Young Frankenstein

  • Directors: Mel Brooks
  • Producers: Michael Gruskoff
  • Writers: Mel Brooks, Gene Wilder
  • Genres: Comedy, Sci-Fi
  • Actors: Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Teri Garr, Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman, Kenneth Mars, and Gene Hackman

Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) is a respected lecturer at an American medical school and is more or less happily (though blandly) engaged to the tightly wound Elizabeth (Madeline Kahn). Frederick becomes exasperated when anyone brings up the subject of his grandfather, the famous mad scientist, to the point of insisting that his name is pronounced “Fronk’-en-steen”.

A solicitor informs Frederick that he has inherited his family’s estate. Traveling to said estate in Transylvania, Frankenstein meets his comely new lab assistant Inga (Teri Garr), along with the household servants Frau Blücher (Cloris Leachman) and Igor (Marty Feldman) (who, after hearing Frederick claim his name is pronounced “Fronkensteen” counter-claims that his is pronounced “Eye’-gor.”)

Inga assists Frederick in discovering the secret entrance to his grandfather’s laboratory. Upon reading his grandfather’s private journals the doctor is inspired to resume his grandfather’s experiments in re-animating the dead. He and Igor successfully exhume and spirit away the enormous corpse of a recently executed criminal, but Igor’s attempt to steal the brain of a revered scientist from the local “brain depositary” goes awry, and he takes one labeled, “Do Not Use This Brain! Abnormal” instead.

The reassembled monster (Peter Boyle) is elevated on a platform to the roof of the laboratory during a lightning storm. The experimenters are first disappointed when the electrically charged creature fails to come to life, but the creature eventually revives. The doctor assists the monster in walking but, frightened by Igor lighting a match, it attacks Frederick and must be sedated. Upon being asked by the doctor whose brain was obtained, Igor confesses that he supplied “Abby Normal’s” brain and becomes the object of a strangulation attempt himself.

The townspeople, led by Inspector Kemp, hunt for the Monster. Desperate to get the creature back and correct his mistakes, Frederick plays music and lures the Monster back to the castle. Just as the Kemp-led mob storms the laboratory, Dr. Frankenstein transfers some of his stabilizing intellect to the creature who, as a result, is able to reason with and placate the mob. The film ends happily, with Elizabeth married to the now erudite and sophisticated Monster, while Inga joyfully learns what her new husband Frederick got in return from the Monster during the transfer procedure (the Monster’s Schwanzstück).

Doctor Dolittle

  • Directors: Betty Thomas
  • Producers: John Davis, David T Friendly, Joseph Singer
  • Writers: Hugh Lofting, Nat Mauldin, Larry Levin
  • Genres: Family, Comedy
  • Actors: Eddie Murphy, Oliver Platt, Kristen Wilson, Ossie Davis, Norm Macdonald, Chris Rock, Peter Boyle

The film now opens with John Dolittle as a child talking to his dog (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres). He asks his dog questions, one being “Why do dogs sniff each other’s butts”? Her response is that it’s their way of shaking hands. His concerned father (Ossie Davis) hears the question and says that the dog doesn’t have any idea what he said. He was wrong. He finds this out when John meets his new principal and sniffs his butt. The dog obviously knows something is going to happen. When his father hires a minister to remove the evil from him (and freaking him out), the dog saves him by biting the minister. The dog is then taken up for adoption. John is very upset and stops talking to animals as his father teaches him to hate them.

Thirty years later, we see John Dolittle (Eddie Murphy) shooing a puppy out of his apartment. He is a doctor, married with two kids, but became an animal hater. His oldest daughter Charisse (Raven-Symoné) wants to be named Paprika. His youngest daughter Maya (Kyla Pratt) is a nerdy girl who does experiments, such as raising a swan egg (or so she thinks) so it will bond with her. She also has a Guinea Pig named Rodney (voiced by Chris Rock). John’s wife Lisa (Kristen Wilson) also just wants to spend time with him. Meanwhile at work, a big medical company owner named Calloway (Peter Boyle) wants to buy the company. Everyone is very excited because this means much more money.

In the end, John is now a both human doctor and a veterinarian. Maya’s egg hatches, revealing to be an alligator. The rats are mad that the ending is happy, but the owl shows up and chases them away, trying to eat them (luckily, she doesn’t). John and Lucky are seen walking to the circus to visit the tiger and talking about their future as friends, while the song “Talk with the Animals” plays in the background.

While You Were Sleeping

  • Directors: Jon Turteltaub
  • Producers: Roger Birnbaum, Joe Roth
  • Writers: Daniel G Sullivan, Fredric LeBow
  • Genres: Comedy, Romance
  • Actors: Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman, Peter Gallagher, Peter Boyle, Jack Warden

Sandra Bullock plays Lucy Eleanor Moderatz, a lonely fare collector on the Chicago elevated railway. The highlight of her days is selling a token to a handsome commuter, Peter Callaghan (played by Peter Gallagher), on whom she has a secret crush. Working on Christmas, Lucy witnesses Peter being mugged and pushed onto the tracks, and she rescues him from an oncoming train. Peter falls into a coma and she accompanies him to the hospital, where she fantasizes aloud, “I was going to marry him”. A nurse overhears her and, misinterpreting the situation, tells the head physician, a policeman and Callaghan’s family that Lucy is his fiancée. At first Lucy is too caught up in the madness of everyone’s panic to tell the truth, and after that she is too embarrassed to.

An orphan with few friends, she becomes so captivated with the quirky Callaghans and their unconditional love for her, that she cannot bring herself to hurt them by revealing that Peter doesn’t even know her. She spends a delayed Christmas with the family so “they can get to know each other”. Lucy then meets Peter’s younger brother Jack (Bill Pullman), who has taken over his father’s business and is always working. Jack is very suspicious at first, saying Peter never mentioned Lucy or a marriage, which is not like him. Later on, after spending some time together to get acquainted, Jack starts to realize that he himself has feelings for Lucy.

The film ends with the two happily married in wedding attire, on the back of a train departing from the station, complete with a sign reading “Just Married”. Lucy explains that Peter once asked when she fell in love with Jack, and Lucy replied, “It was while you were sleeping.”

The Santa Clause

  • Directors: John Pasquin
  • Producers: Robert Newmyer, Brian Reilly, Jeffrey Silver
  • Writers: Leo Benvenuti, Steve Rudnick
  • Genres: Comedy, Family, Fantasy
  • Actors: Tim Allen, Eric Lloyd, Wendy Crewson, Judge Reinhold, David Krumholtz, Peter Boyle

Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) is a divorced father with an insolent son, Charlie (Eric Lloyd). On Christmas Eve, when Charlie is spending the night, they are awakened by a noise on the roof. Going outside to investigate, Scott can see someone on the roof. He yells at the trespasser, which causes the man to fall to the ground. The incapacitated trespasser appears to be Santa Claus. He magically disappears, but his suit remains. They find a business card in a pocket stating that if something should happen to him, someone should put on the suit, climb into the sleigh and the reindeer will take it from there. They find a sleigh and eight reindeer perched atop the house. Scott puts on the Santa suit to please his son, and begins delivering toys from rooftop to rooftop.

Their final stop is the North Pole. The head elf, Bernard (David Krumholtz), shows him an inscription on the card which says that, upon the death of the previous occupant, whoever wears the suit assumes the identity of Santa Claus and all the responsibilities that go with it. This is the “Santa Clause,” as stated by Bernard: “You put on the suit, you’re the big guy.” He also gives Charlie a snow globe.[1]

Charlie helps Scott and the elves perfect a new sled and communication devices. He calls occasionally, but this only reinforces Laura and Neil’s belief that he is being held against his will. Eventually, Scott, as Santa Claus, goes on with his Christmas Eve trip, but is arrested while delivering presents to his son’s home, and is accused of kidnapping Charlie. A team of rescue-elves, the ELFS, free Scott from jail, and fly Scott and Charlie home to his mother and stepfather, to whom Scott/Santa gives the presents they always wanted since childhood but never got: Laura gets a vintage Mystery Date game and Neil gets an Oscar Mayer “Wienie Whistle”. (It was because of Neil’s not getting the Wienie Whistle that he became convinced Santa didn’t exist.) Laura, realizing finally that Scott really is the new Santa, tosses the custody papers into the fireplace and welcomes Scott to come see Charlie any time he wants. Bernard tells Charlie that the snow globe is magic. Anytime he wants his father to visit, all he has to do is shake it. After ten minutes, he shakes it and Scott comes back, says he was off to Cleveland, and takes Charlie with him.

Taxi Driver

  • Directors: Martin Scorsese
  • Producers: Julia Phillips, Michael Phillips
  • Writers: Paul Schrader
  • Genres: Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Albert Brooks, Harvey Keitel, Leonard Harris, Peter Boyle, Cybill Shepherd

Travis Bickle (De Niro), who claims to be an honorably discharged Marine – it is implied that he is a Vietnam veteran – is a lonely and depressed young man of 26. His origins are unknown. He sends his parents cards, lying about his life and saying he works with the Secret Service. He settles in Manhattan, where he becomes a night time taxi driver due to chronic insomnia.[1] Bickle spends his restless days in seedy porn theaters and works 12 or 14 hour shifts during the evening and night time hours carrying passengers among all five boroughs of New York City.

Bickle becomes interested in Betsy (Cybill Shepherd), a campaign volunteer for New York Senator Charles Palantine, who is running for the presidential nomination and is promising dramatic social change. She is initially intrigued by Bickle and agrees to a date with him after he flirts with her over coffee and sympathizes with her own apparent loneliness. She compares him to a character in the Kris Kristofferson song “The Pilgrim, Chapter 33”: “He’s a prophet and a pusher, partly truth, partly fiction – a walking contradiction.” On their date, however, Bickle is clueless about how to treat a woman and thinks it would be a good idea to take her to a Swedish sex education film (Language of Love). Offended, she leaves him and takes a taxi home alone. The next day he tries to reconcile with Betsy, phoning her and sending her flowers, but all of his attempts are in vain.[1]

A brief (and possibly imagined) epilogue shows Bickle recuperating from the incident. He has received a handwritten letter from Iris’s parents who thank him for saving their daughter, and the media hail him as a hero for saving her as well.[1] Bickle blithely returns to his job, where one night one of his fares happens to be Betsy. She comments about his saving of Iris and Bickle’s own media fame, yet Bickle denies being any sort of hero. He drops her off without charging her and continues driving into the night–though not before hearing a small, piercing noise which causes him to stare hesitantly at an unseen object in his taxi’s rearview mirror–possibly indicating a relapse of his past violent tendencies seen earlier in the film.