Matchstick Men

  • Directors: Ridley Scott
  • Producers: Ridley Scott, Steve Starkey, Sean Bailey, Jack Rapke, Ted Griffin
  • Writers: Novel, Eric Garcia, Screenplay, Ted Griffin, Nicholas Griffin
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Crime, Thriller
  • Actors: Nicolas Cage, Alison Lohman, Sam Rockwell, Bruce Altman, Bruce McGill

Roy Waller (Nicolas Cage) is a troubled con artist residing in Los Angeles, California. Alongside his partner and protégé Frank Mercer (Sam Rockwell), Roy operates a fake lottery, selling overpriced water filtration systems to unsuspecting customers; in the process, Roy has collected over one million dollars and has developed a crush on Kathy (Sheila Kelley), a cashier at a local supermarket. Roy suffers from several mental disorders, including agoraphobia, mysophobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder and a tic disorder—not to mention the fact that he yells, “Pygmies” whenever something surprises or upsets him. After Roy experiences a violent panic attack, Frank suggests he see a psychiatrist, Dr. Harris Klein (Bruce Altman).

Klein provides Roy with medication, and in therapy has Roy recall his past relationship with his ex-wife, Heather (Melora Walters), who was pregnant during the time of the divorce. By Roy’s behest, Klein informs Roy that he called Heather and found out that Roy has a fourteen year-old daughter, Angela (Alison Lohman). Roy and Angela meet and Angela quizzes Roy regarding his life and occupation. Her cheerful personality rejuvenates him, and Roy thus agrees to work with Frank on a long-term con: Their target is Chuck Frechette (Bruce McGill), an arrogant businessman whom the duo decides to con with the Jamaican Switch.

A year later, Roy has become a salesman at a local carpet store, which Angela and her boyfriend one day wander into. Roy confronts Angela but ultimately forgives her, realizing that he is now honest, coping with his mental disorders in a healthy manner and leading a much happier lifestyle as a respectable citizen. Angela reveals that she did not receive her fair share of the cut from Frank, and that it was the only con she ever pulled. Angela and her boyfriend depart and Roy returns home to his new wife Kathy (the cashier he had a crush on), who is now pregnant with his child.

Beowulf

  • Directors: Robert Zemeckis
  • Producers: Steve Bing, Jack Rapke, Steve Starkey, Robert Zemeckis
  • Writers: Neil Gaiman, Roger Avary
  • Genres: Animation, Action, Adventure, Fantasy
  • Actors: Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, Angelina Jolie, Crispin Glover, Robin Wright Penn, John Malkovich, Brendan Gleeson, Alison Lohman

Set in Denmark, the film opens with King Hrothgar (Anthony Hopkins) celebrating the construction of his new mead hall, Heorot. The noise of the celebration echoes into Grendel’s (Crispin Glover) cave and torments him. In a mad fury, Grendel breaks into the hall and kills many people. After being challenged by Hrothgar, Grendel runs off into the night. Back at his lair, Grendel is admonished by his unseen mother for attacking the humans and possibly inviting retribution. She calms down after Grendel tells her that he did not harm Hrothgar.

Meanwhile, Hrothgar closes Heorot and proclaims that he will give half of his kingdom in gold to any man who can defeat Grendel. Beowulf (Ray Winstone) and his men arrive by ship from Geatland and convince Hrothgar to reopen Heorot. Beowulf’s credibility is challenged by Unferth (John Malkovich), the King’s most trusted advisor. Beowulf proceeds to tell a tall tale of how he slew several sea serpents in a past adventure to convince the people of Heorot that he is capable of killing Grendel. Hrothgar offers Beowulf his Golden drinking horn, a trophy taken after a battle with the dragon Fáfnir, in the event that Grendel is destroyed.

Beowulf and the dragon fall to the shores far below. The dragon reverts to the golden man of Beowulf’s dream, whom Beowulf realizes is his son. Beowulf then dies in Wiglaf’s arms. The latter, still refusing to believe his friend is anything but a hero, finally listens to Beowulf’s confession.

Drag Me to Hell

  • Directors: Sam Raimi
  • Producers: Grant Curtis, Joshua Donen, Joseph Drake, Nathan Kahane, Sam Raimi, Robert G Tapert
  • Writers: Ivan Raimi, Sam Raimi
  • Genres: Horror, Thriller
  • Actors: Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver, David Paymer

An unsuspecting young woman (Lohman) becomes the recipient of a supernatural curse.[1][2]When Christine disallows an old woman an extension on her mortgage payment, to prove she is able to make tough decisions to her boss, she is attacked by the old woman while getting into her car, and has a curse set upon her, threatening to send her to Hell for eternity.

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.