Sling Blade

  • Directors: Billy Bob Thornton
  • Producers: Larry Meistrich, David L Bushell, Brandon Rosser
  • Writers: Billy Bob Thornton
  • Genres: Drama
  • Actors: Billy Bob Thornton, Dwight Yoakam, J T Walsh, John Ritter, Lucas Black, Natalie Canerday

Karl Childers (Thornton) is a mentally challenged man who has been in the custody of the state mental hospital since the age of 12, having killed his mother and her lover.

Although thoroughly “institutionalized”, Karl is deemed fit to be released into a world “too big” for him. Prior to his release, he is interviewed by a local school newspaper reporter to whom he recalls in detail the brutal murder of his mother and her lover with a kaiser blade (noting “some folks call it a sling blade”). Karl claims to have killed the boy for supposedly raping his mother. When he found out his mother was a willing participant, he killed her too.

Having a knack for small engine repair, Karl eventually gets a job at a local lawnmower repair shop. Not long after, he befriends Frank (Lucas Black). Karl shares with Frank some of the details of his past, including the killings. Frank reveals that his father was killed, leaving him & his mother on their own (he later admits that he lied, and that his father committed suicide). Frank introduces Karl to his mother Linda (Natalie Canerday), as well as her gay friend Vaughan (John Ritter). Despite Vaughan’s concerns, Linda allows Karl to move into her garage. This does not sit well with Linda’s abusive boyfriend Doyle (Dwight Yoakam).

Doyle becomes increasingly abusive with Karl and Frank, leading to a drunken outburst and physical confrontation with Frank. Though Linda initially kicks Doyle out of the house, she later reconciles with him. After Doyle confronts Karl and Frank again, Karl begins to realize that he is the only one who can bring about a change and spare Frank and his mother a grim fate. In premeditated fashion, Karl tells Frank to spend that night at Vaughan’s, and asks Vaughan to pick up Linda. Later that evening, Karl returns to Linda’s house. After asking Doyle how to reach the police, he promptly kills him with a lawnmower blade, turns himself in, and is placed back in the state mental hospital.

Sling Blade

  • Directors: Billy Bob Thornton
  • Producers: Larry Meistrich, David L Bushell, Brandon Rosser
  • Writers: Billy Bob Thornton
  • Genres: Drama
  • Actors: Billy Bob Thornton, Dwight Yoakam, J T Walsh, John Ritter, Lucas Black, Natalie Canerday

Karl Childers (Thornton) is a mentally challenged man who has been in the custody of the state mental hospital since the age of 12, having killed his mother and her lover.

Although thoroughly “institutionalized”, Karl is deemed fit to be released into a world “too big” for him. Prior to his release, he is interviewed by a local school newspaper reporter to whom he recalls in detail the brutal murder of his mother and her lover with a kaiser blade (noting “some folks call it a sling blade”). Karl claims to have killed the boy for supposedly raping his mother. When he found out his mother was a willing participant, he killed her too.

Having a knack for small engine repair, Karl eventually gets a job at a local lawnmower repair shop. Not long after, he befriends Frank (Lucas Black). Karl shares with Frank some of the details of his past, including the killings. Frank reveals that his father was killed, leaving him & his mother on their own (he later admits that he lied, and that his father committed suicide). Frank introduces Karl to his mother Linda (Natalie Canerday), as well as her gay friend Vaughan (John Ritter). Despite Vaughan’s concerns, Linda allows Karl to move into her garage. This does not sit well with Linda’s abusive boyfriend Doyle (Dwight Yoakam).

Doyle becomes increasingly abusive with Karl and Frank, leading to a drunken outburst and physical confrontation with Frank. Though Linda initially kicks Doyle out of the house, she later reconciles with him. After Doyle confronts Karl and Frank again, Karl begins to realize that he is the only one who can bring about a change and spare Frank and his mother a grim fate. In premeditated fashion, Karl tells Frank to spend that night at Vaughan’s, and asks Vaughan to pick up Linda. Later that evening, Karl returns to Linda’s house. After asking Doyle how to reach the police, he promptly kills him with a lawnmower blade, turns himself in, and is placed back in the state mental hospital.

Good Morning Vietnam

  • Directors: Barry Levinson
  • Producers: Larry Brezner, Mark Johnson
  • Writers: Mitch Markowitz
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, War
  • Actors: Robin Williams, Forest Whitaker, Bruno Kirby, J T Walsh

In 1965, United States Air Force Airman Adrian Cronauer (Robin Williams) arrives in Saigon from Crete to work as a DJ for the Armed Forces Radio Service. His first contact is with Private First Class Edward Garlick (Forest Whitaker), whom he persuades to help chase down a couple of pretty local girls before taking him to the radio station.

Cronauer’s irreverence contrasts sharply with the rest of the staff and soon rouses the ire of two of his superiors, Lieutenant Steven Hauk (Bruno Kirby) and Sergeant Major Dickerson (J. T. Walsh). Hauk adheres to strict Army guidelines in terms of humor and music programming, while Dickerson is annoyed by Cronauer’s behavior in general. However, General Taylor (Noble Willingham) and the other DJs quickly grow to like the new man and his brand of comedy – which begins as soon as he first goes on the air with a yell of “Go-o-o-o-o-o-o-d morning, Vietnam!”

Cronauer’s show consists of unpredictable humor segments mixed with news updates (vetted by the station censors, which at one point causes Cronauer to dryly comment ‘Ooh, censor, censor, censor — join the army and mark things!’) and rock and roll records that are frowned upon by his superiors. Hauk finds nothing funny about any of it and tries, without success, to get him to change his approach.

The next day, on his way to the airport, he sets up a quick softball game with the students from his English class. Trinh thanks him for warning her about the danger her brother was in. As he boards the plane, he gives Garlick a taped farewell message; Garlick – taking Cronauer’s place as DJ – plays the tape on the air the next morning. It begins with a yell of “Go-o-o-o-o-o-o-dbye, Vietnam!” and runs through a few of Cronauer’s impressions before ending with his wish that everyone will get home safely.

A Few Good Men

  • Directors: Rob Reiner
  • Producers: David Brown, Rob Reiner, Andrew Scheinman
  • Writers: Aaron Sorkin
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Jack Nicholson, Kevin Pollak, Kevin Bacon, J T Walsh, and, Kiefer Sutherland

LTJG Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise), son of the late Lionel Kaffee (who held the positions of Attorney General and Navy Judge Advocate General), is an inexperienced U.S. Navy lawyer who leads the defense in the court-martial of two Marines, PFC Louden Downey (James Marshall) and LCpl Harold Dawson (Wolfgang Bodison), who are accused of murdering a fellow Marine of their unit, PFC William T. Santiago (Michael DeLorenzo), at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba.

Santiago was not quite up to the task compared to his fellow Marines. He complained of health conditions that his superiors ignored and was generally disliked by everyone in his company. He had gone out of the chain of command to request a transfer off the base, even going so far as bargaining for one in exchange for blowing the whistle on Dawson for an “illegal fence-line shooting” when Dawson fired an unanswered shot toward the Cuban side.

In a flashback, Colonel Nathan Jessup (Jack Nicholson), the C.O. of the Marine detachment at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base is shown reading the letter detailing the incident to two subordinate officers: his executive officer LtCol Matthew Markinson (J.T. Walsh), and 1st LT. Jonathan Kendrick (Kiefer Sutherland), Santiago’s platoon commander. Jessup and Kendrick are incensed that Santiago would do this, and Markinson is the only one who wants to go ahead with transferring Santiago off the base. However, Jessup gives a speech about their duty as officers to train those who defend their nation, sarcastically suggesting the logical extension of “surrendering our position in Cuba” if just one Marine is sent packing. He thus makes the decision not to transfer Santiago. Markinson questions it and, after LT Kendrick is dismissed, is reprimanded for questioning Jessup’s authority in the presence of another officer. Jessup then calls Kendrick in order to discuss “young William’s training”.

As they leave, Kaffee tells Dawson that he doesn’t need to wear a badge on his arm to have honor. Dawson reacts by saluting Kaffee, displaying a new respect for the man, having purposely refused to do so earlier when he dismissed Kaffee’s plea-bargaining methods as cowardice. Ross then announces that Kendrick will also be arrested.