Youth in Revolt

  • Directors: Miguel Arteta
  • Producers: David Permut
  • Writers: C D Payne, Gustin Nash
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Michael Cera, Portia Doubleday, Jean Smart, Mary Kay Place, M Emmet Walsh, Zach Galifianakis, with Justin Long, special appearance by Fred Willard, and Ray Liotta, and Steve Buscemi

Nick Twisp (Michael Cera) is a cynical sex-obsessed 16-year-old who, while on vacation in a trailer park, meets Sheeni Saunders (Portia Doubleday), an intellectual. The only things really standing in his way are Sheeni’s poetry-writing ex-boyfriend Trent (Jonathan B. Wright), Nick’s temperamental divorced parents (Steve Buscemi and Jean Smart), and Nick’s mom’s boyfriends (Zach Galifianakis and Ray Liotta). When Nick realizes she is not interested, he comes up with an alter-ego, named Francois, who resembles Nick, but has blue eyes, a mustache, a deeper voice, and a player/bad boy attitude to help him with his pursuit of Sheeni. But when Francois ends up making Nick a wanted criminal, everything spins out of control.

Wild Wild West

  • Directors: Barry Sonnenfeld
  • Producers: Jon Peters, Barry Sonnenfeld
  • Writers: Story, Jim Thomas, John Thomas, Screenplay, S S Wilson, Brent Maddock, Jeffrey Price, Peter S Seaman
  • Genres: Action, Western, Comedy, Sci-Fi
  • Actors: Will Smith, Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh, Salma Hayek, M Emmet Walsh, Ted Levine, Musetta Vander, Bai Ling

The film is set in 1869 during the Reconstruction Era and presidency of Ulysses S. Grant. The film opens in a Louisiana forest, where a man, later revealed to be Thaddeus J. Morton, is running away from a lethal flying disk. Morton keeps running until it catches him and decapitates him. Soon after, a man stands over his head with the disk, says, “And they say you scientists are supposed to be smart” and takes the disk out of the ground.

After the opening credits, viewer go to a railroad water station in Morgan, West Virginia. Trigger-happy Captain James West (Will Smith), one of the main protagonists, is hiding in the water tower, spying on the actions of a group of ex-Confederate soldiers working under General “Bloodbath” McGrath, a personal rival of West’s. Following a runaway ride on a wagon filled with bottles of nitroglycerin, West arrives at a saloon where General McGrath (Ted Levine) and his rag-tag band of rebel soldiers are enjoying a raucous party. McGrath, whose head is fitted with a small swiveling trumpet to replace a missing ear, is seduced by an unlikely prostitute who, having seen McGrath’s men carrying a man out of the building, attempts to hypnotize the general and learn his plans for the kidnapped man.

After the second ceremony at Promontory, Grant promotes Gordon and West to the first two agents of his newly-formed U.S. Secret Service, then leaves aboard The Wanderer. Gordon and West meet Rita again, both of them planning to propose marriage to her, but she crushes both their hopes by announcing that Professor Guillermo Escobar (another character) was, in fact, her husband and not her father, leaving Gordon and West stuck with one another. The film ends with a typically clichéd scene of Western films; it shows Gordon and West seemingly riding through a typical Western landscape on horseback, but the camera pulls back to reveal that they are actually piloting the immense steam-spider into the sunset.

Blade Runner

  • Directors: Ridley Scott
  • Producers: Michael Deeley
  • Writers: Novel, Philip K Dick, Screenplay, Hampton Fancher, David Peoples
  • Genres: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, M Emmet Walsh, Daryl Hannah

Advances in genetic technology have allowed scientists to create sophisticated biologically-engineered humanoid beings called “replicants”. Following a violent revolt that takes place “off world,” replicants are declared illegal on Earth.

In Los Angeles, November 2019, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is called out of retirement when a fellow Blade Runner, Holden (Morgan Paull) is shot administering a Voight-Kampff test to Leon (Brion James), an escaped replicant. A reluctant Deckard is brought to his old boss Bryant (M. Emmet Walsh), who informs him that the recent escape of Nexus-6 replicants is the worst yet. He orders Deckard to eliminate the four replicants, a process referred to as “retirement”. Deckard agrees to help after Bryant makes thinly-veiled threats – if Deckard is not a cop, then he is ‘little people’.

Bryant briefs Deckard on the replicants: Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer), the leader, is a “combat model”; Leon Kowalski (Brion James) is a nuclear fuel loader; Zhora (Joanna Cassidy) is an assassin built for martial arts; and Pris (Daryl Hannah) is a “basic pleasure model”. Bryant also explains that the Nexus-6 model has a four-year lifespan as a failsafe to prevent them from developing emotions and desire for independence. Deckard is then teamed with Gaff (Edward James Olmos) and sent to the Tyrell Corporation to ensure that the Voight-Kampff test works on Nexus-6 models. While there, Deckard discovers that Tyrell’s (Joe Turkel) young assistant Rachael (Sean Young) is an experimental replicant who believes she is a human; Rachael’s consciousness has been enhanced with implanted memories from Tyrell’s niece, an accomplishment with which Tyrell seems most pleased.

The producers of the film arranged for a screening of some special effects rough cuts for Philip K. Dick shortly before he died in early 1982. Despite his well known skepticism of Hollywood in principle, he became quite enthusiastic about the film. He said, “I saw a segment of Douglas Trumbull’s special effects for Blade Runner on the KNBC-TV news. I recognized it immediately. It was my own interior world. They caught it perfectly.” He also approved of the film’s script, saying, “After I finished reading the screenplay, I got the novel out and looked through it. The two reinforce each other, so that someone who started with the novel would enjoy the movie and someone who started with the movie would enjoy the novel.”[11]