'Tear Jerkers - 6 Movie Set'
(Madonna, Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, Matt Damon, Ralph Finnes, et al / 2-DVD / NR / 2014 / Mill Creek Entertainment)
Overview: A Tissue-Clutching 6-Pack! Included in this 6 movie set are: 'Swept Away,' 'Avalon,' 'My Life,' 'To Gillian On Her 37th Birthday,' and both 'The End of The Affair' and 'All The Pretty Horses.'
DVD Verdict: In truth, I'm not much of a "chick flick" or "tear jerker" fan so I had my wife sit in with me for a few of these (again) - and boy, did SHE (again) love (this time) nearly every last one of them! (Note: 'Swept Away' didn't do anything for her, sorry Madonna!)
Just to give you a rundown of a handful that stood out, 'Avalon' (starring Armin Mueller-Stahl, Joan Plowright, Kevin Pollak, Aidan Quinn, and Elizabeth Perkins is a fictionalized (and idealized) account of Levinson's own history, a Jewish family from Russia emigrates to the United States to seek prosperity and happiness. Set largely in the Baltimore of the 1940s and 1950s, "Avalon" gently examines family and the discovery of new opportunity. Plot-wise, there isn't a lot to account for - this film doesn't just seek to tell a story, but to strike a mood and create a feeling. There are just great scenes of familial interaction, funny scenes about growing up, scenes of wonder at the progress of a new country. The film might be one of the strongest family films ever.
In 'To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday,' starring Peter Gallagher, Claire Danes, Kathy Baker, Wendy Crewson, Bruce Altman, and the always-adorable Michelle Pfeiffer, yes, the film (overall) is slow moving, but the plot is great and keeps your attention. Claire Danes plays the daughter of a man who still "believes" his deceased wife (Jillian) is still alive. He "talks" to his dead wife every night on the beach, believing his hallucinations are real, creating emotional troubles for his daughter.
And in 'All The Pretty Horses,' starring the all-star ensemble of Matt Damon, Henry Thomas, Penélope Cruz, and even Lucas Black; and directed by Billy Bob Thornton, John Grady Cole (Damon) is a young man in late 1940's Texas who dreams of living the life of a prosperous rancher. He is determined to see and experience the old frontier before it disappears for good and makes a plan to travel to Mexico on horse with his good friend Lacy Rawlins (Thomas). On route, they meet tough-talking teen Jimmy Blevins, a young fugitive traversing the desert landscape on a stolen horse. He leaves the entourage only days later, dodging authorities for a second-theft of the same nature. Sans Blevins, John and Lacy cross the border and find work taming wild steeds for a man named Rocha, the most prestigious rancher in the area. Trouble brews when good ol' John falls for Rocha's beautiful daughter Alejandra (Cruz). These are all Full Screen Presentations (1.33:1) and enhanced for 16x9 TVs.