City of Angels

  • Directors: Brad Silberling
  • Producers: Charles Roven, Dawn Steel, Charles Newirth
  • Writers: Wim Wenders, Peter Handke, Richard Reitinger, Dana Stevens
  • Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Thriller
  • Actors: Nicolas Cage, Meg Ryan, Andre Braugher, Dennis Franz, Colm Feore, Kim Murphy, Deirdre O Connell

In Los Angeles, Seth (Nicolas Cage) is one of many Angels who watch over humans and protect them in unseen ways. The movie portrays angels in a somewhat traditional role without referencing a specific faith. Seth’s main responsibility is to appear to those who are close to death and guide them to the next life. As part of this task, Seth and one of his fellow angels, Cassiel (Andre Braugher), like to ask people what their favorite thing in life was. But despite their daily encounters with humans and their ways, they appear to have trouble understanding human beings and their ways.

While waiting to escort to the other world a man who will not survive heart surgery, Seth is impressed by the vigorous efforts of the surgeon, Maggie Rice (Meg Ryan) to save the ill-fated man’s life and her sincere anguish at her failure to do so. (The man is in fact standing with Seth watching Maggie try to save him.) Seth soon becomes preoccupied with Maggie and decides to become visible to her despite his obvious inability to give her many convincing details about himself, such as what he does for a living or even his last name. Despite this, they develop a friendship which soon turns to mutual attraction, although Maggie is already involved with one of her colleagues (Colm Feore) at the hospital.

The final scene recalls an earlier one with Nathaniel. It shows Seth at the beach where the angels meet every day at dawn and at sunset to listen to the celestial music and commune with eternity. With Cassiel and the rest of the angels watching, Seth expresses his joy in being human and the fact that he has come to terms with his new life by running into the water and playing in the waves. In a rare moment of emotion, Cassiel is seen laughing joyfully for his old friend.

Across the Universe

  • Directors: Julie Taymor
  • Producers: Jennifer Todd, Suzanne Todd, Charles Newirth
  • Writers: Julie Taymor, Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais
  • Genres: Adventure, Drama, Musical, Romance
  • Actors: Evan Rachel Wood, Jim Sturgess, Joe Anderson, Dana Fuchs, Martin Luther McCoy, T V Carpio

The film’s plot and narrative structure interweave the stories of several characters whose lives cross paths during events set against the backdrop of the turbulent late-1960s. The story apparently takes place from about 1965 to 1969.[1]

The story begins in Liverpool, England with a young shipyard worker named Jude Feeny (Jim Sturgess). Against the wishes of both his mother and his girlfriend Molly, Jude enlists in the merchant navy and travels by ship to the United States. He jumps ship in New York City to search for his American G.I. father, Wes Hubert (Robert Clohessy), whom he has never met and who does not know he exists. He learns that his father works at Princeton as a janitor. After meeting his father, Jude has nowhere to go. He befriends a Princeton student, Max Carrigan (Joe Anderson). Max is a rebellious and eccentric young man from a privileged background. Max and his friends come from upper class families who pay for their schooling, so they mess around, drink, and do drugs. When Max goes home for Thanksgiving, bringing Jude with him, Jude meets Max’s younger sister Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood). After a heated argument with his parents about his future, Max drops out of college and moves to New York City, accompanied by Jude. Max works as a taxi driver, while Jude pursues work as a freelance artist. They become roommates in a bohemian enclave in the Village, where they share an apartment with others, most notably Sadie (Dana Fuchs), their landlady, who is an aspiring singer and a representation of Janis Joplin. Other residents include Jojo (Martin Luther McCoy), a guitarist representing Jimi Hendrix, who arrives from Detroit after the death of his younger brother during the 12th Street Riot; and Prudence (T. V. Carpio), a young woman who has hitchhiked to New York from Dayton, Ohio where she was seen pining after a fellow cheerleader. After Lucy’s boyfriend, Daniel (Spencer Liff) is killed in Vietnam, she goes to New York to visit Max before she starts college, despite the fact that her parents are against the idea.

The scene now shifts between Jude and Max at different bars, and Max begins to sing “Hey Jude” as Jude goes back to New York. Max picks him up from the port and drives him to hear Sadie and Jojo sing “Don’t Let Me Down” atop a building, in reference to the last concert of The Beatles, on the rooftop of the Apple Records building in London, where the band played some songs, Don’t Let Me Down included. Jude then sings “All You Need is Love” a cappella. The refrain from “She Loves You” plays briefly over the song as Lucy is revealed to be watching Jude sing from a neighboring rooftop. Over the credits, Bono (with background vocals by The Edge) sings “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” “Flying” is reprised in a cover version by The Secret Machines.

Patch Adams

  • Directors: Tom Shadyac
  • Producers: Mike Farrell, Barry Kemp, Marvin Minoff, Charles Newirth
  • Writers: Patch Adams, Maureen Mylander, Steve Oedekerk
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama
  • Actors: Robin Williams, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Monica Potter

The film tells the story of Hunter “Patch” Adams (portrayed by Robin Williams), a medical doctor who became famous for his unconventional approach to medicine. After a suicide attempt, Adams seeks psychiatric help and is institutionalized. During this time he is inspired to become a medical doctor, and discovers that he is able to forget his own problems by helping others. Two years later, he enrolls at Virginia Medical University (a fictitious school shot at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus) and he is the oldest first year student. He questions the school’s approach to medical care, and clashes with the school’s Dean Walcott (played by Bob Gunton) because of his belief in the necessity of personal interaction with patients. Because of this and other incidents, including a prank during a medical conference, he is dismissed from the school, although he is later reinstated.

Adams develops a relationship with a fellow student, Corinne Fisher (played by Monica Potter), and develops his idea for a medical clinic built around his philosophy of doctor-patient interaction. With the help of Arthur Mendelson (Harold Gould), a wealthy man who was a patient whom Patch met while in the mental hospital, he purchases 105 acres (425,000 m²) in West Virginia to construct the future Gesundheit Institute. Together with Corinne, Truman Schiff (another medical student, played by Daniel London), and some old friends, he renovates an old cottage. When they get the clinic running, they treat walk-in patients without medical insurance, Patch commonly doing minor comedy sketches such as wearing thick glasses and pretending to be near-sighted. Corinne is fascinated by Patch’s talent and their friendship turns into deep love. More encouraged than ever by Patch and his spirit, Corinne wants to help a psychologically disturbed patient, Lawrence “Larry” Silver (Douglas Roberts), by visiting him at home. Larry turns out to be far more disturbed than anybody had expected, and he murders her, turning the shotgun on himself soon after.

Even at graduation, Patch cannot help but be a non-conformist. After he is handed his diploma, the dean of the school states, “Well, I see you’ve finally decided to conform”. Patch responds, “More than you know”, and bows to the professors, revealing his nude bottom under his gown.

Forrest Gump

  • Directors: Robert Zemeckis
  • Producers: Wendy Finerman, Steve Tisch, Charles Newirth
  • Writers: Winston Groom, Eric Roth
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Mykelti Williamson, Sally Field

The film begins in medias res with a white feather falling to the feet of Forrest Gump, who is sitting at a bus stop in Savannah, Georgia. Forrest picks up the feather and puts it in the book Curious George, then tells the story of his life to a woman seated next to him. The listeners at the bus stop change regularly throughout his narration, each showing a different reaction to his narration ranging from disbelief and indifference to rapt veneration.

His mother runs a boarding house in Alabama. One guest, a musician (later revealed to be Elvis Presley) picks up his own style of dancing from watching Forrest’s shaky movements caused by his leg braces. To get Forrest into a normal school, Forrest’s mother bribes the school’s Principal with sexual favors. On his first day of school, he meets a girl named Jenny Curran, a girl who is sexually abused by her father and who becomes his life’s love. One day after school, Forrest is being threatened by a group of bullies. Jenny tells him to run, and so he does, losing his leg braces in the process. His fast running ability becomes his favored method of travel, and during his senior year in high school, threatened by the same group of bullies, he runs through a football field and gets himself into college on a football scholarship playing for Paul “Bear” Bryant at the University of Alabama. He excels at football so much that he becomes an All-American, and meets President John F. Kennedy.

Forrest’s core character and personality are also changed from the novel, among other things he is an autistic savant – while playing football at the university, he fails craft and gym, but receives a perfect score in an advanced physics class he was enrolled in by his coach to satisfy his college requirements.