Flags of Our Fathers

  • Directors: Clint Eastwood
  • Producers: Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Steven Spielberg
  • Writers: James Bradley, Ron Powers, William Broyles Jr, Paul Haggis
  • Genres: Action, Drama, History, War
  • Actors: Ryan Phillippe, Adam Beach, Jesse Bradford, Neal McDonough, Barry Pepper, Robert Patrick, Paul Walker, Jamie Bell, John Benjamin Hickey, John Slattery

The story focuses on seven US Marines of the 28th Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Division, Sgt. Mike Strank, Pfc. Rene Gagnon, Pfc. Ira Hayes, Cpl. Harlon Block, Pfc. Franklin Sousley, Sgt. Hank Hansen, and Pfc. Ralph Ignatowski, as well as their Navy Corpsman, PhM2. John “Doc” Bradley.

In December 1944, U.S. Marines train at Camp Tarawa, Hawaii. They train by climbing a large mountain and getting in Higgins boats. The Marines then set sail across the Pacific, and it is revealed that they are headed to the small island of Iwo Jima, located less than 700 miles from the Japanese mainland. As Captain Severance puts it, they will be fighting on Japanese soil, and will expect tough resistance. A few days later, the armada arrives off the coast of Iwo Jima and the ships of the US Navy open fire on suspected Japanese positions. On the night before the landings, Mike is put in charge of second platoon.

The next day, February 19, 1945, the Marines hit the beach in landing craft and meet no resistance. Ralph, aka “Iggy”, suspects that the Navy killed all the Japanese defenders, as do most of the Marines. After several tense minutes the Marines advance forward and the Japanese open fire. The battle is extremely intense, and the Marines take heavy casualties. Japanese heavy artillery opens fire upon the Marines on shore, as well as the Navy ships. After several attempts, Second Platoon takes out a Japanese pillbox which was pinning them down. They advance forward, as do many other Marines. The battle begins to calm down and the beachheads are secure. Two days later the Marines attack Mount Suribachi under a rain of Japanese artillery and machine gun fire, as the Navy bombards the mountain. It is here that Doc saves the lives of several Marines under fire which later earns him the Navy Cross. Finally, the mountain is secure. For the next four nights, the Marines take cover in foxholes as Japanese soldiers charge through the mist.

In September the war ends and Doc, Rene and Ira go home. Ira tries to move on but is never able to escape his unwanted fame. One day in 1952 after being released from jail, he hitchhikes over 1,300 miles to Texas to see Harlon Block’s family. He tells Ed Block, Harlon’s father that Harlon was indeed at the base of the flag in the famous photograph. In 1954, the USMC War Memorial is dedicated and the three flag raisers see each one last time. In 1955 Ira dies of exposure after a night of drinking. That same year Doc drove to a town where Iggy’s mom lived and told her how Iggy died, though it is implied that he lied. Rene has little success as the business offers he received on the bond drive are no longer offered to him. He spends the rest of his life as a high school janitor, dying in 1979. Doc is the only successful one. He buys the funeral home he worked at before the war and runs it for the rest of his life. In 1995, as he is on his death bed, he tells his son James how after the flag raising Captain Severance took the men swimming. He then dies peacefully. In a final flashback to 1945, the men swim in the ocean after raising the flags.

We Are Marshall

  • Directors: McG
  • Producers: McG, Basil Iwanyk
  • Writers: Story, Jamie Linden, Cory Helms, Screenplay, Jamie Linden
  • Genres: Drama, Sport
  • Actors: Matthew McConaughey, Matthew Fox, Anthony Mackie, Kate Mara, Ian McShane, David Strathairn, Kimberly Williams Paisley, Robert Patrick, Brian Geraghty, January Jones

On the evening of November 14, 1970, Southern Airways Flight 932, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9 which Huntington, West Virginia’s Marshall University chartered to transport the Thundering Herd football team to Greenville, North Carolina and back to Huntington, clipped trees on a ridge just one mile short of the runway at Tri-State Airport in Ceredo, West Virginia and crashed into a gully. The team was returning from their game against the East Carolina University Pirates — a 17–14 loss. There were no survivors. In all, seventy-five people lost their lives. The dead included the thirty-seven players, head coach Rick Tolley and five members of his coaching staff, Charles E. Kautz, Marshall’s athletics director, team trainer Jim Schroer and his assistant, Donald Tackett, twenty-two boosters, and five crew members.

In the wake of the tragedy, President Donald Dedmon leans towards indefinitely suspending the football program, but he is ultimately persuaded to reconsider by the pleas of the Marshall students and Huntington residents, and especially the few football players who didn’t make the flight. Dedmon hires a young new head coach Jack Lengyel, who, with the help of Red Dawson, manages to rebuild the team in a relatively short time. They are aided by the NCAA’s waiver of a rule prohibiting freshmen from playing varsity football (a rule which had been abolished in 1968 for all sports except for football and basketball, and would be permanently abolished for those sports in 1972). The new team is composed mostly of the eighteen returning players (three varsity, fifteen sophomores) and walk-on athletes from other Marshall sports programs. Due to their lack of experience, the “Young Thundering Herd” ends up losing their first game, 29-6 to the Morehead State Eagles. The Herd’s first post-crash victory is a heart-stopping 15–13 home win against Xavier University in the first home game of the season.

The following week, Marshall lost to the Miami Redskins 66 to 6. They would win only one more game in 1971. Jack Lengyel resigned as head coach in 1974 with a record of 9-33. He would later become athletic director at the Naval Academy. He’s now in the Hall of Fame. Donald Dedmond accepted the presidency at Radford University where he would remain until he retired in 1994. Gene Morehouse’s son Keith followed in his fathers footsteps and became a broadcaster for Marshall Football where he remains today. Reggie Oliver started every game for the Thundering Herd until he graduated. He later returned to Marshall as an assistant coach and now lives in Ohio. After graduation, Nate Ruffin moved away from Huntington, got married and started a family. In 2001, after an illness, Nate died at his home in Virginia. He would return to Hunington one last time for a reuninon with his old buddies

Bridge to Terabithia

  • Directors:
  • Producers: David Paterson, Lauren Levine, Hal Lieberman
  • Writers: Katherine Paterson, David L Paterson, Jeff Stockwell
  • Genres: Adventure, Drama, Family, Fantasy
  • Actors: Josh Hutcherson, AnnaSophia Robb, Robert Patrick, Bailee Madison, Zooey Deschanel

Jesse “Jess” Aarons (Josh Hutcherson) is a twelve-year-old aspiring artist living with his financially struggling family in Lark Creek. He rides the bus to school with his little sister May Belle (Bailee Madison), where he avoids the school bully Janice Avery (Lauren Clinton). In class, Jess is teased by classmates Scott Hoager (Cameron Wakefield) and Gary Fulcher (Elliot Lawless), and meets new student Leslie Burke (AnnaSophia Robb). At recess, Jess enters a running event, for which he had been training at home. Leslie also enters and manages to beat all the boys, much to Jess’ irritation. On the way home, Jess and Leslie learns that they are next-door neighbors.

Later in the evening, Jess becomes frustrated when he finds that May Belle has drawn in his notebook, but his strict father (Robert Patrick) sides with her. He later watches them gardening together, disappointed that his father does not spend time with him. The next day at school, Leslie compliments Jess’ drawing ability after seeing his notebook, and they soon become friends. After school, they venture into the woods and swing across a creek on a rope. Jess and Leslie find an abandoned tree house on the other side, and invent a new world, which they call Terabithia. The fantasy world, which is a reflection on their lives, comes to life through their eyes as they explore the surroundings. For the next few days, Jess and Leslie spend their free time in the tree house and getting to know each other.

The next morning, Ms. Edmunds (Zooey Deschanel), Jess’ music teacher, calls to invite him on a one-on-one field trip to an art museum. Jess tries to ask his mother’s permission; however, she is half-asleep and he takes her mumbling as approval. Jess does not ask Leslie to accompany him, and merely looks at her house as they drive by. When he returns home, Jess finds that his father and mother are worried sick because they did not know where he was. His father tells him that Leslie had died that morning while trying to swing across the rain-swollen creek. Jess is deeply grieved, and visits the Burke family home with his parents to pay their respects. Leslie’s father, Bill Burke (Latham Gaines), tells Jess that she loved him, and thanks him for being a very good friend to her, since she had trouble making friends at her old school. Jess feels overwhelming guilt for Leslie’s death, but his father consoles him to keep their friendship alive for her sake. Jess decides to reimagine Terabithia and builds a bridge across the river to welcome a new ruler. He invites his sister, May Belle to enter Terabithia; she is delighted because she was previously denied any opportunity to enter. She and Jess bring back Terabithia in even greater splendor, with Jess as king and his sister as princess.

Charlie s Angels Full Throttle

  • Directors: McG
  • Producers: Drew Barrymore, Leonard Goldberg, Nancy Juvonen
  • Writers: TV Series, Ivan Goff, Ben Roberts, Screenplay, John August, Cormac Wibberley, Marianne Wibberley, Story, John August
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Crime, Thriller
  • Actors: Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, Luke Wilson, Matt LeBlanc, John Cleese, Robert Patrick, Crispin Glover, Shia LaBeouf, Bernie Mac, Demi Moore

The Angels are hired to locate a set of titanium rings stolen from the Department of Justice that, when put together in a special machine, will display a list of all individuals in the witness protection program. Having discovered that one person on the list has been killed, the Angels investigate the scene and discover evidence suggesting that the killer is a surfer with a scar on one leg. Having tracked the killer to his next victim- who is subsequently sent to Bosley’s house for protection- it is revealed that angel Dylan was once named Helen Zaas (pronounced “Helen’s ass”, making her the “butt” of many jokes) and is in the program herself for sending her former boyfriend- a member of the O’Grady mafia family- to jail.

Although they recover the rings, Dylan leaves the Angels because she doesn’t want to endanger them with her ex’s vendetta, but former Angel Kelly Garrett- in a visit that may have been spiritual- reminds her that every Angel is unique, and her flawed past shouldn’t define her present. Returning to the team, Dylan and the others deduce that former angel Madison Lee (Demi Moore) is the perpetrator of the crimes due to her being the only individual possessing the necessary contacts to carry out such a scheme. Madison, having concluded “Why be an Angel, when [she] can be God”, having shot the Angels after reacquiring the rings, although they are saved by their specially-designed kevlar vests- returns to the agency to ‘confront’ Charlie, rejecting his attempts to remind her that the Angels are a family and shooting his speaker off the desk, informing him coldly that she was always the best.

Learning that the rings will be sold after a rendezvous on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Angels travel to Hollywood, setting the crime families up to be caught by the FBI in a faked rendezvous. With Madison having contacted the O’Gradys to act as security, Alex and Dylan take out the O’Gradys, while Natalie and Madison go head-to-head themselves. Dylan manages to kill her ex, with the Angels subsequently stopping Madison’s attempt to blow up the premiere of Alex’s boyfriend Jason’s (Matt LeBlanc) new movie thanks to Bosley knocking the bomb away. Although Madison tries to escape, the Angels defeat her in a final confrontation in an abandoned theatre, throwing her through a gas main just as she fires her gun, causing an explosion that kills her. The film ends with the Angels celebrating their victory with Bosley (Bernie Mac).

Walk the Line

  • Directors: James Mangold
  • Producers: James Keach, Cathy Konrad
  • Writers: Gill Dennis, James Mangold
  • Genres: Biography, Drama, Music, Romance
  • Actors: Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Ginnifer Goodwin, Robert Patrick, Tyler Hilton

The film details Johnny Cash’s life from his growing up as the son of a cotton picker in Dyess, Arkansas, dealing with the death of his brother, his drug addiction, subsequent rescue by future wife June Carter, and his famous concert at Folsom State Prison.

The film opens in medias res with an exterior shot of Folsom Prison in 1968. The grounds are quiet except for the faint sound of music. Two guards on their tower peer at the main building. As we slowly approach the main building, the music begins to increase in volume. The camera tracks past empty cells and halls as the music becomes louder and more distinct; now cheering can be heard. Finally we see the source of the cheering: an audience of inmates for Johnny Cash’s band, which is playing a vamp. In the next shot, a table saw rests on a table as a hand casually strokes the blade. After repeated calls, we are made aware that the hand is that of Johnny Cash. The blade reminds Johnny of his youth and particularly of the death of his brother. (Later we learn that the voice calling him onstage is that of the prison warden.)

June tearfully agrees, and after a long embrace the scene fades to the deck of Cash’s home in Hendersonville. Cash watches his father interact with his newest daughters Rosie and Carlene. He jokes with his father, their tense relationship having apparently begun to heal. The final shot shows Cash continuing down the stairs to the pier, looking up, and meeting June’s eyes where she is fishing with her father. They look at each other and Cash smiles and the frame freezes; the scene then changes to footage of the couple performing together, with brief biographical information about Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash superimposed over it.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

  • Directors: James Cameron
  • Producers: James Cameron, Stephanie Austin, B J Rack, Gale Anne Hurd, Mario Kassar
  • Writers: James Cameron, William Wisher Jr
  • Genres: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong, Robert Patrick

Eleven years after Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) destroyed the original Terminator that was programmed to kill her, two Terminators arrive in Los Angeles from the year 2029. The first is a Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) identical to the one that Sarah first encountered, while the second (Robert Patrick) is a new model which assumes the identity of a police officer. John Connor (Edward Furlong) is now an adolescent living with foster parents. He has had an unusual childhood, with his mother Sarah constantly preparing him to fulfill his destiny as the leader of the future human resistance. Sarah’s experiences have made her tougher and more vigilant, but also desperate to warn humanity about the coming apocalypse. After attempting to bomb a computer factory, Sarah is arrested and remanded to the Pescadero State Hospital for the Criminally Insane under the supervision of Dr. Silberman.

Meanwhile, the Terminators locate John Connor in a mall. After John is rescued and a chase through the L.A. storm drain channels, the original Terminator escapes with John on his motorcycle. The Terminator explains that he is reprogrammed by the future John Connor to protect and obey John’s younger self. The other Terminator is a T-1000, an advanced new prototype programmed to kill John. It is made of “a mimetic polyalloy”, a liquid metal that allows it to take the shape and appearance of anything it touches. It can also form into knifes and stabbing weapons.

Having destroyed the T-1000, John throws the parts from the first Terminator into the steel; but the Terminator says that he too must be destroyed to prevent his technology from being used to create Skynet. Since the Terminator cannot self-terminate, Sarah must lower him into the steel using a winch. As the Terminator says goodbye, Sarah shakes his hand in a gesture of respect, and John tearfully begs him to stay. The Terminator reveals a newfound understanding of human emotions but insists that he must be destroyed. As he sinks into the molten steel, he gives a “thumbs up” signal. The film ends with a voice-over from Sarah, in which she describes her new optimism regarding the future.