Corpse Bride

  • Directors: Mike Johnson, Tim Burton
  • Producers: Tim Burton, Allison Abbate, Jeffrey Auerbach, Joe Ranft
  • Writers: John August, Caroline Thompson, Pamela Pettler, Tim Burton
  • Genres: Animation, Comedy, Fantasy, Music, Romance
  • Actors: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Emily Watson, Tracey Ullman, Paul Whitehouse, Joanna Lumley, Albert Finney

In a Victorian era town, the Everglots, a family of recently bankrupt aristocrats, reluctantly agree to marry off their daughter Victoria to the timid Victor Van Dort, son of nouveau riche fishmongers. Despite their initial uneasiness about the situation, having never before met, Victor and Victoria hit it off immediately. Unfortunately, after his clumsiness ruins their wedding rehearsal (accidentally lighting Victoria’s mother’s dress on fire), Victor is banished until he can learn to recite his wedding vows properly. Victor wanders deep into the forest while practicing, eventually performing a flawless mock recital. In doing so, he places his bride’s wedding ring on a tree root resembling a human hand. However, it turns out it is a hand, which comes to life and grabs Victor by the arm. Emerging from the earth is Emily, the “Corpse Bride,” a beautiful undead girl in a moldy bridal gown who declares Victor her husband.

Emily takes Victor to the Land of the Dead, where Victor learns how she was jilted, murdered and robbed while trying to elope with a mysterious stranger, and had been waiting for her true love to return ever since. Victor tries to flee from Emily, who finds and attempts to bond with him, even reuniting him with his beloved and long-deceased dog as a wedding present. Dearly wishing to return to Victoria, his own true love, Victor tricks Emily into returning him to the Land of the Living under the pretense of introducing her to his still-living parents. Just as Victor reunites with Victoria, Emily discovers them and spirits Victor away back to the Land of the Dead. Feeling betrayed, Emily gets into an argument with Victor, climaxing with Victor telling her that their marriage was a mistake. Heartbroken, Emily leaves thinking Victor only loves Victoria for being alive while she herself is not.

After Victoria and Barkis’ wedding, the town erupts in panic as the dead arrive, but their fear is replaced with joy when the living residents recognize their loved ones among the dead; Barkis, however, is shocked to discover that Victoria is penniless. During the ceremony, Emily spots the heartbroken Victoria and realizes that Victor’s death will cheat her out of a happy life, calling off the ceremony before Victor drinks the poison and reunites him with Victoria. Barkis then crashes the party to reclaim Victoria, with Emily recognizing him as the man who jilted, murdered and robbed her. Victor engages Barkis in a sword fight (though Barkis is the only one with a sword while Victor is armed with a dinner fork). Before Barkis can land a killing strike, Emily takes the blow instead, completely unscathed. Upon being ordered to leave, Barkis proposes a mock-toast to Emily and drinks the wine intended for Victor; however, he does not realize it is poisoned until it’s too late and dies within seconds, the outraged dead proceeding to make hell out of his afterlife. Content that Victor can now live happily with Victoria, Emily finds herself at peace and ascends to the heavens in the form of hundreds of butterflies as Victor and Victoria watch on.

Erin Brockovich

  • Directors: Steven Soderbergh
  • Producers: Danny DeVito, Stacey Sher, Michael Shamberg, Gail Lyon, John Hardy
  • Writers: Susannah Grant
  • Genres: Biography, Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, Aaron Eckhart

Erin Brockovich (Julia Roberts) is an unemployed single mother of three children who, after losing a personal injury lawsuit against a doctor in a car accident she was in, asks her lawyer, Edward L. Masry (Albert Finney), if he can find her a job in compensation for the loss. Ed gives her work as a file clerk in his office, and she runs across some files on a pro bono case involving real-estate and medical records against PG&E.

Erin begins digging into the particulars of the case, convinced that the facts simply do not add up, and persuades Ed to allow her further research. After investigation, she discovers a systematic cover-up of the industrial poisoning (Hexavalent chromium) of the town of Hinkley’s water supply that threatens the health of an entire community. She finds that PG&E is responsible for the extensive illnesses residents of Hinkley have been diagnosed with and fights to bring the company to justice.

Big Fish

  • Directors: Tim Burton
  • Producers: Richard D Zanuck
  • Writers: Daniel Wallace, John August
  • Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Comedy, Adventure
  • Actors: Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Billy Crudup, Jessica Lange, Alison Lohman, Steve Buscemi, Danny DeVito

At his son’s wedding party, Edward Bloom tells the same tale he’s told many times over the years: on the day Will was born, he was out catching an enormous uncatchable fish, using his wedding ring as bait. Will is annoyed rather than pleased by this tale-telling; he explains to his wife, Josephine, that because his father never told the straight truth on anything but insisted on embellishing it with tales, he felt that he could not trust him. He is troubled to think that he might have a similarly difficult relationship with his future children.

Will becomes a journalist in Paris, and his relationship with his father becomes so strained that they do not talk for three years. But when his father’s health starts to fail, Will and his pregnant wife Josephine return to Alabama. On the plane, Will recalls his father’s tale of how he braved a swamp as a child, and met a witch who showed him his death in her glass eye. With this knowledge, Edward knows there are no odds he cannot face.

Edward still has a knack for tall tales. As he tells it, he spent three years confined to a bed as a child, with his body growing incredibly fast. He became a successful sports player but found the town of Ashton too small for his ambition. Finding a kindred spirit in the misunderstood giant Karl, they set off. Edward takes an abandoned path down a supposedly haunted forest. He discovers the tiny hidden town of Spectre, where the missing poet Norther Winslow has settled with people so friendly that no one ever leaves, and everyone comfortably walks around barefoot. Edward still feels he does not want to settle anywhere yet and leaves, but promises to the young girl Jenny that he will return.

At his funeral, Will sees many of his father’s more unusual friends, confirming at least a grain of truth from many of his tales. He sees Amos, Karl, Ping and Jing and Norther Winslow amongst others, although they are not entirely the same as in the stories, (for example, Ping and Jing were Siamese not as in conjoined, but as in “from Siam”—i.e. Thailand, also, Karl turned out to be just a tall man, not an ogre). When his own son is born, Will passes on his father’s stories, remarking that his father became his stories, allowing him to live forever.