Click here to buy Amazon movie bestsellers

Thursday, October 18, 2007

My Cousin Vinny (1992)

What a delightful movie. Could there be a person who has seen it and forgotten about it ? I just could not believe it the first time I saw it; how can you have the imagination to take a movie about 2 young guys caught up in small-town America for a crime they did not commit, get in a cousin who is a lawyer without experience along with his girlfriend, and an old grouchy judge, and come up with a movie that has you laughing away at many points. By the end of the movie, in the discussion about the right car, you are positively at the edge of the seat as the tension shoots up, and you know that something big is going to happen that will turn the case, and it does so happen. More about that later.
The movie was directed by Jonathan Lynn, and did not have a big cast at all, with the 3 most prominent people being Joe Pesci in the role of a struggling lawyer, Vincent LaGuardia Gambini; the late Fred Gwynne playing the hard and grouchy judge Chamberlain Haller, and Marisa Tomei in the award winning role of Mona Lisa Vito (she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role). So you start off with these 2 young men from yankee land who while traveling through an Alabama town indulge in some petty shop-lifting.
My Cousin Vinny (1992)
In a twist of how guilty conscience can get you into deep trouble, they land into massive trouble. Picked up by the police after the clerk of the shop is shot and killed, they assume that they have been picked up for shop-lifting (they are a bit surprised that shop-lifting is a major crime, but this is Alabama, so ..). In this surprise, when told / asked that they shot the clerk, they are astonished and only managed to ask the same thing. However, the person recording their statement does not read the question and astonishment in the reply and soon they are now being booked for murder. Hardly a good feeling to be booked for murder in a far-off city, and to be told that they have actually confessed.
And this brings their cousin Vinny into the picture. Billy's mom gets their cousin Vinny to take the case (a bit surprising that, after all, if your son was arrested for murder, you would want a first rate defense lawyer, not a person who has spent 6 years getting into the bar and has no trail experience). And this brings Joe Pesci along with his fiancee Marisa Tomei.
Joe Pesci has very little experience as a trail lawyer, and manages to rub the judge the wrong way right in the beginning (and the judge is even more conscious, after all, a lawyer from Yankee land must be made to appreciate the way justice happens in Alabama). Fighting with the judge over his appearance, over the way to speak in court, and over his experience (he has to show the judge that he has trial experience while he does not, and he eventually manages to fool the judge on this point); the scenes with the judge and Joe Pesci are first-rate.
Some of his other cultural experiences are also great, you get to see the distaste when he had to eat grits every day because the motel serves only that for breakfast, about not getting enough sleep because of the thunderous noise made by trains in the night near the motel (affecting his sleep and his preparedness to the extent that he finally welcomes the contempt notice issued to him since that allows him to get a good nights sleep in the jail).
He gets better and better in the courtroom, being able to challenge witnesses, and slowly move towards proving his story that it was a different car, and not his cousins car. This leads up to the great finale where he gets his angry fiancee (angry at him for ignoring her and refusing to take help from her) through her incredible knowledge of cars in order to try and discredit the testimony of the FBI Agent. You have to watch this scene to believe it. Overall, a must-watch movie.

Post a Comment