Twister

  • Directors: Jan de Bont
  • Producers: Ian Bryce, Michael Crichton, Kathleen Kennedy
  • Writers: Michael Crichton, Anne Marie Martin
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton, Jami Gertz, Cary Elwes, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Alan Ruck, Zach Grenier

In June 1969, a young Jo watches her father get sucked into a tornado after trying to hold a storm cellar door shut to keep his family safe. Decades later, meteorologists at the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) are discussing a building storm system over Oklahoma which could produce a record outbreak of tornadoes. Meanwhile, retired storm chaser Bill Harding (Bill Paxton) and his fiancée Dr. Melissa Reeves (Jami Gertz) are heading out to meet Bill’s former storm-chasing team to get the final divorce papers from Bill’s ex-wife, Dr. Jo Harding (Helen Hunt), who, since the day her father died, has sworn to hunt down as many tornadoes as possible, not wanting the same fate to happen to someone else. Besides Jo, the team consists of the eccentric Dusty Davis (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Robert “Rabbit” Nurick (Alan Ruck) navigator, Laurence (Jeremy Davies) photographer, Joey (Joey Slotnick), Alan Sanders (Sean Whalen) Rabbit’s driver, Tim “Beltzer” Lewis (Todd Field), Haynes (Wendle Jospeher) who rides with Beltzer, and Jason “Preacher” Rowe (Scott Thomson).

Jo, who is still in love with Bill, tries to stall because she does not want the marriage to end. Jo then tells Bill she wanted him out on the field because his idea for a tornado-analyzing device has been built. Called Dorothy, they will put it in the path of a tornado to measure it from inside. Four of the so-called “Dorothy” weather machines have been built. Haynes tells them of storm activity, and they head out. Bill’s rival team shows up, led by Dr. Jonas Miller (Cary Elwes) with his assistant Eddie (Zach Grenier). According to Bill, Jonas is in the storm-chasing business “for the money, not the science.” While Jonas’s team is passing Bill’s team on the road, one of Jonas’s team members runs Bill off the road. They head to a tire shop to get Bill’s flat tire fixed, and Bill sees Jonas giving an interview to some local reporters. Bill finds out that Jonas has stolen his idea for the Dorothy weather machine. Bill accuses him of stealing his idea, but Jonas says it was an “unrealized idea.” Everyone gets drinks at a local diner next door to the garage while Bill stays outside. Inside the diner, Melissa confronts Jo about her trying to keep together her failed marriage to Bill. Outside, Bill notices the sky is turning green, the sign of an approaching violent storm.

Haynes receives readings from Dorothy’s sensors that indicate the tornado will shift its track again. Bill and Jo, now without radios, are at first unaware, and start running towards a nearby farm as the F5 heads right at them. They first take cover in a barn, but it is filled with sharp metal tools. They run out the other side to find the tornado bearing down. It destroys the barn, and they dodge debris as they run to take cover in a small outbuilding. They find metal pipes inside this shelter, and tie themselves to the pipes with leather belts. The tornado destroys the structure, and they are pulled upside while anchored to the pipes. They manage to see the inside of the F5 tornado as it passes over them. It is filled with lighting and a smaller tornado in the core. Seconds later, the entire storm dissipates, and the family from the farm comes out of their underground storm shelter. Bill and Jo debate who will run the lab and who will analyze the new data while the rest of the team arrives.

As Good as It Gets

  • Directors: James L Brooks
  • Producers: Laura Ziskin
  • Writers: Mark Andrus, Mark Andrus James L Brooks
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, Greg Kinnear, Cuba Gooding Jr, Shirley Knight, Skeet Ulrich

Melvin Udall is a successful novelist with a brash and abrasive personality who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder. He insists on sitting at the same table at the same restaurant each day, much to the chagrin of Carol (Helen Hunt), the main waitress who waits on him.

Melvin works from home, and often uses homophobic remarks to berate his neighbor Simon Bishop (Greg Kinnear), a painter who is often seen with his little dog Verdell, which Melvin dislikes.

Simon is robbed and severely beaten in his apartment. He survives, but has no health insurance for his medical bills. Suddenly broke, he is forced to lay off his housekeeper and also faces the loss of his apartment. His agent Frank (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) pressures Melvin to look after Verdell. Melvin grows fond of the dog.

Melvin goes out to breakfast, finding out that Carol is not at work. He finds out that Carol needed to take her son to the hospital for treatment of an asthma attack. Because his disorder demands a structured routine in order for him to maintain his composure, Melvin arranges for a doctor to help Carol with her son Spencer’s asthma at no charge.

Carol is shocked, moved by the uncharacteristic kindness, but suspicious. She shows up at his doorstep in the rain and tells Melvin she will never have sex with him. Carol later apologizes, and a bond begins to form between her and Melvin.

The movie ends with Carol and Melvin walking into a bakery early in the morning, forming a bond and Melvin no longer compulsively avoiding sidewalk cracks.

What Women Want

  • Directors: Nancy Meyers
  • Producers: Susan Cartsonis, Bruce Davey, Gina Matthews, Nancy Meyers, Matt Williams
  • Writers: Josh Goldsmith, Cathy Yuspa, Diane Drake
  • Genres: Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
  • Actors: Mel Gibson, Helen Hunt, Marisa Tomei, Alan Alda, Ashley Johnson, Bette Midler

Nick Marshall (Mel Gibson), a Chicago ad executive who grew up with his Las Vegas showgirl mother – and so has an alpha male view of women, which works well for him when it comes to getting men to buy beer or cars or getting most women (such as a coffee attendant Marisa Tomei at a local shop) to fawn over him. However, just as he thinks he’s heading for a promotion, his manager Dan (Alan Alda) informs him that he needs to hire the talents of Darcy McGuire (Helen Hunt) to keep the ad company ‘fresh’ and get new clients. Thus, his ego is bruised and he gives the cold shoulder to Darcy in the process.

Compounding his problems, his estranged 15-year-old daughter Alex is spending two weeks with him while his ex-wife Gigi goes on her honeymoon with her new husband. Alex sees Nick as someone she’s embarrassed to have as a father, and is not interested in his being ‘protective’ when she brings a boyfriend home.

Needing to prove that he’s still ‘the best’ to Darcy and Dan, Nick attempts to think of ad angles for a series of feminine products that Darcy gave out to the workers. While in the bathroom, he accidentally slips on some bath beads and falls into a bathtub while holding an electric hairdryer. He tries to get out, but slips and the dryer falls into the tub while he still has one foot in, jolting him with electricity.

Nick then goes over to Darcy’s apartment and explains everything to her. Darcy regains her job and is forced to fire Nick. However, she finds that she has romantic feelings for Nick as well, and is willing to forgive him.

Cast Away

  • Directors: Robert Zemeckis
  • Producers: Jack Rapke, Robert Zemeckis, Steve Starkey, Tom Hanks
  • Writers: William Broyles Jr
  • Genres: Adventure, Drama
  • Actors: Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt

Chuck Noland (Hanks) is a time-obsessed FedEx systems analyst, who travels worldwide resolving productivity problems at FedEx depots. He is in a long-term relationship with Kelly Frears (Helen Hunt), whom he lives with in Memphis. Although both want to get married, Chuck’s busy schedule causes problems. The couple’s Christmas with relatives is interrupted by Chuck being summoned to resolve a problem overseas.

While flying through a violent thunderstorm somewhere over the southern Pacific Ocean, apparently having flown off course, an incident occurs on Chuck’s aircraft which results in it crashing into the ocean. Saved by an inflatable life-raft, Chuck floats for some time in the storm before being washed up on an island.

It soon becomes clear that the island is uninhabited, and Chuck’s early attempts to make visual signals for any searching aircraft, and to escape the island in the remnants of his life raft are fruitless.

After several FedEx packages from the crashed plane wash up on the island, Chuck begins to open them, looking for items to use for his survival. He finds a number of potentially useful items but leaves one package, painted with a pair of wings, unopened.

During a failed attempt to make fire, Chuck receives a deep wound to his hand. In anger he throws several objects, including a Wilson volleyball from one of the FedEx packages. A short time later he draws a face in the bloody hand print on the ball, naming it “Wilson” and talking to it as if it were a person.

Chuck then travels to the address on his unopened package to deliver it. The house is empty so he leaves the package at the door and departs, stopping at a remote crossroads. A woman passing by in a truck explains where each road leads. As she drives away, Chuck stands at the crossroads, apparently trying to decide which direction to go. He then notices a pair of wings painted on the back of the woman’s truck: the same as those on the unopened parcel. The film ends with Chuck watching the departing truck with a faint smile.