The Movie That Brought A Human Touch To Sports
The year 1996 gave the world one of the most heartfelt movies of all time. This movie had people laughing at the line Show me the money!, had people mesmerized for the sincerity in the line Help me help you, and had people teary-eyed at the line I love youyou complete me. Yes, this movie was a rollercoaster of emotion for the audience but even more for its main character. He completely deserves to have the movie title named after him: Jerry Maguire. It is in fact he, who is ultimately riding this rollercoaster of emotion that is constantly going up and down throughout the movie.
Jerry Maguire released on December 13, 1996 taking the number one spot at the box office opening weekend. It ultimately grossed over $270 million worldwide which for its time was a big deal and it remains the fourth highest grossing romantic drama of all time. The reason for this success is the spellbinding performances of Tom Cruise as the defeated yet determined sports agent Jerry Maguire, his last ray of hope, the Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Rod Tidwell played by Cuba Gooding Jr., and Renee Zellweger playing Dorothy Boyd, a single mother who is Jerrys greatest support. Holding all these characters together and providing the movie with its tender touch is director Cameron Crowe. The inspiration for this moving drama was the legendary sports agent Leigh Steinberg who has represented the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft a record eight times.
The story starts out with Jerry having a high end life: carrying on numerous affairs with women, having a job that lets him mingle with celebrities, and ultimately making a lot of money. He enjoys all these pleasures to the fullest until one night a realization dawns upon him. He realizes that something is wrong in this glossy life and that is: the lack of sentiment. He immediately pens a mission statement about how to rid the shallowness at his workplace, Sports Management International(SMI), with the way being that sports agents should keep fewer clients. This would undoubtedly cause a large loss of money but agents would be able to make more personal relationships with their clients and become more devoted to improving their clients career. As thoughtful as this idea is, it does not sit well with his superiors. They fire Jerry Maguire. This still does not deter Jerry as he decides to build his own new agency and put his philosophy to the test. However, this path isnt as smooth as it appears to be. He only has two people with him, one is Rod Tidwell who is a struggling NFL player and the other is Dorothy Boyd, a single mother who sees that special something in Jerry but is still skeptical about getting in a relationship with him. Jerry is constantly at odds with both since hes pushing them to be their best and their pushing him to be his best. Yes they fight, they yell, they walk away from each other but isnt that what personal relationships are all about? Its because of that same old personal relationships theory that Jerry was ranting about, that he wins in the end. Jerry and Rod become close friends along with Rod getting a $11 million contract, and on top of that Jerry and Dorothy decide to marry. Of course its cheesy but its a feel good movie that proves to people that following ones heart isnt so bad after all.
The movie scored with critics and audiences alike, particularly because of the unforgettable performances delivered by the three main stars. Tom Cruise kept everyones eyes glued to the screen by using his trademark intensity and his trademark charm at different scenes. Speaking of charm did anyone else get a kick out of Cruise taking his goldfish with him when he left his job? No wonder this movie is said to be Cuba Gooding Jr.s breakthrough role since he fully entertained the critics and audience whether it be cracking dumb jokes or doing his iconic victory dance at the climactic football game. Perhaps it is Renee Zellweger though that ultimately steals the show with her quiet voice and innocence that provides a sharp contrast to the two loud and bickering men.
Then theres the message behind the film which is as powerful as all three performances combined. The movie exalts the fact that following ones heart may lead to troubles but in the end it will lead to victory. Why even one scene is dedicated to Jerry explaining Rod that the game should not be played with the head but with heart. He didnt want Rod to worry about the amount of money he would make or who got the contract he wanted. He wanted Rod to play the game for the love of the game. In Jerrys own life he also wins by following his heart. When he left his job at SMI because they didnt value agent-client relationships, he was destined to suffer troubles. He had to lose many of his previous clients, build a new agency, and had to pin his hopes on his only remaining client who himself was going through a struggling career. However, by believing in doing what is right and by focusing on building his relationships he succeeded in his professional and personal life. The movie inspires people to not be afraid for making those bold decisions that their heart knows is right. And if they become afraid, theyre probably going to have to face an angry Tom Cruise punching at the air in the locker room.