1964. In a rural enclave nestled in the shadow of Pittsburgh’s skyscrapers, each member of the River family pursues a dream. Old Man River, a septic tank man by trade, sets out to build a front yard fallout shelter in case the war in Vietnam "brings the end of everything." His wife Flo, who has never been south of the Mason-Dixon line, is secretly penning her own Gone With The Wind. Beau, their 13-year old son, wants to be an astronaut just like his hero, Gus Grissom. At 9, all Danny wants is a dog.
After Beau dies in a tragic accident, the family gives up their dreams. Even when a stray dog wanders into the neighborhood, Danny wants nothing to do with it. But when he realizes the dog knows things only Beau could know, he comes to believe with unshakeable certainty that the spirit of his brother is reincarnated in the dog. If only someone would believe him. When Rocket bites the neighborhood bully who may have been responsible for Beau’s death, the police take the dog away and prepare to put him down. But Danny kidnaps Rocket and heads for Cape Canaveral to find Gus Grissom. He hopes the famous astronaut can save the dog’s life, and with Grissom’s help, fulfill his brother’s greatest dream.
The Philippines, 1946. The end of a long, hard-fought war. JOHN SKEEN, like every other soldier, yearns to return home to his wife and children. But the U.S. Army has other plans -- Skeen has been ordered to head the defense team for the war crimes trial of Japanese GENERAL MASAHARU HOMMA, the notorious ‘Beast of Bataan.’
Skeen is convinced the Army has made a mistake -- he’s simply not qualified. Though he passed the bar, he’s never seen the inside of a courtroom. How could they expect him to conduct a trial of such magnitude, with the entire world watching?
what John Skeen and his co-counsels -- FURNESS, a Harvard-educated real estate attorney, PELZ, a street-smart ladies’ man and CODER, an embittered combat veteran -- will soon discover is that the Army hand-picked them precisely for their lack of experience. GENERAL MACARTHUR wants a swift trial and a guilty verdict, no questions asked.
Out of a soldier’s duty, the defense team begins the task of preparing for trial. During visits to Bilibid Prison, Skeen realizes that General Homma is not the cruel and defiant ‘butcher’ as portrayed in the media -- instead he finds a thoughtful and educated man who speaks fluent English and proudly guards his own perspective on the ill-fated Bataan Death March. Skeen realizes that in order to defend his client he must get to know and understand his enemy. He must also oppose his superiors and ignore the judgment of his peers.
BEAST OF BATAAN is a quintessentially American story of John Skeen and his outgunned and overmatched defense team who battle the superior resources and prosecutorial experience of the Army to transform a kangaroo trial with its pre-ordained verdict into a hard-fought quest for justice.
It's about four American GIs who defend their enemy and battle for truth against a system that doesn't want to hear the truth. A battle is fought, not on the rocky beaches of Iwo Jima with mortars and howitzers, but in a Manila courtroom with valor and courage and the ammunition of American ideals.
In the end, two men who once called each other 'enemy' will forever remember each other as 'friend.'
Dicey Tillerman, 13, has recently arrived on her grandmother’s ramshackle farm in Crisfield, Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay. Deeply troubled by events of that summer and haunted by the memories of her missing mother, she is the defacto caretaker of her younger siblings: James, 10, sensitive and super smart, Maybeth, 9, a beautiful but painfully shy girl, who struggles with an undiagnosed learning disability, and Sammy, 6, rambunctious, defiant, pugnacious. Now she must face the challenges of a new life with a grandmother she barely knows, a reclusive widow and the town’s eccentric outcast who goes her own way, and lives by her own rules.
Just as these disenfranchised kids begin to adjust to life on the farm with their grandmother, their conservative cousin Eunice unexpectedly shows up with the local sheriff. She’s here to collect them and to take them back to Bridgeport. Ab, who can be scary when she’s mad, throws them off of her property. A week later, Ab receives a court summons – Eunice has filed suit for custody of the children.
Before the dust can settle, Gram receives a phone call -- the police have found the children’s mother, catatonic in a Boston mental facility. Gram and Dicey travel to the mental hospital in Boston at Christmas time, where three generations of women must reconcile their past and their future.