Get Low

  • Directors: Aaron Schneider
  • Producers: Richard D Zanuck, David Gundlach
  • Writers: Screenplay, Chris Provenzano, C Gaby Mitchell, Story, Chris Provenzano, Scott Seeke
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Romance, Thriller
  • Actors: Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Bill Murray, Lucas Black, Scott Cooper

No one really understands Felix Bush (Robert Duvall), who lives as a hermit deep in the woods. Rumors surround him, like how he might have killed in cold blood, and that he’s in league with the devil. So the town is surprised when Felix shows up in town, demanding a “living funeral” for himself. Frank Quinn (Bill Murray), the owner of the Funeral Parlor, sees an oppurtunity for some money, and agrees to let the townsfolk tell Felix Bush the stories they’ve heard about him. Things get messy when an old mystery is brought back by Quinn’s protege Buddy Robinson (Lucas Black), involving a local widow named Mattie Darrow (Sissy Spacek). When Felix’s funeral rolls around, however, he’ll tell the townsfolk exactly why he’s been alone in the woods for so many years.

Friday Night Lights

  • Directors: Peter Berg
  • Producers: Brian Grazer
  • Writers: H G Bissinger, Peter Berg, David Aaron Cohen
  • Genres: Action, Drama, Sport
  • Actors: Billy Bob Thornton, Lucas Black, Garrett Hedlund, Derek Luke, Jay Hernandez, Tim McGraw

Bissinger followed the team for the entire 1988 season, which culminated in a loss in the State semi-finals against Carter High School from Dallas, who eventually went on to win the championship game but would have their title stripped for playing an ineligible player. However, the book also deals with — or alludes to — a number of secondary political and social issues existing in Odessa, all of which share ties to the Permian Panthers football team. These include socioeconomic disparity; racism; segregation (and desegregation); and poverty.

The coach, Gary Gaines (Billy Bob Thornton), is constantly on the hot seat. Tied into the successes and failure of the coach and the team in general are the conflicts the players struggle with on and off the gridiron. The coach overuses his star player, running back James “Boobie” Miles (Derek Luke), who gets seriously injured (Miles tore his ACL, missed the playoffs, and had a limp for the rest of his life). When this happens, sports radios are flooded with calls for his resignation. Miles’ once-arrogant attitude vanishes as he sees his once promising chance of playing big-time college football disappear and starts to question his future after he notices his not-so promising academic standing. Quarterback Mike Winchell (Lucas Black) struggles with being able to play consistently, and his inability to make decisions for himself. Fullback Don Billingsley (Garrett Hedlund) has a rocky relationship with his father (Tim McGraw), who won a state championship at Permian and carries on a feud with his son for not performing on the level he’d like to see, despite the fact that Don doesn’t do anything to light his father’s temper. Third-string running back Chris Comer (Lee Thompson Young), who takes the spot of Miles after his injury, attempts to get rid of his fear of being hit and getting injured, especially when the player who last occupied his spot suffered a season ending injury. His obsession with fame and recognition also comes at a high price that he is at first not ready to play. Safety Brian Chavez (Jay Hernandez) is easily the smartest player on the team, and the most confident in his future after high school football. One of the themes of the movie depicts the coach as a father-type figure for the players.

Coach Gaines triumphs and struggles with winning football games and connecting with his players a number of times during their tremulous season. His job depends on the Panthers making the playoffs, and his team is in a three-way tie with two other teams at the end of the regular season. Under Texas rules for ties, the tiebreaker is a coin-toss. In an effort to prevent a riot, the location of the coin-toss is kept under wraps. Permian gets a spot. They make it to the finals, where they narrowly lose to a powerhouse Dallas high school team.The movie ends with the coach removing the departing seniors from the depth chart on his wall. Notably, the depth chart has “Case” at quarterback. This refers to Permian’s real-life backup quarterback in 1988, Stoney Case, who would go on to lead Permian, along with Chris Comer, to the 5A state title the following year, and still later made it to the NFL. The final scene consists of Winchell throwing a football to a bunch of pee-wees playing pick-up football before leaving with Billingsley and Chavez.

Legion

  • Directors: Scott Stewart
  • Producers: David Lancaster, Michel Litvak
  • Writers: Scott Stewart, Peter Schink
  • Genres: Action, Horror, Thriller
  • Actors: Paul Bettany, Dennis Quaid, Tyrese Gibson, Charles S Dutton, Lucas Black

After God loses faith in humanity, the archangel Michael (Paul Bettany) is the only one standing between mankind and the apocalypse. This time using angels as the act of Biblical judgment, God’s wrath descends on Earth to exterminate the world’s population. In a desperate, last-chance gambit, Michael leads a group of strangers to a small, New Mexico diner to protect a young waitress who may be pregnant with Christ in his second coming.[1]

Jarhead

  • Directors: Sam Mendes
  • Producers: Douglas Wick, Lucy Fisher
  • Writers: Timothy Lam, Anthony Swofford
  • Genres: Biography, Drama, War
  • Actors: Jake Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Lucas Black, Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper

The film begins with voice-over narration on a black screen, as Anthony Swofford (Jake Gyllenhaal), waxes philosophically about a soldier whose hands forever remember the grip of a rifle, whatever else they do in life. Swofford is then shown in a U.S. Marine Corps boot camp, being brutalized by a drill instructor in a scene reminiscent of Full Metal Jacket. After finishing boot, “Swoff” is dispatched to Camp Pendleton in 1989, where he is subjected to a cruel joke played on him by the senior Marines. This involves branding onto him the initials of the United States Marine Corps, USMC, with a hot iron. This is a popular tattoo amongst Marines. He faints upon sight of the iron. After regaining consciousness, he is greeted coolly by Troy (Peter Sarsgaard), who says to him, “Welcome to the Suck.”

Swofford comes across the charismatic Staff Sergeant Sykes (Jamie Foxx), a Marine “lifer” who invites Swofford to his Scout Sniper (formally the Surveillance and Target Acquisition) course. After arduous training sessions that claim the life of one recruit, he becomes a sniper and is paired with Troy as his spotter. Shortly after, Kuwait is invaded by Iraq and Swofford’s unit is dispatched to the Persian Gulf as a part of Operation Desert Shield. Although the Marines are very eager to see some combat action, they are forced to hydrate, wait, patrol the nearby area and orient themselves to the arid environment. When some field reporters appear, Sykes forces his unit to demonstrate their NBC suits in a game of American football, even under the 112 degree heat. While the cameras roll, the game develops into a rowdy dogpile, with some Marines playfully miming sex acts. Sykes, embarrassed by his platoon’s rude manners and poor discipline, removes the cameras and crew from the area; the Marines are later punished by being forced to build and take down a massive pyramid of sandbags in a rainy night.

On returning home the troops parade through the towns in a jovial celebration of victory. The mood is disturbed when a disheveled Vietnam veteran, possibly suffering from the memories of the conflict, jumps into their bus, and congratulates them all. Soon after their return home, Swofford and his comrades are discharged and go on with their separate lives. Swofford returns home to his girlfriend, but discovers her with a new boyfriend. Fowler (Evan Jones) is seen to be spending time with a girl at a bar, very likely[citation needed] a prostitute, Kruger (Lucas Black) is seen in a corporate boardroom, Escobar (Laz Alonso) as a supermarket employee, Cortez (Jacob Vargas) as a father of three kids, and Sykes continuing his service as a Master Sergeant in Operation Iraqi Freedom. An unspecified amount of time later, Swofford learns of Troy’s death during a surprise visit from Fergus. He attends the funeral, meets some of his old friends, and afterwards he reminisces about the effects of the war.

Sling Blade

  • Directors: Billy Bob Thornton
  • Producers: Larry Meistrich, David L Bushell, Brandon Rosser
  • Writers: Billy Bob Thornton
  • Genres: Drama
  • Actors: Billy Bob Thornton, Dwight Yoakam, J T Walsh, John Ritter, Lucas Black, Natalie Canerday

Karl Childers (Thornton) is a mentally challenged man who has been in the custody of the state mental hospital since the age of 12, having killed his mother and her lover.

Although thoroughly “institutionalized”, Karl is deemed fit to be released into a world “too big” for him. Prior to his release, he is interviewed by a local school newspaper reporter to whom he recalls in detail the brutal murder of his mother and her lover with a kaiser blade (noting “some folks call it a sling blade”). Karl claims to have killed the boy for supposedly raping his mother. When he found out his mother was a willing participant, he killed her too.

Having a knack for small engine repair, Karl eventually gets a job at a local lawnmower repair shop. Not long after, he befriends Frank (Lucas Black). Karl shares with Frank some of the details of his past, including the killings. Frank reveals that his father was killed, leaving him & his mother on their own (he later admits that he lied, and that his father committed suicide). Frank introduces Karl to his mother Linda (Natalie Canerday), as well as her gay friend Vaughan (John Ritter). Despite Vaughan’s concerns, Linda allows Karl to move into her garage. This does not sit well with Linda’s abusive boyfriend Doyle (Dwight Yoakam).

Doyle becomes increasingly abusive with Karl and Frank, leading to a drunken outburst and physical confrontation with Frank. Though Linda initially kicks Doyle out of the house, she later reconciles with him. After Doyle confronts Karl and Frank again, Karl begins to realize that he is the only one who can bring about a change and spare Frank and his mother a grim fate. In premeditated fashion, Karl tells Frank to spend that night at Vaughan’s, and asks Vaughan to pick up Linda. Later that evening, Karl returns to Linda’s house. After asking Doyle how to reach the police, he promptly kills him with a lawnmower blade, turns himself in, and is placed back in the state mental hospital.

The Fast and the Furious Tokyo Drift

  • Directors: Justin Lin
  • Producers: Neal H Moritz
  • Writers: Chris Morgan
  • Genres: Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Lucas Black, Bow Wow, Sung Kang, Sonny Chiba, Brian Tee, Nathalie Kelley

Sean Boswell (Lucas Black), a young Texan with a talent for auto mechanics, has led a life of getting into trouble. His monoparental mother has had to relocate to different cities with him every time his problems at school or with the local authorities escalated enough. One day, he gets into a street race against the school quarterback. Both end up at the police station, injured. The incident almost lands Sean in jail, and his mother, deciding not to deal with moving again, sends him to Tokyo to live with his father, stationed in Japan as a U.S. Naval officer. At private school in Tokyo, Sean meets Twinkie (Bow Wow), a fellow American, who hustles pre-owned goods to their Japanese classmates. Twinkie introduces Sean to the world of drift racing.

Sean soon runs into Takashi (Brian Tee), also known as DK (short for Drift King), and his close friend Han (Sung Kang), who was born and raised in America. Sean is seen by Takashi talking to Neela (Nathalie Kelley), Takashi’s girlfriend, and when Takashi tells him to back down, Sean challenges him to a race using Han’s car. Takashi wins, and Han’s car is ruined, so Han tells Sean that he must work for him to repay the car. Sean soon learns that Han is involved in a business partnership with Takashi.

Later, Sean is the new Drift King and is hanging out in the underground parking lot from earlier in the film with his girlfriend Neela. Twinkie comes up to Sean, saying someone wants to challenge him, which Sean accepts only after finding out the challenger knew Han. The mystery car driver who pulls up is none other than Dominic Toretto (portrayed by Vin Diesel, from the first The Fast and the Furious movie). Toretto and Sean hold a brief conversation, with Toretto saying that Han once rode with him. Neela counts off the race, the cars take off, and the movie ends without disclosing the race results.

Sling Blade

  • Directors: Billy Bob Thornton
  • Producers: Larry Meistrich, David L Bushell, Brandon Rosser
  • Writers: Billy Bob Thornton
  • Genres: Drama
  • Actors: Billy Bob Thornton, Dwight Yoakam, J T Walsh, John Ritter, Lucas Black, Natalie Canerday

Karl Childers (Thornton) is a mentally challenged man who has been in the custody of the state mental hospital since the age of 12, having killed his mother and her lover.

Although thoroughly “institutionalized”, Karl is deemed fit to be released into a world “too big” for him. Prior to his release, he is interviewed by a local school newspaper reporter to whom he recalls in detail the brutal murder of his mother and her lover with a kaiser blade (noting “some folks call it a sling blade”). Karl claims to have killed the boy for supposedly raping his mother. When he found out his mother was a willing participant, he killed her too.

Having a knack for small engine repair, Karl eventually gets a job at a local lawnmower repair shop. Not long after, he befriends Frank (Lucas Black). Karl shares with Frank some of the details of his past, including the killings. Frank reveals that his father was killed, leaving him & his mother on their own (he later admits that he lied, and that his father committed suicide). Frank introduces Karl to his mother Linda (Natalie Canerday), as well as her gay friend Vaughan (John Ritter). Despite Vaughan’s concerns, Linda allows Karl to move into her garage. This does not sit well with Linda’s abusive boyfriend Doyle (Dwight Yoakam).

Doyle becomes increasingly abusive with Karl and Frank, leading to a drunken outburst and physical confrontation with Frank. Though Linda initially kicks Doyle out of the house, she later reconciles with him. After Doyle confronts Karl and Frank again, Karl begins to realize that he is the only one who can bring about a change and spare Frank and his mother a grim fate. In premeditated fashion, Karl tells Frank to spend that night at Vaughan’s, and asks Vaughan to pick up Linda. Later that evening, Karl returns to Linda’s house. After asking Doyle how to reach the police, he promptly kills him with a lawnmower blade, turns himself in, and is placed back in the state mental hospital.