The Rookie (2002)

Sports movies can be an effective metaphor for the American Dream. At their best, they highlight competition, achievement and excellence. The Rookie is based on the uplifting, real-life story of pitcher Jim Morris, a 35-year-old West Texas high school teacher and baseball coach who'd been forced to quit the minors because of injuries. The movie chronicles his against-all-odds comeback to become one of the oldest relief pitchers in major-league history.

Director John Lee Hancock focuses mainly on Jimmy (Dennis Quaid) as a happily married, middle-aged man with three kids. The high school baseball team he's coaching is on a losing streak. The kids cut a deal: If they win the district championship, he must try out again for a professional team. When the impossible happens, Jimmy decides to go for it. At first his wife (Rachel Griffiths) is opposed. But she realizes his example could be an inspiration to their children. Family unity is a priority for her and Jimmy, and they're willing to make the effort to have it work.

Young Sherlock Holmes(1985)

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic detective stories have been brought to the screen many times. Young Sherlock Holmes, adapted by Chris Columbus (Home Alone), directed by Barry Levinson (Rain Man) and produced by Steven Spielberg, is one of the more imaginative versions. In the original, Watson first meets Holmes when they're adults. But what if they'd also worked together as schoolboys?

John Watson (Alan Cox) is impressed by the deductive skills of his older classmate, Sherlock Holmes (Nicholas Rowe), and the duo soon find themselves plunged into a bizarre mystery.

Men who have no apparent connection with each other are being struck dead after experiencing terrifying hallucinations. The adventurous schoolboys encounter a sinister fencing master (Anthony Higgins), the eccentric inventor of flying machines (Nigel Stock), and a cult dedicated to Egyptian rites of mummification. The movie's tone is closer to Spielberg's Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom than the usual stiff-upper-lip Victorian detective yarn. There are cliff-hanging chases with clever special effects as well as the sifting of clues.


Islamic terrorists aren't the first group to use terrorism to advance their cause. Western society has been plagued by this threat for more than a century. Its perpetrators have ranged from anarchists and communists to great-power rivals. Alfred Hitchcock's Sabotage, which should not be confused with his similarly TITLEd Saboteur, is an adaptation of Joseph Conrad's classic novel about terrorism, Secret Agent. Sylvia (Sylvia Sidney) is unaware of the terrorist activities of her husband, Verloc (Oscar Homolka), who uses a London movie theater as a front. Her primary interest is the care of her little brother (Desmond Tester). Scotland Yard harbors suspicions about Verloc's operations and assigns a detective, Ted (John Loder), to watch them.

Verloc plans to detonate a bomb on a bus crowded with innocent civilians. (Sound familiar?) The inability of the authorities to prevent this outrage provokes some challenging moral questions.

The action unfolds in the brooding atmosphere of evil, intrigue and suspense that Hitchcock knows how to create so well.