Away We Go

  • Directors: Sam Mendes
  • Producers:
  • Writers: Dave Eggers, Vendela Vida
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama
  • Actors: John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph, Jeff Daniels, Carmen Ejogo, Jim Gaffigan, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Josh Hamilton, Allison Janney, Melanie Lynskey, Chris Messina, Catherine O Hara, Paul Schneider

The film opens with a young couple, Verona De Tessant (Maya Rudolph) and Burt Farlander (John Krasinski), in bed and about to engage in oral intercourse. However, Burt soon notices that Verona “tastes” differently, and explains to her that it might be a potential sign that she is pregnant. She promptly slaps him across the face in disbelief, causing him to tumble out of the bed.

About 6 months later, we find Verona well into her pregnancy with a baby girl, and Burt trying to find ways to make himself a good parent for their newcoming baby (trying to take on skills like carpentry and woodcarving, which he mistakes as “cobbling”, the craft of shoemaking). They begin to analyze their lives, wondering if they are “screwups”, as they are both in their early 30’s and still struggling to provide an actual home and demands to meet their daily needs and fulfilling lives (and also unmarried, as Verona fails to see the point in doing so). They then visit their only family in the area, Burt’s parents, Gloria and Jerry (Catherine O’Hara and Jeff Daniels), only to find out that they have decided to move to Antwerp, Belgium for 2 years, leaving a month before the baby is due, since it was one of their lifelong goals. Frustrated at their selfishness and ill-thinking, Verona and Burt decide it’s best to try and find somewhere else to live and to raise their family, as they have no other reason to stay in the area now that Burt’s parents are leaving.

While sitting outside in the yard, Verona then recounts a story about her father trying to grow an orange tree in the yard of their old house, to not much success. So, Verona, her mother, and her sisters went out with pineapples and various other fruits, duct tape, and string, and hung up the fruits on the tree to please their father, making him laugh considerably. She remembers this fondly, causing the couple to then travel to her old home, and realizing that it truly is the place that they should make as their new home. The film closes with Burt and Verona on the patio of the house, overlooking the nearby lake together.

Dumb Dumber

  • Directors: Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly
  • Producers: Brad Krevoy, Steven Stabler, Charles B Wessler, Associate Producer, Ellen Dumouchel, Chad Oman, Bradley Jenkel, Co Producer, Bobby Farrelly, Tracie Graham Rice, Bradley Thomas, Executive Producer, Gerald Olson, Aaron Meyerson
  • Writers: Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly, Bennett Yellin
  • Genres: Adventure, Comedy
  • Actors: Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Lauren Holly, Mike Starr, Karen Duffy, Charles Rocket

Lloyd Christmas is a simple-minded limousine driver in Providence, Rhode Island, who becomes infatuated with his passenger, Mary Swanson, as he drives her to the airport. Mary is heading home to her family in Aspen, Colorado, but leaves a briefcase at the airport. Lloyd notices, and retrieves the briefcase before a pair of thugs arrive to pick it up, dashing ahead of them to snag the briefcase. Lloyd is unable to catch Mary in time, and is left on the tarmac of the airport with briefcase in hand (after having run off the end of a jetway).

Harry Dunne, Lloyd’s roommate, is in the pet grooming business, and has recently spent his life savings converting his van (a 1984 Ford Econoline) into a “sheepdog”. Both Lloyd and Harry quickly lose their jobs due to preventable accidents, and the two are distraught over their situation. Thinking Lloyd is a “professional” hired by the Swansons, or perhaps an FBI agent, the thugs exact revenge on Harry and Lloyd. Shortly after returning home, Lloyd and Harry are alarmed by the thugs at their door, one of them being armed. Believing them to be debt collectors, the two escape through their back window with the briefcase. While the pair are out looking for new jobs, the thugs behead Harry’s pet parakeet. After they return home, Lloyd, who had just been robbed of beer and other goods by “a sweet old lady on a motorized cart,” convinces Harry they should leave their messed-up lives in Providence behind and head for Aspen to return the briefcase to Mary. The thugs learn of their intentions and pursue the two Aspen-bound men.

With no money, the two begin to walk home. Along the way, they inadvertently turn down a chance to be oil boys for Hawaiian Tropic bikini models directing them instead to a nearby town. They then walk off together, saying to each other how two lucky guys will get to tour all over the country rubbing down the girls before shows. Harry reassures Lloyd that “someday we’ll get our big break too, we’ve just got to keep our eyes open”.

101 Dalmatians

  • Directors: Stephen Herek
  • Producers: John Hughes
  • Writers: John Hughes
  • Genres: Family, Comedy, Adventure
  • Actors: Glenn Close, Jeff Daniels, Joely Richardson, Joan Plowright, Hugh Laurie

Roger Dearly (Jeff Daniels) is an American computer game designer, who shares his home in London with his pet dalmatian, Pongo. One day Roger takes Pongo for a walk, and the dog sets his eyes on a beautiful female Dalmatian named Perdy. After a frantic chase through the streets of London, Roger and Pongo discover Perdy likes Pongo; and Perdy’s owner, fashion designer Anita Campbell-Green (Joely Richardson), is taken with Roger when they meet in St. James Park. Romance blossoms between both human and canine couples and Roger and Anita walk down the aisle. Anita works for Cruella de Vil (Glenn Close), a sexy fashion maven with a great love for cigarettes and fur.

Anita becomes inspired by her dogs and designs a fur coat made with spotted fur, causing Cruella to leap on the idea of making garments out of actual Dalmatians. When Cruella learns that Perdy has given birth to fifteen Dalmatian puppies she offers the couple a decent price for the newborn puppies, but the couple refuses. Flying into a maniacal rage, she fires Anita and vows to get even. She has her henchmen, Jasper and Horace (Hugh Laurie & Mark Williams), steal the puppies and deliver them to her ancient estate, De Vil Manor.

Roger designs a successful video game featuring dalmatian puppies as the protagonist and Cruella as the villain, and they move to the English countryside with their millions.

Terms of Endearment

  • Directors: James L Brooks
  • Producers: James L Brooks
  • Writers: James L Brooks, Larry McMurtry
  • Genres: Romance, Comedy, Drama
  • Actors: Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Jeff Daniels, John Lithgow

The film is about the thirty-year mother-daughter relationship between two women: stubborn brunette Emma (Debra Winger) and her devoted, possessive, blond, widowed mother Aurora Greenway (Shirley MacLaine).

Before the opening credits, the film portrays Aurora as a worried, new mother who checks on her baby every five minutes in the middle of the night and imagines the worst. In the baby’s bedroom, she stares at the crib of her infant daughter and imagines crib death: “Rudyard, she’s not breathing.” She shakes her baby out of its quiet and peaceful sleep, causing the infant to wail — and Aurora to claim: “That’s better.”

Later, as a young adult, Emma rebels against Aurora’s attentions, and against her advice marries literature student Flap Horton (Jeff Daniels). As the independent-minded, individualistic Emma is getting in the car with her family to move from Houston, Texas to Des Moines, Iowa, away from her managing mother, she tells her:

As they suffer from unpaid bills (in a wrenching supermarket scene, young Teddy (Huckleberry Fox) hands back a Clark candy bar to the checkout clerk with a simple: “I don’t need it”), young mother Emma also discovers that her feckless husband, a college literature professor, is unfaithful and sleeping with one of his graduate students, and she retaliates with her own brief affair with a timid Iowa bank officer Sam Burns (John Lithgow).

After the funeral, Garrett supportively pays special attention to Emma’s long-neglected son.