Is there any Hollywood movie that isn't having an anniversary this month?
As you may have noticed, posting on the Big Picture is light this week -- and it's going to be light until sometime in the middle of next week -- because I'm on a nice little stay-cation, which basically means that I'm taking my kid to baseball practice and gymnastics practice and all his favorite burger joints and, then, well more baseball practice. If the amount of practices actually translated into victories, I think the West L.A., 11-year-old All Stars would be going to the state championship this year. If only ...
But don't think I haven't noticed that it's a big month for Hollywood movie anniversaries. I know "Jaws" has a 35th anniversary coming soon, and I'll try to weigh in on that one next week. But it's also the 30th anniversary of the arrival of "The Blues Brothers," one of the great car-crash comedies of all time. It was also the movie, according to this delightful piece from the Chicago Tribune, that brought film production back to life in Chicago after years of neglect under the regime of the first Mayor Daley, who decided that he didn't want Hollywood pictures shooting in the Second City after someone committed the cardinal sin of portraying a Chicago police officer taking a bribe. Gasp!
The story also recounts how John Belushi persuaded then-Mayor Jane Byrne to give the green light to filming in Chicago, even after Belushi warned her that they planned to drive a car into the lobby of Daley Plaza. (You can even see a great photo of Belushi and Dan Aykroyd with Byrne, who's wearing their trademark shades and hat.)
It's also the 50th anniversary of Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho," which has inspired a wealth of tributes, none more fascinating than this Jack Sullivan piece from the Wall Street Journal, which reveals that it was Bernard Herrmann's amazing score that actually may have saved the movie from being turned into a humdrum TV movie. It's hard to imagine any composer ever having a bigger impact on a film, although it was Herrmann's breach of authority -- he actually composed the signature shower scene music in secret, without Hitchcock's blessing -- that eventually led to a breakdown in the close relationship between the men.
For some reason, I haven't seen any first-anniversary tributes to Michael Bay's "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," which was released just a year ago next week. Surely this is an oversight that can remedied immediately before Bay is subjected to paroxysms of Hitchcock envy.
Photo: Dan Aykroyd, left, with Ray Charles, center, and John Belushi in "The Blues Brothers." Credit: Universal Studios