Other than the economy and the presidential candidates and of course, IvyGate’s triumphant return, the big news story of the week was the Supreme Court, which handed down a number of controversial decisions, from issues concerning the death penalty to the Second Amendment. For those of you want more of a judiciary fix, here are some weekend rentals from Film Rental Correspondent Brandon Hammer to satisfy your palate.
The History Buffs: Inherit the Wind (1960)
Based on the play of the same title, Inherit the Wind is the dramatized story of the infamous Scopes Monkey Trial, in which John Thomas Scopes was put on trial for teaching the theory of evolution. The case created such hype that it drew two of the most famous lawyers of the time, three-time presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan for the prosecution and Clarence Darrow for the defense. Though all of the names are changed (Bryan becomes Matthew Harrison Brady while Darrow is changed to Drummond), the story is nonetheless an interesting examination of the conflict between those who have very different views of the governing principles of the United States. Moreover, despite the film’s age, its subject matter — from what it is acceptable to teach in school, to how two friends can maintain their relationship amid social and political competition, to the battle between urban and rural — is still quite relevant.
The Sorkophiles: A Few Good Men (1992)
For those who prefer their law with a combination of witty dialogue (delivered while walking at a fast pace), intriguing romance, and just enough politics to interest without overwhelming, this Aaron Sorkin script doesn’t disappoint. Directed by Rob Reiner and starring an awesome trifecta of Demi Moore, Jack Nicholson, and Tom Cruise, A Few Good Men is the story two marines at Guantànomo Bay who are accused of murdering a fellow marine. While their lawyer, Lt. Daniel Kaffee (Cruise), wants to end the case with an easy plea deal, Lt. Cdr. Galloway (Moore) pushes him to take keep investigating, a move which leads him to the top of the ranking order. Featuring cameos by Noah Wyle, Cuba Gooding, Jr., and Joshua Malina as well as one of the most famous lines in movie history, A Few Good Men is a great story of law, morality, and corruption.
The Cynics: The Rainmaker (1997)
The Rainmaker is for those who appreciate lawyer jokes perhaps a little too much. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Matt Damon and Danny DeVito, the films tells the story of Rudy Baylor (Damon), whose recent graduation from law school has landed him a world of sleazy, low-class lawyers. As he takes the case of a health-insurance company whose denied coverage led to an early death, Rudy moves from the world of low-class sleazy lawyers, to upper-class lawyers who are different from their ambulance-chasing counterparts only in style. Throughout all of this, though, Rudy keeps his head high as he tries to remain honest in order to bring about justice. Based on a John Grisham novel, The Rainmaker is an inspiring film about the power of the resilient to bring about justice in an honest fashion.