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Jerry Maguire (1996)

November 2, 2009

VERDICT:
7/10 Secret Gardens

Wasn’t a big fan of this the first time I saw it, but gave it another look this past weekend and, whaddaya know, I liked it. Good weekend.

Jerry Maguire is about a big time sports agent that experiences a change of heart about the way he does business, prompting him to write a memo to his co-workers about how agents should be closer with their clients instead of treating them like paychecks. He gets fired for the memo, loses all his clients except for one endearing, eccentric football player that’s disliked by the general public, and tries to get back on his feet thanks to the help of a single mother from his old job that he falls for.

Even though this has pretty much become the “‘Show me the money!’ movie” over the years, and that’s pretty much the reason I gave it another shot on my lazy Sunday afternoon, Jerry actually has a lot more going for it than just a laundry list of quotable lines that gradually became the bane of everyone’s existence back in ’96.

The first noteworthy mention is the script by Cameron Crowe. Sure, he’s had some duds here and there, but Crowe is the man. The guy knows how to write great characters that have great, complex relationships with one another and back it all up with great dialogue that audiences gravitate towards. Almost Famous, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Say Anything…, come on, awesome movies. Anyway, Crowe delivers and he gives his actors a lot of good material to work with.

The whole dynamic of Jerry trying to find a way to redeem his personal and professional lives ends up working because the characters feel real and there’s a lot of heart to go around. Everybody’s helping each other grow and develop through each new hurdle and it feels genuine when certain things go wrong and others go right. It’s almost hard to call this a sports movie because it’s about succeeding at life far more than it is about succeeding financially. Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself here, but I was pretty surprised by how human it all felt. Wasn’t expecting that.

Now, I’ve had my issues with Tom Cruise over the years, but his performance here is helping to ease my troubled mind. He’s actually really good as Jerry Maguire, you can tell he wants to see the money, you believe it when he tells you that he loves black people, and despite all the golden opportunities he has to overact, he resists the temptation for the most part and does well to come off as a normal guy instead of a pretty boy sports agent. Tom Cruise made me like Jerry Maguire, I’d sign with him any day.

And what the fuck happened to Cuba Gooding Junior? You’d think that Oscar on his mantle would be a “Get Out Of Jail Free” card from ever having to do shitty movies again. I thought Men of Honor was alright, but damn, dude, I don’t get it. But then again, he could keep on making sequels to Boat Trip for the rest of his life and he’d still be remembered for this awesome performance along with his acceptance speech/jumping frenzy at the Oscars. Cuba kicks ass as Jerry’s client, Rod Tidwell, and definitely earned all the praise he got.

This was also the breakout role for Renee Zellweger, and even though I’m not her biggest a fan, she’s quite charming as Jerry’s main squeeze and also comes off as refreshingly normal. One of the better roles of her career, right up there with Cold Mountain and Nurse Betty (good movie). And while the whole “You had me at ‘hello'” and “You complete me” stuff probably wouldn’t work in real life like it does in the movies, hearing it in context, it’s surprisingly not as corny as you might remember.

And good luck to Jonathan Lipnicki in his efforts to be remembered as anyone but this kid for the rest of life. Just accept it already, you will always be that kid.

So, yeah, I dug Jerry Maguire. It’s got something for the guys, something for ladies, good acting, and a solid script. Who knew the life of a sports agent had so much potential going for it? Well done, Mr. Crowe.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 2, 2009 12:22 pm

    you had me at ‘Wasn’t’
    great movie, yes its dripping with saccarchinicity (if thats a word) but its still great
    im all heart motha f***a!

    • November 2, 2009 12:30 pm

      hahaha. ::Aiden and Ross hug, Bruce Springsteen plays in background, it’s a beautiful moment::

  2. Branden permalink
    November 2, 2009 3:09 pm

    I enjoyed this film as well. I thought that Cuba didn’t deserve the Oscar that year.

    This is one of the few Tom Cruise movies that he doesn’t annoy the hell out of me.

  3. November 3, 2009 6:30 am

    you complete me, Aiden R
    Secret Garden… definitely not a song about a garden.
    Bruce, you dirty dog.

  4. June 23, 2010 12:07 am

    Thought this was a damn likable film, that never really lost its wit. Check out my review here: http://dtmmr.wordpress.com/2010/06/23/jerry-maguire-1996/

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