Bad Santa

  • Directors: Terry Zwigoff
  • Producers: John Cameron, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein
  • Writers: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa, uncredited, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Terry Zwigoff
  • Genres: Comedy, Crime, Drama
  • Actors: Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Cox, Brett Kelly, Lauren Graham, Lauren Tom, with John Ritter, and Bernie Mac

The film begins in a bar on a December night in Milwaukee, where the viewer is introduced to Willie Stokes (Billy Bob Thornton), a bitter, lonely alcoholic. Willie works the holiday seasons as a mall Santa along with his dwarf friend, Marcus (Tony Cox), who works as Santa’s elf. Every Christmas Eve, the two of them disable the security alarm after the mall closes and rob the mall safe; afterwards, Marcus returns to living with his wife (who Willie finds very ugly and annoying), Lois (Lauren Tom), while Willie goes to Miami and spends all his money on booze, a resort condo, and other purely hedonistic pursuits.

At the new mall they plan to steal from, Willie’s alcoholic rants arouse the suspicion of mall manager Bob Chipeska (John Ritter), who asks security chief Gin (Bernie Mac) to investigate. Meanwhile, Willie meets bartender Sue (Lauren Graham), and they begin a relationship. He also meets a pudgy, preteen boy, whom he nicknames the Kid (Brett Kelly), during their visit in the mall. When he leaves the bar and is confronted by a hostile man (Ajay Naidu), the Kid stops the man from beating up (or possibly raped due to the man turning him around) Willie after the guy falsely accuses Willie of being gay. A lonely, unpopular boy, the Kid lives with his senile grandmother (Cloris Leachman) who only says “Roger, you’re home! Let me fix you some sandwiches”; his mother is dead and his father is in prison for embezzlement. After taking the Kid home to the Kid’s father’s mansion, Willie breaks into the house safe, takes all the money, “borrows” his father’s BMW, and winds up spending the money on more booze.

In the final scene, Thurman wears a shirt that Willie sent him, which says on the back, “Shit happens when you party naked,” together with his original present. When Thurman goes out for a bike ride, the head bully appears and starts to taunt Thurman by threatening to steal his bike. But Thurman kicks him in the groin and rides off giving the bully the middle finger.

Just Married

  • Directors: Shawn Levy
  • Producers: Robert Simonds
  • Writers: Sam Harper
  • Genres: Comedy, Romance
  • Actors: Ashton Kutcher, Brittany Murphy

The film starts off with Tom and Sarah in the airport.A few months earlier, Tom Leezak (Ashton Kutcher) and Sarah McNerney (Brittany Murphy) meet up when Tom accidentally hits Sarah with a football. A few months later, despite opposition from Sarah’s rich, uptight family they get married. However they each have a secret that they want to keep from each other: Tom doesn’t want Sarah to know that he accidentally killed her dog and Sarah doesn’t want Tom to know she slept with Peter Prentiss. Tom and Sarah decide to honeymoon at a classy hotel at the foot of the Alps. On their way there they attempt to join the mile high club, but fail when the captain turns on the fasten seat belt sign and they are forced to go back to their seats.

They arrive at the hotel and discover that Tom’s friend Kyle left them a present: the Thunderstick A-2000, which is a sex toy. Tom tries to plug the toy in the socket, but the plug isn’t built for a European outlet and he shuts down the entire village’s electricity when he tries to force it in. The newlyweds leave the hotel after Tom has a heated argument with the hotel owner. While trying to find another hotel they crash and get buried under a heap of snow, but they are able to climb out in the morning. Eventually, they get a ride from a truck driver and end up staying at a pensione in Venice. The pensione turns out to be very bad, and they soon check out after Tom discovers a cockroach on his neck while the couple are making love.

The film switches to the present, where Sarah has moved out and Tom wants to get back with her. Upon receiving advice from his father, Tom attempts to break into Sarah’s family’s household to tell her that he loves her, but gives up after unsuccessfully trying to ram the gate with a German Shepherd blocking the front gate. However Sarah opens the gate after seeing Tom make a romantic speech to the camera and the two rush out to proclaim their love for each other. The film ends with the couple recounting events from the honeymoon and Sarah’s family finally approving of their marriage and people from town knowing everything about it. There is also the chance for some interviews after the marriage has been confirmed by the priest who married Tom and Sarah.

Clueless

  • Directors: Amy Heckerling
  • Producers: Scott Rudin, Robert Lawrence, Twink Caplan
  • Writers: Amy Heckerling
  • Genres: Comedy, Romance
  • Actors: Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Brittany Murphy, Paul Rudd, Donald Faison, Breckin Meyer

Clueless is a modernized version of Jane Austen’s 1815 novel Emma. The film tells the story of Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone), a good-natured but superficial girl (based on Emma Woodhouse, the title character of the novel).

Cher is attractive, popular, and extremely rich. At a few months shy of sixteen, she has risen to the top of the high school social scene and is happy and self-assured in her insular, fashion-obsessed world. She lives in a Beverly Hills mansion with her father (Dan Hedaya), a ferocious $500-an-hour litigator; her mother is long dead, having succumbed to complications while undergoing liposuction. Cher’s best friend is Dionne Davenport (Stacey Dash), who is also rich, pretty, and hip, and understands what it’s like to be envied.

Among the few people to find much fault with Cher is Josh (Paul Rudd), her socially conscious ex-stepbrother who visits during a break from college. Josh and Cher spar continually but without malice; she refers to him as “granola breath” and mocks his scruffy idealism, while he teases her for being selfish, vain, and superficial, and says that her only direction in life is “toward the mall”.

Illustrating that Cher’s selfishness is usually innocent and relatively harmless, Cher plays matchmaker for two lonely, nerdy, hard-grading teachers, Mr. Hall (Wallace Shawn) and Miss Geist (Twink Caplan). She achieves her original purpose – to make them relax their grading standards so she can renegotiate a bad report card – but when she sees their newfound happiness, she realizes she likes doing good deeds. Cher now decides that the ultimate way she can give back to the community would be to “adopt” a “tragically unhip” new girl at school, Tai Frasier (Brittany Murphy). Cher and Dionne give Tai a makeover and initiate her into the mysteries of popularity. Cher also tries to extinguish the strong mutual attraction between Tai and Travis (Breckin Meyer), an amiable skateboarding slacker, and to steer her toward Elton (Jeremy Sisto), a rich snob.

The film has a happy Hollywood ending for Cher: Mr. Hall and Miss Geist get married; her friendships with Tai and Dionne are reaffirmed; Tai and Travis are in love; and, in Josh’s arms, she too has now finally found love.

Simon Sez

  • Directors: Kevin Elders
  • Producers: Moshe Diamant, Ringo Lam
  • Writers: Andrew Lowery, Andrew Miller
  • Genres: Action, Comedy
  • Actors: Dennis Rodman Dane Cook Natalia Cigliuti John Pinette

Dennis Rodman stars as Simon, an interpol agent on the trail of the kidnappers of a wealthy American’s daughter in France, with the help of a wannabe spy and two cyber-savvy monks.

Prayers for Bobby

  • Directors: Russell Mulcahy 2
  • Producers: Stanley M Brooks 3, David Permut 3, Daniel Sladek 3, Chris Taaffe 3, Damian Ganczewski 1
  • Writers: Katie Ford 1, Leroy F Aarons
  • Genres: Biography, Drama
  • Actors: Sigourney Weaver, Henry Czerny, Ryan Kelley

Mary Griffith is a devout Christian who raises her children with the conservative teachings of the Presbyterian Church. However, when her son Bobby confides to his older brother he may be gay, life changes for the entire family after Mary learns about his secret. Bobby’s father and siblings slowly come to terms with his homosexuality, but Mary believes that God can “cure” him. She takes him to a psychiatrist and persuades Bobby to pray harder and seek solace in church activities in hopes of changing him. Desperate for his mother’s approval, Bobby does what is asked of him, but through it all, the church’s disapproval of homosexuality causes him to grow increasingly withdrawn and depressed.

Stricken with guilt, Bobby moves away with his cousin, hoping that some day, his mother will accept him. He moves to Oregon, giving up on his hopes of defeating homosexuality. He finds a boyfriend, David, at a gay bar. His subsequent depression and self-loathing intensifies as he blames himself for not being the “perfect” son, and he jumps off a freeway bridge into the path of an oncoming eighteen-wheeler truck, killing him instantly.

Faced with their tragedy, Mary begins to question herself and her church’s interpretation of Scripture. Through her long and emotional journey, Mary slowly reaches out to the gay community and discovers unexpected support from a very unlikely source. She becomes acquainted with a local gay reverend, who convinces her to attend a meeting of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). It is there that she realizes that she knew Bobby was different from conception, and that God did not heal him because there was nothing wrong with him.

She becomes an advocate for gay rights and eventually gives a speech in a town council meeting in support of a local “gay day”. She urges people to think before they say voice or support homophobia because “a child is listening”. The measure is rejected, but she and her family travel to San Francisco with fellow PFLAG members and march in a gay pride parade, during which she sees another young man just like Bobby observing the parade. She walks over and hugs him, finally coming to terms with her son’s death and vowing to work hard for the rights of gays and lesbians.[2]

Miracle on 34th Street

  • Directors: George Seaton
  • Producers: William Perlberg
  • Writers: Valentine Davies, George Seaton
  • Genres: Drama, Family, Fantasy
  • Actors: Maureen O Hara, John Payne, Natalie Wood, Edmund Gwenn, Harry Antrim

Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) is indignant to find that the person (Percy Helton) assigned to play Santa in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is intoxicated. When he complains to event director Doris Walker (Maureen O’Hara), she persuades Kris to take his place. He does such a fine job that he is hired to be the Santa for Macy’s flagship New York City store on 34th Street.

Ignoring instructions to steer parents to goods that Macy’s wants to sell, Kris tells one shopper (Thelma Ritter) to go to another store for a fire engine for her son that Macy’s doesn’t have. She is so impressed, she tells Julian Shellhammer (Philip Tonge), head of the toy department, that she will become a loyal customer. Kris later informs another mother that archrival Gimbels has better skates for her daughter.

Fred Gailey (John Payne), an attorney and neighbor of Doris, is babysitting the young divorcee’s nine-year-old daughter Susan (Natalie Wood) and takes her to see Kris. When Doris finds out, she lectures Fred about filling Susan’s mind with fantasy. Meanwhile, Susan sees Kris talking and singing with a Dutch World War II orphan girl in her native tongue and begins to wonder if perhaps Kris is real. When Doris asks Kris to tell Susan that he really isn’t Santa Claus, Kris surprises her by insisting that he is.

On Christmas morning, Susan is disillusioned because Kris was unable to get her what she told him she wanted most. As they are about to leave, Kris gives Fred and Doris a route home that will supposedly avoid traffic. Along the way, Susan is overjoyed to see the house of her dreams (exactly matching the drawing she had given Kris earlier) with a For Sale sign in the front yard. Fred learns that Doris had encouraged Susan to have faith, and suggests they get married and purchase the house. He then boasts that he must be a great lawyer, since he managed to do the seemingly impossible. However, when he notices a cane leaning against the fireplace that looks just like the one Kris used, he wonders “Maybe I didn’t do such a wonderful thing after all.”

The Bishop s Wife

  • Directors: Henry Koster
  • Producers: Samuel Goldwyn
  • Writers: Novel, Robert Nathan, Screenplay, Leonardo Bercovici, Robert E Sherwood, Uncredited, Billy Wilder, Charles Brackett
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Romance
  • Actors: Cary Grant, Loretta Young, David Niven

Bishop Henry Brougham (David Niven) prays for divine guidance with the troubled building of a new cathedral. His plea is seemingly answered by a suave angel named Dudley (Cary Grant), who reveals his identity initially only to the clergyman.

However, Dudley’s mission isn’t to help with the construction of the cathedral. He is there as a guide to Henry and the people around him. Henry has become obsessed with the building to the detriment of his duties and marriage to his neglected, unhappy wife, Julia (Loretta Young). Everyone, except for Henry, is charmed by the newcomer, even the non-religious Professor Wutheridge (Monty Woolley). Dudley finally and easily persuades the wealthy parishioners, particularly Mrs. Hamilton (Gladys Cooper), to contribute the needed funds, but not to build the cathedral. He helps Mrs. Hamilton decide to give her money to feed and clothe the needy—much to Henry’s chagrin. He also redecorates the Broghams’ Christmas tree in two seconds, saves an old church by restoring interest in the boys’ choir, and arranges for the typewriter to automatically type Henry’s new sermon – which Dudley dictates without Henry’s knowledge.

When Dudley spends time cheering up Julia, there is an unexpected development: Dudley finds himself strongly attracted to her. Sensing this, Henry becomes jealous and anxious for his unwelcome guest to finish and depart. Eventually, he stands up to the angel. With his mission completed and knowing that Julia loves her husband, Dudley leaves, promising never to return. All memory of him is erased, and on Christmas Eve at midnight, Henry delivers the sermon which he now believes he alone has written.

The Lovely Bones

  • Directors: Peter Jackson
  • Producers: Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Carolynne Cunningham, Executive producer, Steven Spielberg
  • Writers: Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Novel, Alice Sebold
  • Genres: Drama, Horror, Thriller
  • Actors: Saoirse Ronan, Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Michael Imperioli

On December 6 1973, fourteen year old Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan) is raped and murdered by a neighbor, George Harvey (Stanley Tucci), a serial killer of young girls and women. Susie finds herself in ‘the in-between’ – a Heaven-like place, observing her family as they grieve for her. She also watches her killer who, having covered his tracks successfully, is preparing to murder again. Her father Jack (Mark Wahlberg) is trying to figure out who murdered Susie. He has the pieces, but he can’t fit them together. Susie struggles to balance her desire for vengeance on Harvey and her desire to have her family recover from their loss.[4]

Eragon

  • Directors: Stefen Fangmeier
  • Producers: John Davis, Adam Goodman, Gil Netter
  • Writers: Peter Buchman, Novel, Christopher Paolini
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Family, Fantasy
  • Actors: Ed Speleers, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Guillory, Robert Carlyle, Djimon Hounsou, Garrett Hedlund, Alun Armstrong, Joss Stone, Rachel Weisz, John Malkovich

Eragon is a farm boy who is 17 years of age and lives in a small village named Carvahall in the fictional and magical country of Alagaësia that contains dragons and other fictional creatures. While hunting, he finds a dragon egg the size of a small cat from which hatches a blue dragon named Saphira. Eragon decides to keep Saphira a secret, but a pair of magical creatures, the Ra’zac, are sent by Galbatorix, the King of Alagaesia to find Eragon and the dragon. This causes Eragon to flee his home but when he returns he finds out his uncle Garrow has been killed by the Ra’zac and so sets out on a journey to avenge him. Accompanied by a wise storyteller named Brom, Eragon and Saphira take up the legacy of legendary Dragon Riders. He learns magic, swordfighting, and dragon-riding to fulfil the legend of the dragon riders and his destiny: to help the Varden overthrow the Empire and its tyrant king, Galbatorix. Behind it all is Durza, a Shade. He is a sorcerer possessed by demonic spirits. He is also Galbatorix’s right hand man and is used to kill any threats to the King and his Empire.

The Aviator

  • Directors: Martin Scorsese
  • Producers: Michael Mann, Sandy Climan, Graham King, Charles Evans Jr
  • Writers: John Logan, Michael Mann
  • Genres: Biography, Drama
  • Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, John C Reilly, Ian Holm, Kate Beckinsale, Jude Law, Alec Baldwin, Alan Alda, Brent Spiner, Frances Conroy, Willem Defoe

The Aviator has no opening credits other than the title. The film begins in 1914 with nine-year-old Hughes being bathed by his mother, who warns him of disease: “You are not safe.”

The film next shows him in 1927, as a 22-year old preparing to direct Hell’s Angels. Hiring Noah Dietrich (John C. Reilly) to run Hughes Tool Company, while he oversees the flight sequences for the film, Hughes becomes obsessed with shooting the film realistically, even re-shooting the dogfight himself. By 1929, with the silent film finally complete, Hughes realizes the premiere of the The Jazz Singer, which was the first part-talking film, means that sound films would soon become the industry standard. Hughes re-shoots Hell’s Angels with sound, costing another year and $1.7 million. Hell’s Angels released as a sound film in 1930 is a huge hit, and Hughes also produces Scarface (1932) and The Outlaw (1943). However, there is one goal he relentlessly pursues: aviation. During this time, he also pursues Katharine Hepburn (Cate Blanchett). The two go to nightclubs, play golf and fly together, and as they grow closer, move in together as well. During this time Hepburn becomes a major supporter and confidant to Hughes, and helps alleviate the symptoms of his obsessive-compulsive disorder. As Hughes’ fame grows, he is seen with more starlets.

Hughes successfully test flies the flying boat himself. After the flight, he talks to Dietrich and his mechanic, Glenn Odekirk (Matt Ross), about a new jetliner for TWA (the Avro C102 Jetliner) and makes a date with Gardner at a celebration party on the Long Beach shoreline. Hughes seems free of his inner demons until he sees three attendants in business suits and white gloves edging towards him, which triggers an obsessive-compulsive fit as he begins repeating “The way of the future.” Dietrich and Odekirk take Hughes in a bathroom and hide him there, while Dietrich fetches a doctor and Odekirk stands outside guarding the door. Alone inside, Howard has a flashback to his boyhood, being washed by his mother and resolving he will fly the fastest aircraft ever built, make the biggest movies ever and become the richest man in the world. As the film ends he mutters “the way of the future… the way of the future” into a darkened mirror.