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Arts and Entertainment Friday, Sep. 6, 2019 2 weeks ago

Binge Blog: I'm glad we had this talk

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'Jerry Maguire' and 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' are this week's picks.
by: Ryan Kohn Sports Reporter

It’s always a great day when I discover a new way to watch movies and TV shows or teach someone about a service they didn’t know existed. 

Hopefully, today will be a great day for all of us. 

IMDb — that’s the Internet Movie Database, an invaluable resource for filmographies, budget info, cinema trivia, you name it — recently expanded its offerings to include a free streaming service, IMDb TV. All you need is an account. The streams do come with ads, but that is manageable if it means keeping your wallet fat and happy. 

Most of the service’s offerings are either older movies or less-than-critically acclaimed features (or things I have flat-out never heard of), but there are exceptions. “Silver Linings Playbook” is on there. So is recent Binge Blog pick “La La Land,” “Cadillac Records,” “Drive” and long-running sci-fi series “Fringe,” plus this week’s first pick. 

File IMDb TV away in your memory, or at least bookmark it. As I have written before, you never know when you’re going to get a hankering for something and not be able to watch it. You can only subscribe to so many services before it becomes a second version of cable. IMDb TV, Kanopy, even VUDU, are a way from fighting back against that. Check those services before you shell out money on a rental. JustWatch is a great tool that helps you sort through it all. Just search for what you want, and go. 

 

“Jerry Maguire” (1996)

IMDb TV/Amazon Prime/VUDU, rated R, 138 minutes

Where to start with one of the most quotable movies of the last 25 years?

How about: “You had me at hello.” 

Tom Cruise in "Jerry Maguire." Photo source: IMDb TV.

Tom Cruise has never been so captivating. Rene Zellweger has never been so charming. Cuba Gooding Jr. has never been so zany. Jonathan Lipnicki, well, I don’t know if there’s ever been a more winning child actor. The cast was perfect, all born to read Cameron Crowe’s quippy, upper-class dialogue. 

My mom forced me to watch this movie as a tween, claiming I’d like it because “it’s about sports,” which is like saying “Goodfellas” is a movie about making pasta. I liked it anyway. This might be why I like rom-coms more than the average man. It’s a good starter kit. 

When the titular Maguire (Cruise) panics and quits his sports agency job on a whim, he scrambles to recruit both coworkers and clients to follow him to his own company. He only gets two: employee Dorothy Boyd (Zellweger) and client Rod Tidwell (Gooding Jr.). The rest of the movie is him trying to get his life back in order while finding what is actually important to him. 

Cuba Gooding Jr. in "Jerry Maguire." Photo source: IMDb TV.

Every line in this movie is gold. Every line. You remember “Show me the money,” but do you remember “I love my wife, I love my life, and I wish you my kind of success”? You remember “You complete me,” but do you remember “He loves my kid, and he sure does like me a lot”? Or “It’s not show friends; it’s show business”?  Crowe has had some misfires in recent years, but this script is close to flawless, and everyone sells the shit out of it.

Zellweger and Cruise have the chemistry of an Ivy League research lab. (It's a lot of chemistry, you see.) It's sappy and overwrought with emotion and all those words used to describe dreck, but for some reason, it works. It's beautiful. If you haven't watched "Jerry Maguire" in a while, you probably only remember the big moments. But the quiet ones are what make this film one of the best of the 1990s. 

Take a few hours, and remember why. It's worth it. 

"It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" (2005-present)

Hulu, rated TV-MA, 22 minutes, 13 seasons

It's important to remember that the joke is on them.

The gang in "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." Photo source: Hulu.

This happens a lot in sitcoms, where the audience latches onto a particularly pointed character and adapts their musings as a way of life. Ron Swanson, played with libertarian gusto by Nick Offerman in "Parks and Recreation," comes to mind. Ron is hilarious, but he's also an imbecile. If anyone tried to live like him in real life, they would be insufferable. 

The same applies to the "It's Always Sunny" crew, except instead of being imbeciles (though some are that, too), they are vile monsters. They take what they want, when they want, no matter what schemes they have to create to do so. This, of course, is the crux of one of the funniest shows ever put to air. 

The show isn't as talked about anymore, now that it is entering its 14th season, which premieres Sept. 25 on FX. It should be, if only because having a show run for that long in the streaming era is an insane accomplishment. The reason it endures is its willingness to make fun of the worst of the worst. Sometimes that comes in the form of general nastiness, and other times, when it gets political, it smartly goes after people who use social issues to their own advantage, whichever side of the aisle they fall. In season one episode "Charlie Wants an Abortion," for example, Mac (Rob McElhenney) and Dennis (Glenn Howerton) take opposite sides of the debate solely to try and score with women. When their motives get exposed, they get justly ostracized. Other issues the show has tackled: the gas crisis, guns (twice), Time's Up, North Korea, the 2009 mortgage crisis and same-sex marriage (from a religious point of view).  

The gang in "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." Photo source: Hulu.

In recent seasons, the show has become more overt in its messaging, sometimes at the expense of jokes. The final scene of last season, for example, was Mac performing an interpretive dance after finally accepting himself as gay. (Yes, the same Mac who was chasing skirt before. It's a long story.) It wasn't played for laughs. It was a touching moment for a character and a show that have come a long way since 2005. 

Of course, it's always going to be sophomoric. Dennis is still (maybe) a serial killer. Charlie (Charlie Day) is still a creep. Frank (Danny DeVito) is still a grungy drug addict. Dee (Kaitlin Olson) is still a selfish klutz, and Mac, despite his newfound sexuality, is still an egomaniac. That's why we love them. 

Quote of the Week: 

Jerry (Cruise) and Rod (Gooding Jr.), having a conversation in "Jerry Maguire."

Jerry: "I'm finished. I'm fucked. Twenty-four hours ago, man, I was hot! Now I'm a cautionary tale. You see this jacket I'm wearing? You like it? Because I don't really need it. Because I'm cloaked in failure. I lost the No. 1 draft pick the night before the draft. Why? Let's recap: because a hockey player's kid made me feel like a superficial jerk. I ate two slices of bad pizza, went to bed and grew a conscience."

Rod: "… Well, boo-fucking-hoo."

I’m the sports reporter for Sarasota and East County and a Missouri School of Journalism graduate. I was born and raised in Olney, MD. My biggest inspirations are Wright Thompson and Alex Ovechkin. My strongest belief is that mint chip ice cream is unbeatable.

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