The Gist: An eccentric billionaire (Richard Attenborough) with way too much money on his hands decides to play God and clone dinosaurs using prehistoric DNA. Not only that, he creates a high-tech theme park on an exotic island, inviting his grandkids, lawyer, and a few scientists in for a look. As is usually the case, theres a greedy person in the mix. This time, its nerdy computer expert (Wayne Knight, aka Newman), who decides to disable the security system so he can escape with some stolen embryos. Well, its just one big party when the raptors figure out the juice is off on the electric fences.
Why We Love It: The folks over at Industrial Light and Magic really earned their paychecks on this one. We have no problem believing these dinos and this place really exists. When scientists Sam Neill and Laura Dern come over that hill and catch a first glimpse of the herd, theyre awestruck and so are we.
MONTY PYTHON & THE HOLY GRAIL (PG, 1975) Wed., 8/2
The Gist: Grab your coconuts, mates, and settle in as King Arthur (the late great Graham Chapman) gathers a band of knights and sets out to find the Holy Grail. But you wont find Richard Harris singing Camelot in this movie. Its a madcap series of sketches with each knight facing his own dangers: Sir Lancelot (John Cleese) slaughters a group of wedding guests; Sir Galahad (Michael Palin) falls into the clutches of sex-starved maidens; and Sir Robin (Eric Idle) flees danger while his minstrel buddies sing of his cowardice. Throw in Arthurs manservant, Patsy (Terry Gilliam), some quirky townsfolk, homicidal rabbits, and catapulting cows, and youve got the makings of a cult classic that takes hits at everything from Marxist rhetoric to religious doctrine.
Why We Love It: Because, Alice, its smart, silly, irreverent, and one
from the best minds in the biz. Dont try and understand it. Just go with the flow.
NAPOLEON DYNAMITE (PG, 2004) Thurs., 8/3
The Gist: Jon Heder plays a high-school nerd whos tall, gangly, and spends his life drawing pictures of made-up creatures. He lives on the outskirts of a small, dusty town in Idaho with his equally nerdy brother, Kip (Aaron Ruell), whose waking life is spent in online chat rooms. After a dune buggy accident lays up their grandma, the boys Uncle Rico (Jon Gries) comes to live with them. Hes stuck in 1982, where he supposedly was a big high school sports star. He keeps videotaping himself throwing a football over and over. Napoleon finally makes a friend at school, Pedro (Efren Ramirez), and what follows is a series of misadventures involving the prom, a campaign for class president, disco dancing, and oh yes, a delicious bass.
Why We Love It: Because wed vote for Pedro, and its always fun to see the geeks come out on top. Sweet!
THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939) Fri., 8/4
The Gist: You know the story: Dorothy (Judy Garland) lives on a farm in Kansas with her Auntie Em and Uncle Henry. But when a twister picks up her, her house, and her dog, and deposits them in the colorful land of Oz, its clear theyre not in Kansas anymore. To get back home, shes gotta go down that yellow-brick road and seek the wise counsel of the Wizard of Oz, all without being killed by the Wicked Witch of the West, who vows to get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too! Rest assured that Dorothy gets some help along the way.
Why We Love It: A rag-tag bunch
of misfits, a girl who just wants to go
home, a good witch and a bad witch, and all those munchkins. Whats not to love? Its the movie that launched a thousand ruby slippers into our collective consciousness.
PEE-WEES BIG ADVENTURE (PG, 1985) Sat., 8/5
The Gist: Its the story of a rebel and his bike. When Pee-wees beloved red bike is stolen, he interrogates his friends and assaults his spoiled neighbor Francis (Mark I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I Holton). Pee-wee consults a fortune-teller, who tells him the bike is, in fact, in the basement of the Alamo. And so begins a road movie like no other, as the P-Man encounters escaped convicts, biker gangs, wistful waitresses (and their jealous boyfriends), mysterious female truckers, even a few Warner Bros. studio execs.
Why We Love It: Because we all remember our first bike. And because well never listen to Tequila the same way again. If you dont believe me, check it out for yourself. Tell em Large Marge sent ya.
DR. STRANGELOVE (1964) Sun., 8/6
The Gist: U.S. Air Force General Jack Ripper (Sterling Hayden) goes completely and utterly mad, MAD, I SAY! and sends his bombers to destroy the U.S.S.R. He suspects the communists are conspiring to pollute the precious bodily fluids of the American people. Peter Sellers plays the three men who might avert this tragedy: British Captain Lionel Mandrake (the only person with access to the demented Ripper); U.S. President Merkin Muffley (whose best attempts to divert disaster rest on placating a drunken Soviet Premier); and Dr. Strangelove (former Nazi genius who believes that such a device would not be a practical deterrent for reasons which at this moment must be all too obvious). Will the bombers be stopped in time?
Why We Love It: Because 42 years later, this movie is more frighteningly relevant than ever before. It doesnt flinch from staring nuclear war in the face. The question is, should we?
Jane Louise Boursaw is a freelance writer specializing in the movie and television industries. Visit her online at www.ReelLifeWithJane.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.