October 19, 2007

A Few Good Men

When I feel like I need a “pep talk” to inspire me to do good work, I like to watch my favorite lawyer movie: A Few Good Men. The climactic scene, in which Tom Cruise cross-examines Jack Nicholson and makes him melt down, is hands-down the best courtroom scene I can think of. More dramatic than Spencer Tracy confronting Frederic March in Inherit the Wind, and in my opinion more dramatic even than the “Rule 303” scene in Breaker Morant. Better than Joe Pesci’s expert witness examination of Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny, or the surprisingly effective slapstick comedy of the final cross-examination in Liar, Lair (both of which are very, very funny), and at least as moving as Gregory Peck’s advocacy in To Kill A Mockingbird. Today, though, I need no such inspiration – I’ve a full plate of work and lively challenges facing me, and another interesting day sitting as a temporary judge has been of help, too. But yes, I still want to make a witness break down, yell at me that “[I] can’t handle the truth!” and then slit his own throat so thoroughly and completely that there is no possibility of recovery.


zzi said...

... is hands-down the best courtroom scene I can think of.

Not so fast. So of us beg to differ.

Burt Likko said...

Well, you should never sell out your client like that, no matter how big a scumbag he is (and yes, Pacino's client was a GIGANTIC scumbag). That scene was powerful because it was a lawyer doing something he wasn't supposed to do.

But no question, Pacino is tons of fun to watch and there was no shortage of drama there, too.