Tag Archives: Rob Reiner

A Few Good Men (1992) 4/5 (1)


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Rating: The Good – 76
Genre: Drama
Duration: 138 mins
Director: Rob Reiner
Stars: Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore

One of the most quoted movies in recent decades, Rob Reiner and Aaron Sorkin’s legal drama pits Tom Cruise’s talented young JAG Corps officer against Jack Nicholson’s tyrannical Marine Corps division commander. Cruise excels as the plucky lawyer faced with the task of defending two marines on trial for murder. However, this one will always be remembered for his co-star’s scenery-chewing turn as the defendants’ base commander and the man behind their illicit orders to “train” the soon-to-be victim. A host of top names fill out the rest of the bill with both Demi Moore and Kevin Pollak (as Cruiser’s legal team) playing more grounded roles than was typical of their careers at that point. Kevin Bacon is his usual safe pair of hands as the prosecutor while a nasty Kiefer Sutherland and the late great J.T. Walsh offer strong support as Nicholson’s underlings. Sorkin’s sharp script is best remembered for its relentless courtroom dialogue but it’s laced with subtleties that augment the drama from all angles. From its nods to the various character’s backgrounds to the unspoken enmity between the Marines and the Navy, they provide a rich subtext to the plot. From the director’s chair, Reiner generates a palpable tension and swift pace from the screenplay with much help from composer Marc Shaiman’s exciting score and, of course, his two leads. Though “Colonel Nathan Jessup” has probably gone down as Nicholson’s most famous role and though he certainly provides the lion’s share of the movie’s dramatic thump, it’s not the most nuanced piece of acting we’ve seen from the screen legend. Playing up to a caricature of his own celebrity, he never attempts to escape his “Big Jack” persona and is content to let his famous sneering delivery and scathing smile do most of the work. Not that it hurts the movie in the slightest but it seems a relevant footnote when discussing one of modern cinema’s most memorable characters.

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When Harry Met Sally (1989) 3.71/5 (2)


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Rating: The Good – 70.1
Genre: Romance
Duration: 96 mins
Director: Rob Reiner
Stars: Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan, Carrie Fisher

Rob Reiner’s rom-com classic stars Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan as two acquaintances who after meeting on and off for 10 years become good friends to the point where romance threatens to blossom. The strength of When Harry met Sally lies chiefly in the mature and insightful script (penned by Nora Ephron) but Reiner’s unobtrusive lens and the natural chemistry between the two leads ensured it was all the more enjoyable to watch. Crystal was given some license to improvise which gave the already funny dialogue an additional layer of hilarity and the supporting cast such as Bruno Kirby and Carrie Fisher were right on the money throughout. For a genre that is more often than most exploited by formulaic executives and lazy filmmakers, it is a genuine pleasure to come across a movie as thoughtful and originally funny as this one.

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The Sure Thing (1985) 2.86/5 (1)


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Rating: The Good – 66.8
Genre: Comedy
Duration: 100 mins
Director: Rob Reiner
Stars: John Cusack, Daphne Zuniga, Anthony Edwards

Very 80′s, very nostalgic (even if you haven’t seen it before), and highly enjoyable comedy about a college freshman (John Cusack) who travels across the country to hook up with a ‘sure thing’ only to get stuck travelling with the girl who has most recently rebuked his advances (Daphne Zuniga). Some of the jokes are dated but for the most part The Sure Thing still works. The chemistry between the two leads is excellent and Cusack, who was one of the kings of the 80′s teen comedy, owns the camera when it’s on him. Great support from Anthony Edwards and Cusack’s long-time buddy Tim Robbins.

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