Monday, September 19, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up (9/18)

Note: This week I also watched The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and The Hands of Orlac. See my last post (blogathon entry) for an in-depth review of those two films.

Jerry Maguire (1996)
This movie had some false advertising. While I liked how the film depicted the business aspect of sports, I didn't care for it when the movie shifted its focus to Jerry's relationship with his secretary. I admit that this is a matter of taste. I enjoyed the behind the scenes look at sports agents and the discussions about morals and integrity. These parts were pretty funny and gave us the film's most famous line: "Show me the money!" However, about a third of the way in the film it turned into a romantic comedy. Eventually the movie shifted its focus back to Jerry's relationship with his last remaining client, the football player Rod Tidwell. But by this point it was too little, too late despite a satisfying ending. To be fair, the romantic aspects were probably why the movie did so well financially. Those scenes were well written and acted, just not my cup of tea and not what I was expecting. I wanted to see more of Jerry working with sports stars and trying to change how agents operate. I knew from the beginning that Jerry would start a relationship with his secretary, I just thought it would be a sub-plot and not the focus of the movie. Tom Cruise created a fascinating character who is fun to watch and received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Leading role. The movie also got Oscar nominations for best editing, best writing, and best picture.
Cruise wasn't the only bright spot when it came to acting as all the leads were good. Jerry Maguire helped launch the career of Renee Zellweger who played Dorothy Boyd, a struggling single mother who is Jerry's secretary and love interest. Cuba Gooding Jr. was Rod Tidwell and stole every scene he was in. Gooding even won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Tidwell's wife was played by Regina King who also put in a solid performance. Jay Mohr did well in a small role as the sleazy sports agent who betrays Jerry.

Jerry Maguire
is now 15 years old and the film is kinda dated since the contracts players get in 2011 are much more ridiculous than what we see here. Agents like Scott Boras ignore reality and make unreasonable contract demands, but somehow get teams to pay up anyway. If Jerry worked with guys like Boras he wouldn't just leave his company, he would leave the business!
There were tons of cameos by sports players and announcers. The movie even used archive footage from Monday Night Football which also added a sense of authenticity to the film.
Jerry Cantrell from the band Alice in Chains had a cameo as a copy store clerk, although I'm not sure why. Maybe it was because they couldn't fit Alice in Chains on an already great soundtrack. Or the simplest explanation: It was the 90s!
This is the first movie I have seen directed by Cameron Crowe. However, I have watched Fast Times at Ridgemont High and its pseudo-sequel The Wild Life which were both written by Crowe. Crowe is certainly a good writer and his directing for this film was fine as well.
Overall I would recommend Jerry Maguire, just be aware that this is a chick flick disguised as sports-comedy movie.

Time Chasers
aka Tangents (1994)
This Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode has good riffs and host segments. Time Chasers is perfect for MST3K as it is bad, but still watchable. Although the movie has poor acting, editing, and directing, the time travel story wasn't as bad as I expected. The ending even reminded me of the Denzel Washington movie Deja Vu (2006). There were some good ideas here which were ruined by poor execution. Time Chasers is one of those "so bad, its good movies" that are fun to watch with a group of friends. It is also one of the better movies featured on MST3K, which isn't saying much I guess!
Time Chasers was filmed in 1990 but not released until 1994. The movie finally broke even financially when MST3K featured the movie as an episode! The cast and crew of the movie had a reunion party to watch the first airing of the MST3K episode. While some people involved with making the movie took it with stride, others were not amused. What were they expecting?! I'm guessing some of them had not seen MST3K before. The Time Chasers MST3K can be seen on YouTube.
There were a ton of great riffs but I'll pick just one: "I'll WALK back to the past!" - Tom Servo

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