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Today in Nerd History | May 23

Fasten your seatbelts and prepare for a rollercoaster ride through horror, comedy, quirky gaming, and superhero action because today we’re celebrating a diverse lineup of pop culture milestones. On May 23, we delve into the chilling debut of “The Shining” in 1980, the comedic exploits of “Bruce Almighty” in 2003, the innovative gameplay of “WarioWare: Twisted!” in 2005, and the time-traveling superhero saga of “X-Men: Days of Future Past” in 2014. Let’s unlock some “Nerdy Facts” about these beloved contributions to film and gaming.

Inclusion on this list does not imply that the entry is family friendly, only that is was a nerd culture milestone. Parents should, of course, use discernment.
1980: The Shining (Theaters)

Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining,” based on Stephen King’s novel, premiered in theaters, delivering a masterclass in psychological horror that remains a seminal work in the genre.

 

Nerdy Facts:

  • Iconic Line: Jack Nicholson’s improvised line, “Here’s Johnny!” during the infamous door scene, became one of the most famous movie quotes in horror film history.
  • Maze of a Set: The hedge maze in “The Shining,” critical to the film’s climax, was constructed on an airfield near London and required over 900 tons of salt to simulate wintery conditions.
  • Enduring Controversy: Despite its critical acclaim, Stephen King famously disliked Kubrick’s adaptation for its deviations from his novel, particularly in its portrayal of the main character’s descent into madness.
2003: Bruce Almighty (Theaters)

“Bruce Almighty” hit theaters, featuring Jim Carrey as a down-on-his-luck TV reporter who gains the powers of God, blending slapstick humor with philosophical questions about responsibility and desire.

 

Nerdy Facts:

  • Box Office Heaven: The film was immensely successful, earning over $484 million worldwide, making it one of Jim Carrey’s highest-grossing films.
  • Animal Antics: The scene featuring Bruce commanding a monkey to come out of a gang leader’s butt was achieved using a combination of practical effects and CGI, showcasing the film’s blend of humor and visual effects.
  • Cameo Power: The film features several cameos, including Morgan Freeman as God, whose portrayal received widespread praise for its warmth and wit.
2005: WarioWare: Twisted! (Game Boy Advance)

“WarioWare: Twisted!” spun onto the Game Boy Advance, introducing gamers to motion-sensing technology that added a new twist to its fast-paced, microgame-packed gameplay.

 

Nerdy Facts:

  • Innovative Controls: The game included a built-in gyroscope, allowing players to tilt and rotate their Game Boy Advance to complete various zany microgames.
  • Critical Acclaim: “WarioWare: Twisted!” was lauded for its creativity and innovative use of the GBA’s hardware, winning several awards for its gameplay and design.
  • Delayed Release: Although released in 2005 in North America, the game never saw an official European release due to concerns over the mercury used in the gyroscope.
2014: X-Men: Days of Future Past (Theaters)

“X-Men: Days of Future Past” combined the original and newer “X-Men” casts in a time-traveling tale that sought to reconcile past narratives and set a new course for the franchise.

 

Nerdy Facts:

  • Star-Studded Ensemble: This film features one of the largest ensembles of characters from the “X-Men” universe, including Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, Ian McKellen, and Patrick Stewart.
  • Time Travel Tangle: The plot, inspired by the famous comic book storyline of the same name, cleverly uses time travel to unite the franchise’s various timelines, serving as both a sequel and a prequel to different films.
  • Visual Spectacle: “Days of Future Past” is renowned for its visual effects, particularly the scene showcasing Quicksilver’s super-speed abilities, which became an instant favorite among fans and critics alike.

May 23 is a day to celebrate the thrilling, the funny, the innovative, and the heroic. Whether it’s navigating the haunted corridors of the Overlook Hotel, handling divine powers, twisting through microgames, or saving the future with mutant powers, these stories remind us of the rich diversity and enduring appeal of pop culture. Happy Nerd History Day to all who continue to explore these fascinating worlds!

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Station Manager of LTN Radio and co-host of the "Nerd History Podcast" & the "Two Words Podcast". Matt is a third-generation radio station manager who has done pretty much every job in the radio industry. Matt is the father of two boys and a little girl. It's probably the best thing about him.

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