This Is Spinal Tap

  • Directors: Rob Reiner
  • Producers: Karen Murphy
  • Writers: Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Rob Reiner
  • Genres: Comedy, Music
  • Actors: Rob Reiner, Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer, Fran Drescher, Bruno Kirby

The movie has the style of a documentary filmed and directed by the fictional Marty DiBergi (Rob Reiner). The documentary covers a 1982 United States concert tour for the fictional British rock group “Spinal Tap” to promote their new album Smell the Glove, but interspersed with one-on-one interviews with the members of the group and footage of the group from previous points in their career.

The band was started by childhood friends David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean) and Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest) during the 1960s. Originally called “The Originals”, then “The New Originals” to distinguish themselves from the existing group of the same name, they settled on the name “The Thamesmen”, finding success with their skiffle/R&B success, “Gimme Some Money”. They changed their name again to “Spinal Tap” and enjoyed limited success with the flower power anthem, “Listen to the Flower People”. Ultimately, the band found their long success in heavy metal and produced several albums. The group was eventually joined by bassist Derek Smalls (Harry Shearer), keyboardist Viv Savage (David Kaff), and a series of drummers, each of whom had mysteriously died under odd circumstances, including spontaneous combustion, a “bizarre gardening accident” and, in at least one case, choking to death on the vomit of person(s) unknown (“you can’t dust for vomit”). DiBergi’s interviews with St. Hubbins and Tufnel reveal that they are competent composers and musicians, but are dimwitted and immature. Tufnel, in showing his guitar collection to DiBergi, reveals an amplifier that has a volume knob that goes to eleven; when DiBergi asks, “Why not just make 10 louder and make that the top?” Tufnel can only reply, “These go to 11.” Tufnel later plays a somber classical music composition for DiBergi, which he says is called “Lick My Love Pump”.

At the last show of the tour, as the group considers venturing into a musical theater production on the theme of Jack the Ripper, Tufnel returns and informs them that while their American reception has ended, the group is wildly popular in Japan, and that Faith would like to arrange a new tour in that country. The group likes the idea, letting Tufnel back into the band for their final performance. Despite losing their drummer Mick Shrimpton (R.J. Parnell) as he explodes on stage, Spinal Tap ends up enjoying great success on their Japanese tour.

The Princess Bride

  • Directors: Rob Reiner
  • Producers: Rob Reiner, Andrew Scheinman, Norman Lear for Act III Communications
  • Writers: William Goldman
  • Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
  • Actors: Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Christopher Guest, Peter Falk, Fred Savage, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Carol Kane

The narrative of the movie is framed by a scene featuring a boy sick in bed (Fred Savage) and his grandfather (Peter Falk). The plot of the movie is the enactment of the story as it is being read, which is occasionally interrupted by comments from the grandson and grandfather.

A beautiful young woman named Buttercup (Robin Wright) lives on a farm in the fictional country of Florin. She delights in ordering the farm hand Westley (Cary Elwes) to perform chores for her. Westley’s only answer is “As you wish.” Eventually Buttercup realizes he really means “I love you”, and she admits her love for him. Westley soon leaves to seek his fortune so that they can marry. She receives word that Westley’s ship was attacked by the Dread Pirate Roberts, who is notorious for leaving no victim alive. Five years later, believing Westley to be dead, Buttercup reluctantly gets engaged to Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon), heir to the throne of Florin.

Before the wedding, Buttercup is kidnapped by a trio of outlaws: a Sicilian criminal genius named Vizzini (Wallace Shawn), a Spanish fencing master named Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin), and a gigantic Turkish wrestler named Fezzik (André the Giant). They are pursued by two parties: one consists of Prince Humperdinck and a number of soldiers; the other, a single masked man in black. The man in black outpaces the royal rescue party and almost catches the outlaws at the Cliffs of Insanity.

Upon finishing the story, the grandfather gets up to leave. The grandson—having grown more interested throughout—asks his grandfather to read it to him again the following day. The grandfather replies, “As you wish.”

Misery

  • Directors: Rob Reiner
  • Producers: Rob Reiner, Andrew Scheinman, Jeffrey Stott, Steve Nicolaides
  • Writers: Novel, Stephen King, Screenplay, William Goldman
  • Genres: Horror, Thriller
  • Actors: James Caan, Kathy Bates, Richard Farnsworth, Frances Sternhagen, Lauren Bacall

Famed novelist, Paul Sheldon (James Caan) is the best selling author of a series of romance novels involving the character, Misery Chastaine. After finishing his latest novel, he departs from Silver Creek, Colorado to New York; he drives in the middle of a blizzard and his car goes off the road. He is rescued by former nurse Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) and brought back to her home where she tends to his injuries.

She claims she is his number one fan, and goes on and on about how she cherishes Paul and the novels. At first, Annie seems to be a very kind nurse with a very happy-go-lucky attitude, but it becomes clear to Paul that she is psychotic. He lets her read his novel and she says that she disagrees with profanity, while she is feeding him, she loses control, spilling some soup on him, but regains control and humbly apologizes for her actions.

She then gets a copy of Paul’s already published book entitled, Misery’s Child the latest Misery novel and the last, as Paul has decided to go on writing other stories, including the one he has already finished. After he has “killed” Misery (who suffered a maternal death) in this story, Annie goes into a rage, almost killing Paul, she claims that she never contacted the hospital, his agent or family, or anyone else Paul knows. Annie then leaves and Paul decides to escape his room but she has locked the door making it impossible for him to leave. Annie comes to him the following morning and makes him burn his latest novel. Paul initially refuses, but then Annie starts pouring lighting fluid onto the bedspread, making it clear that she will set the bed on fire if Paul refuses.

Eighteen months later, Paul (now able to walk again) meets with his publishing agent in New York, in a restaurant, discussing his first non-Misery novel called The Higher Education of J. Philip Stone, which has become a real success. His agent asks if he wants to write a non-fiction book about his time with Annie, but Paul claims it would not be good for him. He then sees a vision of Annie as a waitress but turns out to be someone else. The waitress claims that she is his number one fan, to which Paul responds, “That’s very sweet of you.”

A Few Good Men

  • Directors: Rob Reiner
  • Producers: David Brown, Rob Reiner, Andrew Scheinman
  • Writers: Aaron Sorkin
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Jack Nicholson, Kevin Pollak, Kevin Bacon, J T Walsh, and, Kiefer Sutherland

LTJG Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise), son of the late Lionel Kaffee (who held the positions of Attorney General and Navy Judge Advocate General), is an inexperienced U.S. Navy lawyer who leads the defense in the court-martial of two Marines, PFC Louden Downey (James Marshall) and LCpl Harold Dawson (Wolfgang Bodison), who are accused of murdering a fellow Marine of their unit, PFC William T. Santiago (Michael DeLorenzo), at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba.

Santiago was not quite up to the task compared to his fellow Marines. He complained of health conditions that his superiors ignored and was generally disliked by everyone in his company. He had gone out of the chain of command to request a transfer off the base, even going so far as bargaining for one in exchange for blowing the whistle on Dawson for an “illegal fence-line shooting” when Dawson fired an unanswered shot toward the Cuban side.

In a flashback, Colonel Nathan Jessup (Jack Nicholson), the C.O. of the Marine detachment at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base is shown reading the letter detailing the incident to two subordinate officers: his executive officer LtCol Matthew Markinson (J.T. Walsh), and 1st LT. Jonathan Kendrick (Kiefer Sutherland), Santiago’s platoon commander. Jessup and Kendrick are incensed that Santiago would do this, and Markinson is the only one who wants to go ahead with transferring Santiago off the base. However, Jessup gives a speech about their duty as officers to train those who defend their nation, sarcastically suggesting the logical extension of “surrendering our position in Cuba” if just one Marine is sent packing. He thus makes the decision not to transfer Santiago. Markinson questions it and, after LT Kendrick is dismissed, is reprimanded for questioning Jessup’s authority in the presence of another officer. Jessup then calls Kendrick in order to discuss “young William’s training”.

As they leave, Kaffee tells Dawson that he doesn’t need to wear a badge on his arm to have honor. Dawson reacts by saluting Kaffee, displaying a new respect for the man, having purposely refused to do so earlier when he dismissed Kaffee’s plea-bargaining methods as cowardice. Ross then announces that Kendrick will also be arrested.

Stand by Me

  • Directors: Rob Reiner
  • Producers: Bruce A Evans
  • Writers: Stephen King, Bruce A Evans, Raynold Gideon
  • Genres: Adventure, Drama
  • Actors: Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O Connell, Kiefer Sutherland

Stand by Me is a coming of age film set in the fictional Castle Rock, Oregon in 1959. It portrays a journey embarked upon by four 12-year-old boys across the woodlands near their hometown to see the dead body of another boy who was close to their own age. The film is told through the recollections of the main character, Gordie LaChance, a freelance writer. It describes how his friend Vern overheard his older brother discussing the body of a missing boy after accidentally coming across it in the woods with his friend.

The lead characters journey into the woods to find the body of a boy named Ray Brower, who was struck by a train while picking berries in the woods. Through the boys’ misadventures and conversations, the viewer learns about each character’s personality. Each of the boys, for varying reasons, lives in the shadow of their fathers and older brothers. Gordie’s talent for storytelling (as illustrated by his improvised short story “Lard-Ass”) pegs him as the most likely of the four to have a promising future.

The film contrasts the four main characters, who are depicted as well-meaning and relatively virtuous, with a gang of bullies called the “Cobras”, who are led by local hood “Ace” Merrill (Kiefer Sutherland). Crucial to the story are the often sophomoric interpersonal exchanges among the four main characters. Terms that director Rob Reiner fondly remembers using during his childhood, such as “two for flinching” and “pinky swear”, were resurrected by the film.[1]