Sleepers

  • Directors: Barry Levinson
  • Producers: Barry Levinson, Steve Golin
  • Writers: Screenplay, Barry Levinson, Novel, Lorenzo Carcaterra
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Kevin Bacon, Billy Crudup, Robert De Niro, Minnie Driver, Ron Eldard, Dustin Hoffman, Jason Patric, and Brad Pitt

Lorenzo “Shakes” Carcaterra, Thomas “Tommy” Marcano, Michael Sullivan, and John Reilly are four childhood friends (Joseph Perrino, Jonathan Tucker, Brad Renfro, and Geoffrey Wigdor respectively) who grow up in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City in the mid-1960s. During this time, the local priest, Father Bobby (Robert De Niro), plays a very important part in their lives and keeps an eye on them. However, early on they start running small errands for a local gangster, King Benny (Vittorio Gassman).

On a summer day in 1967, their lives take a sharp turn when they almost kill a man after pulling a prank on a hot dog vendor. As a punishment they are all four sentenced to serve time at the Wilkinson Home for Boys in upstate New York. There, the boys are systematically beaten, abused, and raped by guards Sean Nokes, Henry Addison, Adam Styler, and Ralph Ferguson (Kevin Bacon, Jeffrey Donovan, Lennie Loftin, and Terry Kinney respectively). These traumatic events change the boys and their friendship forever.

Fourteen years later, John and Tommy (Ron Eldard and Billy Crudup), now gangsters, come across Sean Nokes in a pub in Hell’s Kitchen. After making sure that Nokes knows who they are, they both shoot him. Mike (Brad Pitt), now an assistant District Attorney, arranges to be assigned to the case, secretly intending to lose it as a means of getting revenge. Moreover, he and Shakes (Jason Patric), begin to forge a plan to get their revenge on all the responsible guards. Together with many of their lifelong friends, especially Carol (Minnie Driver), a social worker, and King Benny, they manage to collect information on all the Wilkinson guards.

However, to clinch the case they need a key witness who can give John and Tommy an alibi. After a long talk with Father Bobby, including telling him about the awful events at Wilkinson, he agrees to lie on the stand about where John and Tommy were on the night of the shooting; the priest swears under oath that they were with him at Madison Square Garden at a Knicks basketball game. As a result, they are acquited.

The Natural

  • Directors: Barry Levinson
  • Producers: Mark Johnson
  • Writers: Roger Towne and Phil Dusenberry
  • Genres: Drama, Sport
  • Actors: Robert Redford, Robert Duvall, Glenn Close, Kim Basinger, Barbara Hershey, Darren McGavin, Wilford Brimley, Richard Farnsworth

The beginning of the movie introduces Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) as a child, playing baseball with his father. Mr. Hobbs dies suddenly while Roy is still young, collapsing under a tree. That tree is split in half by lightning, and young Roy carves a baseball bat from it, on which he burns the image of a lightning bolt and the label ‘Wonderboy’.

At age 19, Hobbs is recruited by the Chicago Cubs in 1923. On the train to the tryouts, he wins a wager to strike out “The Whammer” (Joe Don Baker), the top hitter in the major leagues. Back on the train, the naive Hobbs is seduced by Harriet Bird (Barbara Hershey), an alluring but sinister woman, who gravitates to him after judging that he, rather than The Whammer, is now the best baseball player in the world. Bird lures young Hobbs to a hotel room and shoots him.

The story skips forward 16 years, to 1939. A fictitious team called the New York Knights has signed the now 35-year-old Hobbs to a contract, to the ire of the team’s gruff manager and co-owner, Pop Fisher (Wilford Brimley). For a time Pop does not allow him to play, but after impressing in batting practice, Hobbs literally knocks the cover off the ball in his first major league game. Hobbs rises to stardom and reverses the Knights’ fortunes.

Roy comes to bat in the bottom of the ninth with, a chance to win the game. Lightning flashes as Hobbs hits a long drive that twists foul, and sees that Wonderboy, his “magical” bat, has shattered. The young bat boy brings Hobbs a bat that they made together. Hobbs hits a towering shot, a pennant-winning home run, which soars into the stadium’s lights and starts a chain reaction of sparks that rain down onto the field. The Knights won the pennant. The final scene shows Hobbs playing catch with his son in a sun-dappled wheat field, with Iris proudly standing by.

Disclosure

  • Directors: Barry Levinson
  • Producers: Michael Crichton, Barry Levinson
  • Writers: Michael Crichton, Paul Attanasio
  • Genres: Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Michael Douglas, Demi Moore, Donald Sutherland

The movie is a combination mystery and thriller about office politics and intrigue in the computer industry. The main focus of the story from which the movie and book take their titles is the issue of sexual harassment: Charges of sexual harassment are levied against a computer company executive, one Tom Sanders (Michael Douglas) by a rival executive, Meredith Johnson (Demi Moore) who is brought in to be Tom’s boss by the company president Bob Garvin (Donald Sutherland). Tom counter-sues, claiming that Meredith actually harassed him.

The movie invites viewers to consider some pointed questions about the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace, such as: whether the issue is overblown, whether there is a double-standard when applied to women as opposed to men as perpetrators, and the ease with which charges of sexual harassment can be used as a weapon by ambitious executives seeking to climb over their colleagues to the top of the corporate ladder.

However, Tom discovers that the sexual harassment charges against him were a ruse to distract him and prevent him from discovering a fraud perpetrated by Bob and Meredith. Tom successfully thwarts the plan with the aid of three women: his attorney, Catherine Alvarez (Roma Maffia), his wife Susan (Caroline Goodall) who is also a lawyer but initially doesn’t believe him, and Stephanie Kaplan (Rosemary Forsyth) the company’s Chief Financial Officer who also becomes promoted to the head of the division once Meredith has been exposed and is fired. Tom ends up in the same position at the end of the film as he was at the beginning (however, plus $100,000.00 and attorney fees from arbitration), but only after narrowly escaping from having both his career and his family life destroyed.

Good Morning Vietnam

  • Directors: Barry Levinson
  • Producers: Larry Brezner, Mark Johnson
  • Writers: Mitch Markowitz
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, War
  • Actors: Robin Williams, Forest Whitaker, Bruno Kirby, J T Walsh

In 1965, United States Air Force Airman Adrian Cronauer (Robin Williams) arrives in Saigon from Crete to work as a DJ for the Armed Forces Radio Service. His first contact is with Private First Class Edward Garlick (Forest Whitaker), whom he persuades to help chase down a couple of pretty local girls before taking him to the radio station.

Cronauer’s irreverence contrasts sharply with the rest of the staff and soon rouses the ire of two of his superiors, Lieutenant Steven Hauk (Bruno Kirby) and Sergeant Major Dickerson (J. T. Walsh). Hauk adheres to strict Army guidelines in terms of humor and music programming, while Dickerson is annoyed by Cronauer’s behavior in general. However, General Taylor (Noble Willingham) and the other DJs quickly grow to like the new man and his brand of comedy – which begins as soon as he first goes on the air with a yell of “Go-o-o-o-o-o-o-d morning, Vietnam!”

Cronauer’s show consists of unpredictable humor segments mixed with news updates (vetted by the station censors, which at one point causes Cronauer to dryly comment ‘Ooh, censor, censor, censor — join the army and mark things!’) and rock and roll records that are frowned upon by his superiors. Hauk finds nothing funny about any of it and tries, without success, to get him to change his approach.

The next day, on his way to the airport, he sets up a quick softball game with the students from his English class. Trinh thanks him for warning her about the danger her brother was in. As he boards the plane, he gives Garlick a taped farewell message; Garlick – taking Cronauer’s place as DJ – plays the tape on the air the next morning. It begins with a yell of “Go-o-o-o-o-o-o-dbye, Vietnam!” and runs through a few of Cronauer’s impressions before ending with his wish that everyone will get home safely.

Rain Man

  • Directors: Barry Levinson
  • Producers: Peter Guber, Jon Peters, David McGiffert, Mark Johnson, Gerald R Molen
  • Writers: Screenplay, Barry Morrow, Ronald Bass, Story, Barry Morrow
  • Genres: Drama
  • Actors: Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Valeria Golino

Charlie Babbitt (Cruise), a Los Angeles car dealer in his mid-twenties, is in the middle of importing four grey market Lamborghinis. The deal is being threatened by the EPA, and if Charlie cannot meet its requirements he will lose a significant amount of money. After some quick subterfuge with an employee, Charlie leaves for a weekend trip to Palm Springs with his girlfriend, Susanna.

Charlie’s trip is cancelled by news that his estranged father, Sanford Babbitt, has died. Charlie travels to Cincinnati, Ohio, to settle the estate, where he learns an undisclosed trustee is inheriting $3 million on behalf of an unnamed beneficiary, while he is to receive a classic Buick Roadmaster convertible and several prize rose bushes. Eventually he learns the money is being directed to a mental institution, and he discovers that it is the home of his autistic brother, Raymond (Hoffman).

Raymond is an autistic savant, with superb recall but little understanding of subject matter. He is frightened by change and adheres to strict routines (for example, his continual repetition of the “Who’s on First?” sketch). Except when he is in distress, he shows little emotional expression and avoids eye contact.

Numbed by learning that he has a brother and determined to get what he believes is his fair share of the Babbitt estate, Charlie takes Raymond on what becomes a cross-country trip back to Los Angeles to meet with his attorneys. He intends to start a custody battle in order to get Raymond’s doctor, Dr. Bruner (Molen), to settle out of court for half of Sanford Babbitt’s estate so that they can maintain custody of Raymond.

Eventually, Raymond is allowed to go back home to Cincinnati. Charlie, who has gained a new brother and mellowed considerably, tells him he’ll visit.

Tootsie

  • Directors: Sydney Pollack
  • Producers: Sydney Pollack, Dick Richards
  • Writers: Larry Gelbart, Murray Schisgal, Barry Levinson, Elaine May
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Teri Garr, Dabney Coleman

Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) is a respected but perfectionist actor on the verge of turning forty. Nobody in New York wants to hire him anymore because he is so difficult to work with or he is either too old or too young for a role. Not having worked in four months, he eventually hears of an opening on the soap opera Southwest General (a parody of General Hospital) from his friend Sandy Lester (Teri Garr), who initially tries out for the role but doesn’t get it. In desperation, he cross-dresses, auditions as ”Dorothy Michaels” and eventually wins the part.

Michael thinks it is just a temporary job to pay the bills, but he proves to be so popular as a feisty hospital administrator that, to his dismay, the producers sign him to a long-term contract. Dorothy is such a hit that she is even featured on the covers of a number of well-known magazines.

The masquerade begins to fall to pieces when Michael is caught by Sandy while taking off his clothes and to try on hers (to get more ideas for Dorothy’s outfits). He tries to stall the moment by seducing Sandy and reluctantly starting a romantic relationship with her, which proves to be difficult because of Sandy’s neurotic personality and incredibly low self-esteem.

Some weeks later, Michael, having made amends with Julie’s father, waits for her outside the studio and touchingly confesses that “…I was a better man with you as a woman than I ever was with a woman as a man” and since he already became good friends as Dorothy he claims “I just gotta learn how to do it without the dress.” She forgives him and they have a cheerful argument over Julie wanting to wear one of Michael’s outfits.