"To Boldly Grow: Some Celluloid Bonsai (Part IIIb)"
1993 Through 1999

Through 1992
1993 to 1999
Incomplete Sightings

Nu Image Production

Point of Impact
     A couple of bonsai are quickly seen in this suspense/action film.  "The bonsai weren't very good either, though they weren't junipers :-)"  (Contributed by Nicolas Steenhout in posting to rec.arts.bonsai, January 26, 2001.)

Xin liu xing hu die jian
(Butterfly and Sword)
     There is a scene in this Cantonese film in which Sister Ko (Michelle Yeoh) and Butterfly (Joey Wong) are arguing about whom Sing is in love with more and if Sister Ko can show her feelings.  In the direct center of the background you will find your dwarf potted tree.  (Contributed by Dustin Martinez in personal e-mail to RJB, June 4, 2001.)

"Northern Exposure" episode
"Three Doctors"
    AUDIO ONLY DJ Chris (John Corbett) is on the radio reading local upcoming events, perhaps ten minutes into the episode:  "If you're hot for bonsai tree sculpting, you'd better get those applications in toute de suite.  Class is filling up fast, and there's only a dozen dwarf cypresses to go around.  I'm sharpening my pruning shears."  Airdate September 20, 1993.  (Brought to RJB's attention by wife Shirley.)

"Blossom" episode
"Six and Sonny" and
"Blossom's Dilemma"
     Mention of bonsai is made early in the first (Oct. 11) of this two-part episode.  Then about three-quarters through the first part, Sonny (David Schwimmer) offers a small rounded juniper in a blue glazed pot to Blossom's dad (Ted Wass).  More bonsai are seen in the second part (Oct. 18).

TV - Fox
"Star Trek: The Next Generation" episode
     About forty minutes into this Oct. 23 episode, a bonsai is in three shots in Data's quarters with the android, his cat, Spot, and Lt. Worf (Michael Dorn).  In a shallow medium-sized greenish-blue rectangular pot is what appears to be a light green delicate-looking juniper.

TV - Fox
"Star Trek: The Next Generation" episode
"Dark Page"
     Three small nondescript trees in backlit niches are very briefly seen in the ship's arboretum almost twenty minutes into the Oct. 30 episode.  Luaxana Troi (Majel Barrett) sits in front of them.  Those plants are visible with two other dwarf trees in the same setting over a longer period of time less than ten minutes from the end of the episode.

Columbia Pictures movie
My Life
     "In a few scenes, (Michael Keaton as Bob Jones) was with, I believe, a Chinese medical practitioner (Haing S. Ngor as Mr. Ho) who had a 'bonsai' in one window of the office.  It looked like one of those dreaded mail-order or mall-bought junipers destined to die within a week or so."
      Actually, when Bob Jones gets into Mr. Ho's office, there are two penjing on the window ledges.  Jones looks over to see the one composition in a two second shot, a twin tree thin trunk informal upright in a dark rectangular pot with brownish rocky soil mix.  The plants are not the typical material -- they actually look like miniaturized trees or pines (not junipers) with half-dozen or so branch/thin cloud layers each.  The second composition is seen in two brief long shots past the top of Keaton's head.  Juniper-like crescent foliage, the thin trunk on the left in a brownish rectangular tray.  In a later return to the office the twin tree is briefly seen across the room.  In another visit the second is seen in very dim light.  Both compositions are fairly small pieces -- they could just comfortably be carried in one hand each.  Released in USA November 12.  (Contributed by Deb Kennedy, Traverse City, MI in posting to rec.arts.bonsai, November 12, 2000; additional details brought to RJB's attention by my wife Shirley.) 

TV - Fox
"Star Trek: The Next Generation" episode
"Force of Nature"
     Twenty minutes into this Nov. 13 episode in Lt. Commander Data's quarters, we see a bonsai in a dark brown rectangular tray.  The soil surface is covered by shiny black stones.  The tree has dark brown wood and dark green-gray foliage.  Due to a longer view than in other episodes, it appears to be artificial (a Ming tree).

TV - Fox
"Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" episode
     In the opening minutes, a small to medium-sized possibly evergreen bonsai in a darker greenish glazed rectangular pot is seen briefly in the background in Miles and Keiko O'Brien's quarters on board the station.  Another bonsai, a nondescript shape in a blue glazed oval pot, is seen in several shots past the halfway point of the Feb. 5 episode.

TV - Fox
"Star Trek: The Next Generation" episode
"Eye of the Beholder"
     A scene takes place in Lt. Calloway's quarters during the last five minutes of this Feb. 26 episode.  A bonsai is barely seen in three quick shots.  It sits on the table from which Counselor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) picks up a hand phaser.  The tree appears to be a thin trunked foot tall root over rock planting.  The tree's apex is very close to the top of the rock and their colors blend together.

"World Figure Skating Championships"
     This taped event from the Event Center in Makuhari near Tokyo Bay was broadcast on March 25 and 26.  A medium-sized pair of long-needle pines set against an orange background flanked the area where the just-finished contestants went to await the marks of the jury.  The trunk of the tree on the left had been cut off about half-way up and its left branch, just below the cut, was now trained so that its apex was that of the tree also (somewhat resembling a Western number "4" shape).

TV - Fox
"Star Trek: The Next Generation" episode
     About 40 minutes into this March 19 episode, a medium-sized root over rock bonsai is seen very briefly in the shadows of Lt. Commander Data's quarters.

TV - Fox
"Star Trek: The Next Generation" episode
     Two very brief shots about twenty-five minutes into this April 30 episode show a small/medium-sized root over rock planting in an oval tray in Jason Vigo's quarters.

"Northern Exposure" episode
"I Feel the Earth Move"
      In the scene after Holling is attempting to reconcile his catering quote with the menu for the wedding reception, we start with an external shot of the bed-and-breakfast.  Inside, the two grooms and one of the moms are discussing upcoming sitting arrangements.  There is a potted tree right of center at the back of the dayroom/office, lit by the window.  Another is at the center of the table to the left.  Both trees seem to be deciduous species, not tightly shaped.  The one in the front possibly a thick-trunked elm with sparse foliage, almost used as if it were the pivot for the camera movement.  It is in a round deep pot with upflaring sides darker in color.  The mom (Joyce Van Patten) is going around watering.  Another tree is opposite against the wall under a lighting sconce.  Its outline seems more coniferous.  When Erick (Don R. McManus) walks out he passes a narrow dark-wood Oriental-style room divider.  Airdate May 2, 1994.  (Brought to RJB's attention by wife Shirley.)

Warner Brothers movie
On Deadly Ground
     In this Steven Seagal film, a bonsai is very briefly seen in the office of the oil company's president (Michael Caine).  What looks like a "mallsai" style serissa is on an end table in the middle of the room.  Released in USA February 18.  (Contributed by Bill Neff in posting to rec.arts.bonsai, August 9, 1999.)

Universal Pictures movie
     During the final half hour or so in this film, there is a brief scene where Dr. Larry Arbogast (Danny DeVito) is hiding the very pregnant Dr. Alex Hesse (Arnold Schwarzenegger) in a house during a rain storm.  They enter a room and there is the [requisite] brief shot of a bonsai, inside the room and against a glass block wall.  The tree, probably a juniper with a triangular apex, is in a dark oval pot which rests on a credenza.  Released in USA November 24.

"Northern Exposure" episode
"Buss Stop"
      In the bed-and-breakfast again, a sinuous flowering leafless ume is seen to the left with a hand-held traditional copper water sprayer off to the right.  Split bamboo roll-up screen covers the windows behind.  An evergreen is further to the right as the camera pivots.  Tree comes into the center of the screen while we see Erick (Don McManus) doing the spraying.  Those two trees and one deciduous further to the right are lower on a table or shelf.  A little later as Ron (Doug Ballard) goes over to the desk a little ways in from the window, another smaller deciduous tree is seen on the desk.  There is afire going in the fireplace opposite the window across the room.  The tree is seen a few seconds later in a low dark oval bowl, possibly having berries amid a little dark foliage.  Never seen really in focus, but it is in the middle of a couple of shots right before the opening credits.   Airdate April 24, 1995.  (Brought to RJB's attention by wife Shirley.)

20th Century Fox movie
French Kiss
    AUDIO ONLY  About an hour and a half into this film, Kate (Meg Ryan), dividing up the divorcing couples' assets, begins by telling Charlie (Timothy Hutton) that "I get the bonn-zye,..."  Released in USA May 5.

MCA/Universal Pictures movie
    In apparently the first shot of Mariner (Kevin Costner), we see him "peeing into a bottle, pouring the fluid into a home-made chemistry set, cranking a handle to process it, and then drinking it.  Then he gargles, and spits on his little [potted] lime tree."  Deacon (Dennis Hopper) later incinerates the tree.  Released in USA July 28.  (Contributed by Derrick Price of Phoenix, AZ, Nina Shishkoff of Riverhead, NY, and Anne Marie of Daytona Beach, FL -- with 07/28/1995 Roger Ebert quote -- in postings to rec.arts.bonsai, March 5 through 7, 2000; and Craig J. Hunt in personal e-mails to RJB, March 6 and 8, 2000.)

"Star Trek Voyager" episode
     Very briefly observed in the first scene after the opening credits of this October 9 episode, a thin trunked juniper in a small rectangular pot sets on the coffee table in the quarters of Harry Kim (Garrett Wang).

Tournament of Roses
     "Elephant Antics," the International House of Pancakes (IHOP) float on this New Year's Day, possibly included the depiction of a very large flowering cherry bonsai in an oval two foot deep pot.

"Cybill" episode
"When You're Hot, You're Hot"
     A small thin-trunked juniper in a rectangular glazed pot sits on the counter of a Chinese herbal shop about ten minutes into this particular April 29 episode.  Cybill Shepherd and Christine Baranski are in the scene.

TV - Nissan commercial
"Enjoy the Ride" campaign
     From late summer, the boy in this series goes into an old barn and lands at the bottom of a secret passage in what is an underground garage of the Nissan spokesman.  A medium juniper bonsai in a rectangular pot is seen on the corner of an ornate desk there.

Everything must go
(Alles moet weg)
     A Dutch film directed by Jan Verheyen listed as a Comedy/Drama.  In one scene an enranged husband destroys his wife's bonsai collection.  Should this be reclassified as a horror movie?  (Contributed by David Nassar, Melbourne, Australia, in a posting to rec.arts.bonsai, May 10, 1999.)

The Pillow Book
     "[T]raditional Pensai [sic] are shown throughout" this film whose storyline is derived from the diary of a 10th century Japanese lady-in-waiting.  Released in USA June 6, 1997.  (Contributed by EMO1016@aol.com in personal e-mail to RJB, March 27, 2000.)

"One Life to Live"
     The character R.J. Gannon (Timothy Stickney) has had a number of bonsai on his apartment balcony including a few junipers and Fukien tea.  He is often seen working with his shears on a pretty nicely styled juniper.  (The trees may have come from a place in Manhattan called Living Sculptures near the ABC studios, and the actor is probably an enthusiast off hours.)
     The very first time the trees were shown, Gannon was actually working on several of them while waiting for his lover in the next room to wake up.  The segment ran for quite a bit and zoomed in on him and the trees.  Regularly shown talking about and pruning a few bonsai when in his apartment, the character's knowledge sounds much more real and passionate than simply coming from a script.
     At one point in the storyline (Spring 1999), Gannon burned his club down, was broke and faced with the prospect of not being able to pay for the place.  When his brother offered to move him to the brother's place, Gannon turned him down because his bonsai needed the terrace or they would not survive without an outdoor area.  (Contributed by Patrizia G. Kane, NYC, in personal e-mails to RJB, August 10 and 12, 1999.)

"Touched by an Angel" episode
"Clipped Wings"
      Near the end of this Feb. 16 show, Monica (Roma Downey) is in the office of the Angel of Angels (James Earl Jones).  Looking at her from his point of view we see a small nondescript bonsai on each side of his desk.  The one to the left seems to be a multi-trunked or multi-exposed root (neagari) specimen, possibly deciduous.  The one on the right does show some green.  Two other trees can be made out to the right against the wall, elevated perhaps on top of an aquarium.  That left one appeared the most interesting: the tapered trunk from lower left to upper right with distinct short branches, in silhouette.  The trees are never clearly focused upon in the several shots.

New Line Cinema movie
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
     Three bonsai are to be briefly seen as Austin Powers (Mike Meyers) sneaks into and is discovered at the Japanese-decorated penthouse of Alotta Fagina [sic] (Fabiana Udenio).  One fairly tall medium-sized juniper is in a blue glazed pot to the left rear; a pair of smaller trees is basically seen in silhouette to the right of the first, under the window through which the spy has entered.  Released in USA May 2.

MGM Production movie
Red Corner
    "Some interesting Chinese - Penjing styled bonsai in the opening sequences.  Poor glimpses in the later interrogation sequence."  With Richard Gere.  Released in USA Oct. 31.  (Contributed by Kevin Bailey of Vale of Clwyd Bonsai Society in posting to Internet Bonsai Club, January 11, 2003.)

Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation movie
There's Something About Mary
     During the first fifteen minutes of the film, at the end of Ted Stroehmann (Ben Stiller)'s session, on a credenza in the therapist's office can be seen an exotic species bonsai, thin trunk in a somewhat light-colored pot.  Released in USA July 15.

Warner Bros. movie
Without Limits
     A "glimpse of a bench full of bonsai" can be had in this biography of 1970s running great Steve Prefontaine.  Released in USA September 11.  (Contributed by Nicolas Steenhout in posting to rec.arts.bonsai, November 12, 2000.)

New Line Cinema movie
Rush Hour
     In scene 23, right after Carter (Chris Tucker) meets with Juntao's men in the second floor of the Chinese restaurant, a waiter is shown taking a tray into that upstairs meeting room and Lee (Jackie Chan) calls him from the front right of the screen.  There is a large painting on the wall to the left.  In the bottom center of the painting is a penjing resting on the right side of a rectangular white-topped stand.  A potted grass is on short stand at the center of the first stand.  The painting is Ye Fang-lin's 1743 Gathering of Literati.  The tray is perhaps a foot wide.  The painting is a more detailed and color reproduction of the work we originally saw in our researches years ago.  The movie was released in USA September 18.  (And the kids say RJB spends way too much time looking at bonsai and penjing pictures...) 

Promark Entertainment Group movie
Angel's Dance
     "A B type flick starring Jim Belushi as a California hit man with an ocean side house.  A juniper is displayed outside on the porch railing.  Premiered in USA February 25.  (Per jguyett from Knox County, USA in posting to bonsaitalk.com on Apr. 1, 2005)

TV - Lipton Brisk Ice Tea commercial      Beginning in May, this delightful parody using animated clay figurines shows Ralph "Karate Kid" Macchio fighting Bruce Lee.  Against the back walls of the subject dojo (martial arts practice room) are set three bonsai, each on its own raised stand. 

Columbia Pictures Corporation movie
Runaway Bride
     Several minutes into this film there is a brief scene in the office of the USA Today editor (Nancy Wilson).  Right before Richard Gere's character is let go, there is a few second-long shot across the desk looking at Wilson.  In the middle of her desk is a very small, low bonsai.  Premiered in USA July 25.  

TV - Eagle Hardware commercial      A great ad showing several respectable bonsai along with an elderly couple (presumably not for sale) with a pitch about "soil, a shovel, time, etc."  The trees, the setting and the respect it seemed to show for bonsai growing were impressive.  (Contributed by Daniel Avrin in posting to rec.arts.bonsai, September 7, 1999.)

TV - Chili's restaurant commercial      Seen in September, two animated clay peppers are performing karate on a white onion.  Behind them, a pair of bonsai in bowls flank a set of steps going up from the dirt sparring field to what may be the veranda of a dojo.

"Bonsai" episode
     "Planting Indoor Bonsai": Brush cherry (Syzygium paniculatum) ; "Quick Tip: Watering Bonsai" ; "A Bonsai Ficus" with Bonsai expert Ann Erb; "Quick Tip: Protect Outdoor Bonsai" and "Tips for Buying Bonsai."  Episode DIG-119 air date of October 28.

Abandon Pictures Production,
New Line Home Video Distributionmovie
Pros & Cons
    About halfway through the film, when Ben Babbitt (Larry Miller) and Ron Carter (Tommy Davidson) are brought into the bowels of the prison to meet with Kyle Pettibone (Delroy Lindo), the latter is seen trimming a small non-conifer bonsai in a small dark pot.  A second similar-sized tree is next to it in a white glazed rectangular/trapezoidal pot.  The trees are seen in several shots of Kyle.  And the bonsai are briefly visible in a later scene.

New Line Cinema movie
     In this Tom Cruise release, a pine bonsai is seen in the house of the old man by his bed.  Halfway through the 2nd videotape, Linda (Julianne Moore) comes into the house from the rain.  As Phil (Philip Seymour Hoffman) talks to her, the camera pans toward and quickly by the tree sitting on a counter/half-wall divider.  The trunk moves at a 45° angle to the upper right into a rounded foliage pad, the lower third moving to the upper left at a similar angle.  Its dark rectangular pot is more than one-quarter the height of the tree and two-thirds the width of the foliage.
     The tree is briefly seen later in a shot from the deathbed of Earl (Jason Robards), several feet away from the counter.  (BTW, Robards absolutely "nails" the portrayal of a dying man.)
     What appears to be a suiseki on a large stand is seen fairly upclose but not clearly in the entranceway to the house in one of the final shots of the film.  Premiered in USA December 8.  General release one month later.  (Contributed by Keegan, Middlebury, VT, in posting to rec.arts.bonsai, January 21, 2000.  Details added by RJB 10/29/01.)
    Editor's Note:  While the film does have artistic merit for its montage storyline and acting, the language in several scenes is VERY strong and there are a few depictions of drug use.  THIS IS NOT A FAMILY FILM.

Fox 2000 Pictures movie
Anna and the King
     Near the film's beginning, when the gates to the Imperial Palace open we start to see the many potted trees lining the wide central walkway.  Some are pom-poms, some are in portable pots, a few in large concrete-equivalent ground huggers.  Many of the trees are tall and thin.  As Anna (Jodie Foster) later crosses the porchway into the Prime Minister's chambers, a few medium-sized specimens in shallow pots are briefly visible.  Much later, Anna and her party are getting out of a carriage at the docks in preparation to leaving Siam due to the approach of a rebel army.  The top of what might be a small/medium Ficus-like dwarf potted tree is very briefly seen being carried.
      Filmed in Malaysia instead of Thailand because of assumed historical inaccuracies about portrayal of the King of Siam and the time period of the story, the trees herein are not really of 19th century Thai style.  Premiered in USA December 15.

and beyond
Celluloid Bonsai IV

Through 1992
1993 to 1999
Incomplete Sightings

Celluloid Bonsai I
Celluloid Bonsai II
Celluloid Bonsai IV
Celluloid Bonsai V
In Video and
Computer Games

Home  >  Bonsai History  >  Celluloid Bonsai III