A Few Good Men
Director: Rob Reiner
Starring: Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore
Hands down, this 1992 movie is the best court room drama I've ever seen. I watched it again over the break and it re-established itself as one of my favorite movies. If you've never seen it, or its been a few years, go rent it and you won't be disappointed.
If you're looking for an action oriented 90's flick, look elsewhere; in fact, this is one of the most dialogue-heavy movies I've ever seen. There's a reason for all the talking - the film was based on a Broadway play. After watching it, I've often wondered how I would react to seeing a stage play version of this story. I'm almost certain I would be let down because the performances in the movie version are so iconic that I couldn't imagine anyone else playing the roles.
I'm not a big Demi Moore fan (Indecent Proposal kind of sucked), but she held her own in this one against some big-time movie stars. Tom Cruise was fantastic as the arrogant lawyer Daniel Kaffee, and Kevin Pollack provided welcome comic relief in an otherwise-serious story about the death of a Marine private in Cuba and the soldiers charged with his murder.
Jack Nicholson. What is there to say about him? The guy has played some of the best characters to grace the screen in his 48 year career, and Col. Nathan Jessup falls into that category. I've seen this movie nine or ten times, and that final scene in the courtroom STILL gave me goosebumps when I watched it.
(If you've never seen the movie before, this is a section of the final scene of A Few Good Men. I'll leave it up to you to check it out if you want to ruin it for yourself.)
Plus, it gives people ammo to use on soundboards like this one to make priceless prank phone calls to unexpecting to people who have never seen the movie.
Director: Gregory Hoblit
Starring: Richard Gere, Edward Norton
I don't know how many courtroom movies you guys have seen, but I've seen a surprising number in a genre that I'm not really that fond of. (Runaway Jury, Devil's Advocate, and The Firm are some that I didn't particularly care for, while I liked Amistad, The Client, and A Time To Kill a little more.)
Primal Fear, while having a questionable title, turned out to be a solid trial film. I'd put it right up there slightly under A Few Good Men as a favorite in the genre. There is a killer twist in the movie that separates it from the other courtroom movies of its kind, and Edward Norton's performance is amazing. This was his debut film, and it's easy to see why he soon began getting a lot of work in Hollywood. Great stuff from him. Richard Gere is the main character, a hotshot lawyer (is there any other kind?) named Martin Vail who defends Ed Norton in a murder trial. Richard Gere is one of those guys that is a polar actor. What I mean by that is he's either good or terrible in every movie he does. There's no middle ground with him. He's obviously done a lot of chick flicks (Runaway Bride, Chicago, etc.), but he's done some cool stuff too - the most prominent in my mind being 1997's The Jackal opposite Bruce Willis, and he was a decent Lancelot in 1995's First Knight opposite Sean Connery. Now that I think about it, those are the only other movies that I enjoyed with him in them. Anyway, my point is that his character in Primal Fear was a pretty good role for him. Frances McDormand had a small but crucial role as a neuropsychologist who examines Norton's character, and she was great. I liked her a lot in Primal Fear, and I guess 1996 was a good year for her because that and Fargo came out in the same year and she won an Academy Award for Best Actress in Fargo.
That's all for now, so enjoy the rest of your winter break. Until next time...