The Sandlot

  • Directors: David Mickey Evans
  • Producers: Mark Burg, Chris Zarpas
  • Writers: David M Evans, Robert Gunter
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Sport
  • Actors: Tom Guiry, Mike Vitar, James Earl Jones

The film is told through the perspective of Scott Smalls, who is reminiscing on his first summer in Los Angeles. In 1962, Smalls moves with his mother and stepfather to a new neighborhood, and struggles to make new friends. One afternoon, he decides to follow a group of neighborhood boys, and watches them play an improvised game of baseball at a small field, which they call the “sandlot.” Smalls is reluctant to join their game because he fears he will be ridiculed on account of his inexperience. Nevertheless, he chooses to play with them, but fails to catch a simple fly ball and properly throw the ball back to his infielders. All the other players, except for Benny Rodriguez, begin to jeer Smalls for committing defensive miscues, prompting him to leave the sandlot in embarrassment. Benny, who is the best player in the neighborhood, shields Smalls from the insults of his peers, and invites him to rejoin their game. He proceeds to give Smalls advice and helps him earn the respect of the other players. In time, Smalls is accepted and becomes an integral part of the team.

As Smalls continues to play with the team, he begins to learn many of the customs of the sandlot, while experiencing many misadventures with his new friends. He learns that players avoid hitting home runs over the sandlot’s fences, as the property is guarded by a ferocious dog, called “the beast.” One day, Benny hits a ball so hard, that he ruptures its leather, causing the balls entrails to come out. The group cannot afford to buy another baseball, and is forced to retire for the afternoon. However, Smalls runs to his step-father’s trophy room, and steals an autographed baseball, in hopes of preserving the game. The team is impressed with Smalls’ gesture, and allows him to have the first at bat with the ball. He proceeds to hit the ball out of the sandlot, but is shortly enveloped by fear once he realizes that he has lost his stepfather’s ball. The situation is further worsened when Smalls realizes that the ball was autographed by Babe Ruth, and is almost irreplaceable.

While his stepfather is still mad at him, they eventually get over the issue. He then goes on to explain what became of all his friends, and the future careers they pursued. The film then jumps twenty years into the future, where Smalls is a radio commentator for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez is one of the team’s star players. While he is in the twilight of his career, Benny manages to steal home in the movie’s final comments, before flashing a thumbs-up to Smalls in the press box.

Coming to America

  • Directors: John Landis
  • Producers: Leslie Belzberg, George Folsey Jr, Mark Lipsky
  • Writers: Story, Eddie Murphy, Screenplay, David Sheffield, Barry W Blaustein
  • Genres: Comedy, Romance
  • Actors: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Shari Headley, James Earl Jones, John Amos, Eriq La Salle, Samuel L Jackson

Akeem Joffer (Eddie Murphy), the prince and heir to the throne of the fictitious African country Zamunda, is discontented with being pampered all his life. The final straw is when his parents (James Earl Jones and Madge Sinclair) present him with a bride-to-be (Vanessa Bell) he has never met before, trained to mindlessly obey his every command.

Akeem concocts a plan to travel to America to find a wife he can both love and respect. He and his servant & friend Semmi (Arsenio Hall) arrive in Queens County, New York, and after several scrapes, find an apartment in the neighborhood of Jackson Heights. They begin working at a local restaurant called McDowell’s (the restaurateur’s attempt to copy McDonald’s) passing themselves off as students. When he first meets Akeem and Semmi, owner Mr. McDowell (John Amos) explains all the minute differences between his place and McDonald’s, ending with the line, “They use the sesame seed bun. My buns have no seeds.”

Akeem falls in love with Lisa (Shari Headley), Mr. McDowell’s daughter, who possesses the qualities the prince is looking for. The rest of the film centers on Akeem’s attempts to win Lisa’s hand in marriage, while adjusting to life in America and dodging his royal duties and prerogatives. Unfortunately, Semmi is not comfortable with the life of a poor man and thus unintentionally causes a near-disaster when, alerted by a plea for more financial help, the Zamundian royal family travels to the United States. Lisa learns that Akeem is actually a prince and is at first angry and confused as to why he lied to her about it. At this point, she refuses to marry Akeem and Akeem returns to Zamunda with a broken heart. At the end, we see Akeem about to wed a bride who he discovers is Lisa. They ride off in a carriage after the ceremony.

Field of Dreams

  • Directors: Phil Alden Robinson
  • Producers: Lawrence Gordon and, Charles Gordon
  • Writers: W P Kinsella, Phil Alden Robinson
  • Genres: Drama, Family, Fantasy, Sport
  • Actors: Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan, James Earl Jones, Timothy Busfield, Frank Whaley, Gaby Hoffmann, with Ray Liotta, as Shoeless Joe, and Burt Lancaster, as Doc Graham

Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) is a novice farmer who lives in rural Iowa with his wife, Annie (Amy Madigan), and their young daughter Karin (Gaby Hoffmann). Ray’s deceased father, John Kinsella (Dwier Brown), loved baseball, the Chicago White Sox, and Shoeless Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta), who was banned from baseball for his part in throwing the 1919 World Series. To Ray, his father seemed “worn down” by life, an old man before his time.

While walking through his cornfield, Ray hears a voice whisper, “If you build it, he will come”, and sees a vision of a baseball field. Annie is skeptical, but supportive, as she tells him to follow his vision. Ray plows under his corn crop – to the amazement of his neighbors – and builds the field as requested, hoping to find out what will happen. He waits all year, but nothing happens; dejected and confused, Ray retains the ballfield for the next growing season.

One night the next summer, as Ray and Annie are debating planting corn in the ballfield in order to stay financially solvent, their daughter, Karin, comes to them and tells them that someone is on the ballfield. An astonished Ray comes out to the field to see who it is. Ray discovers that it’s Shoeless Joe Jackson. Ray hits some balls to Shoeless Joe and pitches to him. Joe is thrilled to have a field on which to play, and asks if he can bring some friends. The next time he returns, he brings the other seven players banned in the 1919 Black Sox scandal. All of these players are long dead, but it is unclear if they are ghosts or if they have been brought back to life. Soon after, Ray is told by his brother-in-law Mark (Timothy Busfield) – who is unable to see the players – that unless he gets rid of the baseball field and returns it to farmland, he will go bankrupt. Mark is employed by the same bank that holds Ray’s mortgage, and warns him that the only reason his property has not been brought into foreclosure is due to Mark’s influence, out of concern for his sister.

At his wife’s suggestion, Ray introduces John to his granddaughter, Karin, catching himself before telling Karin who he is, and simply introducing him as “John”. They walk and talk together and then, as his father is heading toward the outfield to leave with the rest of the players, Ray asks him to have a catch, finally calling him “Dad”. Father and son choke back tears and, as they have a catch, the viewer is pulled back and high above the field. A long line of cars approaches the baseball field, the trail of headlights extending to the horizon and the twilight.

The Hunt for Red October

  • Directors: John McTiernan
  • Producers: Mace Neufeld
  • Writers: Screenplay, Larry Ferguson, Donald Stewart, Novel, Tom Clancy
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Thriller
  • Actors: Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, Scott Glenn, Sam Neill, James Earl Jones

Marko Ramius (Sean Connery), a Lithuanian, is captain of the Soviet Navy’s newest Typhoon-class ballistic missile submarine, the Red October, equipped with a revolutionary silent propulsion system known as a caterpillar drive. A naval veteran with nearly 40 years of experience, he was considered the best officer in the Soviet Navy. He has taken out the lead boat for each new submarine class, trained most of the officer corps, and has good political connections via his late wife. At the start of the movie, he is shown taking the boat out to sea, ostensibly for its first exercise with other units of the Russian Fleet. The captain, however, has another plan—to navigate the submarine to the coast of America in order to defect, as he considers the Red October to be a first-strike weapon that cannot be left in the hands of the Soviets.

To achieve this, he must murder Ivan Putin (Peter Firth), his political officer, who alone amongst his officers was not hand-picked in support of this action. With the ship’s doctor, Yevgeniy Petrov (Tim Curry), and cook, Igor Loginov (Tomas Arana), as witnesses, Ramius takes the late political officer’s missile key, granting him sole control over the ship’s missile systems. After this is done, Ramius reads substitute orders to his crew to support the mission (stating they will conduct missile drills off the coast of New York City and then sail to Havana for shore leave), and begins his long journey. He is at first discovered and tracked by the USS Dallas, an American attack submarine, but upon activation of the caterpillar drive he is able to break away. Meanwhile, Soviet authorities read a letter posted by Ramius prior to his departure, announcing his intention to defect. The Soviet Navy immediately puts to sea to locate and sink the Red October. One of the ships that joins in the hunt is the Alfa-class attack submarine V.K. Konovalov, commanded by Captain Tupolev (Stellan SkarsgÃ¥rd), a former student of Ramius. This causes a stir in Washington, D.C. when the activity triggers a reciprocal deployment of U.S. assets, as Russian intentions are unclear.

Concurrently, the saboteur, revealed to be Loginov, shoots at the captain, missing and instead fatally wounding the executive officer, Vasily Borodin (Sam Neill), along with damaging the fire control panel (leaving Red October unable to return fire). An alarm reveals that Loginov has headed into the missile launch area, and Ramius realizes that Loginov intends to ignite a missile launch mechanism, which would destroy the Red October. Ryan and Ramius go after Loginov, while Mancuso takes command of the Red October to deal with the external threat. As Ramius predicted, the Konovalov fires another torpedo which arms at launch. While chasing Loginov, Ramius is shot and injured, leaving Ryan to search for him in the submarine’s missile bay. As Loginov attempts to (and nearly does) detonate the launch mechanism of one of the missiles, he is gunned down by Ryan. Meanwhile, USS Dallas and Red October make a series of evasive maneuvers, causing the torpedo to target the Konovalov instead and destroy it. The crew of the Red October who had evacuated and were on board a U.S. Navy rescue ship witnessed the explosion and believed it to be the Red October that had been destroyed. Ultimately the submarine finds haven in the Penobscot River in Maine, and Ryan flies home—too exhausted to consider his fear of flying as he had not had a decent night’s sleep since before the film begins—with a teddy bear that he had promised for his daughter.

Clear and Present Danger

  • Directors: Phillip Noyce
  • Producers:
  • Writers: Novel, Tom Clancy, Screenplay, Donald Stewart, Steven Zaillian, John Milius
  • Genres: Action, Thriller
  • Actors: Harrison Ford, Willem Dafoe, Anne Archer, Miguel Sandoval, Joaquim de Almeida, and, James Earl Jones

The film opens with a United States Coast Guard patrol boat stopping a suspicious yacht, finding that an American businessman and his family had been murdered by several men still operating the craft. The murdered man happens to have been a close friend of President of the United States. President Bennett (Donald Moffat) finds out that the man was murdered because of his ties to the Cali Cartel, having skimmed over $650 million from the Cartel for his own use. In his anger, the President tells James Cutter, his National Security Advisor, that the Colombian drug cartels represent “a clear and present danger” to the U.S., indirectly giving Cutter unofficial permission to take down the men responsible for his friend’s death.

Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford), meanwhile, is appointed Deputy Director (Intelligence) when his friend, mentor, and boss Admiral James Greer (James Earl Jones) is diagnosed with an aggressive, and ultimately fatal, case of pancreatic cancer. Upon his appointment, Ryan is asked to go before the United States Congress to request increased funding of $70 million for ongoing CIA intelligence operations in Colombia. Congress agrees to provide the funding, with Senator Mayo receiving Ryan’s word that “no troops” or black-ops will be used in Colombia. Needing to keep an unwitting Ryan out of the loop, Cutter turns to CIA Deputy Director of Operations Robert Ritter, who secures a document giving him permission to do what he sees fit to take down the cartel. Ritter then assembles a black-ops team with the help of John Clark (Willem Dafoe), a secret field operative. Clark and his team travel to Colombia and begin destroying the various Cartel gangs, their equipment and hidden drug lab facilities.

Back home, Ryan angrily confronts the President, who was indirectly responsible for all the carnage. The President smugly tries to convince Ryan that he now holds “a chip in the big game” â€” by being in the loop of what happened, Ryan can use the President for special favors, in return for keeping the debacle secret. The late Admiral Greer would be the scapegoat instead. Ryan is unable to bear dishonoring the black-ops team who died in the raid, the innocent civilians (whom Cutter called “collateral damage”) who died from the aerial bomb at the villa and the legacy of his mentor. He angrily tells the President that he intends to blow the whistle at a Congressional Oversight Committee session despite the damage it could do to his career, saying to the President, “Sorry I don’t dance”. He then walks out of the Oval Office, and the film ends with Ryan beginning his testimony to Congress.

Coming to America

  • Directors: John Landis
  • Producers: Leslie Belzberg, George Folsey Jr, Mark Lipsky
  • Writers: Story, Eddie Murphy, Screenplay, David Sheffield, Barry W Blaustein
  • Genres: Comedy, Romance
  • Actors: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Shari Headley, James Earl Jones, John Amos, Eriq La Salle, Samuel L Jackson

Akeem Joffer (Eddie Murphy), the prince and heir to the throne of the fictitious African country Zamunda, is discontented with being pampered all his life. The final straw is when his parents (James Earl Jones and Madge Sinclair) present him with a bride-to-be (Vanessa Bell) he has never met before, trained to mindlessly obey his every command.

Akeem concocts a plan to travel to America to find a wife he can both love and respect. He and his servant & friend Semmi (Arsenio Hall) arrive in Queens County, New York, and after several scrapes, find an apartment in the neighborhood of Jackson Heights. They begin working at a local restaurant called McDowell’s (the restaurateur’s attempt to copy McDonald’s) passing themselves off as students. When he first meets Akeem and Semmi, owner Mr. McDowell (John Amos) explains all the minute differences between his place and McDonald’s, ending with the line, “They use the sesame seed bun. My buns have no seeds.”

Akeem falls in love with Lisa (Shari Headley), Mr. McDowell’s daughter, who possesses the qualities the prince is looking for. The rest of the film centers on Akeem’s attempts to win Lisa’s hand in marriage, while adjusting to life in America and dodging his royal duties and prerogatives. Unfortunately, Semmi is not comfortable with the life of a poor man and thus unintentionally causes a near-disaster when, alerted by a plea for more financial help, the Zamundian royal family travels to the United States. Lisa learns that Akeem is actually a prince and is at first angry and confused as to why he lied to her about it. At this point, she refuses to marry Akeem and Akeem returns to Zamunda with a broken heart. At the end, we see Akeem about to wed a bride who he discovers is Lisa. They ride off in a carriage after the ceremony.

The Lion King

  • Directors: Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff
  • Producers: Don Hahn
  • Writers: Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts, Linda Woolverton
  • Genres: Animation, Adventure, Drama, Family, Musical
  • Actors: Matthew Broderick, Jeremy Irons, James Earl Jones, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, Moira Kelly, Robert Guillaume, Rowan Atkinson, Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, Jim Cummings

The Lion King takes place in the Pride Lands of the Serengeti, where a lion rules over the other animals as king. Rafiki (Robert Guillaume), a wise old mandrill, anoints Simba (cub by Jonathan Taylor Thomas, adult by Matthew Broderick), the newborn cub of King Mufasa (James Earl Jones) and Queen Sarabi (Madge Sinclair), and presents him to a gathering of animals at Pride Rock (“Circle of Life”).

Mufasa takes Simba on a tour of the Pride Lands, teaching him about the “Circle of Life”, the delicate balance affecting all living things. Taking advantage of the cub’s naive nature, Simba’s scheming uncle Scar (Jeremy Irons) (who is very angry because Simba’s birth means that he’s no longer next in line to the throne) tells him about the elephant graveyard, a place where Mufasa has forbidden Simba to go. Simba asks his mother if he can go to the water-hole with his best friend, Nala (cub by Niketa Calame, adult by Moira Kelly). Their parents agree but only if Mufasa’s majordomo, the hornbill Zazu (Rowan Atkinson), goes with them. Simba and Nala elude Zazu’s supervision (“I Just Can’t Wait to Be King”) and go to the graveyard instead. There, the cubs are met by Shenzi, Banzai and Ed (Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin and Jim Cummings), spotted hyenas who try to kill them, but they are rescued by Mufasa.

Atop Pride Rock’s peak, Simba corners Scar. To gain Simba’s mercy, Scar blames everything on the hyenas but Shenzi, Banzai and Ed overhear this betrayal. Simba demands that Scar go into exile. Scar pretends to leave but turns to attack Simba, resulting in a final duel. Simba triumphs over his uncle by kicking him over a low cliff. Scar survives the fall but finds himself surrounded by the now-resentful hyenas, who attack and kill him. Simba and Nala become the new king and queen of the Pride Lands. The film concludes with the Pride Lands turning green with life again and Rafiki presenting Simba and Nala’s newborn cub as “The Circle of Life” continues.