Phoebe in Wonderland

  • Directors: Daniel Barnz
  • Producers:
  • Writers: Daniel Barnz
  • Genres: Drama, Family, Fantasy
  • Actors: Elle Fanning, Felicity Huffman, Patricia Clarkson, Bill Pullman, Campbell Scott, Peter Gerety

The movie tells a story of a 9 year old girl, Phoebe (Elle Fanning), with apparent Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.[2] While she deals with being odd and insecure, her mother (Felicity Huffman) and father (Bill Pullman) are dealing with complexities in their relationship with each other and their challenging child. Her little sister (Bailee Madison) feels neglected as Phoebe gains more attention.

Phoebe seeks a role in her school’s play, Alice In Wonderland, directed by her school’s off-beat drama teacher, Miss Dodger (Patricia Clarkson). Phoebe flourishes on stage, relaxing and feeling normal, but her impulsive speech and behavior persist off stage. Her parents hire a therapist for her, but after he proposes medication, Phoebe’s mother fires him. She does not want to accept that there is anything wrong with Phoebe; when the principal questions if Phoebe behaves oddly outside of the classroom, her mother denies it even though she has many times witnessed her daughter’s self-destructive rituals at home. When Phoebe is taken out of the play due to her classroom behavior, her dreams are shattered. Her mother, desperate to help her daughter feel normal, works with the drama teacher to bring Phoebe back on stage.

Although Phoebe is put back into the play, her challenges continue as she is driven to behavior she doesn’t understand. She hurts herself jumping off the catwalk onto the stage, and the drama teacher is fired. Phoebe’s fellow-actors descend into chaos, but Phoebe alone clings to a sense of purpose. She urges her classmates to continue their rehearsals on their own, and they do. Her mother, who has resisted efforts to label Phoebe, tells Phoebe that she has Tourette’s syndrome, and Phoebe helps her classmates understand her by explaining the condition to them.

Whatever Works

  • Directors: Woody Allen
  • Producers: Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum
  • Writers: Woody Allen
  • Genres: Comedy, Romance
  • Actors: Larry David, Evan Rachel Wood, Henry Cavill, Patricia Clarkson, Ed Begley Jr, Michael McKean

Boris Yelnikoff (Larry David), an eccentric, misanthropic University of Chicago graduate and chess teacher, rants with his friends about politics and anthropology. He breaks the fourth wall and monologues to the audience explaining his life in recent years: A few years ago, he wakes up in the middle of the night with a panic attack and jumps out the window, but lands on a canopy and survives with only a marked limp. He soon divorces his wife and virtually secludes himself from the world, criticizing everyone he meets for not having his level of intellect.

Years pass and Boris comes home one night to find Melodie, a simple-minded 21-year-old woman, (Evan Rachel Wood) lying on his doorstep. He reluctantly lets her in for a meal and soon she tells him her story that she ran away from her conservative Christian family in Mississippi. As she attempts to get to know him, he retaliates with sarcasm and insults. She asks if she can stay the night, which Boris eventually allows. For some time, and despite his friends’ skepticism, Boris allows Melodie to stay with him until she can find a job and support herself. Boris and Melodie soon go to various landmarks of New York City, and Melodie continues to harbor a primarily optimistic view of things, in contrast to Boris’ pessimism. Melodie develops a crush on Boris based on his mentality and intellectual strength despite their 40 year age difference and their varying cultures and intelligence.

Finally, Boris hosts a New Year’s Eve party, at which everyone is seen in their new relationships: Marietta with Kevin and Morgenstern, John with Howard, Melodie with Randy, and finally Boris with Helena. They all kiss and Boris tells the audience that you just have to find all the enjoyment that you can get out because you have to find “whatever works.”

Jumanji

  • Directors: Joe Johnston
  • Producers: Robert W Cort, Ted Field, Larry J Franco
  • Writers: Chris Van Allsburg, Greg Taylor, Jonathan Hensleigh
  • Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Romance, Thriller
  • Actors: Robin Williams, Jonathan Hyde, Kirsten Dunst, Bonnie Hunt, Bebe Neuwirth, David Alan Grier, Adam Hann Byrd, Patricia Clarkson

In 1869, two brothers, Caleb and Benjamin, go into the woods, start digging, and bury a box. Benjamin asks what would happen if someone found it. Caleb replies, “May God have mercy on his soul.”

One hundred years later, in 1969, 12-year-old Alan Parrish, a member of a wealthy and respectable upper-class family in Brantford, New Hampshire, is escaping bullies on his bike. He flees to his father’s shoe factory where he meets his friend Carl, who works for his father. Carl has designed a trainer that he hopes will be successful; however, Alan accidentally damages it and costs Carl his job.

After being ambushed by the bullies outside the factory and having his bike stolen, Alan is drawn to a strange sound of drumbeats in a nearby construction site, which leads him to a locked trunk containing a mysterious board game within, called “Jumanji”. He takes it home and later has an argument with his father Samuel (Jonathan Hyde), who, very proud of the way Alan took on Billy Jessup and the other bullies, is proposing to send him to a boarding school that other Parrishes, such as himself, have also attended.

Alan prepares to run away after his parents go out for the night; however, before he can leave, his friend Sarah Whittle arrives, having brought back his bike. They play the game, the instructions of which read:

Meanwhile, on a beach in France, a pair of children walk along, hearing some strange drums beating. Not far from them, almost fully buried in the sand, is Jumanji…

The Green Mile

  • Directors: Frank Darabont
  • Producers: Frank Darabont, David Valdes
  • Writers: Novel, Stephen King, Screenplay, Frank Darabont
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Fantasy
  • Actors: Tom Hanks, David Morse, Bonnie Hunt, Michael Clarke Duncan, James Cromwell, Michael Jeter, Graham Greene, Doug Hutchison, Sam Rockwell, Barry Pepper, Jeffrey DeMunn, Patricia Clarkson, Harry Dean Stanton

The Green Mile is a story told in flashback by an elderly Paul Edgecomb (Dabbs Greer, later by Tom Hanks in the younger version of the character) in a nursing home who is talking to his lady friend Elaine about the summer of 1935 when he was a corrections officer in charge of Death Row inmates in Louisiana’s Cold Mountain Penitentiary. His domain was called the “Green Mile” because the condemned prisoners walking to their execution are said to be walking “the last mile”; here it is on a stretch of green linoleum to the electric chair.

One day, a new inmate arrives, John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan), a 7-foot-tall black male convicted of raping and killing two young white girls. Upon being escorted to his cell, he immediately demonstrates “gentle giant” character traits: keeping to himself, fearing darkness, and being moved to tears on occasion. Soon enough, Coffey reveals extraordinary healing powers by healing Edgecomb’s urinary tract infection and resurrecting a mouse. Later, he would heal the terminally ill wife of Warden Hal Moores (James Cromwell), who suffered from a large brain tumor. When Coffey is asked to explain his power, he merely says that he “took it back.”

In the present, Edgecomb’s friend questions his statement that he had a fully-grown son in 1935. He explains that he was 44 years old at the time of Coffey’s execution and that he is now 108 and still in excellent health. This is apparently a side effect of the life-giving power of Coffey’s touch: a significantly lengthened lifespan. Mr. Jingles, Del’s mouse resurrected by Coffey, is also still alive — but Edgecomb believes his outliving all of his relatives and friends to be a punishment from God for having Coffey executed. Edgecomb explains he has deep thoughts about how “we each owe a death; there are no exceptions; but, Oh God, sometimes the Green Mile seems so long.”