Top 100 Movies Of The 1990's: #58 The Rainmaker

Box Office: $46.0 Million

Oscar Nominations: None

Oscar Wins: None

MovieRankings.Net: 80/100

Available To Stream: Amazon Prime ($4)

I've always been interested in what I call "bridge events". These are movies or years when you have someone on the rise interacting with someone on the tail end of whatever they were great at. The best example of this is the 1951 New York Yankees. It was Mickey Mantle's rookie season and Joe DiMaggio's last. They only played that one season together and while the Yankees did win the championship, it had profound effects. In the World Series, DiMaggio was still playing center field and took his time calling Mantle off a fly ball that was hit near him. Whether you believe DiMaggio did it on purpose to show the young Mantle up or if DiMaggio just didn't see the ball clearly until it was close to him, it had disastrous effects. Mantle had to stop short when DiMaggio called for the ball at the last second and stepped in a drain pipe. Mantle wound up injuring his knee and it plagued him the rest of his career. 

The Rainmaker is a bridge movie. It's the last good movie Francis Ford Coppola would direct and it's the first movie Matt Damon starred in. In fact, it was this movie that got Good Will Hunting made. Studios didn't want to fund GWH but when they realized the lead actor was the same guy who was starring in the new Coppola movie, it immediately got green lit.

Paramount Pictures. Getty Images.

It's the second (and last) John Grisham novel turned into a movie on this list. The Firm (#60) made more money and had a great cast with Tom Cruise and Gene Hackman but The Rainmaker is no slouch either. Not only do you have Matt Damon but it also has Danny DeVito, Jon Voight, Claire Danes, Danny Glover and Mickey Rourke in it. The book has more time and space and allows you to know these side characters much more but I have to give Coppola a lot of credit. This is my favorite Grisham book (by far) and Coppola does give many of the side characters enough space to care about them.

Some things don't work as well (the Claire Danes abusive husband plot line just gets in the way) but the Great Benefit/Rudy Baylor courtroom showdowns are fantastic. Some of the characters might be too good or evil but the heartbeat of the movie is in DeVito's performance. He plays an ambulance chasing lawyer who may be greedy but is also fair.

This is far from a perfect movie. The characters all work because the acting is so good but some plot lines are a little excessive. I am guessing Coppola loved the book so much, he didn't want to cut anything. I am assuming most of you haven't seen it. I feel like it's one of those movies that has fallen through the cracks even though it has Damon as the main character. It really is worth seeing. There are worse ways to spend a night seeing a movie that has Matt Damon and Danny DeVito fighting an evil insurance company.

58. The Rainmaker

59. Go

60. The Firm

61. Magnolia

62. The Talented Mr. Ripley

63. Tommy Boy

64. The Usual Suspects

65. In The Line Of Fire

66. My Cousin Vinny

67. Awakenings

68. JFK

69. Toy Story

70. Home Alone

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