Footloose

  • Directors: Herbert Ross
  • Producers: Lewis J Rachmil, Craig Zadan
  • Writers: Dean Pitchford
  • Genres: Drama, Music, Romance
  • Actors: Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer, Dianne Wiest, John Lithgow

Upbeat teenager Ren McCormack (Kevin Bacon),who was raised in Chicago, moves to an uptight and old fashioned Iowa town because of financial problems. Soon, he finds the local city council has banned dancing and rock music. Ren tries to fit in, but it is hard enough being from the city, and the law makes that harder. Ren becomes stressed out, since dancing was the only way to get rid of stress, leading him and his friends to do it secretly, and teach people to dance. Ren soon begins to fall for a free-spirited girl named Ariel Moore, who has a boyfriend, named Chuck Cranston, who only is dating Ariel to get into her pants, and a conservative father named Reverand Shaw Moore (John Lithgow) who is a big authority figure for the town, and because of his hatred of rock and roll, is responsible for the law. Ren and his classmates want to do away with the law, especially since the senior prom is around the corner, but only Ren has the courage to initiate a battle to abolish the law and awaken the spirit of the townspeople. But, Reverand Shaw Moore has other plans.

Edward Scissorhands

  • Directors: Tim Burton
  • Producers: Tim Burton, Denise Di Novi
  • Writers: Screenplay, Caroline Thompson, Story, Tim Burton, Caroline Thompson
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Romance
  • Actors: Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest, Anthony Michael Hall, Kathy Baker, Alan Arkin, Vincent Price

An elderly woman tells a story to her granddaughter of a man with scissors for hands named Edward, the creation of an inventor. The inventor was inspired to make an artificial man due to the anthropomorphic appearance of his other inventions. He raised Edward as his son and tutored him in various subjects, but died while in the act of offering a pair of hands to Edward. Many years later, local Avon saleswoman Peg Boggs, after failing to make profits in her suburban neighborhood, visits a Gothic mansion on a hill. There, she finds Edward, and convinces him to have her take him in. Edward befriends Peg’s young son, Kevin and, after an initial misstep, her teenage daughter Kim.

Peg’s neighbors become thrilled at Edward’s masterful skills at hedge clipping and haircutting. However, two of the townspeople, a religious fanatic named Esmeralda and Kim’s jock boyfriend Jim, dislike him immediately. Joyce, a “lonely housewife”, suggests that Edward open a haircutting salon with her. While examining a proposed site, she attempts to seduce him, confusing Edward, who escapes the room in a state of panic. Edward attempts to bring up the subject of her actions while the family is having dinner, but no one reacts to the news.

Kim heads to the mansion and reunites with Edward. Jim follows them and battles Edward, and is eventually killed by him. Kim professes her love for Edward and convinces the townspeople that Edward and Jim killed each other in the fight. All the neighbors return to their homes, while Joyce is seen guilty for making up the rumor about Edward. The elderly woman from the beginning reappears, as she finishes telling her granddaughter the story. It is revealed that Edward is still alive and “creating snow” from his ice sculptures, which fall upon the valley below. The elderly woman reveals to her granddaughter that she is, in fact, Kim. She refuses to visit Edward because she wants Edward to remember her the way she was in her youth.

The Lost Boys

  • Directors: Joel Schumacher
  • Producers: Harvey Bernhard, Richard Donner
  • Writers: Janice Fischer, James Jeremias, Jeffrey Boam
  • Genres: Comedy, Fantasy, Horror, Thriller
  • Actors: Jason Patric, Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, Jami Gertz, Edward Herrmann, Barnard Hughes, Dianne Wiest

After a strange and mysterious murder at a fairground at the immediate start of the film, Michael and Sam move with their mother Lucy to Santa Carla, a coastal California town plagued with gang activity and unexplained disappearances. The family moves in with Lucy’s father, a cantankerous old man who lives in the outlying suburbs of town and who decorates his house with the product of his hobby: taxidermy.

The center of town life seems to be the local boardwalk. While Lucy gets a job at a local video and electronics store run by a man named Max, Michael is fascinated by a beautiful young woman who he sees at an outdoor concert. After following her along the boardwalk, he sees her getting on a motorcycle with David, the leader of the local gang. The following night he finds the young woman again and learns her name is Star. As they are about to leave together on Michael’s motorcycle, David reappears and provokes Michael into following him and his cadre. They drive to some sea-cliffs where Michael is almost baited into going over the edge. Michael punches David, who merely sees potential in Michael and invites him to the gang’s lair, an old dilapidated hotel that sank beneath the ground after an earthquake.

The teens determine that one of the gang must be the head vampire. Michael, disgusted at the transformation he has undergone, joins them in an attempt to rescue Star and her young brother Laddie, also a “half vampire” and reverse their condition. The group borrow Grandpa’s car (without permission – Sam shouting permission to borrow the car as they drive by him.) Grandpa is seen making a fence and putting large spiked fence posts into the ground. The group travels to the vampire’s cave and while Michael rescues Star and Laddie, the Frog Brothers and Sam travel deep into the lair to kill the vampires. They discover the gang asleep, hanging from the roof like bats. Unsure of which one of the gang is the head vampire the Frog brothers stake Marko, one of the gang members who expires in an explosive fashion. With the rest of the gang woken by the commotion the three boys retreat, with Sam narrowly escaping capture by David. That night, while Lucy is on a date with Max and their grandfather is away, the teens barricade their house and prepare for the gang’s assault. Among other things they steal holy water from a church and fill squirt guns with it to use against the vampires. That night the gang attacks. With the help of Sam’s dog, Nanook, the defenders pick off the gang-members one by one, with Sam shooting Dwayne through the heart with an arrow, Nanook knocking Paul into a bathtub full of holy water and garlic, and Michael impaling David on some deer antlers in his grandfather’s taxidermy workshop. However, Michael is still a vampire, and Max and Lucy then appear and Max reveals himself to be the head vampire after all; the tests hadn’t worked because he had been freely invited into the house. He reveals that he had wanted Lucy as his mate and that his “family” and hers would merge. Lucy is horrified, but Max threatens to kill Sam unless she joins him. As Max is about to bite Lucy’s neck, her father crashes his jeep through the wall of the house; the vehicle’s hood is piled up with the large spiked fence posts (seen earlier when Grandpa is putting the fence up) and one of them impales Max, killing him. As the others stare in amazement, Grandpa casually gets a root beer from the refrigerator and remarks, “One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach… all the damn vampires.”

Robots

  • Directors: Chris Wedge, Carlos Saldanha
  • Producers: Bill Joyce, Christopher Meledandri, John C Donkin, Jerry Davis
  • Writers: Ron Mita, Jim McClain, David Lindsay Abaire, Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel
  • Genres: Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Sci-Fi
  • Actors: Ewan McGregor, Robin Williams, Halle Berry, Mel Brooks, Stanley Tucci, Dianne Wiest, Drew Carey, Amanda Bynes, Harland Williams, Greg Kinnear, Paul Giamatti, Jim Broadbent, Jennifer Coolidge

In the beginning of the movie, Herb Copperbottom races through the streets because he is elated that he is going to be a father. He and his wife, Lydia Copperbottom, after 12 hours of “labor”, finally manage to construct the baby. His name is Rodney Copperbottom, who becomes a young inventor who dreams of making the world a better place for everyone. Rodney idolizes Bigweld, the master inventor and owner of Bigweld Industries. Rodney has invented a gadget that will help his father clean the dishes at the restaurant. Rodney takes his invention to Robot City to see Bigweld and get a job as an inventor at his company. Instead, Rodney gets to see Ratchet, the new head of the company. Ratchet sees to it that Rodney is removed from the premises. Cappy, a beautiful robot-executive of the company takes an interest in Rodney, and wants to help him. In the slums of Robot City, some old robots known as the Rusties, led by a robot named Fender, befriend Rodney. Ratchet believes the company can make a bigger profit if it stops making spare parts for older robots. Non-working robots are picked up and sent to and melted down by Ratchet’s mother, queen of the ‘Chop-shop’. Rodney, who remembers Bigweld’s ‘See a need, fill a need’, begins fixing old robots. When Ratchet’s mother orders him to stop Rodney, the fireworks begin.

Hannah and Her Sisters

  • Directors: Woody Allen
  • Producers: Robert Greenhut
  • Writers: Woody Allen
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, Maureen O Sullivan, Michael Caine, Barbara Hershey, Dianne Wiest, Lloyd Nolan, Max von Sydow, Daniel Stern

The story is told in three main arcs, with almost all of it occurring during a 12-month period beginning and ending at Thanksgiving parties hosted by Hannah (Farrow) and her husband, Elliot (Caine). Hannah serves as the stalwart hub of the narrative; her own story as a successful actress (a recent success as Nora in A Doll’s House) is somewhat secondary, but most of the events of the film connect to her.

An adulterous romance between Elliot and one of Hannah’s sisters, Lee (Hershey), provides the main romantic entanglement of the film. Elliot’s discontent with his wife’s self-sufficiency and resentment of her emotional strength causes him to look elsewhere. Lee has lived for five years with a reclusive artist, Frederick (von Sydow). She finds her relationship with Frederick no longer intellectually or sexually stimulating, in spite of Frederick’s professed interest in continuing to teach her. She leaves Frederick, much to his sorrow (for he has grown dependent upon her), and has a secret affair with Elliot lasting for several months.

Mickey, another of Allen’s neurotic characters, provides the comic relief. Parts of his story are scenes from his previous marriage to Hannah and his horrible date with the cocaine-addicted Holly (Hannah’s other sister, played by Wiest), shown in flashbacks. Mickey’s main story is one of a hypochondriac confronting the possibility of an actual serious disease. After a clean bill of health, it turns into a career-pausing existential crisis, and leads to unsatisfying experiments with religious conversion to Catholicism and Krishna Consciousness, before a long walk and the fortuitous opportunity to see again the Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup (part of the ‘joyous’ declaration of war sequence is featured) help to remind him why life is worth living. The revelation helps prepare him for a second date with Holly, which this time blossoms quickly (and mostly off-screen) into a relationship and marriage.

By the time of the film’s second Thanksgiving Lee has ended her affair with Elliot. In a final coda-like act, another year has elapsed and the film ends happily for the three sisters, now all married, and infertile Mickey has somehow impregnated his new wife Holly.

The Horse Whisperer

  • Directors: Robert Redford
  • Producers: Patrick Markey, Robert Redford
  • Writers: Nicholas Evans, Eric Roth, Richard LaGravenese
  • Genres: Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Robert Redford, Kristin Scott Thomas, Sam Neill, Dianne Wiest, Scarlett Johansson

Teenager Grace MacLean (Johansson) and her best friend Judith (Kate Bosworth) go out early one winter’s morning to ride their horses. As they are riding up an icy slope, one of the horses falls, dragging both horses and girls onto a road where a truck appears, resulting in a horrific collision. Judith and her horse (Gulliver) are killed, while Grace and her horse (Pilgrim) are both severely injured.

Grace eventually recovers physically, though she is left with a partial leg amputation and remains listless and psychologically scarred and prone to anger. However, her horse is traumatized and uncontrollable to the extent that it is suggested he be put down. Grace’s mother, Annie (Kristin Scott Thomas), a brilliant editor, refuses to make the decision and the animal is left to suffer for some time.

Meanwhile, Annie and her husband, Robert (Sam Neill) have serious marital problems of their own. Robert is rather self-centered, emotionally unsupportive of Annie in general, and he disparages Annie’s desire to help Pilgrim survive and recover. Annie has grown apart from Robert in the past few years and neither are sure they love each other anymore.

Knowing that it is up to her to heal both her daughter and her daughter’s horse, Annie contacts Tom Booker (Redford), a “Horse Whisperer”, who agrees to help, on the condition that the despondent Grace takes part in the process. Since Tom is reluctant to fly from Montana to New York, Annie must pack a struggling Pilgrim and a moody, combative Grace into her own car and trailer and drive thousands of miles westward to the Booker ranch.

Annie understands this also and in tears, hugs Tom goodbye. Although part of her wishes she could stay on the ranch permanently, deep down inside, she knows she cannot, that Grace needs her, she must bring Pilgrim home again, and that her true home is in New York City. She understands that she would not be happy living a ranch life for long. The film ends with Annie driving away from the ranch through the western foothills. It is assumed but not confirmed that Annie chooses to return to New York, her husband Robert and daughter Grace.

Parenthood

  • Directors: Ron Howard
  • Producers: Brian Grazer
  • Writers: Story, Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel, Ron Howard, Screenplay, Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama
  • Actors: Steve Martin, Tom Hulce, Rick Moranis, Martha Plimpton, Keanu Reeves, Jason Robards, Mary Steenburgen, Dianne Wiest

The story revolves around Gil Buckman (Steve Martin), a neurotic sales executive trying to balance the pressures of raising a family in the suburbs of St. Louis and succeeding in his career. Among Gil’s issues is a family of relatives who all face their own obstacles related to family and raising children such as Gil’s wife, Karen (Mary Steenburgen), his gruff and distant father, Frank (Jason Robards) and an assortment of other colorful relatives in a movie that raises the question: How easy is it to raise a family when you’re also trying to have your own life?

Gil never overworks himself, because he wants to be an active father, rather than a distant one like his own father was. His relationship with his father remains tense. His parenting skills are put under more pressure when he finds out that his wife is pregnant with their fourth child whom he is unsure of, and that his eldest son, Kevin, may have emotional problems [recognizably, in retrospect, a mild form of social anxiety disorder or possibly Asperger’s Syndrome] and may need to be placed in special classes or a private school if his issues don’t get better. Given Kevin’s issues, and some more minor issues with his other two children, Gil begins to blame himself and deeply question his abilities as a father. In addition, the financial burdens of another child and office politics at work may mean becoming the workaholic he despised his own father for being. When his father comes to Gil for advice on how to deal with Larry (Gil’s wayward brother) and says he is asking Gil’s advice because Gil is a good father, Gil has some closure about his feelings toward his father. Although this was a first step for Gil to realize that kids don’t come with an instruction manual, it is grandma and his wife that finally get him to relax and enjoy what life brings rather than over analyze it.

The film ends on a sentimental note with a new generation of Buckman children being born and the personal growth of the parents. For example, Frank lovingly hugs and cuddles his grandson Cool demonstrating that he changed his distant ways. The message of the film is seemingly that despite a family’s hectic problems, there is nothing better than being part of it and everyone has insecurities about their parenting skills.

Robots

  • Directors: Chris Wedge, Carlos Saldanha
  • Producers: Bill Joyce, Christopher Meledandri, John C Donkin, Jerry Davis
  • Writers: Ron Mita, Jim McClain, David Lindsay Abaire, Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel
  • Genres: Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Sci-Fi
  • Actors: Ewan McGregor, Robin Williams, Halle Berry, Mel Brooks, Stanley Tucci, Dianne Wiest, Drew Carey, Amanda Bynes, Harland Williams, Greg Kinnear, Paul Giamatti, Jim Broadbent, Jennifer Coolidge

In the beginning of the movie, Herb Copperbottom races through the streets because he is elated that he is going to be a father. He and his wife, Lydia Copperbottom, after 12 hours of “labor”, finally manage to construct the baby. His name is Rodney Copperbottom, who becomes a young inventor who dreams of making the world a better place for everyone. Rodney idolizes Bigweld, the master inventor and owner of Bigweld Industries. Rodney has invented a gadget that will help his father clean the dishes at the restaurant. Rodney takes his invention to Robot City to see Bigweld and get a job as an inventor at his company. Instead, Rodney gets to see Ratchet, the new head of the company. Ratchet sees to it that Rodney is removed from the premises. Cappy, a beautiful robot-executive of the company takes an interest in Rodney, and wants to help him. In the slums of Robot City, some old robots known as the Rusties, led by a robot named Fender, befriend Rodney. Ratchet believes the company can make a bigger profit if it stops making spare parts for older robots. Non-working robots are picked up and sent to and melted down by Ratchet’s mother, queen of the ‘Chop-shop’. Rodney, who remembers Bigweld’s ‘See a need, fill a need’, begins fixing old robots. When Ratchet’s mother orders him to stop Rodney, the fireworks begin.

A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints

  • Directors: Dito Montiel
  • Producers: Clara Markowicz, Charlie Corwin, Trudie Styler, Travis Swords, Robert Downey Jr, Sting
  • Writers: Screenplay Novel, Dito Montiel
  • Genres: Crime, Drama
  • Actors: Robert Downey Jr, Shia LaBeouf, Rosario Dawson, Melonie Diaz, Chazz Palminteri, Dianne Wiest, Channing Tatum

Dito (Downey) is a successful writer in Los Angeles. One day, after being urged by his mother and his friend Nerf, Dito visits his childhood home, Astoria, New York because his father has suddenly become very ill. The film switches back and forth between the present and flashbacks with Dito’s memories in the summer of 1986.

Dito meets Nerf (Peter Anthony Tambakis), and talks with him in a parked car, where they can talk undisturbed, which would not have been possible at Nerf’s house.

Dito then visits Laurie (Rosario Dawson), his childhood sweetheart, who is now a mother. They only talk through the open window; she does not let him in.

Dito finally visits his parents. His father used to ignore Dito’s feelings, and he didn’t want Dito to travel. He is angry at Dito for leaving, and for not returning sooner to visit; he then sends Dito away. Dito does leave but returns later, to insist that he take his father to the hospital.

Dito remembers Giuseppe (Adam Scarimbolo), reckless, destructive, and possibly insane: In the 1980s Giuseppe stood on the subway track; in spite of urgent warnings from his brother Antonio (Channing Tatum) and from Nerf that a train was coming, he failed to get back on the platform and was killed.

One interpretation of the title is that Dito begins to believe that he has been saved from his friends’ fate by his saints. Alternatively, he comes to realize that his saints were his friends and family – Antonio, Laurie, Mike, his mother, and even his estranged father.