Jerry Maguire (1997)

Jerry_Maguire_movie_posterJerry Maguire is your typical feel-good sports story, but it has a different angle. The eponymous character, Jerry (Tom Cruise), is on top of the sports industry. Not as a player, executive, broadcaster, or anything like that, but as an agent. His job is to make his clients the big bucks and protect their interests while also thinking about his own. He’s constantly on the phone cajoling and soothing big time egos so they stick with him and do as he desires. A lot of it is a flattery game, and Jerry is the best of the best whether it’s face-to-face or over the phone. He knows how to play the game.

In a brief moment of so-called weakness, however, he writes an impassioned memo after he realizes he has gone away from his initial values of being a sports agent. The idealistic magnum opus he comes up with late one night is well received and yet it signals a real hitch in his career, even if he doesn’t know it yet.

He gets let go at his agency, and he struggles to hold on to any clients he can, but slowly, bit by bit, they leave him. First one, then two, and then on and on they went. When a top prospect leaves him it looks like Jerry is sunk. And then there was one. Loud-mouthed, prima donna Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr.) known for famously uttering the phrase, “Show me the money!”

All the while, unassuming single mom Dorothy Boyd (Rene Zellweger) buys into his dream when no one else will and in the process, she begins falling in love. He’s not quite at the same place she is however.

Jerry Maguire is invariably sad, but it is an ultimately uplifting look at the sports drama told from the sidelines which are still chock full of drama, conflict, and romance in its own right. By consolidating and getting smaller, Jerry learns what is truly important. He finds who his true friends are in Rod and Dorothy. And he learns what it means to truly love someone, not only in a cheesy romantic sense (You had me at hello), but as a true blue friend.

So although not always a great film, Cameron Crowe’s story holds some of the same sensibility of Say Anything… and Almost Famous. It shows that something as big and blown up as professional sports can always be brought down to a more basic level of humanity. It falls somewhere in between films like The Blind Side and Moneyball and that’s not necessarily too bad a place to be.

3.5/5 Stars

“And I’m free, I’m free fallin'”

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