COCOON
1985, 20th Century Fox, 117 min, USA, Dir: Ron Howard

Senior citizen troublemakers Art (Don Ameche), Ben (Wilford Brimley) and Joe (Hume Cronyn) have seemingly discovered the fountain of youth during one of their nightly excursions to an unattended swimming pool. After their swim, their ailments and fatigue dissipate and they begin to experience a renewed energy. Little do they know that the source of the pool’s power involves a pair of extraterrestrial visitors, who are eager to enlist the men’s help in an elaborate plot to return home. Featuring Brian Dennehy, Jack Gilford, Steve Guttenberg and Maureen Stapleton, this Ron Howard sci-fi classic won Oscars for Best Visual Effects and Best Supporting Actor (Ameche).


TRADING PLACES
1983, Paramount, 118 min, USA, Dir: John Landis

Eddie Murphy proved that his debut performance in 48 HOURS was no fluke with this follow-up comedy hit. Murphy plays a street hustler, and Landis regular Dan Aykroyd is a stockbroker; both men's lives are turned upside down when wealthy brothers Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy decide to figure out whether nature matters more than nurture and manipulate the opposites into exchanging lives. Filled with quotable dialogue and expertly crafted by John Landis, it includes a plethora of winning supporting performances from Jamie Lee Curtis, Denholm Elliott, Paul Gleason and Jim Belushi (as, in a nod to Landis' debut film SCHLOCK, a guy in a gorilla suit!).


MIDNIGHT
1939, Universal, 94 min, USA, Dir: Mitchell Leisen

A showgirl (Claudette Colbert) impersonating a baroness, a lovestruck taxi driver (Don Ameche) and a cuckolded millionaire (John Barrymore) are just a few of the ingredients in this frothy concoction penned by Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder and directed with breathless elan by Mitchell Leisen. Costarring Mary Astor, Francis Lederer and gossip queen Hedda Hopper, this delirious riff on the Cinderella story ranks among the greatest of all screwball comedies.


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