Haunted Flower’s DVD Review of Jerry Maguire

Jerry Maguire Special Edition DVD Review
2 Disc Widescreen Edition

I got motivated to pull out my special edition DVD of “Jerry Maguire” after watching Regina King in “Our Family Wedding.”

“Jerry Maguire” was written and directed by Cameron Crowe who also wrote and directed “Elizabethtown”, “Almost Famous”, and “Say Anything.” It is about a sports agent played by Tom Cruise who in a sudden change of conscience when it comes to his work, ends up losing his job and girlfriend. With his single client, Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr.), he has to find a way back to success and negotiates the biggest deal of his life when a single mother (Renee Zellweger) and her son enter his life.

This is the movie that got Cuba the Oscar in one of the most memorable Oscar moments that I can remember involving a spinning-on-his-head break-dance and shouting that he loved Tom Cruise and others. He truly deserved that Oscar in his performance as Rod Tidwell, the athlete with a huge chip on his shoulder and crazy passion for his family and the “quawn” (his coined term for money). He is so charismatic and loud and emotional and is a huge part of this movie’s success. In fact, when I heard someone trying to sing, “Brother, brother, brother…” on American Idol the other night, all I could think of was how Rod Tidwell did it better at Jerry Maguire’s wedding. His performance is so great here, it overshadows everyone else. He works amazingly well with Regina King who plays his wife in her defining role as strong family woman. Her emotion for her family always gets me, particularly when Rod gets injured. She is an amazing actress so I found her recent performance in “Our Family Wedding” to be lacking since she doesn’t get to have as much power as she normally does.

Tom Cruise really went to the depths of despair as far as he could here with Jerry Maguire. His drunken ramblings here are reminiscent of his drunken ramblings in “A Few Good Men” as well. Jerry Maguire and his competition, Bob Sugar played by Jay Mohr really became the voice of a generation of sports agents the way Gorden Gekko and Bud Fox did for stockbrokers. There are so many amazing fast-talking scenes on the phone that are edited together brilliantly in a flow almost like a dance. Cruise’s monologue to the agency after he is fired is peppered with moments of dramatic and comedic brilliance equally, I love it when he takes the loyal goldfish with him.

It is easy to get wrapped up in the relationship between Jerry and Rod but when it comes to Dorothy Boyd, it’s something different entirely. There is some great romance here and it’s nice to see a more realistic story about a woman giving all the love she can but being strong enough to know when her man isn’t yet capable of returning it and stand up for herself. Dorothy’s son, Ray played by Jonathan Lipnicki in the most notable breakout role of his career, really charms the audience with being cute. I just IMDBed this kid and I can’t believe it, he’s 20 now and got contacts apparently, you wouldn’t recognize him if you passed him on the street. The reunion scene between Jerry and Dorothy is infamous now and has been quoted time and time again and parodied in such movies as “A Night at the Roxbury” to perfection. Also Bonnie Hunt as Dorothy’s “disapproving sister, Laurel” is dead on.

This is a fantastic movie with a great through line of narration that slows down once in a while with the love story but if you focus on the other characters in the movie, you’ll really enjoy the ride.

DVD Extras:

Cameron Crowe is nothing if not thorough on this edition of the Jerry Maguire DVD. There is audio in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. There are subtitles in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, and Thai. Another thorough touch: You can view the ENTIRE mission statement in text form and if you pop Disc 2 into your computer as a DVD-rom extra, you can read the script to the movie.

There is audio commentary by Cameron Crowe, Tom Cruise, Renee Zellweger, Cuba Gooding, Jr. AND there is video commentary on Disc 2! This is the first time I’ve seen video commentary as an option along with audio and I’ve learned this: while a unique idea, it probably isn’t the best idea. They’re not using makeup people here and Tom Cruise is wearing the droopiest bucket hat ever and it makes you wonder if he’s covering up a hangover. He gets a little loopy as it goes on. They have two different monitors in the room they are viewing the movie on so Cuba is looking one way and the other three are looking the other throughout. They do interact with each other on stories sometimes and Renee and Tom look a little like they want to blush during the love scenes but overall, you don’t gain as much as you’d think from this new perspective.

There are deleted scenes with optional director and editor commentary and they look awful. They aren’t finished looking, practically like you are watching them with a scratchy VCR and the audio is difficult to hear. The commentary doesn’t give many answers except things like “this didn’t seem to fit the mood, those poor guys spent 12 hours on that take for nothing” or “this pickle mascot was funny but we took him out.” The BEST extended take is getting to see Jay Mohr let loose and go on one really, really long take of being handed phone after phone talking to clients and never losing it. Apparently the director always sent that take to people when they asked about working with Mohr and he would usually get the job as a result. Now Mohr is in a TV series called “Gary Unmarried” and I also reviewed that if you want to check it out.

You can also watch rehearsal footage with optional director commentary and I recommend as with the deleted scenes that you listen to the commentary instead because the audio is difficult to hear and it looks like a VHS tape again here. What you gain from rehearsal footage (which I don’t often see on DVDs) is a really raw look at how the actors got from A to B.

There’s a cute extra called “My First Commercial” that features Cuba as Rod Tidwell doing a Reebok commercial and it’s pretty funny. Bruce Springsteen’s “Secret Garden” music video is also on this disc and I remember you couldn’t go anywhere that year without that song coming on the radio complete with sound bits from the movie laced in.

There is a making-of featurette that goes into detail about the character of Jerry Maguire and why Tom Cruise who is often viewed as a success wanted to venture off into the world of failure and redemption for a change and how all the actors worked together and what they thought of the project and their characters.

One last interesting extra is Drew Rosenhaus, a sports agent giving a spiel on his life and career and how hungry he has to be as a sports agent to get the job done. It’s pretty funny because when it was taped he has a giant cell phone and a super-thick lap top that I bet was pretty impressive at the time. And what extras section wouldn’t be complete without a photo gallery and trailers?