Monday, November 23, 2009

#420: Jerry Maguire (1996)

Director: Cameron Crowe
Cast: Tom Cruise, Renée Zellweger & Cuba Gooding Jr.

Jerry Maguire is one of the top sports agents in his firm. He's rolling in the dough, keeping his romantic life active and never committal, and doesn't even really need to try too hard to get it all done. But one night, out of the blue, he looks at his life and realizes how repulsive it is. He puts all his thoughts to paper, writing a personal mission statement in which he places morals over moolah. He distributes it to the entire company, and before he changes his mind the place is roaring with applause... except for his boss. He's fired on the spot. He calls all of his clients begging for them to stay with him, but only two stay on his side. Also on his side is single mom Dorothy Boyd, from the finance department, who has fallen head over heels for Jerry.

In all honesty, I wasn't looking forward to watching this. I mean, it has Tom Cruise - that's a bad sign. But the fact of the matter is, this is a great movie. Probably among the top 10 of the 90's (I sense a list will be made soon...). Part of its greatness is in the casting. This role IS Tom Cruise. There's even bits of insanity thrown in. Cuba Gooding, Jr. is also at the top of his game in the film, earning him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. And of course there's Ms. Zellweger, whose character is among the most charming roles of hers that I've seen.

It's also not possible to review this film without mentioning its catchphrases. Having never seen the film, I never knew where some of these lines came from, and was surprised just how many this film has.

The plot is a nice twist for the sport film genre, focusing on the work put off the field rather than the games themselves. All of the characters have much more depth in them than in the standard sport film as well, pulling you in much more for the final game we witness.

My only problem? The fact that I saw a skit on SNL before I saw the film. Renée Zellweger was hosting, and parodied a scene with Dorothy and her son. In the skit, the son was played by Chris Farley, wearing extremely large glasses and holding a gargantuan juice box. Sitting on Zellweger's lap. I just couldn't watch scenes with Dorothy and her son the way I was intended to. I wish I could find the video on YouTube, but I can't.

Great film. Don't pass up on it because a crazy man has the title role.

Fun Trivia (Stolen from IMDB):
  • Cameron Crowe has stated that Jerry's memo/mission statement was directly influenced by Jeffrey Katzenberg's tirade after leaving Disney.
  • Tom Cruise did not remember that Bonnie Hunt was in Rain Man (1988). At first he thought she was joking when she said they had worked together before.
  • Renée Zellweger admitted that the day she was cast in this film, it had been so long since she had worked that when she went to an ATM, she did not have enough of a balance to make a withdrawal.

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