Here’s Jack Blogathon 2017: A Few Good Men

Gill, from Realweegiemidget Reviews, is a huge fan of Jack Nicholson. To celebrate, she has invited bloggers to review as many Nicholson films as possible. A Few Good Men is my entry into her three-day celebration. Click on the banner below to head over to her site to see the rest of the blogathon entries for today.

A Few Good Men movie posterHere's Jack Blogathon 2017 BannerSynopsis
Navy defense attorney Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise), along with JoAnne Galloway (Demi Moore) and Sam Weinberg (Kevin Pollack), are assigned to prove that Harold Dawson (Wolfgang Bodison) and Louden Downey (James Marshall), two marines accused of murder, are innocent and were merely acting under orders.

Review
I will begin by saying courtroom dramas aren’t really my type of movie. I don’t find them very exciting and think more often than not they are fairly predicable. A Few Good Men is a perfect example of this. Story-wise, I didn’t feel invested in the case that the three attorneys were working on. And honestly, I didn’t care for Tom Cruise’s character, Daniel Kaffee. He is the skilled-but-arrogant character that Cruise played often earlier in his career but it doesn’t feel like he grows very much by the end of the film. His biggest step is actually taking the case instead of trying to make a deal and that happens fairly early. Which brings me to my next point: this movie feels too long. Although, that might be because I just wanted to get through the movie quicker since I wasn’t very interested.

The only thing that really kept me invested in this film was the cast. The main three, Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, and Kevin Pollak, had such great chemistry. Despite my lack of interest in Cruise’s character, I enjoyed his performance. He brought a lot of energy and emotion to the part. The same goes for Moore. Her performance was so emotionally driven that she made for a good counterpart to Cruise. The dialogue between Cruise, Moore, and Pollak felt very real and genuine. Kudos to Aaron Sorkin for writing such believable, and not too ridiculous banter, between the leads. Despite not being in the film for much time, Jack Nicholson is the standout of this movie. The final scene with Nicholson and Cruise battling it out in the courtroom was absolutely riveting and almost made up for the dullness of the rest of the film.

I thought A Few Good Men was OK 😐 My lack of interest in courtroom dramas aside, I found this to be somewhat enjoyable. Although I didn’t much care for Cruise’s character and felt it ran a little longer than necessary, the performances from all of the actors, especially from the main three and Jack Nicholson, kept my attention long enough to finish watching.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Rob Reiner – Director
Aaron Sorkin – Writer
Marc Shaiman – Composer

Tom Cruise – Lt. Daniel Kaffee
Demi Moore – Lt. Cdr. JoAnne Galloway
Kevin Pollak – Lt. (J.G.) Sam Weinberg
Kevin Bacon – Capt. Jack Ross
Jack Nicholson – Col. Nathan R. Jessup
Kiefer Sutherland – 2nd Lt. Jonathan Kendrick
JT Walsh – Lt. Col. Matthew Andrew Markinson
Wolfgang Bodison – Lance Cpl. Harold W. Dawson
James Marshall – Pfc. Louden Downey
JA Preston – Judge Julius Alexander Randolph

Stripes Review

Stripes movie posterSynopsis
John Winger (Bill Murray) loses his job, his girlfriend and his car in one day. Tired of his life going nowhere, he decides to join the US army. He convinces his best friend Russel (Harold Ramis) to join with him. They expect it to be a quick way to pick up women and a fast track to the good life, but basic training isn’t as easy as they expected.

Review
Stripes could have very easily become a dark movie given its military setting. Thankfully, it maintains a lightheartedness throughout the entire film, mostly due to the great comedy pair of Bill Murray and Harold Ramis. It is one of Murray’s and Ramis’ earliest comedies together, so they are a little rough around the edges. But they still offer some pretty good laughs, especially when bouncing off each other, as well as the spectacular supporting cast.

There is no doubt that part of the success of this movie stems from Bill Murray. His humor capitalizes on the army backdrop and lightens what could have become a very dark setting. Harold Ramis brings his own unique sense of humor to his role as Murray’s best friend, though not as successful as Murray. These two play fairly well off each other and when they are together offer some of the funniest moments of the film.

John Candy is probably my favorite member of the supporting cast. I think I laughed harder at his gags than either Murray or Ramis. Candy is just a great comedian. Warren Oates (Conrad Dunn) was great as the antagonist for Murray’s character. He was much more stern and straight-faced than Murray, but still had a few comedy moments. Oates’ speech during his introduction was great, too.

I really dug Elmer Bernstein’s score. His military march that is played frequently is catchy and captures the movie’s essence. It works equally as well during the introduction of the boot camp or a victory march.

The last act of the movie felt a little out of place compared to the rest of the film. The platoon goes to Italy to guard the secret “EM-50” project. This leads to Murray and Ramis heading Germany to visit their girlfriends and getting the rest of the platoon captured. I guess they couldn’t stay at the boot camp for the whole movie, but the setting doesn’t seem to fit with the first two-thirds of the movie.

One of Bill Murray’s and Harold Ramis’ first comedies, Stripes offers a lighthearted look at the military. Murray carries the movie well, especially when sharing the screen with Ramis. Easily the highlight of the movie, however, is John Candy, whose jokes made me laugh the hardest. The only problem I had with the film is the last act felt out of place with the rest of the movie. Stripes shows just how great a comedy duo Murray and Ramis can be together, each with their unique brand of comedy that compliments each other fantastically.

Rating
3.5/5

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Ivan Reitman – Director
Len Blum – Writer
Daniel Goldberg – Writer
Harold Ramis – Writer
Elmer Bernstein – Composer

Bill Murray – John Winger
Harold Ramis – Russell Ziskey
Warren Oates – Sgt. Hulka
John Candy – Dewey “Ox” Oxberger
PJ Soles – Stella Hansen
Sean Young – Louise Cooper
John Larroquette – Capt. Stillman
John Diehl – Cruiser
Conrad Dunn – Francis ‘Psycho’ Sawyer
Judge Reinhold – Elmo Blum