Spherical Panavision - 1.85:1
1.70:1 - 16:9
Written and Directed by: Cameron Crowe
Starring: Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr., Renee Zellweger, Kelly Preston, Jerry O'Connell, Jay Mohr, Regina King, Bonnie Hunt, Jonathan Lipnicki, Todd Louiso, Beau Bridges
"Where's the beef?" That's the closest reference I'll give to the most overused phrase of 1997. When the folks at Laser Rot asked me to review Jerry Maguire, I figured that would be fun. But I decided that I would do something different and give my comments on the film in two steps -- before watching it again, and after watching it. I first saw Jerry Maguire during its opening weekend in December 1996. While I really enjoyed, I was left with the question, "Chick Flick or Guy Flick?" So, a few weeks later, some friends said "Let's go see Jerry Maguire." I figured, "Hey I'll get a second take." Unfortunately for me, logic went right out the door thanks to a few drinks before getting to the theater...
Based on what I remember, Jerry Maguire is a film about a greedy yuppie piece of crap that has a momentary flash of humanity and spends the rest of the film trying to get back to being a yuppie piece of crap. The main problem here is that the guy falls in love and can't decide who he is in love with: himself, the girl, or the girl's kid (no, not that kind of love you sick perverts...).
So, as I sit here with my dinner resting in the gut, a rum-and-coke in one hand and my remote in the other, I believe I might just figure out who the target audience really is and how well the film holds up after a third viewing. (Note: Dave is bit deranged...if he likes a film, two or three viewings is definitely not uncommon. If he really, really likes a film, the number of viewings goes up exponentially. For some real fun, we suggest taking him our for several drinks and asking him to recite the entirety of Star Wars. Very scary...) (Another note: Just because he likes movies, don't think of Dave as a complete and total geek...he dresses in nice suits, has an excellent job, is single, and like everyone else in Los Angeles is currently touching up this excellent movie script he's written!).
Okay, everyone, I've just finished watching Jerry Maguire and I definitely have the answer to my burning question the answer to my question -- it's a chick flick, but it's from a guy's point of view. After this third viewing, I think I can also get the storyline down to one single sentence. Here is goes: Tom Cruise stars as Jerry Maguire, a powerful sports agent who writes a mission statement condemning the bullshit practices of his firm, after which he spends the rest of the film coming to terms with what he wrote. (That was the one line part.) Along the way he looses his job, splits up with his evil, bitchy, ultra-aggressive fiancée Avery Bishop (Kelly Preston), falls in love with the lovely Dorothy Boyd (Renee Zellweger), and learns how to really love someone.
I thought Tom Cruise was perfect in his portrayal of the title character. While his utter smugness often irritates the living crap out of my, I really couldn't picture anyone else who would fit in this role. It was almost as if Cruise took Joel Goodson -- his foolish character from Risky Business -- and moved him forward in time and age by 15 years. Renee Zellweger was absolutely outstanding as Dorothy, the woman who falls completely head-over-heals for Jerry. And, Cuba Gooding, Jr. who won an Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his wildly enthusiastic portrayal of Rod Tidwell, Jerry's only client after his cataclysmic fall. Also outstanding are co-stars Bonnie Hunt as Laurel Boyd, Dorothy sister and conscience, and Jonathan Lipnicki shines as Ray Boyd, Dorothy's wonderfully goofy young son.
But lest we forget, most of the credit for Jerry Maguire has to go to writer & director Cameron Crowe. Ever since he wrote Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Cameron Crowe's films have been dealing with real people. Admittedly, these real people often have unreal situations, but they still behave as you would expect real people to behave. Crowe also populates his films with interesting supporting characters who aren't just present as tedious filler due to a lack of material.
One final item -- although Jerry Maguire is set in the sports world, is it definitely not a sports film, and the storyline could be set within almost any business. My personal feeling is that Jerry originally started out as a Hollywood Agent in Crowe's mind. Hmmm...can you imagine the suspension of belief it would take to make that kind of character likable?
In addition to Cuba Gooding, Jr.'s Best Supporting Actor Oscar, Jerry Maguire was also nominated for four other Academy Awards including: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Editing.
Jerry Maguire was released on DVD by Columbia TriStar Home Video on June 26, 1997. What may surprise some of you is that the entire 139m feature has been placed on a single side of the DVD. Many of you have been under the mistaken impression that DVDs can hold "no more than 135m" of video per side -- this is absolutely false. That number is simply an estimation of time, and the actual length is really dependent upon two things: the amount of information present in the original film frame, and the amount of compression that being used. In any event, Columbia TriStar has done a wonderful job with their DVD transfer of this film. The image is as sharp as you can imagine, and the color transfer is excellent. There were a couple quick moments during the opening scenes where the blue sky showed some very minor compression artifacts (most of you will likely not even notice it), but the remainder of the film is stunning. By the way, Jerry Maguire was filmed in the 1.85:1 Spherical Panavision process, and it has been letterboxed at about 1.70:1 (it has also been encoded for 16:9 widescreen sets). Sorry, folks, no horrible pan & scan version to be found on this DVD.
Jerry Maguire features four separate audio tracks: English Dolby Surround (2ch), English Dolby Digital 5.1 (6ch), Spanish Dolby Surround stereo (2ch) and French Dolby Surround (2ch). What is somewhat annoying is that the DVD defaults to the weaker 2-channel English Dolby Surround mix when you start playing it. What you'll want to do is immediately switch over to audio track 2, which contains the much better English Dolby Digital 5.1 6-channel mix. While there were no problems with the 2-channel version, the 6-channel mix has a much wider range and should be your only choice. The 2-channel Dolby Surround French and Spanish language soundtrack are both fine, and the mix is pretty much the same as the 2-channel English track. The different audio tracks can be flipped through by using the "audio" button on your remote, or by using the menu options.
The only subtitles present on the DVD are Spanish-language ones. They are very readable, but don't ask me how accurate they are since I can't tell you that... The DVD is also closed-captioned in English in what is better called "descriptive captioning." In addition to the dialogue, all sound effects and similar cues are described onscreen.
Jerry Maguire contains an interactive menu, but like all the other DVD's released thus far by Columbia TriStar, the menus are on the simple side and contains no special features. The menu also has the DVD jacket photo (Tom Cruise's face) on all the pages. The "Chapter Selection" option gives you access to all 63 chapters on the disc. The chapters are spread out over 13 "pages," and are chosen by highlighting and selecting the appropriate scene number or written description. Under the "Spoken Languages" section you'll be able to change between the four audio tracks, and the "Subtitles" option allows you to turn the Spanish subtitles on or off.
Jerry Maguire is available in both standard "jewel box" and "keep case" packaging. As you probably already know, Columbia TriStar's "keep case" is a sturdy all-plastic variety. Inside the case you'll find a full-color four-page booklet featuring some pictures and a listing of all 63 chapter markers (62 for the film, 1 for the opening warning notices). The larger "keep case" also contains a six-page CD-sized booklet featuring upcoming Columbia TriStar DVD titles. Jerry Maguire is compatible with the parental lock feature of your DVD player, and has been encoded for use in Region 1 players only (U.S., U.S. Territories, Canada).
Review by David Green
Original Review: 07/31/97
Last Updated: 08/22/97