The First Wives Club

  • Directors: Hugh Wilson
  • Producers: Scott Rudin
  • Writers: Olivia Goldsmith, Robert Harling, Paul Rudnick
  • Genres: Comedy
  • Actors: Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, Bette Midler, Elizabeth Berkley, Stockard Channing, Stephen Collins, Victor Garber, Marcia Gay Harden, Eileen Heckart, Dan Hedaya, Sarah Jessica Parker, Bronson Pinchot, Maggie Smith

At Middlebury College in 1969, four friends, Elise Elliot (Goldie Hawn), Brenda Morelli (Bette Midler), Annie MacDuggan (Diane Keaton), and Cynthia Griffin (Stockard Channing), are graduating. As graduation gifts, Cynthia (the valedictorian of the class) presents the girls with matching pearl necklaces. As the graduates take a commemorative picture of the four of them (presumably for the last time), Cynthia makes Annie, Brenda and Elise promise that they will always be there for each other throughout the remainder of their lives.

In the present time, the four friends eventually lose touch with one another, as evident when Cynthia is tearfully gazing at the picture of the four of them on that graduation day. She gives her maid a pearl necklace (identical to the one she gave to her friends on graduation day), and she has her mail letters to her college chums. She later walks outside of the balcony of her luxurious penthouse in a floor length fur coat, a cigarette and a drink, and then commits suicide by jumping off the balcony after learning through tabloids that her husband is divorcing her for a much younger woman. Her former friends aren’t doing much better: Brenda is divorced, left for a younger woman, depressed, and struggling financially. Elise, also divorced for a younger woman, is now an aging alcoholic movie star who has become a plastic-surgery addict to keep her career afloat. Annie, meanwhile, is separated and going through therapy with her husband. Shortly after Cynthia’s funeral, at which the three remaining friends are reunited for the first time since college, Annie’s husband Aaron (Stephen Collins) leaves her for her younger therapist (Marcia Gay Harden) and asks her for a divorce; Brenda has a rather unpleasant encounter at a clothing store with her ex, Morty (Dan Hedaya) and his younger and rather hateful mistress Shelly (Sarah Jessica Parker), and Elise finds out that her husband wants a divorce and is requesting alimony and half of their marital assets. Also, during a meeting with a director for a possible leading lady movie role, she discovers that she is only wanted for the mother of the leading lady. Shortly thereafter, the three friends receive the letter that Cynthia mailed to them before her suicide. After all three read their letter from Cynthia and feeling that they have been taken for granted by their husbands, the women decide to create the First Wives Club, aiming to get revenge on their exes. Annie’s lesbian daughter Chris (Jennifer Dundas) also gets in on the plan by asking for a job at her father’s advertising agency so she can supply her mother with inside information.

Deciding that revenge would make them no better than their husbands, they instead use these situations to push their men into funding the establishment of a non-profit organization dedicated to aiding abused women, in memory of their college friend Cynthia. The movie ends with a celebration at the new women’s center. Annie narrates that Elise started a relationship with a cast member in her new play, that Brenda and Morty reconciled their differences and got back together, and that when Aaron tried to get back together with her, Annie, she told him to “drop dead.”

Milk

  • Directors: Gus Van Sant
  • Producers: Dan Jinks, Bruce Cohen, Michael London
  • Writers: Dustin Lance Black
  • Genres: Biography, Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, Diego Luna, James Franco, Alison Pill, Victor Garber

Milk opens with archival footage of police raiding gay bars and arresting patrons during the 1950s and 1960s, followed by Dianne Feinstein’s November 27, 1978, announcement to the press that Milk and Moscone have been assassinated. Milk is seen recording his will throughout the film, nine days (November 18, 1978) before the assassinations. The film then flashes back to New York City in 1970, the eve of Milk’s 40th birthday and his first meeting with his much younger lover, Scott Smith.

Unsatisfied with his life and in need of a change, Milk and Smith decide to move to San Francisco in the hope of finding larger acceptance of their relationship. They open Castro Camera in the heart of Eureka Valley, a working class neighborhood in the process of evolving into a predominantly gay neighborhood known as The Castro. Frustrated by the opposition they encounter in the once Irish-Catholic neighborhood, Milk utilizes his background as a businessman to become a gay activist, eventually becoming a mentor for Cleve Jones. Early on, Smith serves as Milk’s campaign manager, but his frustration grows with Milk’s devotion to politics, and he leaves him. Milk later meets Jack Lira, a sweet-natured but unbalanced young man. As with Smith, Lira cannot tolerate Milk’s devotion to political activism, and eventually hangs himself.

The last scene is an aerial shot of the candlelight vigil held by thousands for Milk and Moscone throughout the streets of the city. Pictures of the actual people depicted in the film, and brief summaries of their lives follow. This includes a note that Dan White’s lawyers used the infamous Twinkie defense to get White’s conviction reduced to voluntary manslaughter.

Titanic

  • Directors: James Cameron
  • Producers: Jon Landau, James Cameron
  • Writers: James Cameron
  • Genres: Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Frances Fisher, Victor Garber, Bernard Hill, Bill Paxton, Gloria Stuart

In 1997, treasure hunter Brock Lovett (Bill Paxton) and his team explore the wreck of the RMS Titanic, searching for a necklace set with a valuable blue diamond called the Heart of the Ocean. Unsuccessful, they instead discover a drawing of a young woman reclining nude, wearing the Heart of the Ocean, dated the day the Titanic sank. 101-year-old Rose Dawson Calvert (Gloria Stuart) learns of the drawing, and contacts Lovett to inform him she is the woman in the drawing. She and her granddaughter Elizabeth “Lizzy” Calvert (Suzy Amis) visit Lovett and his skeptical team on his salvage ship. When asked if she knew the whereabouts of the necklace, Rose Calvert recalls her memories aboard the Titanic, revealing for the first time that she was Rose DeWitt Bukater, a passenger believed to have died in the sinking.

In 1912, the upper-class 17-year-old Rose (Kate Winslet) boards the ship in Southampton, England, with her fiancé, Caledon “Cal” Hockley (Billy Zane) and her mother, Ruth DeWitt Bukater (Frances Fisher). Distraught and frustrated by her engagement to Cal and her controlled life, Rose attempts suicide by jumping from the stern, but a drifter and artist named Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) intervenes. Initially Cal, his friends and the sailors, overhearing Rose’s screams, believe Jack attempted to rape her. She explains Jack saved her life, hiding her suicide attempt by explaining she slipped after trying to see the propellers. Jack supports the claim, although Hockley’s manservant, former police officer Spicer Lovejoy, is unconvinced. Jack and Rose strike up a tentative friendship as she thanks him for his corroboration, and he shares stories of his adventures traveling and sketching; their bond deepens when they leave a first-class formal dinner of the rapport-building wealthy for a much livelier gathering of Irish dance and ale in third-class.

Rose is taken by the RMS Carpathia to New York City, where she gives her name as Rose Dawson (adopting Jack’s surname, leading everyone to believe Rose DeWitt Bukater died on the Titanic). Having completed her story, the elderly Rose goes to the stern of Lovett’s ship. After she steps onto the railing, it is revealed she still has the Heart of the Ocean in her possession. She drops the diamond into the water, sending it to join the remains of the most important event of her life. The film ends with a shot of Rose in bed. Around her are pictures of her doing everything she said she would do with Jack throughout her life.[3] The final shot of the film is a vision of the young Rose reuniting with Jack at the Grand Staircase of the Titanic, surrounded and applauded by those who perished on the ship as she kisses him.