Thursday, September 22, 2011

Remembering First Impressions: John Grisham's The Rainmaker


Isn't it interesting how some films stick with you throughout the years, seemingly no matter what happens? How your opinion of them doesn't really seem to change? They're not the kind of films that you'll ever place on a top ten greatest list, nor are they really the kind you'd list as being bad. They're just fine, have always been fine, and for some incalculable number of reasons appear as if they will always be just fine. These movies are the ones you watch on weekend afternoons because that's what the television is playing, and you enjoy them well enough to invest a couple of hours of your time. Not too often of course, because they're not that good. Then again they don't play that often either so all's well that ends well.

One movie that fits that form to me is the 1997 film John Grisham's The Rainmaker, based on the novel of the same name - which I, to date, still haven't read. For those who are quite unaware of its existence, it's your standard courtroom drama about a young Lawyer, Rudy Baylor (Matt Damon), who is quickly thrust into the world of big politics after he takes on his first case, a civil litigation against a large multinational insurance corporation.

Now I can't tell you exactly when I first saw The Rainmaker, I'd wager it to be about '98/'99. Though I can tell you that came along long before names like Matt Damon, Danny DeVito, Claire Danes, John Voight, Virginia Madsen, Mickey Rourke, Danny Glover, Teresa Wright, and Roy Scheider had any real meaning to me. Certainly before seeing "Written and Directed by Francis Ford Coppola" would peak my interest (then again he had just done Jack the year before so, you never know).

At a time when I was apt to forget anything I experienced the moment after it was gone, The Rainmaker struck a chord with me. Perhaps because it was a film so unlike the ones I'd experienced before it. It dealt with real world issues such as spousal abuse, corruption, and corporate manipulation. It was a drama first, thrill second, thriller. A far cry from the onslaught of action-adventure-scifi tales I would normally engorge myself with. And on a generous day I'd be willing to claim it, alongside my first viewing of 1989's Glory went a long way and developing my preferred style with non-action based films. Of course, I always like a little action, but with the advent of an awareness of these films I started to become more interested in characters. In stories that breed, develop, and mold them.

So while I would never claim The Rainmaker to be a masterpiece. While I'll likely never post it on a top 100 list. I will always appreciate its lasting power with me.

1 better thoughts:

Duke said...

Rounders is a perfect example of a film that's stayed with me, through diversity and film going tangents.

Love that movie, no matter what.

Nice post my man.

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