Milk

  • Directors: Gus Van Sant
  • Producers: Dan Jinks, Bruce Cohen, Michael London
  • Writers: Dustin Lance Black
  • Genres: Biography, Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, Diego Luna, James Franco, Alison Pill, Victor Garber

Milk opens with archival footage of police raiding gay bars and arresting patrons during the 1950s and 1960s, followed by Dianne Feinstein’s November 27, 1978, announcement to the press that Milk and Moscone have been assassinated. Milk is seen recording his will throughout the film, nine days (November 18, 1978) before the assassinations. The film then flashes back to New York City in 1970, the eve of Milk’s 40th birthday and his first meeting with his much younger lover, Scott Smith.

Unsatisfied with his life and in need of a change, Milk and Smith decide to move to San Francisco in the hope of finding larger acceptance of their relationship. They open Castro Camera in the heart of Eureka Valley, a working class neighborhood in the process of evolving into a predominantly gay neighborhood known as The Castro. Frustrated by the opposition they encounter in the once Irish-Catholic neighborhood, Milk utilizes his background as a businessman to become a gay activist, eventually becoming a mentor for Cleve Jones. Early on, Smith serves as Milk’s campaign manager, but his frustration grows with Milk’s devotion to politics, and he leaves him. Milk later meets Jack Lira, a sweet-natured but unbalanced young man. As with Smith, Lira cannot tolerate Milk’s devotion to political activism, and eventually hangs himself.

The last scene is an aerial shot of the candlelight vigil held by thousands for Milk and Moscone throughout the streets of the city. Pictures of the actual people depicted in the film, and brief summaries of their lives follow. This includes a note that Dan White’s lawyers used the infamous Twinkie defense to get White’s conviction reduced to voluntary manslaughter.

Hook

  • Directors: Steven Spielberg
  • Producers: Frank Marshall, Kathleen Kennedy, Gerald R Molen, James V Hart, Malia Scotch Marmo, Bruce Cohen
  • Writers: Screenplay, James V Hart, Malia Scotch Marmo, Screen Story, James V Hart, Nick Castle, Characters, J M Barrie
  • Genres: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
  • Actors: Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, Julia Roberts, Bob Hoskins, Charlie Korsmo, Amber Scott

Years ago, Peter Pan left Neverland and married Wendy Darling’s granddaughter Moira. As corporate lawyer Peter Banning, he has entirely forgotten his childhood as Peter Pan. He’s successful, but never has time for his wife Moira and children, Jack and Maggie. The family travels to London to visit Wendy, now very old and being honored for her work caring for orphans. Jack and Maggie are kidnapped by Captain Hook, who survived his run-in with the crocodile. Wendy tries to tell Peter of his past, but he does not believe her.

Tinker Bell visits Peter that night, taking him to Neverland. He wakes up among the pirates; then, observing Hook boasting of kidnapping Peter’s children to use as bait, Peter reveals himself. Hook is disgusted at his nemesis’ ineffectual condition. Hook’s henchman Smee concludes that being away from Neverland for so long has wiped his memory clean of the past. Hook is ready to have Peter and his children killed, but Tinker Bell convinces him into giving Peter three days to train for a duel. She takes Peter to the Lost Boys, led by Rufio, who initially do not believe he’s Peter Pan. Tinker Bell convinces them that he is Pan, and they re-train him. Peter is hampered by his inability to remember being a boy or how to fly. At the same time Hook decides to “teach” Peter’s children to love him as a means of demoralizing Peter when the day comes. Although Maggie does not fall for the ploy, the often-overlooked Jack listens, and with Hook cheering him on at a pirate baseball game (as his father had failed to do), he comes to accept Hook as a father figure.

With the help of Tinker Bell becoming human-sized and kissing him, Peter manages to find his flight-enabling “happy thought”: his love for Moira and becoming a father, the reasons he left Neverland. Peter leads the Lost Boys into battle with the pirates. Rufio takes on Hook while Peter rescues his son and daughter. Rufio dies, his last words telling Peter that he wishes he had a father like him. Jack is finally convinced that his father cares for him, and pleads to go home. Realizing that Hook will not stop and that he will return to threaten his family time and again, Peter resumes the duel. It ends when the giant crocodile falls down from his framework and swallows Hook. Peter passes on his sword and leadership to the biggest of the Lost Boys, Thud Butt, and flies back to London with his children. He awakens in his regular clothes at the famous statue of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, and sees Tinker Bell one last time. He assures her that he still believes in fairies, and she leaves. He returns to his family, finally remembering who he is, and appreciating them all as he should.

The Flintstones

  • Directors: Brian Levant
  • Producers: Bruce Cohen
  • Writers: Tom S Parker, Jim Jennewein, Steven E de Souza
  • Genres: Comedy, Crime, Family
  • Actors: John Goodman, Rick Moranis, Elizabeth Perkins, Kyle MacLachlan, Rosie O Donnell, Halle Berry, Elizabeth Taylor

Cliff Vandercave, the Executive Vice President of Industrial Procurement at Slate & Co., plans to appoint a Vice President of his division to frame for a crime. To find one, he makes an exam to give to the quarry operators, among whom are Barney Rubble and Fred Flintstone. Fred loans Barney money so he and his wife, Betty can adopt a child. They adopt a caveboy named Bamm-Bamm. Barney appreciates what Fred did for him and is determined to pay him back. While taking the exams, Fred fails it, and is disappointed since he will not be able to give his wife, Wilma the wealthy life she used to have. Barney takes Fred’s exam up for him and notices how poorly he did. To pay him back for giving him the money to adopt Bamm-Bamm, he swaps his exam with Fred’s and Fred is promoted to Vice President.

On Fred’s first day as an executive, Cliff brings him to his new office, where he meets Sharon Stone, Cliff’s assistant. Stone seduces Fred and tells him she will do whatever he desires. Fred is then introduced to the dictabird. Cliff orders Fred to fire Barney because of his exam score, and he (very reluctantly and sadly) fires Barney at the Rubbles’ surprise party, but does his best to help Barney afterwards with financial problems. Cliff proposes a new machine that will do all of the quarry work and increase the company’s income. However, Fred is concerned about the operators losing their jobs. Cliff plans to have a fake version of the machine built and flee with the money gained from the machine, and frame Fred for it. Cliff orders Stone to give Fred the forms, but he is against the idea. To get him to sign the forms, Miss Stone once again seduces Fred, but Wilma walks in on them this time.

The film ends with a live-action montage of the animated series’ closing credits.

American Beauty

  • Directors: Sam Mendes
  • Producers: Bruce Cohen, Dan Jinks
  • Writers: Alan Ball
  • Genres: Drama
  • Actors: Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Wes Bentley, Mena Suvari, Chris Cooper

Lester Burnham (Spacey) is a 42-year-old father and advertising executive who serves as the film’s narrator. Lester’s family life is messy—his wife Carolyn (Bening) is an ambitious real-estate broker who feels that she is unsuccessful at fulfilling her potential, and his 16-year-old daughter Jane (Thora Birch) is unhappy and struggling with self-esteem issues. Lester himself is a self-described loser in a dead end job with despicable bosses he does not respect. Lester is reinvigorated, however, when he meets Jane’s friend and classmate Angela Hayes (Mena Suvari) at a high school basketball game. Lester immediately develops an obvious infatuation with Angela, much to his daughter’s distress. Throughout the film, Lester has fantasies involving a sexually aggressive Angela in red rose petals. The Burnhams’ new neighbors are Col. Frank Fitts, USMC (Cooper), his dissociative wife Barbara (Janney) and his teenage son Ricky (Bentley). When introduced to the gay couple living two doors down, Col. Fitts reacts with homophobic disgust.

Over the course of a few days, each of the Burnhams individually makes a life-changing choice. Carolyn meets real estate rival Buddy Kane for a business lunch and ends up beginning an affair with him and later takes up shooting lessons. Seconds away from being downsized, Lester defiantly blackmails his boss, quits his job and takes up low-pressure employment as a burger-flipper at a fast food chain. He continues to liberate himself by trading in his Toyota Camry for his dream car, a 1970 Pontiac Firebird, starts running and working out to “look good naked” in order to have a body that will impress Angela, and starts smoking marijuana. Jane grows increasingly disillusioned with and distant from Angela, allowing herself to develop a romantic relationship with Ricky. Ricky and Jane bond over what he considers to be the most beautiful camcorder footage he has ever filmed, that of a plastic bag dancing in the wind; meanwhile, Ricky also quickly befriends Lester and secretly acts as his marijuana supplier.

Ricky and Jane enter the kitchen to find Lester dead, hunched over in a pool of his own blood. Ricky studies Lester’s face, intrigued by the fact that Lester almost has a hint of a grin on his face. In his final narration, Lester looks back on his life, intertwined with images of everyone’s reactions to the sound of the subsequent gunshot and Lester’s death, including one blood-soaked and shaken Col. Fitts returning to his home with a gun missing from his collection. Despite his death, Lester, from his vantage point as narrator, is happy, explaining that it’s hard to be mad when there’s so much beauty in the world.