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Laramie Movie Scope:
A Few Good Men

Intense courtroom drama

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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December 14, 1992 -- Before its national debut on Friday ``A Few Good Men'' was rumored to be the stuff of which Academy Awards are made. It probably will win some Oscars, but if this is the best film of the year, it is a pretty poor year for films.

The acting and direction in ``A Few Good Men,'' a military courtroom drama, are excellent, but the story, based on a play, is pretty familiar stuff.

The story revolves around star Tom Cruise, a young Navy lawyer who is coasting through his service days as a plea-bargaining specialist with the Judge Advocate's Office. Moore goads him into fighting a real court battle against a tough, experienced prosecuting attorney, played by Kevin Bacon. Moore and Cruise have their work cut out for them trying to uncover a cover-up of the real facts of the case instigated by a legendary Marine colonel, played by Jack Nicholson and another Marine officer played by Keifer Sutherland.

As advertised, Demi Moore turns in what may be the best performance of her career, but she seems a little soft for the role of the tough and dedicated internal affairs lawyer in the case. A better choice for the role might have been a harder-edged actress, such as Jodi Foster or Holly Hunter. Moore is not quite convincing in the role, but does give it her best effort.

Nicholson, Cruise and Bacon are all excellent and any of them could earn an Oscar for their outstanding work in this film.

The story is a pretty standard courtroom drama. There aren't any surprises and nothing much is new from what has been seen many times before in similar films. Although there's nothing new here, the superb acting and the excellent direction by Rob Reiner make this film much better than the average Hollywood film. The dialogue is well-written and the photography is excellent.

It is a very good film, but not, I think, the best of 1992. The best I've seen this year is ``The Player,'' Robert Altman's devastating lampoon of Hollywood. I also do not consider ``A Few Good Men'' to be as good as ``Silence of the Lambs'' or ``Beauty and the Beast,'' both 1991 films. Having said all of that, I still have to rate it an A.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)