A Calendar Of Movie Dates To Celebrate

by Michael Arbeiter

By now, you've probably already gotten word that October 21st is Back to the Future Day, the very date that Marty McFly traveled into the distant future of 2015 with his pal Doc Brown and girlfriend Claudia Wells... I mean Elisabeth Shue. The Internet has done more than its share to remind us all of this date's significance in the Back to the Future canon, instigating articles, memes, and even some pretty audacious Back to the Future conspiracy theories. But it's not like October 21st is the only date that stands out to movie fans. There are plenty of days on the calendar that have carried extreme weight on the silver screen.

In case you forgot to celebrate any of them this year, I've put together a quick run through of some of the standout dates you might want to remember for 2016. These would-be holidays celebrate births, observe deaths, and commemorate great efforts of humanity (and occasionally, of villainy)... and all from the world of movies. Check below for a quick refresher of some movie-related events that rival even Marty McFly and the Doc's Back to the Future series adventures. Hey, you might even find yourself working these important holidays into your annual party planning schedule.

January 1

The birth date of Connor MacLeod. Celebrate by dueling with an immortal Scotsman. (Highlander)

January 4

Rocky Balboa goes 15 rounds with heavyweight champ Apollo Creed. Celebrate by making one good movie, and then a bunch of other increasingly regrettable movies. (Rocky)

February 2

Phil Connors relives the same day over and over again. Celebrate by taking up ice sculpting and catching up with an old high school chum who now sells insurance. (Groundhog Day)

February 14

Joel Barish and Clementine Kruczynski meet on a Long Island Railroad platform in Montauk after having erased one another from their memories. Celebrate by getting back together with a forgotten ex, even if you know it won’t work out in the end. (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)

February 23

Laura Palmer’s dead body is found by Pete Martell. Commemorate this loss by having a piece of apple pie and cup of coffee — black as a moonless night. (Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me)

March 22

James Kirk is born. Celebrate by listening to this. (Star Trek)

March 24

Five Illinois teenagers are held in their high school library for Saturday detention. Celebrate by forging an unlikely bond with someone dissimilar from you. (The Breakfast Club)

March 25

Lloyd Christmas encounters an amorous “Sea Bass” in a gas station bathroom. Celebrate by quoting Dumb & Dumber all day with your roommates, which you were probably going to do regardless. (Dumb & Dumber)

April 8

Rex Manning Day. Celebrate by clinging to a couch cushion. (Empire Records)

April 12

A mysterious monolith, capable of accelerating human evolution, is discovered on Jupiter. Celebrate with a little ditty called “Daisy Bell.” (2001: A Space Odyssey)

April 15

The Titanic strikes an iceberg and sinks into the Atlantic. Celebrate by casting out the socioeconomic class-instituted shackles that have kept you thus far from happiness and vying once and for all for true love! But avoid boats. (Titanic)

May 2

The students of Hogwarts come together to defeat a noseless wizard — except the Slytherins. Those evil, evil Slytherins. Celebrate by weeping over your still-lost Hogwarts letter. (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows)

May 4

Not actually an important date in Star Wars canon, except as it corresponds to an infamous catchphrase. Celebrate by finding the droids you're looking for. (Star Wars)

May 5

Anastasia Steele interviews business mogul Christian Grey. Celebrate by being pretty terrible at conducting interviews, but somewhat less terrible at conducting romance. (Fifty Shades of Grey)

May 23

Tom Hansen finally gets over his ex-girlfriend, Summer Finn. Celebrate by doing your part to jumpstart Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s dormant career. ((500) Days of Summer)

May 26

Jenna Rink ages 17 years in a single day, only to find out that adulthood is just as confusing and anxiety-ridden as teenhood. Celebrate by staying young forever. (13 Going on 30)

June 2

Longtime friends Seth and Evan have a hard time getting to their crushes’ party. Celebrate by carrying your best friend to safety in the heat of a police raid. (Superbad)

July 3

Adventurer Phileas Fogg sets off in a hot air balloon on a quest to circumnavigate the entire globe in 80 days. Celebrate by expending a lot of effort and undue optimism toward something that is effectively pointless. (Around the World in 80 Days)

July 4

Jack Torrence celebrates Independence Day with a staff of ghouls a good two decades before he is even born. Celebrate by succumbing to the madness of writer’s block. (The Shining)

July 5

Suburbanite Amy Dunne goes missing. Celebrate with a harebrained endeavor to salvage your horrible marriage. (Gone Girl)

July 8

Police Chief Martin Brody and oceanographer Matt Hooper succeed in destroying a shark that has been terrorizing a Massachusetts beach. Celebrate by staying far, far away from Massachusetts at all costs. (Jaws)

August 5

Bigotry and violence erupt on block in Red Hook. Observe this one simply by watching the lastingly important Do the Right Thing. (Do the Right Thing)

August 18

The last day of summer camp at Camp Firewood yields new romances, forest adventures, and imminent destruction by a piece of space junk. Celebrate by fondling a sweater. (Wet Hot American Summer)

August 29

The end of humanity as we know it. Celebrate with a tasty cocktail. (Terminator 2: Judgment Day)

September 19

A pseudo-celebrity from Alabama stops running. Celebrate by not running. Seriously, don’t run at all. Don’t even jog. Walking might even be too much. Just sit there. (Forrest Gump)

September 22

The birth date of both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. Celebrate with a second breakfast. (The Lord of the Rings)

October 3

It’s October 3rd. Tell a cute guy about it. (Mean Girls)

October 10

The Yautja visit the planet Earth to carry out an annual human-hunting ritual. Celebrate the fact that you have not yet become a Yautja meal. (Alien vs. Predator)

October 21

Marty McFly arrives in the future. Celebrate by avoiding the Internet for a while so that the overload of references doesn’t ruin the movie for you. (Back to the Future II)

October 27

Two weeks later, it's raining. Tell a cute guy about it. (Mean Girls)

November 2

E.T. goes home. Celebrate with a Reese’s Pieces. (E.T. The Extra Terrestrial)

November 5

Marty McFly arrives in the past. Celebrate by seeing your parents as human for the very first time. (Back to the Future)

November 6

A guy who looks very much like Marty McFly realizes he’s a werewolf. Celebrate with a round of harmless, wholesome van surfing. (Teen Wolf)

December 2

Ilsa Lund visits Rick Blaine’s Morocco café. Celebrate by popping in on an ex that you totally ghosted a year back. (Casablanca)

December 6

A little girl named becomes the only survivor of an attack on the colony of planet LV-426. Commemorate by naming your kid “Newt.” (Aliens)

December 25

Someone named Brian is born. Celebrate by calling someone named Brian. (Life of Brian)

December 31

Lewis Winthorpe and Billy Ray Valentine best the nefarious Duke Brothers at the stock market game. Celebrate by figuring out what exactly happens at the end of this movie, and then explaining it to me. (Trading Places)

Who cares about things like Christmas and Valentine's Day when you could be celebrating Back to the Future Day and May the Fourth? You're welcome.

Images: Universal Pictures; 20th Century Fox; Warner Bros (2); Paramount Pictures (2)