Twister

  • Directors: Jan de Bont
  • Producers: Ian Bryce, Michael Crichton, Kathleen Kennedy
  • Writers: Michael Crichton, Anne Marie Martin
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton, Jami Gertz, Cary Elwes, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Alan Ruck, Zach Grenier

In June 1969, a young Jo watches her father get sucked into a tornado after trying to hold a storm cellar door shut to keep his family safe. Decades later, meteorologists at the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) are discussing a building storm system over Oklahoma which could produce a record outbreak of tornadoes. Meanwhile, retired storm chaser Bill Harding (Bill Paxton) and his fiancée Dr. Melissa Reeves (Jami Gertz) are heading out to meet Bill’s former storm-chasing team to get the final divorce papers from Bill’s ex-wife, Dr. Jo Harding (Helen Hunt), who, since the day her father died, has sworn to hunt down as many tornadoes as possible, not wanting the same fate to happen to someone else. Besides Jo, the team consists of the eccentric Dusty Davis (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Robert “Rabbit” Nurick (Alan Ruck) navigator, Laurence (Jeremy Davies) photographer, Joey (Joey Slotnick), Alan Sanders (Sean Whalen) Rabbit’s driver, Tim “Beltzer” Lewis (Todd Field), Haynes (Wendle Jospeher) who rides with Beltzer, and Jason “Preacher” Rowe (Scott Thomson).

Jo, who is still in love with Bill, tries to stall because she does not want the marriage to end. Jo then tells Bill she wanted him out on the field because his idea for a tornado-analyzing device has been built. Called Dorothy, they will put it in the path of a tornado to measure it from inside. Four of the so-called “Dorothy” weather machines have been built. Haynes tells them of storm activity, and they head out. Bill’s rival team shows up, led by Dr. Jonas Miller (Cary Elwes) with his assistant Eddie (Zach Grenier). According to Bill, Jonas is in the storm-chasing business “for the money, not the science.” While Jonas’s team is passing Bill’s team on the road, one of Jonas’s team members runs Bill off the road. They head to a tire shop to get Bill’s flat tire fixed, and Bill sees Jonas giving an interview to some local reporters. Bill finds out that Jonas has stolen his idea for the Dorothy weather machine. Bill accuses him of stealing his idea, but Jonas says it was an “unrealized idea.” Everyone gets drinks at a local diner next door to the garage while Bill stays outside. Inside the diner, Melissa confronts Jo about her trying to keep together her failed marriage to Bill. Outside, Bill notices the sky is turning green, the sign of an approaching violent storm.

Haynes receives readings from Dorothy’s sensors that indicate the tornado will shift its track again. Bill and Jo, now without radios, are at first unaware, and start running towards a nearby farm as the F5 heads right at them. They first take cover in a barn, but it is filled with sharp metal tools. They run out the other side to find the tornado bearing down. It destroys the barn, and they dodge debris as they run to take cover in a small outbuilding. They find metal pipes inside this shelter, and tie themselves to the pipes with leather belts. The tornado destroys the structure, and they are pulled upside while anchored to the pipes. They manage to see the inside of the F5 tornado as it passes over them. It is filled with lighting and a smaller tornado in the core. Seconds later, the entire storm dissipates, and the family from the farm comes out of their underground storm shelter. Bill and Jo debate who will run the lab and who will analyze the new data while the rest of the team arrives.

True Lies

  • Directors: James Cameron
  • Producers: James Cameron, Stephanie Austin
  • Writers: Claude Zidi, Didier Kaminka, James Cameron
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Romance, Thriller
  • Actors: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Arnold, Bill Paxton, Art Malik, Tia Carrere, Eliza Dushku

Harry (Schwarzenegger) attempts to lead a double life, performing dangerous covert missions for Omega Sector with his support team of Albert “Gib” Gibson (Arnold) and Faisil (Heslov) while hiding this work from his wife Helen (Curtis) and daughter Dana (Dushku) under the guise of corporate travel. During a mission in Switzerland, Harry encounters and becomes suspicious of antiques dealer Juno Skinner (Carrere). His suspicions are correct, as Juno is helping to smuggle nuclear warheads into the United States for a Palestinian terrorist faction, Crimson Jihad, led by Aziz (Malik). However, while attempting to tail Aziz through the Georgetown Park shopping mall and the Westin Bonaventure Hotel, Harry is late for his own birthday party, angering Helen.

The next day, Harry tries to surprise Helen at work during lunch but overhears her talking with a co-worker about a man named Simon (Paxton) that she believes is a spy. Harry uses Omega Sector’s resources to track down Simon, and comes to realize that he is just a used-car salesman trying to flirt with Helen. In order to win Helen back, Harry arranges for a SWAT team to take Helen while she is seeing Simon, and then interrogates her through a one-way mirror and voice distortion to learn that Helen never slept with Simon but was only craving adventure, something that Harry never provided her. Harry arranges a fake mission for Helen to undertake as an operative, and tells her to pose as a private dancer in order to plant a tracking bug on an arms’ dealer staying in a nearby hotel. Harry assumes the role of the dealer, using the darkened room to hide his face, and planning to reveal himself to her to reaffirm his love. As Helen strip-teases for Harry, Aziz’s men burst into the room, and both Harry and Helen are taken prisoner.

The forces shortly receive news that Aziz and his remaining allies have taken refuge in a Miami office skyscraper, with Aziz holding Dana hostage after kidnapping her once he learned who Harry was, and demanding a television crew so that he can make demands to the government. Harry borrows one of the Harrier jets to get to the building. Faisil poses as part of the requested television crew, and is able to kill a number of the terrorists; in the confusion, Dana steals the launch key for the warheads and escapes to the roof, chased by Aziz. Harry arrives and kills the remaining terrorists in the building with the jet’s guns, and then helps to save Dana while killing Aziz by launching him on an AIM-9 Sidewinder missile towards a helicopter with the last of Aziz’s forces. In the following year, Helen becomes Harry’s partner in Omega Sector, neither hiding their secret profession from Dana.

Tombstone

  • Directors: George P Cosmatos, Kurt Russell 1
  • Producers: Michael Sloan, James Jacks
  • Writers: Kevin Jarre
  • Genres: Action, Drama, Romance, Western
  • Actors: Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton

Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell), a retired peace officer with a legendary reputation, re-unites with his brothers Virgil (Sam Elliott) and Morgan (Bill Paxton) in Tucson, Arizona, where they venture on towards Tombstone, a small but growing mining town, to settle down. There they encounter Wyatt’s longtime friend Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer), a southern gambler, expert gunslinger, and shady character who seeks relief from his tuberculosis in Arizona’s drier environment.

All is not perfect, however. Wyatt’s wife, Mattie Blaylock (Dana Wheeler-Nicholson), is slowly becoming dependent on laudanum (opium). Just as Wyatt and his brothers begin to benefit from a stake in a gambling emporium and saloon, they have their first encounter with the Cowboys, a band of ruthless outlaws. Led by “Curly Bill” Brocious (Powers Boothe), the Cowboy members are identifiable by the red sashes worn around their waist. Conflict is narrowly avoided upon Wyatt’s insistence that he is retired and no longer interested in pursuing a career in enforcing the law. This is also first face-to-face meeting for Doc Holliday and the psychopathic Johnny Ringo (Michael Biehn), widely known to be one of the fastest guns in the West. They take an immediate dislike to one another.

Doc is later admitted to a sanatorium in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. After a visit from Wyatt, Doc looks at his feet and the condition of the bed in which he is lying: realizing he is about to die with his boots off (as opposed to “dying with your boots on”, i.e. in a gunfight), he passes away muttering “I’ll be damned. Oh, this is funny”. At Doc’s urging, Wyatt pursues Josephine and the movie ends with an account of their long marriage together, as narrated by veteran actor Robert Mitchum.

Vertical Limit

  • Directors: Martin Campbell
  • Producers: Martin Campbell, Robert King, Marcia Nasatir, Lloyd Phillips
  • Writers: Robert King, Robert King Terry Hayes
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Thriller
  • Actors: Chris O Donnell, Robin Tunney, Scott Glenn, Izabella Scorupco, Bill Paxton

Peter Garrett (O’Donnell) is a retired climber who a few years earlier caused his father to fall off a cliff face and plummet to his death in order to save his sister and his own lives (following his Dad’s orders). The film starts with this scene in which father, son and daughter are climbing together. Peter hasn’t been able to move on and has subsequently retired from climbing and is doing documentary work instead. Peter’s sister Annie (Tunney) has become a renowned mountain climber. Peter happens to show up at base camp as Annie attempts to climb K2 in Pakistan, the world’s second highest mountain, which is very dangerous to climb because of the tough conditions which await at the summit. The expedition is funded by wealthy industrialist Elliot Vaughn (Paxton) who is also going to climb, with the help of his friend Tom McLaren (Lea). There is a huge party the night before the climbers begin the trek. Elliot is introduced to Peter, who he asks to accompany them on the trip, but Peter instantly refuses.

The climb turns out to be a disaster as the windy conditions begin to wreak havoc among the travelers. Annie, Elliot and Tom fall through a patch of ice and become trapped in a cavern. Annie radios back to base using morse code and Peter learns of Annie’s plight. He assembles together a rescue mission with the base’s best climbers including brothers Cyril and Malcolm (Le Marquand and Mendelsohn), Monique Aubertine (Scorupco), Kareem Nazir (Siddig) and Skip Taylor (Taylor). However, the day before the rescue mission goes underway. Skip and Peter go visit Montgomery Wick (Glenn), reported to be the world’s best climber, and who has climbed K2 before. After an awkward conversation with Wick, he agrees to go and Peter sees Wick’s bare feet without toes. Skip informs him Wick lost his wife on the mountain and lost his toes to frostbite, and that Wick has searched for her every day since the accident. Skip is unable to go as Wick says he needs him on the ground directing the mission, instead of being with it.

Peter and Monique continue and they soon find the place where Annie and Elliot are imprisoned. They effectively use the nitroglycerin to destroy a huge chunk of the ice and creating a hole, enabling access to the survivors below. Wick arrives at this point, and along with Peter (with Monique towing the rope) they manage to pull Annie out of the hole. Wick then manages to buckle Elliot onto the rope and all seems well. Suddenly a tremor occurs and the collective weight of the all three men is too heavy for the girls to pull out. With Elliot below him, Wick decides to sacrifice himself, despite Elliot shrieking at him not to. He cuts the rope with a knife and both are lost below. Peter is saved and he, Monique and Annie then embrace. The film ends with Annie safely at a camp and reconciled with her brother who she had never forgiven for “killing” their father.

Apollo 13

  • Directors: Ron Howard
  • Producers: Brian Grazer
  • Writers: Book, Jim Lovell, Jeffrey Kluger, Screenplay, William Broyles Jr, Al Reinert
  • Genres: Adventure, Drama, History
  • Actors: Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise, Ed Harris

Apollo 13 opens with a flashback of the Apollo 1 fire incident, accompanied by narration by Walter Cronkite. As Cronkite’s monologue ends, the film moves on to July 20, 1969 where veteran astronaut Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks) is on his way home to a party for the Apollo 11 moon landing. After witnessing Neil Armstrong’s historic first steps on the moon, an inebriated Lovell stares up at the moon and tells his wife, Marilyn (Kathleen Quinlan), of his wish for a moon landing of his own.

A few months later, Jim, who’s expecting to fly Apollo 14, is giving a VIP tour of NASA’s towering Vehicle Assembly Building while Apollo 13’s massive Saturn V rocket is being assembled. As the U.S. representatives among the VIPs question the possibility of any further moon landings after beating the Soviet Union to the moon, he is informed by Deke Slayton (Chris Ellis) that he and his crew have been bumped up to be prime crew of Apollo 13. After informing his family of his new flight assignment, Lovell and his crew, Fred Haise (Bill Paxton) and Ken Mattingly (Gary Sinise) begin training for Apollo 13 instead of Apollo 14. As the launch date approaches, Marilyn’s fears for her husband’s fourth space mission manifest in her unwillingness to go to the launch.

After witnessing the damage suffered by the scarred Service Module, the crew strap in for their descent into atmosphere. With one final goodbye to Aquarius, the lunar module that saved their lives is jettisoned. Then, Odyssey re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere, and after over four minutes of radio ionization blackout – three minutes is normal for re-entry – the crew reports that they have made it alive and well. Celebration rushes through Mission Control and in the homes of the astronauts’ families. In an emotional scene, Kranz simply sits down as everyone applauds around him, looking overwhelmed and fighting back tears. After splashing down, the crew is plucked out of the water and taken to the USS Iwo Jima for a heroes welcome. The film then concludes with a slow-motion sequence with monologue by Hanks (as Lovell) about the events that would follow their return from space. Lovell shakes hands with the captain of Iwo Jima while narrating as the sequence ends with “I look up at the moon and wonder: ‘When will we be going back, and who will that be?'”

Titanic

  • Directors: James Cameron
  • Producers: Jon Landau, James Cameron
  • Writers: James Cameron
  • Genres: Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Frances Fisher, Victor Garber, Bernard Hill, Bill Paxton, Gloria Stuart

In 1997, treasure hunter Brock Lovett (Bill Paxton) and his team explore the wreck of the RMS Titanic, searching for a necklace set with a valuable blue diamond called the Heart of the Ocean. Unsuccessful, they instead discover a drawing of a young woman reclining nude, wearing the Heart of the Ocean, dated the day the Titanic sank. 101-year-old Rose Dawson Calvert (Gloria Stuart) learns of the drawing, and contacts Lovett to inform him she is the woman in the drawing. She and her granddaughter Elizabeth “Lizzy” Calvert (Suzy Amis) visit Lovett and his skeptical team on his salvage ship. When asked if she knew the whereabouts of the necklace, Rose Calvert recalls her memories aboard the Titanic, revealing for the first time that she was Rose DeWitt Bukater, a passenger believed to have died in the sinking.

In 1912, the upper-class 17-year-old Rose (Kate Winslet) boards the ship in Southampton, England, with her fiancé, Caledon “Cal” Hockley (Billy Zane) and her mother, Ruth DeWitt Bukater (Frances Fisher). Distraught and frustrated by her engagement to Cal and her controlled life, Rose attempts suicide by jumping from the stern, but a drifter and artist named Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) intervenes. Initially Cal, his friends and the sailors, overhearing Rose’s screams, believe Jack attempted to rape her. She explains Jack saved her life, hiding her suicide attempt by explaining she slipped after trying to see the propellers. Jack supports the claim, although Hockley’s manservant, former police officer Spicer Lovejoy, is unconvinced. Jack and Rose strike up a tentative friendship as she thanks him for his corroboration, and he shares stories of his adventures traveling and sketching; their bond deepens when they leave a first-class formal dinner of the rapport-building wealthy for a much livelier gathering of Irish dance and ale in third-class.

Rose is taken by the RMS Carpathia to New York City, where she gives her name as Rose Dawson (adopting Jack’s surname, leading everyone to believe Rose DeWitt Bukater died on the Titanic). Having completed her story, the elderly Rose goes to the stern of Lovett’s ship. After she steps onto the railing, it is revealed she still has the Heart of the Ocean in her possession. She drops the diamond into the water, sending it to join the remains of the most important event of her life. The film ends with a shot of Rose in bed. Around her are pictures of her doing everything she said she would do with Jack throughout her life.[3] The final shot of the film is a vision of the young Rose reuniting with Jack at the Grand Staircase of the Titanic, surrounded and applauded by those who perished on the ship as she kisses him.