As students at the United States Navy's elite fighter weapons school compete to be best in the class, one daring young pilot learns a few things from a civilian instructor that are not taught in the classroom.
A cab driver finds himself the hostage of an engaging contract killer as he makes his rounds from hit to hit during one night in Los Angeles. He must find a way to save both himself and one last victim.
Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) is a successful sports agent. The biggest clients, the respect, a beautiful fiancée, he has it all. Until one night he questions his purpose. His place in the world, and finally comes to terms with what's wrong with his career and life. Recording all his thoughts in a mission statement Jerry feels he has a new lease on life. Unfortunately his opinions aren't met with enthusiasm from his superiors and after dishonorably being stripped of his high earning clients and elite status within the agency Jerry steps out into the sports business armed with only one volatile client (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and the only person with belief in his abilities (Renée Zellweger) with the impossible task of rebuilding what he once had. Along the way he faces the harsh truths which he'd ignored in the past and a host of hardships that he'd never faced before. Written by
It used to be a better meal, now it's a better life
I've almost always loved Crowe's style of storytelling and never tire of rewatching 'Almost Famous' and 'Jerry McGuire' (which I consider his best). Even though his more recent 'Elizabethtown' didn't match up the standards of those two films, that too had its wonderful moments (and it was better than 'Vanilla Sky', Crowe shouldn't have attempted remakes). Like most of his films, 'Jerry McGuire' has soul. Crowe's eloquent screenplay is rich in humour, drama and lots of energy. It features some of the finest dialogues and one-liners like 'You had me at hello', 'Don't cry at the beginning of a date, cry at the end like I do'... and the actors deliver them marvelously. Another fascinating aspect is the brilliant characters. Each and every one of them, no matter how long the screen time, has something that contributes. Thus, next to an engaging drama and a magnificent comedy it is a fine character study.
'Jerry McGuire' may also be one of Cruise's career best movies. I'm surprised to hear that the part was originally written for Tom Hanks. Hanks is a fine actor but I can't imagine him as McGuire as I doubt whether he has the right combination of energy and pathos that are required to be McGuire. I can't imagine anyone but Tom who fits the part. The same can be said of Renee Zellweger and Cuba Godding Jr as I don't see how a Winona Ryder, Cameron Diaz or Mira Sorvino and a Jamie Foxx (all good actresses) could respectively bring out the sweetness, vulnerability and charisma of Dorothy Boyd or the energy, humour, liveliness, enthusiasm and devotion (towards family) of Rod Tidwell. One wonders why Zellweger was overlooked as her presence too is crucial to the film.
In addition, the film has a splendid supporting cast that include a sublime and laugh-out-loud Bonnie Hunt, a bitchy gorgeous Kelly Preston, a sprightly Regina King and an unforgettably lovable Jonathan Lipnicki (one of the few child actors who's cute but not in the way that gets on your nerves)'. Child actors are very hard to direct but Lipnicki's performance comes across as very natural and he acts like a real child instead of those irritating oh-look-I'm-so-cute child models.
The soundtrack too deserves mention as it features some amazing numbers. One of the so many memorable scenes is when McGuire is driving in his car and he listens to the radio, switching channels and singing along. Then there's also the incredibly romantic 'Secret Garden' by Bruce Springsteen among other great familiar tracks by the Beatles, Rolling Stone, Marvin Gaye, Kurt Cobain etc. On the more technical side, the wild and smooth cinematography, slick editing and effective sound are superbly put together. The visuals are very impressive.
The last time I had watched 'Jerry McGuire' was about 10 years ago and I vividly remember saying 'wow!' when the end credits started to roll that my sibling wondered what the hell was going on. I feel the same about it after having rewatched it recently. Well, actually I like it more because I noticed more things that I overlooked before and understand and like the characters more. McGuire's transformation from the money-obsessed agent to the caring agent and then to the caring human being (in the form of a father and a husband), a change that wouldn't have happened if it weren't for the caring people in his life, is one remarkable story.
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