The Wrestler

  • Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
  • Producers: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
  • Writers: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
  • Genres: Drama, Sport
  • Actors: John Turturro, John Goodman, Michael Lerner, Judy Davis, John Mahoney

At the start of the movie, Barton Fink is enjoying the success of his first play, Bare Ruined Choirs. His agent informs him that Capitol Pictures in Hollywood has offered a thousand dollars per week to write movie scripts. Barton hesitates, worried that moving to California would separate him from “the common man”, his focus as a writer. He accepts the offer, however, and checks into the Hotel Earle, a large and unusually deserted building. His room is sparse and draped in subdued colors; its only decoration is a small painting of a woman on the beach, arm raised to block the sun.

In his first meeting with Capitol Pictures boss Jack Lipnick (Michael Lerner), Barton explains that he chose the Earle because he wants lodging that is (as Lipnick says) “less Hollywood”.[2] Lipnick promises that his only concern is Barton’s writing ability, and assigns his new employee to a wrestling movie. Back in his room, however, Barton is unable to write. He is distracted by sounds coming from the room next door, and he phones the front desk to complain. His neighbor, Charlie Meadows (the source of the noise) visits Barton to apologize, and insists on sharing some alcohol from a hip flask to make amends. As they talk, Barton proclaims his affection for “the common man”, and Charlie describes his life as an insurance salesman.

Soon afterwards, Barton is visited by two police detectives, who inform him that Charlie’s real name is in fact Karl Mundt â€“ “Madman Mundt”.[4] He is a serial killer wanted for several murders; after shooting his victims, they explain, he decapitates them and keeps the heads. Stunned, Barton returns to his room and examines the box. Placing it on his desk without opening it, he begins writing and produces the entire script in one sitting. After a night of celebratory dancing, Barton returns to find the detectives in his room, who then reveal Mayhew’s murder. Charlie appears, and the hotel is engulfed in flames. Running through the hallway, screaming, Charlie shoots the policemen with a shotgun. As the hallway burns, Charlie speaks with Barton about their lives and the hotel, then retires to his own room. Barton leaves the hotel, carrying the box and his script. In a final meeting, a disappointed and betrayed Lipnick, who has been drafted into the Pacific Theatre of World War II with the rank of Colonel, angrily chastises Barton for writing “a fruity movie about suffering”,[5] then informs him that he is to remain in Los Angeles, and that â€“ although he will remain under contract â€“ Capitol Pictures will not produce anything he writes so he can be ridiculed as a loser around the studio while Lipnick is in the war. Dazed, Barton wanders onto a beach, still carrying the package. He meets a woman who looks just like the one in the picture on his wall at the Earle, and she asks about the box. He tells her that he knows neither what it contains nor to whom it belongs. She assumes the pose from the picture, and the film ends.

The Iron Giant

  • Directors: Brad Bird
  • Producers: Pete Townshend, Des McAnuff, Allison Abbate, John Walker
  • Writers: Ted Hughes title The Iron Man The Iron Man, Brad Bird, Tim McCanlies
  • Genres: Animation, Adventure, Family, Sci-Fi
  • Actors: Eli Marienthal, Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick Jr, Vin Diesel, Christopher McDonald, John Mahoney

In 1957, a giant metal robot crash-lands just off the coast of Rockwell, Maine. It is seen by a man in a boat, who narrowly survives. After the big metal man eats a television antenna from a house dangerously close to the woods, the boy who lives there, Hogarth Hughes, follows its huge footprints into the dense forest. There, the giant becomes entangled in wires at a power station, electrocuting it. Hogarth shuts off the power, saving the robot. The next day he finds the robot again, and it follows him to his house. On the way, the Giant discovers train tracks. He attempts to eat them, but Hogarth explains that train tracks are off limits. While trying to fix the tracks, an upcoming train collides with the Giant. Hogarth panics, as the collision caused the robot to lose its arm and a jaw bolt, but he realizes that the Giant is assembling itself back together because of an apparent repair signal from its head. Meanwhile, Kent Mansley, a pompous, self-centered and paranoid U.S. Government agent, arrives in town to investigate the sightings and stories amongst the citizens.

Hogarth hides the Giant in his barn, showing it comic books depicting Superman, an alien visitor who becomes a hero. Mansley, having investigated the wrecked power station and the train wreck, later arrives at their doorstep to ask if he could use their telephone to phone General Rogard about the information he collected. Masnley becomes suspicious of Hogarth after seeing a BB gun with Hogarth’s name on it in the woods, and rents a room in the Hughes’ house. Trying to keep Mansley from discovering the Giant, Hogarth is able to convince a beatnik metal artist named Dean McCoppin to have the Giant stay at his scrap yard. Hogarth and the Giant have fun together, and Hogarth explains the concept of life and death after the Giant sees hunters slaying a deer in the woods.

A few months later, in the spring of 1958, a memorial statue has been erected in the Giant’s honor. Dean and Annie appear to be in a relationship and Hogarth has made some new friends. He is sent a single jaw-screw by Rogard, the only piece of the Giant recovered from the explosion. In bed that night, Hogarth hears a tapping noise at the window. The screw is bumping against the glass, apparently attempting to travel somewhere. Smiling and realizing what the piece’s activity means, Hogarth opens the window and lets it roll away. The movie ends with the Giant’s body parts making their way to the Langjökull glacier in Iceland, summoned there by the repair signal in the Giant’s head, which opens its eyes and smiles.