Wednesday, February 13, 2013


(December 1996, U.S.)

According to the Old Testament, there are Ten Commandments for those of Jewish faith and practice to follow as law. There should be eleven! The Eleventh Commandement should state, "Thou shalt go to the movies and then a Chinese restaurant on every Christmas Day". Think I'm kidding? This is what Jews DO every Christmas Day! It's practically law! In my (younger) youth, I actually spent Christmas Day on the ski slopes and beleive it or not, it was crowded there, too. When you go to the movies on Christmas Day, you can pretty much count on extra aggrevation due to the incredibly high volume of high-demanding, bitchy people. These conditions are guaranteed to bring out the intolerance in anyone who has a low threshold for such matters (namely ME!). So what's my point with all this? My point is that JERRY MAGUIRE is one of the very few times (less than five, actually) that I've ever been to the movies on Christmas Day surrounded by a bunch of annoying Jewish people. Was the film worth it? Well, it was a great movie, no doubt, but nothing that couldn't have waited a week or two into the new year.

I've mentioned before that with some extreme exceptions like COCKTAIL (1988) and FAR AND AWAY (1992), I have this rather sick weakness for many Tom Cruise films. Many of them are just pure guilty pleasures. By the end of 1996, Tom Cruise was still riding high and riding hot from MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE the previous summer. As a glossy, sharp, snappy, fast-talking, wise-cracking, bullshit artist, the character of sports agent Jerry Maguire seems unmistakenly perfect for a man of Cruise's persona and attitude. Just as a sample of his character, when you hear him say, "I will not rest until I have you holding a Coke, wearing your own shoe, playing a Sega game FEATURING YOU, while singing your own song in a new commercial, STARRING YOU, broadcast during the Superbowl, in a game that you are winning, and I will not SLEEP until that happens!", you know perfectly well that's Tom Cruise you're listening to and that the role was meant just for him. Jerry Maguire is great at his job, he's loved by all who know him and he's engaged to a beautiful woman (played by Kelly Preston) who demands that he never stop fucking her! It all sounds good, for sure, but it's also the perfect setup for a man who's about to lose it all - his job, his clients, his fiancée, his confidence, his self-respect and his upward mobility. So the solution becomes how is Jerry to get it all back, or some degree of it, and in the process, learn something new about himself and his career. This is perfect film cliche for this type of story, but it's what the viewer expects and wants.

So in the end, Jerry Maguire is left with his own sports agency with the one client of Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Rod Tidwell (played rather loudly by Cuba Gooding, Jr.) who's so full of himself that he gives words like ego and cocky brand new meanings. The only other person on his team is single mother Dorothy Boyd (played by Renée Zellweger), who, of course, Jerry will inevitably fall in love with when he realizes she "completes him", but not until after practically running scared shitless due to his issues with intimacy (seriously, why women put up with men is beyond me!). And not that I consider him such a major part of this film, but can I talk a moment about Jerry O'Connell as quarterback Frank Cushman? This was the first time I'd seen this guy since STAND BY ME (1986). One minute, he's this pudgy little twerp running for his life from a train on his way to see a dead body with his friends and the next he's this well-built, handsome man who would inevitably be fucking Rebecca Romijn (how DO these things happen??). Anyway, just thought I'd mention that.

Throughout the film, JERRY MAGUIRE can seem a bit over-the-top in its depiction of the high speed, high stakes world of professional sports agents and what they must constantly do to make their living. Is it simply drama? There was a time I thought so until I saw a news piece on CBS Sunday Morning about real life sports agent Leigh Steinberg, whom Cruise's character is directly based on (Steinberg acted as technical consultant for the film). Director Cameron Crowe clearly displays his strong interest for not only the profession he's depicting, but also in his characters that demand only the strongest of passions and commitment. Mr. Crusie surely delivers it all for this film and, guilty pleasure or not, it's a Tom Cruise film I'm proud to say is worthy of my film collection and my blog writing. Though I must confess, during the scene where he's driving alone in his car and switches the radio station during the Rolling Stones "Bitch"...well, that still doesn't sit quite right with me. What were you THINKING, Tom??? You don't turn off the Stones!!!

Favorite line or dialogue:

Rod Tidwell: "That's what I'm gonna do for you. God bless you, Jerry. But this is what you gonna do for me. You listenin', Jerry?"
Jerry Maguire: "Yeah, what, what, what can I do for you, Rod? You just tell me what can I do for you?"
Rod: "It's a very personal, a very important thing. Hell, it's a family motto. Are you ready, Jerry?"
Jerry: "I'm ready."
Rod: "I wanna make sure you're ready, brother. Here it is: Show me the money. Oh-ho-ho! SHOW! ME! THE! MONEY! A-ha-ha! Jerry, doesn't it make you feel good just to say that! Say it with me one time, Jerry!"
Jerry: "Show you the money."
Rod: "Oh, no, no. You can do better than that, Jerry! I want you to say it with you, with meaning, brother! Hey, I got Bob Sugar on the other line; I bet you he can say it!"
Jerry: "Yeah, yeah, no, no, no. Show you the money."
Rod: "No! Not show you! Show me the money!"
Jerry: "Show me the money!"
Rod: "Yeah! Louder!"
Jerry: "Show me the money!"
Rod: "Yes, but, brother, you got to yell that shit!"
Rod: "I need to feel you, Jerry!"
Rod: "Jerry, you got to yell!"
Rod: "Do you love this black man!"
Rod: "I love black people!"
Rod: "Who's your motherfucker, Jerry?"
Rod: "Whatcha gonna do, Jerry? "
Rod: "Unh! Congratulations, you're still my agent."

Exhausting, isn't it?

1 comment:

  1. You had me at..Thou shalt go to the movies and then a Chinese restaurant on every Christmas Day.