Seabiscuit

  • Directors: Gary Ross
  • Producers: Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall, Jane Sindell, Gary Ross
  • Writers: Book, Laura Hillenbrand, Screenplay, Gary Ross
  • Genres: Drama, History, Sport
  • Actors: Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges, Chris Cooper, Royce D Applegate, William H Macy

The film centers on three men, Red Pollard, Charles S. Howard, and Tom Smith who come together as, respectively, the principle jockey, owner, and trainer of championship horse, Seabiscuit. The story follows the redemption of the three men as they rise from troubled times to achieve fame and success through their association with the horse. Red Pollard was the child of wealthy family which was ruined by the Great Depression. In need of money, the family leaves Red with a horse groom. Eventually becoming a jockey, Red makes extra money through illegal boxing matches, which leave him almost blind in one eye. Charles Howard is shown as a clerk in a bicycle shop when he gets asked by a passing motorist to repair his automobile, a technology which has recently been introduced. Some years later, Howard is the largest car dealer in California and one of the Bay Area’s richest men. However, his life takes a turn for the worse when his son accidentally dies while trying to drive the family car. When Howard is unable to come out of his depression, his wife leaves him. On a trip to Mexico in order to obtain a divorce and to drown his sorrows, he meets Marcela whom he falls in love with and marries. Howard then runs into Tom Smith, a horse trainer who has been living as a homeless during the depression. Seeing Smith tame an aggressive horse, Howard hires him to take care of his newly acquired stable of horses. Later, Smith tries to get a jockey to ride Seabiscuit, but the jockey is frightened off when Seabiscuit rips off a bit of his shirt. Smith then turns to see Red Pollard fighting with other stable boys and see in them similar temperament. Thus, he decides to make him the jockey. The film then follows the three men as they begin to race Seabiscuit. It especially focuses on their efforts to provoke a race with War Admiral, the top race horse in the country. A match race is then decided on the 1st of November at Pimlico racetrack. While they wait for the date to come around and train Seabiscuit, Pollard is asked to exercise a race horse for an old friend. While they are on the track, two of War Admiral’s owner’s men start a tractor suddenly, causing the horse to spook. The horse rears, and Pollard falls off and is dragged along until he crashes into a wall, fracturing his leg. When the doctor reports that he will be unable to jockey again, Red tells Howard to get George Woolf as the jockey. Red then teaches George about Seabiscuit’s handling and mannerisms. Seabiscuit beats War Admiral easily because of a secret that Pollard told George Woolf, which was to hold him head to head with the other horse so he gets ‘a good look at the Admiral’. Afterwards, Seabiscuit is entered in a race at the Santa Anita Race track under George Woolf. While he is racing he gets injured and has to stop. Red Pollard helps him to recover and gets him fit again for racing. The last race is again at the Santa Anita track, and Red Pollard races him this time after putting a special self-made brace on his own leg to keep it stable. George Woolf is also racing, albeit on a difference horse. When Seabiscuit drops to last place and trails the pack of horses, George Woolf trails back to be with Pollard.After a short conversation, Seabiscuit gives Pollard the signal that he is ready to go. Seabiscuit then surges towards the pack of horses and Pollard steers him through them to win the race. The movie ends with Pollard narrating “You know everyone thinks that we found this broken down horse and fixed him, but we didn’t, he fixed us, everyone of us, and I guess in a way we kinda fixed each other too.”

The Tale of Despereaux

  • Directors: Sam Fell, Robert Stevenhagen
  • Producers: Gary Ross, Allison Thomas
  • Writers: Novel, Kate DiCamillo, Screenplay, Gary Ross, Will McRobb, Chris Viscardi
  • Genres: Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Family, Fantasy
  • Actors: Matthew Broderick, Emma Watson, Dustin Hoffman, Robbie Coltrane, Christopher Lloyd, Kevin Kline, Tracey Ullman, Ciaran Hinds, Frances Conroy, Tony Hale, Richard Jenkins, Frank Langella, William H Macy, Charles Shaughnessy, Stanley Tucci

The film opens with a ship sailing into the kingdom of Dor’s dock. Roscuro (a rat) (Dustin Hoffman), is aboard a ship with his human friend Pietro, sailing to the kingdom known for its soup on “Royal Soup Day”. “Royal Soup Day” in this area is held in higher regard than Christmas.

As they are taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of the festivities, Roscuro is mesmerized by the smell of the huge pot of soup being prepared in the castle. He leaves his human companion in search of the aroma. Meanwhile, André (the royal head chef) (Kevin Kline), pressured into finishing the soup minutes before its presentation, sends out his staff, and argues with a sentient anthropomorphic “Soup Genie”, named Boldo, over the ingredients of the soup to be presented to the royal family. Roscuro’s search for the soup’s smell takes him to a chandelier directly over the royal soup bowl. Upon presentation of the soup to the queen and her subsequent first taste, Roscuro is overcome by the aroma, loses his grip, and falls into the queen’s soup bowl, causing her to have a heart attack, which led her to death.

Roscuro is horrified to see what he has done and tries to apologize but is chased through the castle, to which he sees Pietro’s ship leaving the dock with out him. Roscuro then falls down a grate into the castle dungeon, where he meets Botticelli (Ciaran Hinds), the leader of the Rat world. Botticelli dislikes Roscuro’s gentle ways and tries to force him to conform to the brutal nature of the other rats.

Mig is rescued by the jailer, who is revealed to be her father in an emotional turn of events. Roscuro is reunited with Pietro aboard the ship that brought him. The princess and the king decide to soothe their grief of losing the queen by relying on each other for love and support. And Despereaux is reunited with his family. Despereaux and the princess remain close friends and the little mouse continues his adventures.

Big

  • Directors: Penny Marshall
  • Producers: James L Brooks, Robert Greenhut
  • Writers: Gary Ross, Anne Spielberg
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Fantasy, Romance
  • Actors: Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins, Robert Loggia, John Heard

After being humiliated while attempting to impress an older teenage girl at a carnival, Josh Baskin (David Moscow) goes to a wish/fortune-telling machine (called Zoltar Speaks) and wishes that he were “big”. The next morning, he sees a face in the mirror he does not recognize. Overnight, he has become a 35-year-old man (Tom Hanks). With the help of his 13-year-old best friend, Billy Kopecki (Jared Rushton), Josh rents a cheap room in Manhattan and gets a lowly data-entry job at the MacMillan Toy Company. In a memorable scene, he meets the company’s owner, MacMillan (Robert Loggia), checking out the products at the FAO Schwarz toy store, and impresses him with his childlike enthusiasm. They end up playing a duet together on a “Big piano”, a foot-operated electronic keyboard, performing Chopsticks and Heart and Soul. This earns Josh a promotion to a dream job for a kid: testing toys all day long and getting paid for it. He soon attracts the attention of the beautiful, ambitious Susan Lawrence (Elizabeth Perkins), a fellow toy executive. A romance begins to develop, much to the annoyance of her current boyfriend, Paul (John Heard). As Josh becomes more and more entwined in his “adult” life, much to the annoyance of Billy, he soon begins to wish for the carefree life of a child again and becomes determined to find the Zoltar machine to reverse the wish.