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Sally Field is Out of Order!
by Michele Christopher
michele takes the bench:
So what the hell is tonight’s topic? Legal dramas? Courtroom movies? Shit, like I don’t get my fill of courtroom crap during my work hours. I have to talk about it now?
Doesn’t matter. I know damn well that Turtle is going to pick some legal movie just on the basis of how far off topic he can go with it. I’m going to try to stick to the subject at hand here. Best courtroom film? Best legal movie? Most inspiring words by an actor playing a judge? Best Judge Rheinhold movie? Who the hell knows. I just know I’m going to write about
And Justice For All
I always maintain that Pacino is the world’s greatest over-actor. It’s like he’s emoting for two. Or three. Acting is an extreme sport to Pacino. But sometimes, it pays off. Like in this movie. You couldn’t have that superb ending without Pacino’s standard blustering. And this was early on, too. 1979. He wasn’t anywhere near the peak of his overacting. I think that culminated with Scent of a Woman. Or maybe Devil’s Advocate.
But Arthur Kirkland. Do-good lawyer. Ethical as Michael Fucking Landon in his prairie days. He faces a moral and ethical dilemma, of course. What would a good legal drama be without a moral dilemma? This sets you up for the greatest courtroom scene ever.
My client, the Honorable Henry T. Fleming, should go right to fucking jail!
It’s one of those movie moments when you just want to stand up and pump your fist in the air and say Right fucking on! I swear to you the theater I was in exploded in applause when he said this.
If anyone else played this part, it wouldn’t have been nearly as effective. But Pacino takes Kirkland’s righteous indignation to the limit.
That man is guilty! that man, there, that man is a slime! he is a *slime*! If he's supposed to go free, then something really wrong is goin' on here!
That’s not Michael Corleone there. It’s not even Serpico or the dude from Dog Day Afternoon. Pacino was on a method acting roll in this one. Topped anything he did before it. I think playing Kirkland was what set the wheels in motion for the rest of his career. When And Justice for All was done he probably looked at the end result and thought “hmm....yelling my lines instead of talking them really works. And louder is better!”
You're out of order! You're out of order! The whole trial is out of order! They're out of order! That man, that sick, crazy, depraved man, raped and beat that woman there, and he'd like to do it again!
You can hear this exact tone and even see several of the pained expression here later on in Devil’s Advocate.
This was the pinnacle of Pacino’s acting career. That line right there. If aliens ever land on earth and want to know something about our world and maybe ask you what’s the deal with that Pacino guy, you just show them that clip. It’s every Pacino role lumped into four short lines. It’s got emotion and power and that standard Pacino “I’m expressing myself” look. It’s “say hello to my little friend” and “Whoo-ah” rolled into one. Hell, he never had to make another movie after this because he unloaded his entire bag of tricks in one succinct scene.
Yes, I’m bagging on Al Pacino, World’s Greatest Actor.
I love this movie. I love that scene. But damn. He’s like the same fucking windbag in every movie after this.
So yea, I was supposed to be talking about great courtroom dramas. Turtle’s not the only one who can go off topic.
Instead I played prosecution for the “Al Pacino is not all that and a bag of chips” trial.
I have just completed my opening statement. -M
turtle gets all legal on you
Absence of Malice
Let's cut to the chase. I don't give a fuck about Sally Field and tonight, I'm sure as fuck ain't gonna have some revelation that I will like her tomorrow. As far as I am concerned she could have stayed in her flying fucking Nun mode and smashed into a brick wall.
Other then that.
I enjoy this movie.
Paul Newman, as usually, is as cool ice until you fuck with him. And it's really not even himself he cares about. You can fuck with him alot but there will come a point in time when you realize that he stopped caring about anything but coming after you. See, maybe that's why I can relate to this character. He tries to make nice and just do what he did before you started bothering him. There is no midpoint in where his nice turns to bloodthirsty. You just can't tell with him. You know it is coming on, but you just can't tell. Something is going to turn him but you just can't pick the point in this one when it happens. Well, really you can, but his character is cool and calm. He knows he is being screwed over but he can take it. He has other things to do and has dealt with being screwed his whole life. But, that one second it hits him. You can tell. All of this ended up in the death of one of his friends.
It's go time.
Still cool as ice.
You fucked with him too much. He made a plan and calmed down. He took care of it. They wanted someone to squeeze, they sqooze(?) the wrong person. I always am amazed how he took the character to calm to crazy with anger to calm again in the matter of 4 minutes. This is pretty much defining. "I put up with your shit and this is what it got me. Now you will pay for me picking up the pieces." I always like those parts in the movie. A few minutes of fury and frustration then a new plan made. See that's the way I think in real life. I'll put up with anything, but there will come to a point that line in the sand has been crossed. I'll admit it has to be really serious in my life, but come on, his friend killed herself cause of all this. That's not stepping over the line.
That's fucking jumping it.
But so much with Paul Newman. Let's talk about the real star of this movie.
This guy is a genius. Everything he touches is gold. Ever look at movie quotes for this movie online? Every single one is of him speaking. His quotes. No one cares about Sally Field or what she said. Paul Newman rarely talks and I don’t remember anyone else in this movie really. This is the ultimate "god-like" figure. This whole movie, you knew someone was going to come out of the shadows and stop all this shit that was coming on. And they saved him for the last scene. Walking in and threatening everyone with a calm voice. Play my game or we can walk downstairs and do this in front of a jury. Someone is going to die tonight whoever it is depends on what they say in the next ten minutes. See dude. That's cool. Letting someone know that someone in here fucked up and it was up to them to tell him what was going on because no one here is walking away without their knees scraped. Everyone just kinda stopped and listened to him. Except for Paul Newman. Who just stopped caring at that point.
Which is what Paul Newman does. Kinda the same way I felt the first night of FTTW. “Fuck it. We did what we wanted and let's see if it works.” It seems to be working on FTTW so I guess Wilford isn't going to be firing us.
Or selling us Quaker Oats.
Or selling diabetes medication in infomercials.
Cause what we did was the right thing to do.
This is the FTTW family.
And we all like oatmeal. - T
So after going thru all of our hatred of certain actors and love of oatmeal, we have to ask you. What's your favorite law type movie? And no, ponos don't count.
Late Night Typing is written by Michele and Turtle and appears whenever they can agree what to write about.