A Perfect World

  • Directors: Clint Eastwood
  • Producers: Mark Johnson, David Valdes
  • Writers: John Lee Hancock
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Kevin Costner, Clint Eastwood, Laura Dern

The film is set in Texas in the fall of 1963. Robert “Butch” Haynes (Kevin Costner) and Terry Pugh (Keith Szarabajka) are convicts who have just escaped from a Huntsville prison. Fleeing from the clutches of the law, the pair stumble into the kitchen of a house where eight-year old Phillip Perry (T. J. Lowther) lives with his devout Jehovah’s Witness mother and two sisters. Needing a hostage to aid their escape, Butch grabs the boy, who meekly accompanies them. The trio’s journey starts off on an unpleasant note as Butch is forced to shoot his fellow escapee with a stolen revolver, following the latter’s attempts at molesting the child. With his partner out of the way, the convict and his young victim take to the Texas highway in a bid to flee from the pursuing police.

Meanwhile, Texas Ranger Red Garnett (Clint Eastwood), riding in the Governor’s sleek airstream trailer, is in hot pursuit of the duo. With criminologist Sally Gerber (Laura Dern) and trigger-happy FBI sharpshooter Bobby Lee (Bradley Whitford) in tow, Ranger Garnett is determined to recover the criminal and the hostage before they cross the Texas border. The plot thus alternates between a manhunt unfolding on one level, and on the other, the blossoming of a tender bond between the convict and his “prisoner.”

The fact that Garnett is a disappointed man at the end (despite the fact that his mission of recovering the hostage has been a success) is indicative of the fact that he perhaps knew, from previous encounters with Butch Haynes, that he was essentially a good man at heart, driven by circumstances to become the cold-blooded killer he was perceived as.

The Notebook

  • Directors: Nick Cassavetes
  • Producers: Toby Emmerich, Mark Johnson
  • Writers: Novel, Nicholas Sparks, Adaptation, Jan Sardi, Screenplay, Jeremy Leven
  • Genres: Drama, Romance
  • Actors: James Garner, Gena Rowlands, Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams

In a modern-day nursing home, an elderly man named Duke (James Garner) begins to read a love story from his notebook to a female fellow patient (Gena Rowlands).

The story begins in 1940. At a carnival in Seabrook Island, South Carolina, local country boy Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling) sees seventeen-year-old heiress Allie Hamilton (Rachel McAdams) for the first time and is immediately smitten. She continuously refuses his persistent advances until their well-meaning friends lure them together; they then get to know each other on a midnight walk through empty Seabrook.

Noah and Allie spend an idyllic summer together. One night, a week before Allie is to leave town, she and Noah go up to an abandoned house called the Windsor Plantation. Noah tells her that he hopes to buy the house, and Allie makes him promise that the house will be white, with blue shutters, a wrap-around porch, and a room that overlooks the creek so she can paint. They intend to make love for the first time, but Allie, who is nervous, keeps interrupting and asks Noah to talk her through it. They are then interrupted by Noah’s friend Fin (Kevin Connolly) with the news that Allie’s parents have the police out looking for her. When Allie returns home, her disapproving mother forbids her from seeing Noah again, calling him “trash” and saying he is not right for her because he is poor. Outside, Allie fights with Noah, who believes they are right and that he is not good enough for her, and the two decide to break up. Allie immediately regrets the decision but Noah drives away. The next morning, Allie’s mother reveals that they are going home right away. Allie frantically tries to find Noah, but when she goes to the lumber yard Fin tells her he is out making a delivery. She begs Fin to tell Noah that she loves him and is sorry for everything, and Fin, who stayed up all nigth with the miserable Noah, reluctantly agrees. Therefore, Allie is forced to leave without saying good-bye. Noah, devastated by his separation from Allie, writes her one letter a day for a year, only to get no reply as Allie’s mother keeps the letters from her. Noah and Allie have no choice but to move on with their lives. Allie continues to attend Sarah Lawrence College, while Noah and Fin enlist to fight in World War II. Fin is killed in battle.

Duke’s elderly companion suddenly realizes that she herself is Allie. She remembers her past. She and Noah/Duke joyfully spend a brief intimate moment together; after originally finding out about her impending illness, she had herself written their story in the notebook with the instructions for Noah to “Read this to me, and I’ll come back to you.” But soon Allie relapses, losing her memories of Noah yet again. She panics, and has to be sedated by the attending physician. This proves to be too difficult for Noah to watch and he breaks down. The next morning, Noah is found unconscious in bed and he is rushed to the hospital; he later returns to the nursing home’s intensive care ward. He goes to Allie’s room later that night, and Allie remembers again. She asks him if he thinks their love can make miracles, and he says that miracles are what bring her back to him every time. She then asks him if he thinks their love can take them away together, and he replies, “I think our love can do anything we want it to.” The next morning, a nurse finds them in bed together, having both died in their sleep, holding each other’s hands.

The Natural

  • Directors: Barry Levinson
  • Producers: Mark Johnson
  • Writers: Roger Towne and Phil Dusenberry
  • Genres: Drama, Sport
  • Actors: Robert Redford, Robert Duvall, Glenn Close, Kim Basinger, Barbara Hershey, Darren McGavin, Wilford Brimley, Richard Farnsworth

The beginning of the movie introduces Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) as a child, playing baseball with his father. Mr. Hobbs dies suddenly while Roy is still young, collapsing under a tree. That tree is split in half by lightning, and young Roy carves a baseball bat from it, on which he burns the image of a lightning bolt and the label ‘Wonderboy’.

At age 19, Hobbs is recruited by the Chicago Cubs in 1923. On the train to the tryouts, he wins a wager to strike out “The Whammer” (Joe Don Baker), the top hitter in the major leagues. Back on the train, the naive Hobbs is seduced by Harriet Bird (Barbara Hershey), an alluring but sinister woman, who gravitates to him after judging that he, rather than The Whammer, is now the best baseball player in the world. Bird lures young Hobbs to a hotel room and shoots him.

The story skips forward 16 years, to 1939. A fictitious team called the New York Knights has signed the now 35-year-old Hobbs to a contract, to the ire of the team’s gruff manager and co-owner, Pop Fisher (Wilford Brimley). For a time Pop does not allow him to play, but after impressing in batting practice, Hobbs literally knocks the cover off the ball in his first major league game. Hobbs rises to stardom and reverses the Knights’ fortunes.

Roy comes to bat in the bottom of the ninth with, a chance to win the game. Lightning flashes as Hobbs hits a long drive that twists foul, and sees that Wonderboy, his “magical” bat, has shattered. The young bat boy brings Hobbs a bat that they made together. Hobbs hits a towering shot, a pennant-winning home run, which soars into the stadium’s lights and starts a chain reaction of sparks that rain down onto the field. The Knights won the pennant. The final scene shows Hobbs playing catch with his son in a sun-dappled wheat field, with Iris proudly standing by.

Good Morning Vietnam

  • Directors: Barry Levinson
  • Producers: Larry Brezner, Mark Johnson
  • Writers: Mitch Markowitz
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, War
  • Actors: Robin Williams, Forest Whitaker, Bruno Kirby, J T Walsh

In 1965, United States Air Force Airman Adrian Cronauer (Robin Williams) arrives in Saigon from Crete to work as a DJ for the Armed Forces Radio Service. His first contact is with Private First Class Edward Garlick (Forest Whitaker), whom he persuades to help chase down a couple of pretty local girls before taking him to the radio station.

Cronauer’s irreverence contrasts sharply with the rest of the staff and soon rouses the ire of two of his superiors, Lieutenant Steven Hauk (Bruno Kirby) and Sergeant Major Dickerson (J. T. Walsh). Hauk adheres to strict Army guidelines in terms of humor and music programming, while Dickerson is annoyed by Cronauer’s behavior in general. However, General Taylor (Noble Willingham) and the other DJs quickly grow to like the new man and his brand of comedy – which begins as soon as he first goes on the air with a yell of “Go-o-o-o-o-o-o-d morning, Vietnam!”

Cronauer’s show consists of unpredictable humor segments mixed with news updates (vetted by the station censors, which at one point causes Cronauer to dryly comment ‘Ooh, censor, censor, censor — join the army and mark things!’) and rock and roll records that are frowned upon by his superiors. Hauk finds nothing funny about any of it and tries, without success, to get him to change his approach.

The next day, on his way to the airport, he sets up a quick softball game with the students from his English class. Trinh thanks him for warning her about the danger her brother was in. As he boards the plane, he gives Garlick a taped farewell message; Garlick – taking Cronauer’s place as DJ – plays the tape on the air the next morning. It begins with a yell of “Go-o-o-o-o-o-o-dbye, Vietnam!” and runs through a few of Cronauer’s impressions before ending with his wish that everyone will get home safely.

The Chronicles of Narnia Prince Caspian

  • Directors: Andrew Adamson
  • Producers: Andrew Adamson, Cary Granat, Mark Johnson, Perry Moore, Douglas Gresham, Philip Steuer
  • Writers: Novel, C S Lewis, Screenplay, Andrew Adamson, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Family, Fantasy
  • Actors: Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Sergio Castellitto, Eddie Izzard, Peter Dinklage, Liam Neeson

1,300 years after the Pevensie siblings leave Narnia, a Telmarine prince, Caspian, is awakened by his mentor Doctor Cornelius, informing him that his aunt has just given birth to a son and that his life is now in grave danger. Cornelius gives him Queen Susan’s ancient magical horn, instructing him to blow it if he needs help. Knowing that his uncle Miraz would kill him to steal the kingship, Caspian flees. Pursued into the woods, Caspian falls off his horse and is rescued by two Narnian dwarfs, Trumpkin and Nikabrik, and a talking badger named Trufflehunter. While Trumpkin acts as a decoy, Nikabrik saves Caspian from capture. Confused, Caspian blows the magical horn to summon help.

In England, one year has passed since the Pevensie children returned from Narnia. As their train to boarding school pulls in, the station collapses and the Pevensies are transported to Narnia. They discover the ruins of their castle, Cair Paravel, and realize it was attacked in their absence.

In the Telmarine castle, the lords of the council find out that Prince Caspian is gone. Lord Sopespian blames Miraz, but Miraz blames the Narnians and tell the lords to fight them to get Caspian back, though Miraz actually wants to kill Caspian.

Before the Pevensies depart Narnia, Peter and Susan declare that Aslan has told them they will never return to Narnia. Aslan explains that Susan and Peter have gained everything they could from their experiences in Narnia and are no longer needed there. Susan and Caspian share a kiss, knowing they will never meet again. The Pevensies then go back to England, leaving Caspian as King of Narnia.

Rain Man

  • Directors: Barry Levinson
  • Producers: Peter Guber, Jon Peters, David McGiffert, Mark Johnson, Gerald R Molen
  • Writers: Screenplay, Barry Morrow, Ronald Bass, Story, Barry Morrow
  • Genres: Drama
  • Actors: Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Valeria Golino

Charlie Babbitt (Cruise), a Los Angeles car dealer in his mid-twenties, is in the middle of importing four grey market Lamborghinis. The deal is being threatened by the EPA, and if Charlie cannot meet its requirements he will lose a significant amount of money. After some quick subterfuge with an employee, Charlie leaves for a weekend trip to Palm Springs with his girlfriend, Susanna.

Charlie’s trip is cancelled by news that his estranged father, Sanford Babbitt, has died. Charlie travels to Cincinnati, Ohio, to settle the estate, where he learns an undisclosed trustee is inheriting $3 million on behalf of an unnamed beneficiary, while he is to receive a classic Buick Roadmaster convertible and several prize rose bushes. Eventually he learns the money is being directed to a mental institution, and he discovers that it is the home of his autistic brother, Raymond (Hoffman).

Raymond is an autistic savant, with superb recall but little understanding of subject matter. He is frightened by change and adheres to strict routines (for example, his continual repetition of the “Who’s on First?” sketch). Except when he is in distress, he shows little emotional expression and avoids eye contact.

Numbed by learning that he has a brother and determined to get what he believes is his fair share of the Babbitt estate, Charlie takes Raymond on what becomes a cross-country trip back to Los Angeles to meet with his attorneys. He intends to start a custody battle in order to get Raymond’s doctor, Dr. Bruner (Molen), to settle out of court for half of Sanford Babbitt’s estate so that they can maintain custody of Raymond.

Eventually, Raymond is allowed to go back home to Cincinnati. Charlie, who has gained a new brother and mellowed considerably, tells him he’ll visit.

The Chronicles of Narnia The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe

  • Directors: Andrew Adamson
  • Producers: Mark Johnson, Perry Moore, Philip Steuer, Douglas Gresham
  • Writers: Novel, C S Lewis, Screenplay, Ann Peacock, Andrew Adamson, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
  • Genres: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
  • Actors: Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Tilda Swinton, James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent, Ray Winstone, Dawn French, Rupert Everett, Liam Neeson

The film begins with the 1940 bombing of Finchley, London, during the Blitz. The Pevensie children, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy, are in direct danger from the falling bombs – a scene which did not appear in the original C.S. Lewis book and which at the very start introduces the underlying tension and jealousy between Edmund and his siblings which would have a major role in the later plot.

Subsequently, the children are – as in the book – evacuated to the country home of Professor Kirke. One day while they are playing hide and seek, Lucy discovers a wardrobe and enters a wintery fantasy world called Narnia. She spends a few hours in the home of the faun, Mr. Tumnus, who explains that the White Witch cursed Narnia, and it has been winter for one hundred years. In accordance with her orders, if a human is ever encountered, a Narnian must bring them to her. However, Tumnus likes Lucy and can’t bring himself to kidnap her so he sends her home. When she returns, hardly any time has passed in the normal world, and when the other children check the Wardrobe, all they see is a normal wooden back – the portal is gone.

The Pevensies become Kings and Queens and stay in Narnia until they are older. When chasing a white stag to receive wishes, they find the lamppost and the wardrobe and go back to England, where they magically appear as children again. The Professor then tosses them the ball used to break the window and instructs them to tell him the story. Later, Lucy attempts to go back to Narnia, but the Professor tells her he has been trying for years, and they will probably get back to Narnia when least expected.