Throwback Thursday-With Honors (1994)

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I received 2 educations: one inside the classroom and the other outside of the classroom.

In the 1994 movie, With Honors, Monty (Brendan Fraser) has just completed his thesis, which he hopes will get him on the right track to a healthy and successful career. Then his computer dies on him (as usual at the most inconvenient of times). With only one physical copy of the thesis back to his name, Monty runs to the library to make a copy. But before he can get to the library, Monty slips and falls. The envelope holding the single copy of his thesis falls through a grate.

Desperate to locate it, Monty goes through the building that is connected through the grate. In the basement he finds homeless drifter named Simon (Joe Pesci) burning the pages to stay warm. Simon makes Monty a deal. Simon will give Monty a page a day. In return, Monty will house and feed Simon until he gets back what is left of his thesis. Monty hopes to get his thesis back, what he surprisingly gets is an education that goes far beyond the classroom.

What I like about this movie is not just the dynamic between Fraser and Pesci, but also the idea that education and learning does not stop when we leave the classroom.

I recommend it.


My Cousin Vinny-25 Years Later

There is nothing so interesting as a fish out of water story.

Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of the release of My Cousin Vinny (1992).

Two young men from New York City, Stan (Mitchell Whitfield) and Bill (Ralph Macchio) are traveling through small town Alabama on their way to the west coast for college. Accused of murder, they call the best lawyer they can afford, Bill’s cousin, Vinny (Joe Pesci). Accompanying Vinny is his very frustrated fiance, Mona Lisa (Marisa Tomei). The problem is that Vinny is not exactly on the up and up regarding his standing as a lawyer, in addition to standing out like a sore thumb in the court room. The judge presiding over the case, Judge Haller (Fred Gwynne) is not impressed with Vinny’s courtroom manner.

The comedy in this film comes out from Vinny and his clear lack of experience in the court room. An additional layer of comedy comes from the fact that Mona Lisa is the smarter one of the two of them and actually helps her fiance when he is floundering in the courtroom.

And course, the best scene in the movie is the one above.

I absolutely recommend it.

This movie is 25 years old and is just as funny as it was in 1992.

Throwback Thursday Part III- My Cousin Vinny

My Cousin Vinny is a fish out water story and an early 90’s classic.

Bill Gambini (Ralph Macchio) and Stan Rothenstein (Mitchell Whitfield) are college students from New York who received scholarships to UCLA. They decide to take a road trip to California. Stopping in Alabama, Bill and Stan stop at a convenience store for some snacks. As soon as they leave the store they are arrested. Not for shoplifting, as they think, but robbery and murder.

With little money in their pocket, Bill calls home to get a lawyer. The only lawyer than can found is Vincent Laguardia Gambini  (Joe Pesci), Bill’s cousin with limited court room experience. Traveling down south with Vinny is his long time fiance Mona Lisa Vito (Marisa Tomei).  Faced with a judge (Fred Gwynne) who is questioning the defense’s credentials, uncooperative locals and his fiance, Vinny has to find a way to prevent Bill and Stan from wasting their college years in an Alabama jail.

This movie is hilarious. Joe Pesci is perfect as the New York lawyer trying to defend clients in a very traditional southern court. Marisa Tomei earned her Oscar for the her portrayal as Mona Lisa Vito.    This movie is 22 years old, but it still holds up. If you only watch one scene from this movie, watch the scene where Marisa Tomei is on the stand. Perfection.

I recommend this movie.

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