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Top 100 Movies Of The 1990's: #71 Jerry Maguire

Box Office: $153.9 Million

Oscar Nominations: Best Picture, Best Actor (Tom Cruise), Best Supporting Actor (Cuba Gooding, Jr.), Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing

Oscar Wins: Best Supporting Actor (Cuba Gooding, Jr.)

MovieRankings.Net: 84/100

Available To Stream: Netflix

This is a pretty uneven movie but the strong parts are really enjoyable. Much like Almost Famous, the first act is the best part of the movie. You can tell the concept of a sports agent losing everything in his life all at once is what drove Crowe to make this. He doesn't seem to have as much fun with the romantic elements. The love story seems to be the part of the movie that is most remembered. Even the Rod Tidwell stuff doesn't seem to be in the zeitgeist as much as the Renee Zellweger/"You complete me" elements.

I don't know if it's a credit to Tom Cruise or not but it seems like he's not even really acting in this. It feels like this is who Tom Cruise would be if he was a sports agent. 1996 was the beginning of him getting away from really acting and leaning more towards different variations of himself. He would never be in something like Born On The Fourth of July or Far And Away in the late 90's. The entire trajectory of his career changed after that first Mission: Impossible.

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I think that's kind of a shame. Cruise was a great actor. If you had told me when Jerry Maguire came out that someone from this cast would win two Oscars, I would have bet it would be Cruise. Renee Zellweger is very good in this but that's more that I held Cruise in such high esteem as an actor. The Mission: Impossible (and even Top Gun: Maverick) movies have been very good but I do miss Tom Cruise the actor.

He hasn't made a good movie in over 20 years so I think it's safe to say Cameron Crowe's movie career is pretty much done. Even though the peak was earlier than for other directors, I think it's a better career than people give him credit for. I think Vanilla Sky and Almost Famous are both slightly better than Jerry Maguire. That's three very good movies. Plus he wrote Fast Times At Ridgemont High. Crowe was nominated for two Oscars for Best Screenplay and even won for Almost Famous. Crowe was never going to be in that Tarantino group of greatness, but he fits nicely right below that.

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I'm generally not a fan of the rom-com genre. The best one ever is Silver Linings Playbook. I have Jerry Maguire right after that. It has the typical plot points of boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-gets-girl-back. However, it feels fresher than that while you are watching. Crowe does a great job with the script and his direction making it feel different even though it's really not.

I love the sports elements of this. They do a great job bringing in the biggest athletes of the time. It's fun seeing Drew Bledsoe and Barry Switzer. The Cush storyline ended up being so real, Eli Manning might need to send Crowe some royalties. We later found out that Cuba Gooding Jr. wasn't a great actor (and a lousy human) but he is totally believable as Rod Tidwell. That's even a great name for a 90's wide receiver. The Monday Night Football sequence feels pretty real. The only craziness is Tidwell getting a contract offer live on the Roy Firestone show. That I can't defend.

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I know some people hate this movie. One of Crowe's biggest hangups is he can be too cutesy at times. The Jonathan Lipnicki stuff can be cute but also irritating. I am glad the movie does call out that Jerry seems to like the little kid way more than Renee Zellweger. Which I don't really get?

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Don't get bogged down in the parts of this movie that have become cliche. This movie is so much more than that. The scene when Bob Sugar (played brilliantly by Jay Mohr) fires Jerry in the crowded restaurant. When Jerry finds out Cush is going with a different agent. There are some great moments in a movie Roger Ebert called "too full". With a run time of 139 minutes, he might be right. 

However, those elite moments hang with me enough to really enjoy this movie. I just wish Tom Cruise the actor would come back.

71. Jerry Maguire

72. Titanic

73. Billy Madison

74. Apollo 13

75. Braveheart

76. Edward Scissorhands

77. Cape Fear

78. The River Wild

79. What's Eating Gilbert Grape?

80. 12 Monkeys

81. Stir Of Echoes

82. Mission: Impossible

83. Total Recall

84. Quiz Show

85. For Love Of The Game

86. Being John Malkovich

87. Men In Black

88. Scream

89. Alive

90. Three Kings

91. Glengarry Glen Ross

92. Die Hard With A Vengeance

93. The Blair Witch Project

94. Twister

95. Dirty Work

96. Election

97. Tremors

98. Any Given Sunday

99. The Wedding Singer

100. Clerks