Scrooged

  • Directors: Richard Donner
  • Producers: Richard Donner, Art Linson
  • Writers: Mitch Glazer, and Michael O Donoghue, Charles Dickens
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
  • Actors: Bill Murray, Karen Allen, John Forsythe, Bobcat Goldthwait, Carol Kane, Robert Mitchum, Michael J Pollard, Alfre Woodard

Francis “Frank” Xavier Cross (Bill Murray) is a conceited, cynical television programming executive. He has found great success and wealth but only by becoming coldhearted and cruel. In the opening scenes, he is seen working out in a room with a border that reads “Cross: (n) A thing they nail people to.”

His ruthless concentration on his career has cost him his true love, the warm-hearted Claire Phillips (Karen Allen). It has also alienated him from his family, having only an “at arm’s length” relationship with his brother James (John Murray), and ruined any chance of his having a happy and fulfilling life. Frank overworks his assistant Grace Cooley (Alfre Woodard), forcing her to constantly break plans with her family and neglect her mute son Calvin. When a disturbing TV commercial is criticized by staff member Eliot Loudermilk (Bobcat Goldthwait), Frank responds by firing him on Christmas Eve.

When Cross is given the task of heading up a live Christmas Eve broadcast of A Christmas Carol, his life begins to mirror the story he’s producing. The decomposing corpse of his mentor, media mogul Lew Hayward (John Forsythe)—who had died of a heart attack during a golf game—comes back to visit to tell him the error of his ways, and to announce the impending visitation of three Ghosts.

As he feels his body being burned, Frank finally sees the error of his ways and begs for a second chance. He awakens back in his office, right as the live broadcast is wrapping up. The reformed Frank rehires Loudermilk at a considerable salary increase, steps in front of the rolling studio cameras, and publicly wishes his viewers a Merry Christmas. Calvin urges him to add Tiny Tim’s phrase, “God bless us, everyone,” finally breaking free of his mute condition. Claire appears in the studio and Frank reconciles with her, sharing a romantic kiss as Grace and the other television workers start to sing “Put a Little Love in Your Heart”.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

  • Directors: Steven Spielberg
  • Producers: Frank Marshall, George Lucas, Kathleen Kennedy
  • Writers: Screenplay, David Koepp, Story, George Lucas, Jeff Nathanson
  • Genres: Action, Adventure
  • Actors: Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen, Ray Winstone, John Hurt, Jim Broadbent, Shia LaBeouf

In 1957, Colonel-Doctor Irina Spalko and a convoy of Soviet agents posing as U.S. soldiers infiltrate a military base in the Nevada desert. They force Indiana Jones to lead them to a crate in “Hangar 51”, which holds the remains of an extraterrestrial creature that crashed ten years before in Roswell, New Mexico. Indiana attempts to escape but is foiled by his partner George ‘Mac’ McHale, who reveals that he is working with the Soviets. After a fight and an elaborate vehicle chase through the warehouse, Indiana escapes on a rocket sled into the desert, where he stumbles upon a nuclear test town and survives a nuclear explosion by hiding in a lead-lined refrigerator. While being debriefed, Indiana discovers he is under FBI investigation because of Mac’s Soviet ties. Indiana returns to Marshall College, where he is offered an indefinite leave of absence to avoid being fired because of the investigation. At a train station, Indiana is stopped by greaser Mutt Williams and told that his old colleague, Harold Oxley, disappeared after discovering a crystal skull near the Nazca lines in Peru. Indiana and Mutt go to a local diner, where they discuss the legend of the skull and the mythical city of Akator. Mutt passes Indiana a letter from Oxley, which contains a riddle written in an ancient Latin American language. Soviet agents approach them, and a chase commences on the college grounds. Indiana realizes that the Soviets were trailing Mutt to get him to decode Oxley’s letter.

After surviving an attack by Ugha warriors defending the temple, Indiana, Mutt, Marion, Oxley, and Mac arrive at the Temple of Akator, a Mayan-style pyramid in the Amazon rainforest. Claiming that he is a CIA double agent working against the Soviets, Mac enters the temple with Indiana and the group, but he is actually leaving a trail of homing devices for Spalko to follow. The group enters the temple and Indiana uses the skull to open the door to a chamber tomb, where thirteen crystal skeletons, one missing a skull, are seated on thrones. After the Soviets arrive and again reveal Mac’s complicity, Spalko places the skull onto a headless skeleton. It begins communicating to the group through Oxley using an ancient Mayan dialect. Indiana translates this to mean that the aliens want to reward them with a “big gift”. Spalko approaches and demands to “know everything”. The beings grant her request and begin to transfer their collective knowledge into her mind. As a portal to another dimension appears over the room, Oxley regains his sanity and explains that the aliens are interdimensional beings who taught the Ugha tribe their advanced technology, such as agriculture and irrigation. Indiana, Mutt, Marion, and Oxley escape from the temple, but Mac and the soldiers are sucked into the portal. The skeletons form into a single alien which continues to feed Spalko with knowledge; however, the collective knowledge of the thirteen beings is too much for Spalko. Her brain and body ignite and disintegrate â€“ her scattered essence absorbed into the portal as well. The temple crumbles, and a flying saucer rises from the debris and disappears as the Amazon river floods the valley. After they return home, Indiana is reinstated and made an associate dean at Marshall College, and he and Marion are married.

Raiders of the Lost Ark

  • Directors: Steven Spielberg
  • Producers: Frank Marshall, George Lucas, Howard Kazanjian
  • Writers: Story, George Lucas, Philip Kaufman, Screenplay, Lawrence Kasdan
  • Genres: Action, Adventure
  • Actors: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen

In 1936, in the Peruvian jungle, archaeologist/treasure hunter Indiana Jones braves several booby traps to retrieve the Golden Idol from an ancient temple. After escaping, he finds rival archaeologist RenГ© Belloq waiting outside with a group of Hovitos, the local indigenous people. Surrounded and outnumbered, Jones is forced to give up the artifact to Belloq. Jones escapes from Belloq and the Hovitos after a jungle pursuit, and flies away on a waiting seaplane.

At the American college where he teaches archaeology, Jones meets with two Army intelligence agents who reveal that the Nazis, in their quest for occult power, are searching for Abner Ravenwood, Jones’ former mentor. Ravenwood is the foremost expert on the ancient Egyptian city of Tanis, rediscovered by the Nazis and believed to be where the Pharaoh Shishaq brought the Ark of the Covenant, a chest the Israelites built to contain the fragments of the Ten Commandments. Jones deduces that the Nazis seek Ravenwood because he possesses the headpiece to the Staff of Ra, an artifact essential to pinpoint the Ark’s current location. According to legend, the headpiece would reveal the exact location of the Well of Souls, the chamber containing the Ark, by focusing daylight through a crystal in the center of the headpiece, which would project a beam of light onto a miniature of the city at a certain time of day. Jones’ colleague, Marcus Brody, further explains the legendary power of the Ark to render invincible any army it precedes, explaining the Nazis’ interest in it.

The next morning, a Nazi U-boat commanded by Belloq and Nazi officer Dietrich stops the ship. Marion and the Ark are removed, while Jones covertly boards the U-boat. He follows Belloq and the Ark to an isolated island, where they plan to test the power of the Ark before presenting it to Adolf Hitler. Threatening to destroy the Ark with a Panzerschreck, Jones demands that the Nazis free Marion. Belloq calls his bluff, claiming that Jones, as an archaeologist, wants to see it opened as badly as Belloq; Jones is forced to surrender. Marion and Jones are tied up while Belloq performs a ceremonial opening of the Ark. Spirits emerge from within; Jones, aware of the supernatural danger of looking at the opened Ark, warns Marion to close her eyes. The Nazis, Belloq, Toht, and Dietrich, who do not look away, are all killed by the Ark’s supernatural powers. The Ark closes itself once more, accompanied by a crack of thunder. Back in Washington, D.C., two Army intelligence men tell a suspicious Jones that “top men” are carefully studying the Ark. In reality, the Ark is sealed in a wooden crate and stored in a giant government warehouse filled with countless similar crates.