the lake house

the year: 2006

the genre: drama

the cast: Keanu Reeves (Alex Wyler); Sandra Bullock (Kate Forster); Christopher Plummer (Simon Wyler); Ebon Moss-Bachrach (Henry Wyler); Dylan Walsh (Morgan)

the plot: A lonely doctor who once occupied an unusual lakeside home begins exchanging letters with its former resident, a frustrated architect. They must try to unravel the mystery behind their extraordinary romance before it's too late.

count: how many children Alex tells Kate he has.

listen for: "He must write one hell of a letter."

did you know: director Alejandro Agresti made a brief cameo as the man using breath spray on the train, beside Sandra Bullock.

extra bonus points: if you know why the dog was named Jack.

also listen for: "Oh, we have a comedian! What, did you eat clown for breakfast?"

did you also know: the actual house did not exist and was built for the movie, then dismantled. In using Google Earth to see the house, enter 41.7142, -87.8901 in the window on the Fly To tab. This will take you to the center of the lake. Zoom to the clearing on the eastern shore. Then select April 29, 2005 as the date.


guess who?

A comment from a member of the preview audience about one of her early bit-parts: "You might give the tall gum chewing blonde more parts and see if she can't make the grade - a good gamble."

During one of her first films, portraying a slave girl, she needed to have her eyebrows entirely shaved off. They never grew back.

She was fired from working at an ice cream store because she kept forgetting to put bananas in banana splits.

She felt that she didn’t deserve the title of "Queen of Comedy" because she thought it belonged to her idol, Carole Lombard.

She was good friends with actresses Carol Burnett, Maureen O’Hara, Mary Jane Croft, Carole Lombard, Ginger Rogers, Vivian Vance, and Mary Wickes.

She was born a brunette.

She was the first woman to own her own film studio.


wild hearts can't be broken

the year: 1991

the genre: drama

the cast: Gabrielle Anwar (Sonora Webster); Michael Schoeffling (Al Carer); Cliff Robertson (Doctor W.F. Carver); Dylan Kussman (Clifford Henderson); Kathleen York (Marie)

the plot: Sonora Webster is a teenage runaway during the Depression. Her life's ambition is to travel to Atlantic City, where "all your dreams come true." After leaving home she accepts a job from Dr. Carver and his girl-and-horse high diving act. Starting out as a stable hand her goal is to become a real diving girl. Dr. Carver's son, Al, helps her tame a wild horse she's named Lightning. Their early morning practices lead not only to Sonora being put into training as a diving girl, but also for Sonora and Al to fall in love. Then tragedy strikes...

don't miss: Clifford's death-defying stunt.

listen for: "Manure just happens to be my speciality."

watch the movie in parts starting here.



the year: 2005

the genre: comedy

the plot: The candy recipes of the goody shops have been stolen by the Goody Bandit, and many animals are out of business. While the police are chasing the criminal, there is a mess at Granny's house involving Little Red Hiding Hood, The Wolf, The Woodsman and Granny, disturbing the peace in the forest. They are all arrested by the impatient Chief Grizzly, but Detective Nicky Flipper is in charge of the investigation. As each of the accused gives his/her own version of the incident, Flipper uses the information to disclose the identity of the evil Goody Bandit.

listen for: "This looks pretty open and shut. Little miss rosy-capes making covert deliveries to the goodie-tycoon. Wolfie tries to eat 'em both, then crazy flannel-pants with the axe here busts in, swinging vigilante-style. Take 'em downtown boys!"

extra bonus points: if you can name a location on the goat's map.


trilogy: the ocean movies

The "Ocean's Trilogy" might be my favorite movie series of all time.

The heists are a lot of fun - and so is everything leading up to them. Travel from Vegas to Lake Como and back to Vegas - and try to keep up with the hilarous dialogue between the gang:
Danny Ocean: the easy-going (unless you take his girl), devil-may-care ringleader.
Rusty Ryan: the idea man with a snacking addiction.
Turk and Virgil Malloy: the Mormon twins - whose bickering will sound familiar to anyone with siblings.
Livingston Dell: the tech geek on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
Yen: the greaseman who ran away from the Chinese circus.
Reuben Tishkoff: the former casino owner who provides the funding.
Saul Bloom: the retired actor who has it all with a nice girl, a goldfish and wall-to-wall carpeting.
Frank Catton: the shady card dealer with a penchant for manicures.
Linus Caldwell: the pickpocket with famous parents.
Basher Tarr: the demolition/explosives expert from across the Pond.

Ocean's Eleven:

Less than 24 hours into his parole, Danny Ocean is already rolling out his next plan. Following three rules - don't hurt anybody, don't steal from anyone who doesn't deserve it, and play the game like you've got nothing to lose - Danny orchestrates the most sophisticated, elaborate casino heist in history.

Ocean's Twelve:

Danny gathers up the gang in New York City before they all jet off to Amsterdam, Rome, and Paris to pull off three seperate heists in order to pay back a very angry Terry Benedict. Also hot on their tails are a dedicated Europol agent with a link to Rusty's past and a mysterious French rival known as the "Night Fox."

Ocean's Thirteen:

When Reuben is double-crossed in a luxury hotel business with business partner Willie Bank, he has a heart attack. Danny and the gang plot a heist to avenge Reuben by breaking Bank's casino.


flushed away

the year: 2006

the genre: comedy

the plot: Roddy is a decidedly upper-crust "society mouse" who lives the life of a beloved pet in a posh Kensington flat. When a sewer rat named Sid comes spewing out of the sink and decides he's hit the jackpot, Roddy schemes to rid himself of the pest by luring him into the "whirlpool." Sid may be an ignorant slob, but he's no fool, so it is Roddy who winds up being flushed away into the bustling sewer world of Ratropolis. There Roddy meets Rita, an enterprising scavenger who works the sewers in her faithful boat, the Jammy Dodger. Roddy immediately wants out, or rather, up; Rita wants to be paid for her trouble; and, speaking of trouble, the villainous Toad - who royally despises all rodents equally, making no distinction between mice and rats--wants them iced... literally. The Toad dispatches his two hapless hench-rats, Spike and Whitey, to get the job done. When they fail, the Toad has no choice but to send to France for his cousin - that dreaded mercenary, Le Frog.

don't miss: the slugs.

listen for: "I believe he said his name was Millicent Bystander."

did you know: when Roddy is selecting a movie for the movie premiere, the DVDs with real titles are all Dreamworks films.

watch for: Grandma's (very understandable) penchant for Tom Jones.

extra bonus points: if you can name one of the books on Toad's bookshelf.

also listen for: "Are you sure about this, Spike? These things are dangerous." "Danger is my middle name!" "I thougth it was Lesley."


guess who?

His birth name was Issur Danielovitch Demsky.

His idol was President Harry S. Truman.

He helped break the Hollywood blacklist by hiring Dalton Trumbo, a member of the "Hollywood Ten", to write a screenplay for one of his most famous movies. Despite widespread criticism from many in the industry he refused to back down and Trumbo received a screen credit under his own name.

He is an avid user of the Internet and is registered with MySpace.

He speaks German (fluently, but not accent-free) and also French.

He was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1984.

He has a famous movie star son and daughter-in-law.


in search of the castaways

the year: 1962

the genre: adventure

the cast: Maurice Chevalier (Jacques Paganel); Hayley Mills (Mary Grant); George Sanders (Thomas Ayerton)

the plot: The Grant children know their shipwrecked father must still be alive because they received his message in a bottle. With the help of Monsieur Paganel their searches take them from earthquake, fire, flood, to a cannibal tribe.

did you know: Hayley Mills made this film two years after her father, John Mills, starred in Swiss Family Robinson also made by Walt Disney about shipwrecked castaways.

listen for: "Why would a shark swallow a bottle?" "What was in his mind, I don't know. I only know what was in his stomach."

don't miss: Old Bill Gaye - he be smart!