THE NATURAL
1984, Sony Repertory, 134 min, USA, Dir: Barry Levinson

Based on the 1952 novel by Bernard Malamud. Barry Levinson (RAIN MAN, BUGSY) directs Robert Redford as Roy Hobbs, an over-the-hill rookie who appears out of nowhere to lead a losing 1930s baseball team, the New York Knights, to the top. A tragic turn had destroyed Hobbs' early playing career, and now he is going to live what should have been. The all-star cast features Glenn Close (nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award), Kim Basinger, Robert Duvall and Barbara Hershey. The great music score, one of the most recognized in film history, is by Randy Newman. Life often imitates art, as the Oscar-nominated score is now recognized as the soundtrack behind the legendary Kirk Gibson home run for the L.A. Dodgers in the 1988 World Series. Redford’s bat, "Wonderboy," rivals CITIZEN KANE’s sleigh, "Rosebud," as one of Hollywood’s best-known props. Beautifully shot by cinematographer Caleb Deschanel.


DOWNSIZING
2017, Paramount, 135 min, USA, Dir: Alexander Payne

This sci-fi satire imagines what might happen if, as a solution to over-population, Norwegian scientists discover how to shrink humans to five inches tall and propose a 200-year global transition from big to small. People soon realize how much further money goes in a miniaturized world. With the promise of a better life, everyman Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) and wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to abandon their stressed lives in Omaha for a new downsized community, taking the irreversible leap that will trigger life-changing adventures when they become small.


GOOD MORNING VIETNAM
1987, Walt Disney Pictures, 121 min, USA, Dir: Barry Levinson

Delivering dialogue that was frequently improvised, Robin Williams earned his first Oscar nomination as Armed Forces Radio Service DJ Adrian Cronauer, whose freewheeling mix of hits of the day and rapid-fire commentary ruffled military feathers in Saigon during the Vietnam War. Given the setting, there’s drama as well as comedy, plus lots of great music; the film’s platinum-selling soundtrack put Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” back on the charts. Costarring Forest Whitaker and Bruno Kirby.


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