- Directors: Terry Zwigoff
- Producers: John Cameron, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein
- Writers: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa, uncredited, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Terry Zwigoff
- Genres: Comedy, Crime, Drama
- Actors: Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Cox, Brett Kelly, Lauren Graham, Lauren Tom, with John Ritter, and Bernie Mac
The film begins in a bar on a December night in Milwaukee, where the viewer is introduced to Willie Stokes (Billy Bob Thornton), a bitter, lonely alcoholic. Willie works the holiday seasons as a mall Santa along with his dwarf friend, Marcus (Tony Cox), who works as Santa’s elf. Every Christmas Eve, the two of them disable the security alarm after the mall closes and rob the mall safe; afterwards, Marcus returns to living with his wife (who Willie finds very ugly and annoying), Lois (Lauren Tom), while Willie goes to Miami and spends all his money on booze, a resort condo, and other purely hedonistic pursuits.
At the new mall they plan to steal from, Willie’s alcoholic rants arouse the suspicion of mall manager Bob Chipeska (John Ritter), who asks security chief Gin (Bernie Mac) to investigate. Meanwhile, Willie meets bartender Sue (Lauren Graham), and they begin a relationship. He also meets a pudgy, preteen boy, whom he nicknames the Kid (Brett Kelly), during their visit in the mall. When he leaves the bar and is confronted by a hostile man (Ajay Naidu), the Kid stops the man from beating up (or possibly raped due to the man turning him around) Willie after the guy falsely accuses Willie of being gay. A lonely, unpopular boy, the Kid lives with his senile grandmother (Cloris Leachman) who only says “Roger, you’re home! Let me fix you some sandwiches”; his mother is dead and his father is in prison for embezzlement. After taking the Kid home to the Kid’s father’s mansion, Willie breaks into the house safe, takes all the money, “borrows” his father’s BMW, and winds up spending the money on more booze.
In the final scene, Thurman wears a shirt that Willie sent him, which says on the back, “Shit happens when you party naked,” together with his original present. When Thurman goes out for a bike ride, the head bully appears and starts to taunt Thurman by threatening to steal his bike. But Thurman kicks him in the groin and rides off giving the bully the middle finger.
- Genres: Drama, Family, Comedy
- Actors: Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, Scott Patterson, Kelly Bishop, Edward Herrmann
Lorelai’s conflict with her wealthy parents is central to the back-story for the series. Tension with her controlling mother, Emily, and her father, Richard, recurs throughout the show. Lorelai’s troubled childhood came to a head when she became the teenage mother of Rory at the age of sixteen, which required the sacrifice of her elite prep-school education (and future as a college student at Vassar). In addition, Lorelai refused to marry the baby’s father, Christopher Hayden, much to the dismay of her parents.
Instead, the rebellious Lorelai ran away to Stars Hollow, a small town near Hartford. There she met Mia, owner of the Independence Inn, who gave her a job as a maid and acted as a surrogate mother to both Lorelai and Rory. Lorelai eventually became general manager of the inn, her position at the start of the series. She and Rory lived in a converted potting shed behind the Inn for about ten years before moving to the house they live in during the show. Lorelai consistently tried to minimize her parents’ contact with Rory until (the first episode of the series) Lorelai approached them to fund Rory’s elite fictional prep school, Chilton Academy.
Rory’s friendships with long-time best friend Lane Kim (Keiko Agena), a first-generation Korean American from a strict background, and Paris Geller (Liza Weil), a friend/rival at both Chilton and Yale, are also themes in the show. At the end of the sixth season, Lane marries Hep Alien band-mate Zach van Gerbig (Todd Lowe), a sweet and slightly clumsy rocker. At the beginning of the seventh season, Lane discovers that she is unexpectedly pregnant and gives birth to twin boys (Kwan and Steve) later in the season. In the seventh season, Paris is accepted into Harvard Medical School (Harvard is the school she has wanted to go to for years, as her family are all alumni, but was not accepted for the Bachelor program during the third season). In season four, Doyle McMaster (Danny Strong) storms onto the show as the Yale Daily News editor. He and Paris start dating in the fifth season, after Paris’s relationship with a much older Professor Asher Fleming (Michael York) ends with his sudden death.
- Directors: Marc Abraham
- Producers: Roger Birnbaum, Gary Barber, Michael Lieber, Thomas Bliss
- Writers: Philip Railsback
- Genres: Drama
- Actors: Greg Kinnear, Lauren Graham, Dermot Mulroney
Robert Kearns takes on the Detroit automakers, namely the Ford Motor Company, whom he accuses of stealing his idea for the intermittent windshield wiper.
- Directors: Tom Shadyac
- Producers: Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum, Michael Bostick, Neal H Moritz, Tom Shadyac
- Writers: Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow, Steve Oedekerk, Steve Koren, Mark O Keefe
- Genres: Comedy, Fantasy
- Actors: Steve Carell, Morgan Freeman, Lauren Graham, John Goodman, Wanda Sykes, Molly Shannon, Graham Phillips
Newly elected to Congress, former local television newsman Evan Baxter (Steve Carell) leaves Buffalo and shepherds his family to suburban northern Virginia, where his congressional campaign declares that he will change the world without explaining how he will do so. On his first job, he meets Marty (John Michael Higgins), Rita Daniels (Wanda Sykes), and top congressman Chuck Long (John Goodman). Soon after his arrival, strange things start to happen: animals follow Evan without any apparent reason; he grows a beard that is restored wholly every time he shaves; eight vacant lots in Evan’s neighborhood are purchased in his name; ancient tools and wood are sent to his house; and the number “614” appears everywhere he goes.
Evan soon learns that the number indicates a verse in the book of Genesis, in which God instructs Noah to build an ark. Later, God (Morgan Freeman) appears and commands Evan to build a replica of Noah’s Ark in preparation for a deluge. His family initially believes that he is having an extraordinary mid-life crisis; later, his sons suspect that something greater is occurring and assist him in the construction of the ark, although his wife Joan (Lauren Graham) does not. Reappearing, God tells Evan the flood will come at noon on September 22.
On September 22, Evan loads hundreds of animals onto the newly finished ark in front of live news crews and nearby citizens. Minutes pass wherein is no sign of rain, provoking the spectators’ scorn. When a rainstorm is briefly present, Evan takes this as a sign of the coming deluge, but is proved wrong. Joan tells Evan to leave the Ark; Evan, however, remembers Congressman Long’s dam, which he fears may burst. As he thinks on this, the dam does burst, flooding the streets. At this, all spectators and policeman board the ark, which sails down the streets of Washington D.C. on the floodwaters of the lake until it eventually lands touching the front of the Capitol. Evan then tells Long that the flood was caused by his poor design of the dam, which incites the other congressmen present to turn against Long. As investigations on Chuck Long are occurring, Evan and his family later go on a hiking trip, during which God reappears to Evan, telling him that the way to change the world is by doing one Act of Random Kindness (“ARK”) at a time.