City Lights

  • Directors: Charles Chaplin
  • Producers: Charles Chaplin
  • Writers: Charles Chaplin
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Charlie Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill, Florence Lee, Harry Myers

The plot centers around Chaplin’s Tramp, broke and homeless, and a poor blind girl whom the tramp sees selling flowers on the street. He falls in love with her and when the girl mistakes him for a millionaire he keeps up the charade. Earlier in the film he had talked a drunken millionaire out of committing suicide and a running gag throughout the film is that when the millionaire is drunk he is the best of friends with the tramp right up until he sobers up and cannot remember him.

The tramp learns that the girl’s rent is overdue and she and her grandmother are in danger of being evicted from their apartment. He begins working small jobs such as street sweeping and in a memorable scene enters a boxing contest, all to raise money for the girl. Eventually it is a casual gift of one thousand dollars from the millionaire which will pay for not only the rent but also an operation for the girl’s eyes. Unfortunately like many of the tramp’s efforts things go wrong and he is mistakenly accused of stealing the money when the millionaire is sober. The tramp manages to get the money to the girl, telling her that he is going away shortly before he is arrested and imprisoned.

Several months later, the tramp has been released and ends up on the same corner where the flower girl, her sight restored, has opened up a flower shop with her grandmother; every time a rich man comes into the shop the girl wonders if he was her mysterious benefactor. When the tramp sees a flower lying in the gutter he bends over to pick it up and is kicked in the seat of his pants by two schoolboys. The girl laughs and when the tramp approaches her to give her the flower she jokes to her grandmother that she has “made a conquest.” Seeing the flower fall apart in his hand, the girl hands him one of her flowers, but when she feels his hand, she realizes that it is familiar. “You?” she says, and he nervously nods, then asks, “You can see now?” She smiles and replies, “Yes, I can see now.”

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

  • Directors: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones
  • Producers: Mark Forstater, Michael White
  • Writers: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin
  • Genres: Adventure, Comedy
  • Actors: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin

King Arthur (Chapman), along with his faithful servant Patsy (Gilliam), is recruiting his Knights of the Round Table throughout England. He is frustrated at every turn by such obstacles as anarcho-syndicalist peasants, a Black Knight who refuses to give up in a fight despite losing both his arms and legs, and guards who are more concerned with the flight patterns of swallows than their lord and master. Finally he meets up with Sir Bedevere the Wise (Jones), Sir Lancelot the Brave (Cleese), Sir Galahad the Pure (also called “the Chaste”) (Palin), Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-As-Sir-Lancelot, who nearly stood up to the fierce dragon of Angnor, almost stood to the vicious chicken of Bristol, and personally wet himself at the Battle for Badon Hill (Idle), “and the aptly-named Sir Not-Appearing-in-this-Film” (a picture of Palin’s infant son). They declare themselves the Knights of the Round Table. When “riding” to Camelot (by strutting and banging two coconut halves together), they are given a quest by God (represented by an animated photograph of legendary cricket figure W. G. Grace) to find the Holy Grail.

They encounter a castle with a Frenchman who randomly taunts them with names like ‘Daffy English knnnnnniggits’ and odd insults such as, “I fart in your general direction!” and “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!”, together with some mangled Franglais, notably “Fetchez la vache!” (Fetch the cow). The Knights then retreat, weathering a barrage of livestock and executing a poorly thought-out plan to sneak into the castle while concealed within a crudely built giant wooden rabbit (a Trojan Rabbit) which the French throw back at the knights. Arthur decides that he and his knights should search for the Grail individually. After they split up, Sir Robin travels through the dark Forest of Ewing with his favourite minstrels, and encounters a Three-Headed Giant, Galahad follows a Grail-shaped light to the perils of Castle Anthrax (the girls of which are very interested in being spanked and having oral sex with him), Sir Lancelot massacres a wedding at Swamp Castle, and Arthur and Bedevere encounter the dreaded Knights who say Ni, who demand a shrubbery as tribute. They each overcome or avoid their individual perils in a variety of ways, then reunite to face a bleak and terrible winter, the happenings of which are told in the form of a Gilliam animation. Next they venture further to a pyromaniacal enchanter named Tim, who leads them to a cave guarded by a killer rabbit.

One of the running gags in the film is the frequent breaking of the fourth wall, the separation between the action on screen and the production offscreen is blurred; for example, the aforementioned “old man from scene 24” and the death of the animator. Others include:

Forrest Gump

  • Directors: Robert Zemeckis
  • Producers: Wendy Finerman, Steve Tisch, Charles Newirth
  • Writers: Winston Groom, Eric Roth
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Mykelti Williamson, Sally Field

The film begins in medias res with a white feather falling to the feet of Forrest Gump, who is sitting at a bus stop in Savannah, Georgia. Forrest picks up the feather and puts it in the book Curious George, then tells the story of his life to a woman seated next to him. The listeners at the bus stop change regularly throughout his narration, each showing a different reaction to his narration ranging from disbelief and indifference to rapt veneration.

His mother runs a boarding house in Alabama. One guest, a musician (later revealed to be Elvis Presley) picks up his own style of dancing from watching Forrest’s shaky movements caused by his leg braces. To get Forrest into a normal school, Forrest’s mother bribes the school’s Principal with sexual favors. On his first day of school, he meets a girl named Jenny Curran, a girl who is sexually abused by her father and who becomes his life’s love. One day after school, Forrest is being threatened by a group of bullies. Jenny tells him to run, and so he does, losing his leg braces in the process. His fast running ability becomes his favored method of travel, and during his senior year in high school, threatened by the same group of bullies, he runs through a football field and gets himself into college on a football scholarship playing for Paul “Bear” Bryant at the University of Alabama. He excels at football so much that he becomes an All-American, and meets President John F. Kennedy.

Forrest’s core character and personality are also changed from the novel, among other things he is an autistic savant – while playing football at the university, he fails craft and gym, but receives a perfect score in an advanced physics class he was enrolled in by his coach to satisfy his college requirements.

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

  • Directors: Stanley Kubrick
  • Producers: Stanley Kubrick
  • Writers: Novel, Peter George, Screenplay, Stanley Kubrick, Terry Southern, Peter George, Uncredited, Peter Sellers, James B Harris
  • Genres: Comedy
  • Actors: Peter Sellers, George C Scott, Slim Pickens

Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden) is a delusional commander of a United States Air Force base who initiates a plan to attack the Soviet Union with nuclear weapons, hoping to thwart a Communist conspiracy to “sap and impurify” the “precious bodily fluids” of the American people with fluoridated water, a theory that occurred to him during sexual intercourse, and which he believed to be the cause of his post-coital fatigue.

Ripper orders the nuclear armed B-52s of the 843rd Bomb Wing past their failsafe points – where they normally hold awaiting possible orders to proceed – and into Soviet airspace. He also tells the personnel of Burpelson Air Force Base that the US and the USSR have entered into a “shooting war”. Although a nuclear attack should require Presidential authority to be initiated, Ripper uses “Plan R”, an emergency war plan enabling a senior officer to launch a retaliation strike against the Soviets if everyone in the normal chain of command, including the President, has been killed during a sneak attack. According to the movie’s plot, Plan R was intended to discourage the Soviets from launching a decapitation strike against the President in Washington to disrupt U.S. command and control and stop an American nuclear counterattack.

In the concluding scenes, a visibly excited Dr. Strangelove bolts out of his wheelchair, shouting “Mein FГјhrer, I can walk!”. Abruptly, the film ends with a barrage of nuclear explosions, accompanied by Vera Lynn’s famous World War II song “We’ll Meet Again”.

Happy Endings

  • Directors: Don Roos
  • Producers: Michael Paseornek, Holly Wiersma
  • Writers: Don Roos
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Music, Thriller
  • Actors: Lisa Kudrow, Steve Coogan, Jesse Bradford, Bobby Cannavale, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Ritter, Tom Arnold

The film follows the lives of a diverse group of mostly middle-class Americans through the emotional ups and downs in their flawed yet very human lives, each loosely connected to each other through a restaurant.

The film follows three interconnected stories. In the first, a woman (Lisa Kudrow) reluctantly agrees to work with a would-be young filmmaker (Jesse Bradford) in order to locate the now grown son she secretly gave up for adoption after becoming pregnant from her stepbrother (Steve Coogan) (who is later found to be gay) 19 years earlier.

In the second story arc, her stepbrother and his domestic partner (David Sutcliffe) are deciding whether or not to confront their friends, a lesbian couple (Laura Dern and Sarah Clarke), regarding the paternity of their son.

And in the third, a young man (Jason Ritter) is involved with a band and trying to keep his father (Tom Arnold) from learning that he is gay, while also dealing with the seemingly gold-digging woman (Maggie Gyllenhaal) who inserts herself into their lives.