THE GRAPES OF WRATH (1940). An indisputable American classic, John Ford's adaptation of John Steinbeck's great novel is, like To Kill a Mockingbird and too few others, one of those rare motion pictures that perfectly captures the essence of its source material without compromising it in any way. Director John Ford (winning the second of his four Oscars) and scripter Nunnally Johnson pull no punches in relating the saga of the Joad family, poor Okie farmers who head to California hoping to find work after their own land is decimated by drought and taken away by heartless banks and corporations. Beautifully photographed by Citizen Kane's Gregg Toland and packed with memorable dialogue (Tom Joad's climactic "I'll be there" speech still stirs the soul), this features career-best performances by Henry Fonda (as Tom), Jane Darwell (winning the Supporting Actress Oscar for her Ma Joad) and John Carradine (as the philosophical ex-preacher Casy). DVD extras include the A&E Biography episode on 20th Century Fox head Darryl F. Zanuck, newsreels from 1934 covering the drought, and footage of President Franklin Roosevelt praising the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE (2003). Diane Keaton has had her share of meaty roles during the past three decades, but not since her Oscar-winning turn in Annie Hall has she been as luminous as in this holiday hit. She's smashing as Erica Barry, a successful playwright not particularly fond of her daughter's (Amanda Peet) new boyfriend, a 63-year-old bachelor (Jack Nicholson) who only dates women under 30. But eventually the pair find themselves overcoming their initial antagonism, leading to a rocky romance that's further complicated by his womanizing ways and her burgeoning relationship with a boyish doctor (Keanu Reeves, never more appealing). For most of its length, this emerges as one of the premiere romantic comedies of recent years; unfortunately, the movie tacks on an unsatisfactory ending that's a betrayal of what preceded it. The film's not crippled by this late-inning error, but it does signal writer-director Nancy Meyers' reluctance to stick with what would have been a less predictable -- but more ballsy -- fadeout. DVD extras include audio commentary by Keaton, Nicholson and Meyers, one deleted scene, and a generous amount of trailers.