Genre Grandeur – A Few Good Men (1992) – Michael Eddy


For this month’s next review for Genre Grandeur – Movies based on Plays, here’s a review of A Few Good Men (19492) by Michael Eddy

Thanks again to Virginie of The Wonderful World of Cinema for choosing this month’s genre.

Next month’s genre has been chosen by Barry of Cinematic Catharsis and we will be reviewing our favorite Nature Gone Berserk Movies.

Mother Nature usually takes care of us, with all the oxygen we can breathe, water we drink and cute bunnies we can pet, but what happens when she gets angry? Watch her unleash floods, earthquakes, volcanoes and animals gone mad.

Please get me your submissions by the 25th of Aug by sending them to berserkbarry@movierob.net

Try to think out of the box! Great choice Barry!

Let’s see what Michael thought of this movie:

______________________________________

A powerful play that came about in a very interesting way and then took an even more unorthodox path to the screen.

 

Aaron Sorkin was a young aspiring playwright, working on Broadway – as a bartender at the Palace Theater – when a conversation with his sister Deborah planted the seed of an idea in his head. Deborah, a recent Boston University law school grad, decided to sign up for a 3 year stint with the U.S. Navy JAG Corps and told her brother that she was heading to Guantanamo Bay – to defend a pair of Marines accused of almost killing a fellow Marine in a hazing incident – ordered by a superior Officer. With that as a starting point – Sorkin proceeded to write down ideas for a play on cocktail napkins at work. Several drafts later – he pre-sold the film rights to his play to producer David Brown (“Jaws”), who also staged the Broadway play (after having 2 time Oscar winning screenwriter William Goldman make some revisions – revisions that Sorkin thought were so good – that he also incorporated them into his screenplay for the film).

 

The film – starting from that original phone chat – involves two Marines (played by James Marshall and Wolfgang Bodison – who made his acting debut on A Few Good Men. Previously, he had worked as a location scout on various films and was working behind the scenes for Rob Reiner on Good Men, when the director decided he’d be perfect to play the part of Lance Corporal Harold Dawson- the more vocal of the 2 Marines accused of murder – IN the film), being accused of murder in the death of a fellow Marine during a hazing incident meant to force him to quit and leave the Corps – and ordered by their Commanding Officer – played to a fare thee well by Jack Nicholson, Oscar nominated for his role.

 

Their defender – a young JAG officer – known for NEVER having set foot in a courtroom – who’d rather settle his cases and plead out his defendants – played by Tom Cruise, in what was one of the best roles of his career. He is supported (after being convinced to actually take this to trial – because his charges may in fact be not guilty of the crime, which would force them to not only go to prison but be dishonorably discharged from the Marine Corps – where they are a career soldiers) by fellow JAG officers Demi Moore and Kevin Pollak, both excellent. The superlative cast also includes Kevin Bacon, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Kiefer Sutherland and the late J.T. Walsh.

 

Sorkin’s screenplay crackles along with Reiner’s expert direction with powerful scenes both inside the military courtroom (sporting now iconic dialogue like Nicholson telling the baby faced Cruise, “You can’t HANDLE the truth!”), in quieter sessions with the lawyers strategizing and conferences with his accused clients outside of court – where they are convinced they will hang for their “crime”. The cast is uniformly terrific from top to bottom.

 

We learn through flashbacks, testimony and confrontations between the lead characters just what happened, why it happened and who is truly at fault in a beautifully drawn web of story-telling by the nascent expertise of playwright turned screenwriter Sorkin – who has gone on to taking up the gauntlet of adapting a beloved novel turned Oscar winning screenplay/film – into a now Tony award winning stage play with “To Kill A Mockingbird” – having come full circle and further establishing himself as one of his generations great playwrights and film and TV writers.

 

If you’ve never seen A Few Good Men – you are in for a treat. A bravura display of writing, direction and acting all woven into a seamless whole. A classic in this genre – and a perfect fit for this month’s GG.

One thought on “Genre Grandeur – A Few Good Men (1992) – Michael Eddy

  1. Pingback: Genre Grandeur July Finale – Blithe Spirit (1945) – The Wonderful World of Cinema | MovieRob

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