A Perfect World

  • Directors: Clint Eastwood
  • Producers: Mark Johnson, David Valdes
  • Writers: John Lee Hancock
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Kevin Costner, Clint Eastwood, Laura Dern

The film is set in Texas in the fall of 1963. Robert “Butch” Haynes (Kevin Costner) and Terry Pugh (Keith Szarabajka) are convicts who have just escaped from a Huntsville prison. Fleeing from the clutches of the law, the pair stumble into the kitchen of a house where eight-year old Phillip Perry (T. J. Lowther) lives with his devout Jehovah’s Witness mother and two sisters. Needing a hostage to aid their escape, Butch grabs the boy, who meekly accompanies them. The trio’s journey starts off on an unpleasant note as Butch is forced to shoot his fellow escapee with a stolen revolver, following the latter’s attempts at molesting the child. With his partner out of the way, the convict and his young victim take to the Texas highway in a bid to flee from the pursuing police.

Meanwhile, Texas Ranger Red Garnett (Clint Eastwood), riding in the Governor’s sleek airstream trailer, is in hot pursuit of the duo. With criminologist Sally Gerber (Laura Dern) and trigger-happy FBI sharpshooter Bobby Lee (Bradley Whitford) in tow, Ranger Garnett is determined to recover the criminal and the hostage before they cross the Texas border. The plot thus alternates between a manhunt unfolding on one level, and on the other, the blossoming of a tender bond between the convict and his “prisoner.”

The fact that Garnett is a disappointed man at the end (despite the fact that his mission of recovering the hostage has been a success) is indicative of the fact that he perhaps knew, from previous encounters with Butch Haynes, that he was essentially a good man at heart, driven by circumstances to become the cold-blooded killer he was perceived as.

The Book of Eli

  • Directors: Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes
  • Producers: Joel Silver, Susan Downey, Denzel Washington, Andrew Kosove, Broderick Johnson, David Valdes
  • Writers: Gary Whitta
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama
  • Actors: Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, Ray Stevenson, Jennifer Beals, Frances de la Tour, and Michael Gambon

In a post-apocalyptic world, a lone hero, Eli (Denzel Washington), guards the Book of Eli, which provides knowledge that could redeem society. The despot (Gary Oldman) of a small, makeshift town plans to take possession of the book.[1]

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

  • Directors: Andrew Dominik
  • Producers: Ridley Scott, Jules Daly, Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, David Valdes
  • Writers: Screenplay, Andrew Dominik, Novel, Ron Hansen
  • Genres: Biography, Crime, Drama, History, Western
  • Actors: Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Mary Louise Parker, Sam Shepard, Sam Rockwell

The film starts off with the narrator introducing many facts and legends about the American Old West outlaw, Jesse James (Brad Pitt). Aside from Jesse, the film also tells the story of Robert Ford (Casey Affleck), a seemingly insecure young man who has grown up idolizing Jesse James and is often seen as a coward by those around him. Bob seeks out his hero in the middle of a forest in Blue Cut, Missouri where the James gang is staging a train robbery. Bob makes petty attempts to join the gang with the help of his brother Charley Ford (Sam Rockwell), who has been a recruit for a while now. Jesse allows Bob to take part in the train robbery to try to prove himself, but Jesse’s brother Frank James (Sam Shepard) disagrees, saying that Bob hasn’t the ingredients to become a member in their gang. The robbery is a success, but ends up being the last robbery committed by the James brothers. Afterward, Frank decides to retire from crime and settle east in Baltimore, leaving his brother to lead the gang by himself. Jesse does not mind Bob’s presence at first, and begins to have Bob tag along wherever he goes. Gradually, Bob forms a complex love/hate relationship with Jesse, still admiring him to the point of obsession, but also becoming resentful and somewhat fearful due to Jesse’s bullying nature. Jesse begins to acknowledge Bob’s awkwardness and unusual fanaticism, and sends him away as a result.

Ten years have passed since Jesse’s assassination. Bob, as unlikely as it may seem, has prospered over the past decade, and now acquires a steady income working as a saloonkeeper in the small mining town of Creede, Colorado, still uncertain on what fate awaits him. He becomes romantically involved with a beautiful woman named Dorothy Evans (Zooey Deschanel), who would have long conversations with Bob in hopes of providing comfort to him. In the closing moments of the film, Bob is sought out and murdered by a man named Edward O’Kelley, who has developed a strong hatred towards Bob over the years. At the same time, the narrator gives an epilogue to end the film, recounting that O’Kelley would later be pardoned, and that in contrast to Jesse James, Robert Ford would achieve no fame after his death.

The Green Mile

  • Directors: Frank Darabont
  • Producers: Frank Darabont, David Valdes
  • Writers: Novel, Stephen King, Screenplay, Frank Darabont
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Fantasy
  • Actors: Tom Hanks, David Morse, Bonnie Hunt, Michael Clarke Duncan, James Cromwell, Michael Jeter, Graham Greene, Doug Hutchison, Sam Rockwell, Barry Pepper, Jeffrey DeMunn, Patricia Clarkson, Harry Dean Stanton

The Green Mile is a story told in flashback by an elderly Paul Edgecomb (Dabbs Greer, later by Tom Hanks in the younger version of the character) in a nursing home who is talking to his lady friend Elaine about the summer of 1935 when he was a corrections officer in charge of Death Row inmates in Louisiana’s Cold Mountain Penitentiary. His domain was called the “Green Mile” because the condemned prisoners walking to their execution are said to be walking “the last mile”; here it is on a stretch of green linoleum to the electric chair.

One day, a new inmate arrives, John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan), a 7-foot-tall black male convicted of raping and killing two young white girls. Upon being escorted to his cell, he immediately demonstrates “gentle giant” character traits: keeping to himself, fearing darkness, and being moved to tears on occasion. Soon enough, Coffey reveals extraordinary healing powers by healing Edgecomb’s urinary tract infection and resurrecting a mouse. Later, he would heal the terminally ill wife of Warden Hal Moores (James Cromwell), who suffered from a large brain tumor. When Coffey is asked to explain his power, he merely says that he “took it back.”

In the present, Edgecomb’s friend questions his statement that he had a fully-grown son in 1935. He explains that he was 44 years old at the time of Coffey’s execution and that he is now 108 and still in excellent health. This is apparently a side effect of the life-giving power of Coffey’s touch: a significantly lengthened lifespan. Mr. Jingles, Del’s mouse resurrected by Coffey, is also still alive — but Edgecomb believes his outliving all of his relatives and friends to be a punishment from God for having Coffey executed. Edgecomb explains he has deep thoughts about how “we each owe a death; there are no exceptions; but, Oh God, sometimes the Green Mile seems so long.”