The Straight Story

  • Directors: David Lynch
  • Producers: Pierre Edelman, Michael Polaire, Mary Sweeney
  • Writers: John E Roach, Mary Sweeney
  • Genres: Adventure, Biography, Drama
  • Actors: Richard Farnsworth, Sissy Spacek, Harry Dean Stanton

Alvin Straight (Richard Farnsworth) is an elderly World War II veteran who lives with his daughter Rose (Sissy Spacek), a kind woman with a mental disability. When he hears that his estranged brother Lyle (Harry Dean Stanton) has suffered a stroke, he makes up his mind to go visit him and hopefully make amends before he dies. But because Alvin’s legs and eyes are too impaired for him to receive a driving license, he hitches a trailer to his recently purchased thirty year-old John Deere Lawn tractor and sets off on the 240-mile journey from Laurens, Iowa to Mount Zion, Wisconsin.

The film follows the story of Alvin’s six-week journey across rural America, the people he meets, his impact on their lives, and theirs on his. It has been called a modern odyssey of a man dealing with his own mortality and mistakes and the lasting bonds of family.

Repo Man

  • Directors: Alex Cox
  • Producers: Peter McCarthy, Michael Nesmith, Gerald T Olson, Jonathan Wacks
  • Writers: Alex Cox
  • Genres: Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi
  • Actors: Emilio Estevez, Fox Harris, Dick Rude, Harry Dean Stanton, Tracey Walter

Otto Maddox (Emilio Estevez), a young punk rocker living in mid-1980s Los Angeles, is fired from his menial supermarket stock clerk job. At a party, he finds his girlfriend having sex with his best friend. He soon finds that his pot-smoking, ex-hippie parents have donated the money they promised him for finishing school to a televangelist, supposedly to supply Bibles to El Salvador. Depressed and broke, Otto falls in with Bud (Harry Dean Stanton), a seasoned repossession agent, or “repo man”, working for the disingenuously named “Helping Hand Acceptance Corporation”, a small-time automobile repossession agency. While repelled by the concept at first, Otto’s opinion is rapidly changed when he is paid cash for his first “job”.

Otto soon learns that “the life of a repo man is always intense.” He enjoys the drug use, real-life car chases, the thrill of hotwiring cars and good pay. His old punk-rock lifestyle seems boring by comparison, and he begins to develop a rapport with his fellow repo men as well. When he returns to a punk club to see a lounge act (played by real-life hardcore punk band Circle Jerks), he is amazed at how terrible they now seem.

Soon, Bud, Otto and competing repo men all over town are searching for a 1964 Chevrolet Malibu from New Mexico; this vehicle, unknown to them, contains something mysterious and dangerously powerful in its trunk, also sought by a strange female CIA agent, Agent Rogersz (Susan Barnes), and her staff.

Alien

  • Directors: Ridley Scott
  • Producers: Gordon Carroll, David Giler, Walter Hill
  • Writers: Story, Dan O Bannon, Ronald Shusset, Screenplay, Dan O Bannon, David Giler, Walter Hill
  • Genres: Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto

The commercial towing spaceship Nostromo is on a return trip from Thedus to Earth, hauling a refinery and twenty million tons of mineral ore and carrying its seven-member crew in stasis. Upon receiving a transmission of unknown origin from a nearby planetoid, the ship’s computer awakens the crew.[11] Acting on orders from their corporate employers, the crew lands the Nostromo on the planetoid, resulting in some damage to the ship. Captain Dallas (Tom Skerritt), Executive Officer Kane (John Hurt), and Navigator Lambert (Veronica Cartwright) set out to investigate the signal’s source while Warrant Officer Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), Science Officer Ash (Ian Holm), and Engineers Brett (Harry Dean Stanton) and Parker (Yaphet Kotto) stay behind to monitor their progress and make repairs.

Dallas, Kane, and Lambert discover that the signal is coming from a derelict alien spacecraft. Inside it they find the remains of a large alien creature whose ribs appear to have been bent outward from the inside. Ripley, meanwhile, determines that the signal transmission is some type of warning. Kane discovers a chamber containing numerous eggs, one of which releases a creature that attaches itself to his face. Dallas and Lambert carry the unconscious Kane back to the Nostromo, where Ash allows them inside against Ripley’s orders to follow the ship’s quarantine protocol. They unsuccessfully attempt to remove the creature from Kane’s face, discovering that its blood is a potent acid. Eventually the creature detaches on its own and is found dead. With the ship repaired, the crew resume their trip back to Earth.

As she prepares to enter stasis Ripley discovers that the Alien is aboard the shuttle. She puts on a space suit and opens the hatch, causing explosive decompression which forces the Alien to the open doorway. She shoots it with a grappling gun which pushes it out, but the gun is caught in the closing door and the Alien is tethered to the shuttle. It attempts to crawl into one of the engines, but Ripley activates them and blasts the Alien into space. The film ends with Ripley and Jones entering stasis for the return trip to Earth.

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.”