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Previously obscured in my hazy memory, 1994 comes back like lightning when I review the happenings of that year. Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s first black president. O.J. Simpson took us on the most famous ride ever in that white Bronco. Creating the ultimate rock and roll union, Michael Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley. Kurt Cobain committed suicide.

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Though the western has always been a durable (and distinctly American) genre, only six western titles appear on the American Film institute’s list of top 100 films. One of them is a personal favorite, 1953’s “Shane.”

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I remember my first sighting of Bruce Willis in a TV series called “Moonlighting”  back in 1985. I liked him right away, and I knew a lot of other people did too. Part of what creates a star is the degree to which an audience identifies with his or her essential character. Watching Willis (with hair!) play the wisecracking private eye David Addison, I had a moment of recognition.  I actually felt I’d met this guy. I even saw a bit of myself in him.

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We had a varied crop of great movies in 1978. Some I saw right away; I vividly recall, for instance, being traumatized by “The Deer Hunter.” Others I missed and only experienced years later.

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I first saw what I still consider the quintessential haunted house movie, Robert Wise’s “The Haunting” from 1963, when I was about 11.

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Gifted writer William Goldman had first come across the story of Butch Cassidy in the late fifties, and was immediately taken with it.

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