Neuman’s Movie Monday – Top 10 Courtroom Movies
This week's Movie Monday is all about movies in the courtroom. I've always thought these movies have some of the best writing.
10. "Liar Liar"
Yes, I know... we aren't exactly off to a good start. I promise this list gets better. "Liar Liar" actually bumped "Legally Blonde" out of the Top 10. The reason is that in the courtroom, we are searching for the truth and when you are not allowed to lie at all, it makes it that much harder. In "Legally Blonde", if "any Cosmo girl would have known", it loses the luster of a legitimate lawyer she spends the whole movie trying to be.
9. "Miracle on 34th Street"
When you are trying to defend the one and only Santa Claus, you know this classic is going to be on the list. Typically a seasonal flick, wouldn't make a list but this one is played every year and is too difficult to pass up when it's on. There isn't much better testimony when bags and bags of letters to Santa are delivered to your feet.
8. "My Cousin Vinny"
This movie is not just innocent/guilty. It's also North/South, insiders/outsiders, and conventional/unconventional. This movie proves that lawyers not only need to know the law, but also have a general knowledge of just about everything. This is a movie that I will always watch when it's on. As good as Marissa Tomei is, Joe Pesci is hilarious.
7. "A Few Good Men"
To be completely honest, I don't really like this movie. It's well acted by everyone involved. The idea of the friendly-fire is really good. I think if this movie were darker, it would take a top spot. But the movie goes: We should put Col. Jessep on the stand. We aren't going to put Col. Jessep on the stand. Maybe we should put Col. Jessep on the stand. Okay, let's put Col. Jessep on the stand. Movie over. They could have done a better job building the suspense or show more of what happened during the code red order.
6. "The Devil's Advocate"
When the devil is on your side, you can be a pretty good trial lawyer. The scary thing about this movie is that it shows a big hole in our justice system. There is proof that shows a good lawyer can win regardless if he should win or not. There are a couple trials that we see in "The Devil's Advocate" and that's different than a movie circling just one case.
5. "Primal Fear"
I have expressed before how much I like this movie. The trail is great and with the incorporation of religion, it makes it very edgy. Edward Norton is fantastic as the defendant with multiple personality disorder and it shows his range as an actor. The trail is explosive and we see two really good trail lawyers battle it out.
This is a totally underrated movie. Both Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling are great in this movie. Anthony Hopkins' character shoots his wife for cheating on him and then defends himself in the trail versus Gosling who plays the prosecutor. This is a good rent with suspense and a sense of "how is this going to end?"
3. "12 Angry Men"
Another movie that I have raved about before. This one is unlike the other courtroom dramas because in this one, the trail is over. We are getting a sneak peak into the jurors room as they deliberate. There's one juror who is unsure of the verdict and doesn't think they should jump to a conclusion and we see him breakdown the case. Again, this movie is seamless and it looks like it all had to be done in one take. 12 people in one room, this movie is like a play. It's a great flick!
2. "To Kill a Mockingbird"
"To Kill a Mockingbird" is a hands-down classic. Gregory Peck is amazing. This is a perfect story. A school district in Mississippi is pulling "To Kill a Mockingbird" because it makes people 'uncomfortable.' Well, excuse me, but that's the point of the story. Also, rarely do we see a movie that is just as good as the book is. This is a great movie and book. It was hard for me to put "To Kill a Mockingbird" at number two on this list.
This is a movie that will blow your hair back. Both Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington a great here. The social injustice in "Philadelphia" keeps you locked in throughout the whole film. Put this on your MUST WATCH LIST! The movie does a great job of showing that lawyers have to do everything they can to win whether they think it's right or not. Denzel's character doesn't agree with homosexuality but knows what's right and what's wrong. We even see the lead defense lawyer, played by Mary Steenburgen, who is confident when addressing the jury when inside, she hates this case. This movie is so good.