Robots

  • Directors: Chris Wedge, Carlos Saldanha
  • Producers: Bill Joyce, Christopher Meledandri, John C Donkin, Jerry Davis
  • Writers: Ron Mita, Jim McClain, David Lindsay Abaire, Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel
  • Genres: Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Sci-Fi
  • Actors: Ewan McGregor, Robin Williams, Halle Berry, Mel Brooks, Stanley Tucci, Dianne Wiest, Drew Carey, Amanda Bynes, Harland Williams, Greg Kinnear, Paul Giamatti, Jim Broadbent, Jennifer Coolidge

In the beginning of the movie, Herb Copperbottom races through the streets because he is elated that he is going to be a father. He and his wife, Lydia Copperbottom, after 12 hours of “labor”, finally manage to construct the baby. His name is Rodney Copperbottom, who becomes a young inventor who dreams of making the world a better place for everyone. Rodney idolizes Bigweld, the master inventor and owner of Bigweld Industries. Rodney has invented a gadget that will help his father clean the dishes at the restaurant. Rodney takes his invention to Robot City to see Bigweld and get a job as an inventor at his company. Instead, Rodney gets to see Ratchet, the new head of the company. Ratchet sees to it that Rodney is removed from the premises. Cappy, a beautiful robot-executive of the company takes an interest in Rodney, and wants to help him. In the slums of Robot City, some old robots known as the Rusties, led by a robot named Fender, befriend Rodney. Ratchet believes the company can make a bigger profit if it stops making spare parts for older robots. Non-working robots are picked up and sent to and melted down by Ratchet’s mother, queen of the ‘Chop-shop’. Rodney, who remembers Bigweld’s ‘See a need, fill a need’, begins fixing old robots. When Ratchet’s mother orders him to stop Rodney, the fireworks begin.

Parenthood

  • Directors: Ron Howard
  • Producers: Brian Grazer
  • Writers: Story, Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel, Ron Howard, Screenplay, Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama
  • Actors: Steve Martin, Tom Hulce, Rick Moranis, Martha Plimpton, Keanu Reeves, Jason Robards, Mary Steenburgen, Dianne Wiest

The story revolves around Gil Buckman (Steve Martin), a neurotic sales executive trying to balance the pressures of raising a family in the suburbs of St. Louis and succeeding in his career. Among Gil’s issues is a family of relatives who all face their own obstacles related to family and raising children such as Gil’s wife, Karen (Mary Steenburgen), his gruff and distant father, Frank (Jason Robards) and an assortment of other colorful relatives in a movie that raises the question: How easy is it to raise a family when you’re also trying to have your own life?

Gil never overworks himself, because he wants to be an active father, rather than a distant one like his own father was. His relationship with his father remains tense. His parenting skills are put under more pressure when he finds out that his wife is pregnant with their fourth child whom he is unsure of, and that his eldest son, Kevin, may have emotional problems [recognizably, in retrospect, a mild form of social anxiety disorder or possibly Asperger’s Syndrome] and may need to be placed in special classes or a private school if his issues don’t get better. Given Kevin’s issues, and some more minor issues with his other two children, Gil begins to blame himself and deeply question his abilities as a father. In addition, the financial burdens of another child and office politics at work may mean becoming the workaholic he despised his own father for being. When his father comes to Gil for advice on how to deal with Larry (Gil’s wayward brother) and says he is asking Gil’s advice because Gil is a good father, Gil has some closure about his feelings toward his father. Although this was a first step for Gil to realize that kids don’t come with an instruction manual, it is grandma and his wife that finally get him to relax and enjoy what life brings rather than over analyze it.

The film ends on a sentimental note with a new generation of Buckman children being born and the personal growth of the parents. For example, Frank lovingly hugs and cuddles his grandson Cool demonstrating that he changed his distant ways. The message of the film is seemingly that despite a family’s hectic problems, there is nothing better than being part of it and everyone has insecurities about their parenting skills.

A League of Their Own

  • Directors: Penny Marshall
  • Producers: Elliot Abbott, Robert Greenhut
  • Writers: Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Sport
  • Actors: Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Madonna, Lori Petty, Rosie O Donnell

When World War II threatens to shut down Major League Baseball, candy manufacturing magnate Walter Harvey (Garry Marshall) decides to create a women’s league to make money. Ira Lowenstein (David Strathairn) is put in charge of public relations and scout Ernie Capadino (Jon Lovitz) is sent out to recruit players.

Capadino likes what he sees in catcher Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis). She’s a terrific hitter and, almost as important, “a doll” and likely to attract male fans. He offers her a tryout, but the married woman is content where she is, working in a dairy and on the family farm in Oregon while her husband is away at war. He’s less impressed with her younger sister, pitcher Kit Keller (Lori Petty), who loves the game passionately but appears to be less talented. He finally lets her come along when she persuades Dottie to give it a try for her sake. Along the way to the tryouts, he also checks out Marla Hooch (Megan Cavanagh), a great switch-hitting slugger. However, the blunt-speaking scout finds her too homely and rejects her. Dottie and Kit refuse to continue on without her and Ernie reluctantly gives in.

When the trio arrive at the tryouts in Chicago, they meet Doris Murphy (Rosie O’Donnell) and Mae Mordabito (Madonna), two tough-talking Brooklynites. They are assigned with 14 others to form the Rockford Peaches; 48 other prospects are chosen for the Racine Belles, Kenosha Comets, or South Bend Blue Sox. The Peaches are managed by drunkard former baseball great Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks). Jimmy initially treats the whole thing as a joke, leaving the managerial duties to Dottie. However, he takes over when he sees how hard and well his team plays. Meanwhile, the players have to attend mandatory etiquette classes to maintain a “lady-like” image, even though they are also required to wear very short (by 1940s standards) skirts as part of their uniforms.

Many years later, the two sisters, who haven’t seen each other in quite a while, and many of their Peaches teammates (except for Dugan and Evelyn Gardner who had died some years earlier) are reunited at the opening of a women’s section in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Many of the older women shown in the final scenes had been actual players of the AAGPBL.

City Slickers

  • Directors: Ron Underwood
  • Producers: Billy Crystal, Irby Smith
  • Writers: Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel
  • Genres: Comedy, Western
  • Actors: Billy Crystal, Bruno Kirby, Daniel Stern, Patricia Wettig, Helen Slater, Jack Palance

Mitch (Billy Crystal) has just turned 39 years old, and is thick in the middle of a midlife crisis. His best friends are also having midlife crises of their own. Phil (Daniel Stern) is stuck managing his father-in-law’s grocery store, while trapped in a sexless marriage with an overbearing wife. Ed (Bruno Kirby) is a successful businessman and playboy, struggling with the idea of monogamous marriage and the pressure to have kids.

At Mitch’s birthday party, Phil and Ed present their joint gift: a two-week Southwestern cattle drive for all three men. After some hesitation, Mitch accepts the gift and travels to New Mexico, where the three men meet the several other participants of the cattle drive. The men slowly “learn the ropes” of moving a herd and even have a tense encounter with the two professional cowboys (T.R. and Jeff) who work the drive while being drunk. The encounter is stopped with the arrival of Curly (Jack Palance), the wisened, tough-as-nails trail boss, who chastises the cowboys for being intoxicated on the job and warns them strongly not to let it happen again.

Curly, the cowboys, and all the participants begin the long drive to Colorado. Mitch and Curly immediately dislike one another, and while Mitch fairly gets along with the majority of the others, opinions get worse when he inadvertently causes a destructive stampede. Afterwards, Curly and Mitch ride alone in the canyons to find some stray cows, and after being forced to spend the night alone, the two finally bond with one another. The next morning, Curly and Mitch are forced to deliver a calf in the wilderness. After the mother cow dies (Curly delivered the Coup de Grace by shooting the mother cow in the head to stop her dying painfully), Mitch adopts the calf and names it “Norman.” The two then rejoin the main drive.

The final test of the drive means crossing a dangerous river. The men drive the herd across the river during a storm, but Norman starts to drown. Mitch rescues him with a lasso (something he did not master previously in the story) but gets caught in the rapids. Phil and Ed race down the bank and save Mitch and Norman. The men smile on the river bank, all having overcome their crises. The three lead the herd back successfully to the Colorado ranch, where they learn, to their slight dismay, that the ranch owner, Clay Stone, intends to sell the cows to a meat company for a huge profit. Mitch returns to his family in New York a happy man, promising to live a more meaningful life. In addition, Mitch spares Norman from slaughter by purchasing him and bringing the calf home as a pet.

Robots

  • Directors: Chris Wedge, Carlos Saldanha
  • Producers: Bill Joyce, Christopher Meledandri, John C Donkin, Jerry Davis
  • Writers: Ron Mita, Jim McClain, David Lindsay Abaire, Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel
  • Genres: Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Sci-Fi
  • Actors: Ewan McGregor, Robin Williams, Halle Berry, Mel Brooks, Stanley Tucci, Dianne Wiest, Drew Carey, Amanda Bynes, Harland Williams, Greg Kinnear, Paul Giamatti, Jim Broadbent, Jennifer Coolidge

In the beginning of the movie, Herb Copperbottom races through the streets because he is elated that he is going to be a father. He and his wife, Lydia Copperbottom, after 12 hours of “labor”, finally manage to construct the baby. His name is Rodney Copperbottom, who becomes a young inventor who dreams of making the world a better place for everyone. Rodney idolizes Bigweld, the master inventor and owner of Bigweld Industries. Rodney has invented a gadget that will help his father clean the dishes at the restaurant. Rodney takes his invention to Robot City to see Bigweld and get a job as an inventor at his company. Instead, Rodney gets to see Ratchet, the new head of the company. Ratchet sees to it that Rodney is removed from the premises. Cappy, a beautiful robot-executive of the company takes an interest in Rodney, and wants to help him. In the slums of Robot City, some old robots known as the Rusties, led by a robot named Fender, befriend Rodney. Ratchet believes the company can make a bigger profit if it stops making spare parts for older robots. Non-working robots are picked up and sent to and melted down by Ratchet’s mother, queen of the ‘Chop-shop’. Rodney, who remembers Bigweld’s ‘See a need, fill a need’, begins fixing old robots. When Ratchet’s mother orders him to stop Rodney, the fireworks begin.