A lot of films are getting nostalgic re-releases this year - or this is what their distributors were trying to achieve before COVID trapped us all at home - because more than a handful of fully brilliant films are having their 25th anniversaries this year.
Even without the benefit of hindsight, 1996 looks and feels like a golden moment in cinema. The showdown at the 69th Academy Awards was epic - little Aussie battler film Shine took on The English Patient - backed by the power and endless marketing spend of the Weinstein brothers in their heyday - and Shine very nearly beat them. It did garner its star Geoffrey Rush a very deserved Best Actor Oscar and a glorious career since.
Battling it out that night were films that might still be considered modern classics for different reasons - the Coen Brothers' Fargo, Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire, and in the technical categories, Independence Day. I am sat here for a few minutes now genuinely trying to remember one title in the Best Film category from this year's Academy Awards, and now that I've looked them up (sorry for forgetting you, Promising Young Woman) I can't see anybody writing a think piece in 25 years about how collectively brilliant they were.
It was was the year that gave us 12 Monkeys, The First Wives Club, Trainspotting, Scream and a few dozen other consistently re-watchable and influential titles.
Audiences wondered if this bar of adorable energy starring in Emma, Gwyneth Paltrow, would be sticking around for long.
The mid-90s loved Shakespeare and in 1996, Kenneth Branagh served up his gob-smacking feature film version of Hamlet, ambitiously released in a cut-down two-hour edition and an unexpurgated four-hour version. The staff at the cinema I worked for at the time, Canberra's much-missed arthouse cinema Electric Shadows, referred to the films as the "two-egg omelette" and the "four-egg omelette". They played for a full year.
Baz Lurhmann's follow-up film to Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet, was a '96 baby, and it broke all kinds of records.
It was the year that began some lucrative franchises, with Tom Cruise's first Mission Impossible and the cast of Next Generation proving there were millions of dollars more to be harvested on the big screen in Star Trek First Contact.
It was also the year that some of the now-household names were making early impressions, including Peter Jackson pre-Tolkien feature The Frighteners and the Wachowskis pre-Matrix film Bound.
Audiences asked who this handsome Matthew McConaughey feller was in A Time To Kill and they wondered if this bar of adorable energy starring in Emma, Gwyneth Paltrow, would be sticking around for long.
The year wasn't without its less acclaimed films, but plenty of them are still around and spawning dozens of imitators - films like Happy Gilmore, The Truth About Cats and Dogs, Barb Wire, The Craft or even Harriet the Spy.
I spent about a decade trying to perfect the timbalo, a giant pasta pie, cooked in the epic foodie film Big Night, and I'm still quoting Gena Davis's "Chef's do that" line from The Long Kiss Goodnight all these years later.
It's a rare Aussie film these days that leaves a mark on the local box office, but in 1996 there were a dozen critical and financial success stories in addition to Shine, with Toni Collette in Cosi, and Claudia Karvan and Guy Pearce in the sweet rom-com Dating the Enemy. Not to forget the Melbourne low-budget indie hit Love and Other Catastrophes, which launched an international career for star Frances O'Connor.
Meanwhile Rolf de Heer followed up his Bad Boy Bubby success with a Palme D'Or nomination at Cannes for The Quiet Room, and a student from the Australian National University named Richard Roxburgh hit the big time playing opposite Judy Davis in Children of the Revolution.
What was it about the year 1996 that was so bountiful at the box offices and so rich in memorable, iconic or zeitgeist-forming brilliance?
It was a decade before the Global Financial Crisis would gut film slush funds, when the Hollywood studios threw big money into productions and mavericks like the Weinsteins threw an implausibly large amount into not just the productions but into their award-chasing and campaigning.
In Australia, it was certainly a time of better funding for the arts, with the then-Commonwealth body the Film Finance Corporation supporting much more local production to a higher degree than the present Australian tax reimbursement model encourages.
With the free-to-air television stations in their heyday and fiercely competing against each other for ratings, local film producers could depend on a multi-million-dollar pre-sale to 7, 9 or 10 to help complete their film budgets or to beef their budgets up to attract a big overseas star.
With fewer TV channels, no streaming options or internet piracy downloads or other distractions, the film publicist had a more understandable market to sell to, and with no global pandemic or Netflix, we all actually wanted to leave our homes and pay for movie tickets.
It certainly felt like a more creative time, 1996, though that could be my clouded memories viewed through my rose-coloured Gen X glasses.
Millennials probably feel the same way about the short-lived social platform Vine, while the Centennials will probably wax nostalgic in years to come about the cinematic merits of TikTok.