best in movies, music and television. From groundbreaking shows about teens and sex, to Oscar-winning roles that declared once and for all who the best comic book villain is, 2018 was a year to remember the greats that have come before us. Some aren’t quite as great as they once were, but still really good.
Debuted: June 16, 1978
The Grammy-winning musical that taught us Grease is the word turned 40 this year and still resonates with fans around the world. Casting adult actor Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta to play Sandy and Danny, two high school students who fall in love during summer break and try to make their relationship work through senior year, Grease produced some of the biggest movie music moments of all time and catapulted its cast to superstardom. Whatcha looking at, stud?
Debuted: October 25, 1978
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Halloween, Jamie Lee Curtis reprised her role as Laurie Strode, still kicking butt after four decades. Michael Myers was also back, continuing to haunt our dreams after all these years. So scary.
Debuted: July 12, 1988
After 30 years, the debate over whether Die Hard counts as a Christmas movie continues to rage on. One thing we know for sure is that Christmas movie or not, we’ve never looked at office chairs the same.
Debuted: August 8, 1988
In 1988, California rappers N.W.A., which included Arabian Prince, DJ Yella, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, and MC Ren, released their genre-defining debut Straight Outta Compton. Considered one of the greatest albums of all time, the record started the gangsta rap movement and continues to influence musicians today.
Debuted: February 12, 1993
It says a lot about a film when its title becomes a pop culture term. In the case of Bill Murray and Andie McDowell’s now 25-year-old Harold Ramis romantic comedy, saying it feels like ‘Groundhog Day’ means you’ve lived this day before. Depending on the day, that could be good or bad.
Debuted: January 20, 1998
The TV landscape was a much different place when Dawson’s Creek premiered 20 years ago. Storylines about teenagers were mostly relegated to the G-rated family-friendly lineup of TGIF. But thanks to creator Kevin Williamson, teens were given serious and thoughtful dialogue, with storylines that dealt with real-life issues like coming out, death, poverty, and mental illness. Plus, lots of heartbreak. Soooo much heartbreak.
Debuted: June 6, 1998
There was once a time when HBO was a specialty channel that only a small handful of subscribers were willing to fork over extra cash every month to see, with professional boxing matches as the main draw. Then came Sex and the City. Darren Star’s adaptation of Candace Bushnell’s best-selling book explored women’s sexuality like no other TV show or film had before, with the pop culture phenomenon making everything from oral sex to Manolo Blahnik’s dinnertime conversation. Not every episode has aged well, but the show remains one of the most groundbreaking series of all time. It was a ‘Big’ deal.
Debuted: October 23, 1998
It’s been 20 years since 16-year-old Britney Spears burst onto the music scene with her debut single and Lolita-esque music video for “…Baby One More Time.” Straddling the line between wholesome teenage fun and full-blown sex icon, Spears’ was not a girl, not yet a woman, but that didn’t stop her breakout music video from becoming one of the genre’s most defining moments. Setting the tone for the 2000s, Spears’ school girl uniform and bare gym class midriff would go on to influence fashion, TV shows, and music videos for the next decade, defining the ebb and flow of pop culture to come.
Debuted: June 12, 1998
Two decades ago the beer went bad and the teen movie genre received one of its best additions with Can’t Hardly Wait. The little movie that could was made for $9 million and while it wasn’t a huge earner at the box office, it ended up with cult movie status thanks to fans later discovering it through video rentals. Written by Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont, the film is a who’s who of mostly unknown teen actors at the time, with many going on to have impressive film and TV careers. While not every line and character in Can’t Hardly Wait has aged well, the film still represents a heartfelt snapshot of what it was like to be a teen in the late 1990s. So much Blink 182 and Smash Mouth.
Debuted: July 14, 2008
Actor Heath Ledger died from an accidental overdose six months before the release of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight, with Ledger’s turn as the Joker earning the late actor his first and only Oscar. The dark cloud of Ledger’s death resided over the film, which became the first in a trilogy of groundbreaking cinema not only for comic book films, but movies in general. Ledger also earned the title as the Best Joker, and yeah, we’re ready to defend that statement.
Debuted: January 20, 2008
Remember when Bryan Cranston was the goofy dad from Malcolm In The Middle? Neither do we. The award-winning AMC series about a dying science teacher who teams up with a former student to become a meth kingpin captivated viewers for five seasons until finally ending with one of the most depressing last seasons ever. It was a downer. But that doesn’t take away from the master class in character writing that was Vince Gilligan’s Breaking Bad. Yeah science! Yeah Mr. White!
Debuted: November 21, 1998
On November 21, 2008, Twilight opened in movie theatres and set off what would become one of the most popular film franchises of all time. Already boasting a huge built-in fan base thanks to the popularity of Stephanie Meyer’s vampire and werewolf love story, Twihards flocked to the theatres, grossing $393 million worldwide in ticket sales, turning the film’s leads Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner into the biggest stars in the world. The teen film effectively changed the landscape of YA films forever (insert immortal vampire joke here). From its soundtrack, to its relatively unknown cast, Twilight became a trendsetter in more ways than one, rewriting the model of what makes a YA film successful.