Cuba Gooding Jr.
Give it up to Tom Cruise for playing a “typical” Cruise character (cocky and all), but giving it that extra zing with weaknesses, physical peculiarities and emotional instability. You might think that you knew the man before this film, but his performance here is simply dead-on. Renee Zellweger also blows everyone away with a role that she got above many other “name” actors at the time (this movie basically launched her career into another stratosphere), and her ability to be cute, motherly, professional and sexy, still blows me away every time. Then there’s Cuba Gooding Jr. (who won a golden Oscar statuette for his role here). Yet another career-making performance, this man will likely never get past his “Show me the money!” scene, but God knows that he played a great, proud, arrogant (but good-hearted) football hero, in the prime of his career. Of course, all good movies back their stars up with a similarly solid supporting cast and this film had dozens of those, but specific actors who stood out and solidified this puppy for me, included the hilarious Jay Mohr, the amazing Bonnie Hunt, as the “disapproving” sister and Jonathan Lipnicki as the cutest kid on the face of this planet.
I personally love this movie so much because it brings home the message about work being “important”, but love meaning more than anything in the world, including professional achievements or material goods. The soundtrack of this film is also above all (what did you expect, it’s a Cameron Crowe movie!), the directing is fun and complementary to the story at hand, the ending is peachy, the dialogue is sharp, the characters all memorable, the moments precious and unique, and above all else…the film feels real and is entirely relateable to anyone with love in their heart. See it for any of the many reasons that make this film great, but make sure that you see it, in the end, because movies like this don’t come around every day. Great drama, great characters, great humor….great movie!
So is the commentary any good? Well, to be honest…it’s a lot like any other commentary track which includes many people…it lacks a lot of info but you get a good sense of the dynamics between the folks involved. In this case, Cruise remains pretty silent throughout (other than his major guffaws every now and again), but when he does speak, everyone in the room quiets down to hear the man. Overall though, he doesn’t offer much. Crowe is pretty good in terms of info, but unfortunately for us listeners, it seems as though all four of them haven’t seen this movie in a long time, and spend more than 50% of their time laughing at specific scenes along with us. Now that’s all fine and good, but as a commentary track, not too insightful, I’m afraid. But if you do listen to the entire track, you will note the pretty obvious “crush” that Zellweger either had (or still has) on Cruise. My favorite lines of hers was while watching the scene in which Tom has to grab her breast and she says “Not a bad day at the office” on the track. I like a girl who can be honest like that. Anyway, there ain’t much “meat” in this commentary, just lots and lots of laughs from these folks, so unless you just want to listen in on their sorted back-and-forths, I wouldn’t recommend this for anyone searching for info. You might want to check out the video track to actually see them laughing, if that turns your dial.
Yay! After having seen this movie so many times, the 5 deleted scenes included on this set are like finding missing baseball cards to a collection that I’d already completed. A couple of them are goofy and frivolous, but one particular 4-minute sequence featuring Jay Mohr ad-libbing some of his “agent talk” on the phone, is one that needs to be seen to be fully appreciated. Amazing performance! I also enjoyed the scene in which Kelly Preston’s character promises Jerry a certain “oral” surprise-- Chicago Style! (I have no idea what that means, but it sounds great!) These scenes are a treat for any fan and can be watched with or without Cameron Crowe’s commentary (although I do have to say, the man doesn’t really say WHY he removed the scenes…strange).
“Rehearsal Footage” is yet another neat extra, featuring 3 short snippets of Cuba Gooding Jr. and Tom Cruise rehearsing a couple of their famous scenes (including “Show me the Money!”) in front of a video camera. I always enjoy seeing this type of pre-production footage. Nice addition. Again, these can be watched with or without Crowe’s commentary.
“Rod Tidwell Commercial” is a pretty cool 1-minute commercial of Gooding’s character in what looks exactly like many of those real celebrity sports athletes’ spots on TV. It’s a fun watch. “How to be a Sports Agent” is an excellent 4-minute testimonial from a real sports agent who is speaking in a room about what makes a great agent (apparently it has a lot to do with cell phones, kids). Anyway, this guy seems like he’s on speed, but I gotta admit, the man makes a lot of sense and seems to know and love what he’s talking about. Yet another fun and original addition to the disc.
“The Making of Jerry Maguire” is a 7-minute featurette that is lame beyond words. I swear that at least 5 minutes out of the total is just scenes from the movie, intercut with a star saying a word or two. This sucks on ice. I wish they would have made a “real” making-of featurette instead of slapping this studio garbage on the disc. But hey, I guess we can’t have it all, eh?
The 2-disc set also includes the music video “Secret Garden” by Bruce Springsteen (which is a song that is also played in the background of the dvd’s slick menus—great tune, incidentally), Jerry Maguire’s mission statement (it’s not a memo, but it is definitely an interesting read, despite the fact that the man is rambling half the time), trailers, filmographies and a photo gallery. All in all, this puppy is mucho better than the original bare-bones dvd which I still have lodged in my collection.