The Accidental Husband

  • Directors: Griffin Dunne
  • Producers: Jennifer Todd, Suzanne Todd, Jason Blum
  • Writers: Mimi Hare, Clare Naylor, Bonnie Sikowitz
  • Genres: Comedy, Romance
  • Actors: Uma Thurman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Colin Firth, Isabella Rossellini, Sam Shepard

New York firefighter Patrick Sullivan (Morgan) had no idea his seemingly idyllic life was about to go up in smoke — especially as the unwitting, second-hand recipient of advice from famed love expert and radio host Dr. Emma Lloyd (Thurman). One day he is a happy-go-lucky guy looking forward to a life with his soon-to-be-bride. Then, his fiancée Sophia (Justina Machado) is seeking couples counseling on the radio from Dr. Lloyd. Lloyd questions Sophia’s concept of romantic love and advises her to break their engagement, which she swiftly does.

Patrick is so upset that when he hears that Emma is about to be married herself, he allows his young neighbour, an Indian computer whiz-kid to hack into public records and create a fake marriage between himself and Emma, because he wants to force a confrontation. Emma is told she cannot marry her perfect-gentleman fiancé, Richard (Firth), because she is already married. She has no choice but to confront Patrick, who decides to repeatedly lie to her about his intentions. In fact, after stringing her along with lie upon lie, he finds out that he is attracted to her, and makes a play for her romantically. He proceeds to inject himself into her life, causes her to have to lie herself, to her beloved fiancé. Emma is drawn to his immense charisma but tries to ignore it.

But both Patrick and Emma are miserable with their separate lives. One day before her wedding, Patrick calls her at the radio station and tells her that he loves her. She does not answer him. She confides in her father and asks his advice. He tells her that the decision is hers. At the next day, Emma and her guests arrive early to the church and are getting ready for the wedding. There, Richard tells her that he wants her to be happy and decides to let her marry the man she has fallen in love with. Richard had also heard the radio show the night before and recognized Patrick telling Emma of his love for her. Richard then walks away while Emma activates the sprinkler system with a burning paper. The sprinklers drench the guests who then leave the church to dry. During this time, Emma’s father calls the fire department where Patrick works and asks them to come to the church. When Patrick arrives there, they get married, and live happily ever after. The final scene shifts to a year later where it is shown that Emma is pregnant, and that she and Patrick are still very much in love.

The Right Stuff

  • Directors: Philip Kaufman
  • Producers: Irwin Winkler
  • Writers: Philip Kaufman, Tom Wolfe
  • Genres: Adventure, Drama, History
  • Actors: Fred Ward, Dennis Quaid, Ed Harris, Scott Glenn, Sam Shepard, Barbara Hershey, Lance Henriksen, Veronica Cartwright, Jane Dornacker

Muroc Army Air Field in 1947 sets the scene for the start of the movie. This dusty, arid air force base is where high-speed aircraft are being tested in secret including the rocket-powered X-1, poised to fly at supersonic speeds. When a number of test pilots have died in the attempt to break the so-called “sound barrier,” the base liaison officer, war hero Chuck Yeager (Sam Shepard) is offered the chance to fly the X-1. While on a horseback romp with his wife Glennis (Barbara Hershey) through the underbrush surrounding the base, Yeager collides with a tree branch and suffers a couple of broken ribs. Refusing to admit defeat, he triumphs (with the aid of a sawed-off broom handle) in flying the X-1 faster than the speed of sound, beating the “demon in the sky.”

The film travels forward to 1953, where Edwards Air Force Base (renamed for one of the test pilots killed at the base) remains the place to be for the “prime” pilots with Yeager engaged in a contest with test pilot Scott Crossfield (Scott Wilson).[1] Crossfield and Yeager were fierce but friendly rivals for speed and altitude records. Edwards is both a very different place and yet remains the same with the celebrated Happy Bottom Riding Club run by Pancho Barnes (Kim Stanley) still the gathering place for those with the “right stuff.” New pilots such as Gordon “Gordo” Cooper (Dennis Quaid) and Virgil “Gus” Grissom (Fred Ward) are part of a constant stream of “pudknockers” as Barnes characterizes them. Cooper’s wife, Trudy (Pamela Reed) questions the need for pushing dangerous boundaries to the limit, but is resigned to the fact that her husband like all the others, is driven by ambition as well as chasing fame. Other wives that share similar feelings have to learn to suppress their fears. By that time, the press are a familiar part of the background, recognized as the key to ensuring that essential funding never dries up.

The films concludes with Cooper’s successful launch in May 1963 – the last in which an American flew alone into space.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

  • Directors: Andrew Dominik
  • Producers: Ridley Scott, Jules Daly, Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, David Valdes
  • Writers: Screenplay, Andrew Dominik, Novel, Ron Hansen
  • Genres: Biography, Crime, Drama, History, Western
  • Actors: Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Mary Louise Parker, Sam Shepard, Sam Rockwell

The film starts off with the narrator introducing many facts and legends about the American Old West outlaw, Jesse James (Brad Pitt). Aside from Jesse, the film also tells the story of Robert Ford (Casey Affleck), a seemingly insecure young man who has grown up idolizing Jesse James and is often seen as a coward by those around him. Bob seeks out his hero in the middle of a forest in Blue Cut, Missouri where the James gang is staging a train robbery. Bob makes petty attempts to join the gang with the help of his brother Charley Ford (Sam Rockwell), who has been a recruit for a while now. Jesse allows Bob to take part in the train robbery to try to prove himself, but Jesse’s brother Frank James (Sam Shepard) disagrees, saying that Bob hasn’t the ingredients to become a member in their gang. The robbery is a success, but ends up being the last robbery committed by the James brothers. Afterward, Frank decides to retire from crime and settle east in Baltimore, leaving his brother to lead the gang by himself. Jesse does not mind Bob’s presence at first, and begins to have Bob tag along wherever he goes. Gradually, Bob forms a complex love/hate relationship with Jesse, still admiring him to the point of obsession, but also becoming resentful and somewhat fearful due to Jesse’s bullying nature. Jesse begins to acknowledge Bob’s awkwardness and unusual fanaticism, and sends him away as a result.

Ten years have passed since Jesse’s assassination. Bob, as unlikely as it may seem, has prospered over the past decade, and now acquires a steady income working as a saloonkeeper in the small mining town of Creede, Colorado, still uncertain on what fate awaits him. He becomes romantically involved with a beautiful woman named Dorothy Evans (Zooey Deschanel), who would have long conversations with Bob in hopes of providing comfort to him. In the closing moments of the film, Bob is sought out and murdered by a man named Edward O’Kelley, who has developed a strong hatred towards Bob over the years. At the same time, the narrator gives an epilogue to end the film, recounting that O’Kelley would later be pardoned, and that in contrast to Jesse James, Robert Ford would achieve no fame after his death.

The Pelican Brief

  • Directors: Alan J Pakula
  • Producers: Alan J Pakula, Pieter Jan Brugge
  • Writers: John Grisham, Alan J Pakula
  • Genres: Drama, Mystery, Romance, Thriller
  • Actors: Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington, Sam Shepard, John Heard, Tony Goldwyn, James B Sikking, William Atherton, Robert Culp, Stanley Tucci, Special Appearance by, Hume Cronyn, And John Lithgow

Two Supreme Court justices are assassinated. A terrorist named Khamel, who works as a hired assassin, shoots one of the justices as he lies in his sickbed. He strangles the other in a gay porn film theater. The two had been very different in their voting patterns and opinions in cases that had come before them. Tulane University Law School student Darby Shaw theorizes that there may be some similarity in their otherwise-different voting patterns that may provide a motive for their assassinations. She discovers that both were protective of the environment (the only subject the two agreed on) in their votes. Her research also reveals that the Fifth Circuit ruling, contrary to the interest of an oil company owned by Victor Mattiece, had ruled in favor of protecting an expanse of wetlands in Louisiana used by pelicans and other wildlife as a habitat.

The Supreme Court was expected to eventually hear the corporation’s appeal of that Fifth Circuit ruling; but now, two pro-environment justices who have been assassinated will not be able to take part in any Supreme Court vote on the appeal, and oil magnate Mattiece (a close friend of and political contributor to the President) hopes to have pro-oil justices named as their replacements.

In a dark, empty hangar, Darby and Grantham board a plane and fly to an undisclosed location. Upon arrival, they are given a copy of the day’s Herald with their story and many related articles on the front page. Darby hugs Grantham goodbye before getting into a van and vanishing. Finally, we see Darby in her new safehouse watching Grantham being interviewed by a television news station. She smiles as he deflects questions about her identity, and we are left with the impression that they may meet again.

Black Hawk Down

  • Directors: Ridley Scott
  • Producers: Jerry Bruckheimer, Ridley Scott
  • Writers: Book, Mark Bowden, Screenplay, Ken Nolan
  • Genres: Action, Drama, History, War
  • Actors: Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Tom Hardy, Tom Sizemore, William Fichtner, Eric Bana, Brendan Sexton III, Sam Shepard, Ewen Bremner, Jason Isaacs, Orlando Bloom

In a raid, a task force of Delta Force soldiers, Army Rangers, and Special Operations Aviation Regiment attempt to capture two of Mohammed Farah Aidid’s senior subordinates in the Bakaara Market neighborhood of Mogadishu. The mission is led by Major General William F. Garrison and was supposed to take no more than one hour. The extraction by the Delta team is successful, but the Somali militia, armed with RPGs, shoot down two Black Hawk helicopters, and the resulting rescue extends the mission to over 15 hours.

The film follows many characters through the build-up, assault and rescue. It shows how Staff Sergeant Matt Eversmann was placed in charge of Ranger Chalk Four, before portraying the raid and successful extraction of the wanted persons, and shows the first injury, as PFC Todd Blackburn falls from a helicopter as it maneuvers to avoid an RPG. This is the beginning of the indication that the troops are overwhelmed by the volume of enemy militia, and builds up to the two helicopter crashes: Super Six-One piloted by Cliff “Elvis” Wolcott, and Super Six-Four piloted by Mike Durant. Durant is taken prisoner after the two Delta snipers who requested to be inserted near the crash site of Super Six-Four are killed while defending him.

The film ends with text informing the viewer that “19 Americans and approximately 1000 Somalis died in the conflict. Mike Durant was released and Mohamed Farrah Aidid died in 1996”.