Project 400 In 365 # 2: Jerry Maguire

In Movie Reviews on October 12, 2011 at 4:27 am


Anyone who knows me knows I consider this film to be the pinnacle of 90’s movies.  I have watched it probably about 100 times.  But I set out to watch it through a different perspective tonight.  Since I already knew the movie, and knew how I felt about the film, I wanted to look at it from the perspective of WHY I think the movie is so good.

It all starts with the cast.  Yes, this is Tom Cruise’s “masterpiece” performance (for lack of a better way to put it).  He is simply outstanding, both in his delivery and his non-verbal on screen persona.  But, unfortunately for Cruise, what makes this movie work on so many different levels are the secondary characters.  Bonnie Hunt is so dead on in her portrayal of the older, disapproving sister, you almost feel as if she actually was a sister of the cast. Regina King is simply spectacular in her role as the wife.  And all the other smaller characters, from Jay Morh as the slimy Bob Sugar to the tiny cameo by Eric Stolz of bachelor party host, help give the film a flow and heartbeat you do not find in most modern (meaning in the last 20 years) movies.

But on rewatching, the cast is not without it’s faults.  Cuba Gooding Jr overacts to the point of being annoying.  Renée Zellweger has just the opposite problem….she can’t act at all!! (and never has been able too).  ANY other actress in her role (I think Charlize Theron would have been a much more suitable choice) would have added better chemistry.

But this movie’s greatest strength relies in Cameron Crowe’s direction.  He is able to garner emotion and despair with a simple face shot like no other director can.  There are scenes (particularly the final living room scene) where you almost ignore the dialog and just watch the people’s face.  The camera becomes the star…inviting you into the characters world without ever making a sound.  This a technique Crowe uses in many of his movies (at least two more of which will be reviewed some point down the road in this little project).

My biggest complaint with this film has always been the romance.  It is never fully developed enough to get that WOW moment in the final scene.  The relationship and “bromance” between Cruise and Gooding is the big pay off, but Cruise and Zellweger’s falls short.  However, because this film is more of a character and life study of Cruise’s Maguire and less of a normal romance movie, this failure does note harm the movie as much as it would in a film that was complete centered around a romance.

This film is on my “10 must watch” list from movies of the past 20 years, and I can not think of any reason why everyone should not view it at least once.

4.5 out of 5 stars


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