Magnolia

  • Directors: Paul Thomas Anderson
  • Producers: Paul Thomas Anderson, Joanne Sellar
  • Writers: Paul Thomas Anderson
  • Genres: Drama
  • Actors: John C Reilly, Tom Cruise, Julianne Moore, April Grace, Philip Baker Hall, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ricky Jay, William H Macy, Alfred Molina, Jason Robards, Melora Walters

In an introduction three events are described (by an uncredited Ricky Jay) showing coincidences. The events, which are well-known urban legends in the universe of the film, are as follows:

Forthright police officer Jim Kurring (John C. Reilly) is called to investigate a disturbance at the home of a woman named Marcie (Cleo King). He finds a body in her closet, but when the other police officers arrive they pay little attention to his report on the situation. A young boy, Dixon (Emmanuel Johnson) offers to help Jim with the case by performing a self-penned rap. Dixon claims that in the words of the rap he told Jim who committed the murder, but, thinking the boy is just joking, Jim ignores him.

Former TV producer Earl Partridge (Jason Robards) is in the final stages of cancer, and is being cared for by a nurse, Phil Parma (Philip Seymour Hoffman), while his young trophy wife Linda (Julianne Moore) is out collecting prescriptions for a strong dose of liquid morphine that will end his pain. Earl mentions to Phil that he has an estranged son and asks him to find him, saying his name is Frank Mackey. Phil, aware that Mackey is the author of the “Seduce And Destroy” self-help system for men, orders in some pornographic magazines, hoping to find a phone number for his self-help system in there. Frank Mackey (Tom Cruise) is giving a seminar to an audience of men, instructing them how they can manipulate women into “sleeping” with them. As his seminar breaks for lunch, a reporter named Gwenovier (April Grace) takes him aside to interview him. He is initially very confident in his interview, but tells Gwenovier that his father is dead.

Just then, frogs suddenly start to rain from the sky. As Rose drives through the rain of frogs, she crashes her car outside Claudia’s apartment and runs in fear to a reconciliation with her daughter. As Jimmy is about to kill himself, the frogs fall through his skylight and cause him instead to shoot the TV, meaning his house begins to catch fire – whether he survives is never made clear (though in the original script, his body is later seen being removed from the house). The frogs cause Donnie to fall from the pole, smashing his teeth, eliminating his need for braces. The rain of frogs abruptly ceases with a final incongruous object – Jim’s gun falls from the sky and lands right in front of him. Jim helps Donnie replace the money and to forgive himself – Jim chooses to act in forgiveness, rather than in duty, which would have compelled him to arrest Donnie. Having been given the liquid morphine by Phil, Earl dies as Frank watches (the two of them perhaps finally reconciled). Frank then goes to the hospital to see Linda, who is making a gradual recovery. Stanley goes to his father and tells him that he needs to be nicer to him. Rick curtly responds by telling Stanley to go to bed. The film ends as, the next morning, Jim goes to visit Claudia. He talks to her, telling her that he wants to be honest with her as she told him to, and he wants to make things work out between them. She breaks the fourth wall and smiles at the camera.

Rush Hour

  • Directors: Brett Ratner
  • Producers: Roger Birnbaum, Jonathan Glickman, Athur M Sarkissian
  • Writers: Ross LaManna, Jim Kouf
  • Genres: Action, Comedy, Thriller, Crime
  • Actors: Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, Tom Wilkinson, Philip Baker Hall, Mark Rolston, Tzi Ma, Rex Linn, Ken Leung, Chris Penn, Elizabeth Pena, Clifton Powell, Julia Hsu

On the last day of British rule in Hong Kong, Detective Inspector Lee (Jackie Chan) of the Hong Kong police leads a raid at the docks, hoping to arrest the mysterious crime lord Juntao. He finds only Sang (Ken Leung), Juntao’s right hand man, who manages to escape. However, Lee successfully recovers numerous Chinese cultural treasures stolen by Juntao, which he presents as a farewell victory to his departing superiors: Chinese consul Han (Tzi Ma) and British Commander Thomas Griffin (Tom Wilkinson).

Shortly after arriving in the United States to take up his new diplomatic post in Los Angeles, Han’s daughter, Soo-Yung, is kidnapped. Unwilling to trust the FBI, Han calls in Lee to assist in the case.

The FBI, knowing Lee’s incompetence, or success, will generate international embarrassment for them, pawn him off on LAPD Detective James Carter (Chris Tucker), a fast-talking and arrogant police officer with aspirations of joining the FBI. Carter has recently caused severe collateral damage arresting bomb-maker Clyde Cod (Chris Penn) and his superiors give him a choice: keep Lee away from the investigation or face two months suspension without pay. Carter agrees, secretly intending to solve the case himself.

Han and Soo-Yung are reunited. Han sends Carter and Lee on vacation together to Hong Kong. Before leaving, the FBI investigators show up and offer Carter a position on the FBI. Carter refuses, telling them to take the badge and shove it up their asses, and that he will always be loyal to the LAPD. On the plane, Carter realizes the flight will take 15 hours… and demands another seat as soon as Lee starts singing “War”

Bruce Almighty

  • Directors: Tom Shadyac
  • Producers: Tom Shadyac, Jim Carrey, James D Brubaker, Michael Bostick, Steve Koren, Mark O Keefe
  • Writers: Steve Koren, Mark O Keefe, Steve Oedekerk
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
  • Actors: Jim Carrey, Morgan Freeman, Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Ann Walter, Catherine Bell, Steve Carell, Philip Baker Hall, Nora Dunn, Eddie Jemison, Sally Kirkland

Bruce Nolan (Jim Carrey) is a television news reporter for Channel 7 Eyewitness News on WKBW-TV in Buffalo, New York who is unsuccessful at getting a job as an anchorman. After a series of other incidents of ill fortune, he complains to God that He is treating him (Bruce) unfairly and is doing a poor job as supreme deity. God then contacts Bruce in human form (Morgan Freeman) and grants him all of His power so as to prove which one is the better handler thereof. Bruce uses his new-found powers for personal gain: he sabotages a colleague named Evan Baxter (Steve Carell) who had cheated him; takes revenge on a street gang who beat him earlier in the film; transforms his car from a Datsun 240Z to a Saleen S7; allows his favorite hockey team, the Buffalo Sabres, to win the Stanley Cup; places command on a dog to use the toilet for urination; and enhances the breasts and sex drive of his girlfriend, Grace Connelly (Jennifer Aniston).

Bruce endangers his relationship with Grace through his self-centered behavior. God then reminds Bruce that “He” has the task of resolving other people’s problems. God, at this, quotes a line from one of Carrey’s other movies (“Alrighty then”, from Ace Ventura), and tells Bruce that if he wants, Bruce can fix all the world’s problems in a few minutes, knowing that this is untrue. Bruce later receives millions of prayers, all of which, according to God, originate only from a few streets in his own town. Bruce is thus able to realize how much work God must do to keep the cosmos “in line”.

Depressed, Bruce walks onto a highway. Ultimately Bruce realizes that God’s powers are best left for God to handle and asks God to take control of his life. Right after that he is killed by collision with a truck. He is then shown in Heaven, where God asks him “what he really wants”. In answer, Bruce asks that Grace find a man who may make her truly happy and see her through God’s eyes. At this, Bruce is revived by paramedics. Later, Bruce has returned to his earlier field of reporting and is content with it; donates blood for a transfusion; and becomes engaged to marry Grace. The ending scene features a slow close-up of the homeless man, whose image morphs slightly and he is revealed to be God. This echoes a line of Joan Osborne’s song, One of Us, which Bruce is shown singing after his acquisition of the divine power.