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Some are not going to understand this film...
To watch this movie is to realize that it took real guts to make it in the first place. This movie is about honor, integrity and being truthful to one's self and one's belief's. The reason I say it takes guts is because the "Bad Guy" in this movie is Hollywood. Not Tim Allen's character directly but the entertainment machine. It grabs everything with any virtue and turns it into a greedy whore of an industry. Chet comes across as a good man who really listens to Mike's philosophies. It's his manager (Mantegna) who does the stolen watch drive by that screws everything up. We're further introduced to the way relationships work in Hollywood... they don't. Not unless you're willing to be used or sell out your beliefs. Jiu Jitsu just happens to be the best vehicle to explain these points contrasting a style of martial art, largely thought of as the most violent, being taught by a main character that comes off as the most gentle of souls. Mike Terry is the honorable character, who I'll admit seem to be too naive & trusting for his age while living in L.A., surrounded by backstabbing plastic people including his wife who turns on him, that series of circumstances leads to a suicide. The fight at the end starts with the student teaching the teacher (the slap) Even Terry has to get his mind right and realize that the battle is about what he loves and who he is i.e. Jiu Jitsu. And that he has to keep it from being ruined the same way everyone around him has. Seemingly minor characters stay close to him at the end and we realize they have the most important thing in common. That which is real and everlasting. The truth, real respect, honor and just being real. Did ANY of you notice how the samurai belt was accepted with honor but given away? The thing worth money was respectfully tossed aside. It was the Red Belt that was honored as it is a symbol of the man. Of balance and all the important thing Hollywood has lost.
This movie was a slight against the industry it was made in and a great many of the people working in it. Deservedly so. If you guys don't see that for the genius it is.... Then maybe you should be sweating the details of the shot or the dialogue. You're missing the bigger picture. It's not just a film. This was a good lesson.
Yes you need to think during this film... but it pays off
I don't need to go into the acting here. Previous posters have already espoused, correctly so, that the acting, story and direction are done very well. What the story is, is the reason I love this movie so much. The one star folks need to go back, pour a glass from the box and try again, because they are TOTALLY missing it. Miles and Jack are the same person as are Maya and Stephanie. While I was watching I began asking myself "Why are these 2 people even friends?". The two characters are such opposites. What is the point of that? It has to be the only answer. It's not a movie about two friends. It's an inner struggle about one man's indecision about commitment and finally really growing up. The girls are used to illustrate this point, specifically when Miles is explaining to Maya about the tenderness of the grape. He's not talking about grapes. He's opening up about himself. The same with his big book. It's his life story and only one person wants to read it and actually likes it. Jack represents the fake "everything is just fine" face we all use in public but when we're alone we begin to question our significance. Once I realized the genius behind this device I was hooked.
A great story about every one of us.