Hebrew, Czech, Greek, Polish, Hungarian, Dutch, Arabic, English - Hearing Impaired, Turkish, Icelandic, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Hindi, Bulgarian
Additional footage - rehearsal tapes
Audio commentary - Cameron Crowe, Tom Cruise, Renee Zellweger, Cuba Gooding Jr
Original screenplay - on DVD-ROM
Dolby Digital trailer
Video commentary - Cameron Crowe, Tom Cruise, Renee Zellweger, Cuba Gooding Jr
Jerry Maguire: Collector's Edition
Tristar Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment .
R4 . COLOR . 133 mins .
M15+ . PAL
The main menu (animated fish optional)
After an acclaimed debut as a director with the classic Say Anything... in 1989 and then the underrated ensemble piece Singles in 1992, Cameron Crowe was in no particular hurry to get his name back on the big screen. Always happy to take his time over a movie - the exception being Vanilla Sky - Crowe spent a good amount of time writing, planning and preparing Jerry Maguire, a script which marked a return to a more personal, emotional mode of storytelling story after Singles’ interlocking-character drama. And this time, the wider world was ready for Crowe’s uniquely human writing and sensitive direction; Jerry Maguire turned out to be a huge hit, ultimately being nominated for five Academy Awards (it scored only one, for supporting actor Cuba Gooding Jr, losing out on Best Picture and Best Director to The English Patient). Awards do not a great movie make, of course, and while Crowe may not yet have gotten the prized statue for the film (he’d have to wait for Almost Famous), it remains a firm favourite of just about everyone who’s seen it.
Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) is a hugely successful, incredibly driven sports agent working for one of America’s biggest management companies. He looks after the careers - and egos - of some of the biggest names in the sporting world, bending over backwards to make sure they get what they want. Fast-talking and effusive, he’s also almost totally emotionally distant - after all, the job he’s doing never really requires him to make friendships, only business relationships. So it’s not surprising, then, that his personal life is a mess - a succession of conquests that are secondary to his job, followed by a shallow relationship with NFL publicist Avery (Kelly Preston), to whom he’s getting married for all the wrong reasons. But one night, Jerry has an epiphany - he sees his entire life for what it is, and tries to capture it all on paper in the form of a “mission statement” which, convinced he’s found all the answers, he circulates around his office. Not surprisingly, this expression of human feeling costs him his job, leaving him with assistant Dorothy (Renee Zellweger) and a single, rather difficult client Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr). Jerry has to somehow get his life back on track, and both Dorothy and Tidwell will be instrumental in the process.
Renee Zellweger as Dorothy.
Crowe has come up with such a wonderfully personal story and such intricate characters that merely describing the plot doesn’t do the film justice. Though this is a drama first and foremost, true to form he blends in liberal doses of humour (both visual gags and subtle, character-based material), showing the very human frailties of the lead characters but never ridiculing them.
Though set around the world of sport in general and American football in particular, this is most certainly not a sport-themed movie. Instead it is, like Say Anything before it, a story of a person’s rediscovery of himself through a relationship with another. That kind of emotional centre is key to the success of Crowe’s films, and it works beautifully here, aided immeasurably by a wonderful performance by then-newcomer Renee Zellweger, as well as a spot-on effort from Cruise and a deliciously over-the-top innings from Cuba Gooding Jr. The real star here is Crowe’s screenplay, but every great screenplay needs a sympathetic cast - and everyone here “gets” it perfectly.
It’s a long movie for its genre, but don’t think for a second that it’s going to drag; there’s story and detail stuffed in every frame of this film, and it seems to run for half the time it actually does. Granted, this reviewer’s a long-time fan of Crowe’s work, but don’t let that dissuade you - Jerry Maguire is one of the best character dramas of its decade, and what it’s got to say makes even more sense in the current climate. Go discover it.
"Our movie is thiiiiis wide!"
Originally released on DVD way, way back at the dawn of time - well, okay, the dawn of the DVD format - Columbia Tristar’s original disc of Jerry Maguire was a textbook lesson in how to squeeze well over two hours of high-quality video onto a single layered disc and still deliver stunning picture quality. Despite a few almost-unnoticeable compression problems it was a benchmark in its day. But many days have passed since then, and the bar’s been raised in quality land. This, of course, doesn’t bother the folks at the Sony Pictures DVD Center in the slightest. They’ve still got the best encoder in the business, and with a dual-layered disc to play with they have cranked the encoding bitrate on this new edition to massively high levels. On a par with - or surpassing - their “Superbit” titles in the bitrate stakes, the image here is unbothered by mere compression problems, and instead only has to contend with an occasionally high level of grain in the source material and a few film imperfections. This is the same video transfer as the earlier disc, and since that was a cracker of a transfer (one of Sony’s earlier hi-def efforts) that’s not a problem.
Colours are vibrant throughout, while shadow detail accurately reflects the intentions of cinematographer Janusz Kaminski, who can’t resist doing his favourite party trick (playing with streaks of light caused by manipulation of the camera) at one point, but who otherwise restrains himself admirably compared to his later grain-and-bleach efforts on films like Saving Private Ryan and A.I.
The theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 is nearly reproduced here; the image is ever so slightly windowboxed in the 16:9 anamorphic frame. The resulting ratio is closest to 1.80:1. The dual-layer format this time around means there’s a layer change to deal with, but it’s been so well placed - mid-scene, no less - that most people won’t even notice it.
The movie’s theatrical Dolby Digital 5.1 sound mix is reproduced here accurately, with crystal-clear dialogue in the centre channel that’s been perfectly recorded, ensuring you don’t miss a word of this decidedly dialogue-based film. The other front channels are mainly used for music, with subtle effects and ambience in the surrounds. Not a show-off soundtrack by any means, but it doesn’t need to be. Fidelity throughout is excellent.
"No! NO!!! Not the Dolby 'City' trailer again!!"
This long-overdue “Collector’s Edition” (it’s been out overseas for an eternity now) finally gives fans of the film some extra features to go with their movie. But with the main feature taking up the entire first disc thanks to the high encoding bitrate, almost all the extras are supplied on a second dual-layered DVD. Both disc menus feature nicely-done animations with audio, something of an improvement on the static screen offered on the original edition!
Audio/Video Commentary: Yes, a video commentary, that rarest of beasts in the great jungle of DVD extras. Sometime during post-production on Vanilla Sky, the DVD producers got Cameron Crowe into a TV studio with Tom Cruise (in a very silly hat and sunglasses, attempting to hide his Minority Report baldness!), Renee Zellweger and Cuba Gooding Jr for a commentary session with three cameras pointed directly at them as they sat on the couch watching the film they made together five years earlier. The result is a treat: while Crowe has plenty of insightful recollections about the filmmaking process and talks effusively, taking the opportunity to plug any gaps left by the three stars, who are all recovering from Cruise’s birthday party the previous night and have an enormous amount of fun watching their slightly younger selves on the screen (visible in the video commentary as a small window at the bottom of the screen). This same commentary is supplied as a separate audio-only track on the main movie disc, with the video version residing on the bulk of disc 2. Worth noting is the fact that the video commentary, having been converted from an NTSC source, runs at the film’s correct speed and comes in over five minutes longer than the PAL version as a result.
Deleted Scenes: A set of five short scenes that were removed from the final cut, each with optional commentary from Crowe and editor Joe Hutshing. None of these are especially gripping and it’s easy to see how the movie’s better without them, but it’s great to have a chance to see some “lost” bits of the movie. Video quality is, not surprisingly, decidedly average - but not as average as the video quality on the…
Rehearsal Footage: Three quick snippets from rehearsals, shot on VHS and dubbed from a tape that looks like it’s seen better days. Of archival interest, but unlikely to thrill most people.
Rod Tidwell Commercial: This was originally intended to go at the end of the movie, but ended up not being used in the final theatrical version (though it has reportedly turned up on some TV showings in the US). It has the character of Rod Tidwell doing a typically attitude-rich commercial for Reebok; the version include here is full-frame non-anamorphic and appears to have come from an NTSC source - probably a broadcast TV master tape.
How To Be A Sports Agent: Real-life sports agent Drew Rosenhaus shows that Tom Cruise’s performance was utterly reserved in comparison to the real, caffeine-and-bluster-powered thing! Shot on a home video camera.
Making-of Featurette: Seven minutes long, this studio-produced featurette is yet another of those EPK-style this-is-the-best-thing-ever things that most people will only watch once. It does, however, offer a glimpse (only a glimpse!) behind the scenes.
Music Video: If you aren’t already thoroughly sick of hearing the song rotating on the extras menus, here’s a typical tie-in music video for Bruce Springsteen’s Secret Garden from the movie’s soundtrack, alternating between shots of The Boss and clips from the film. Full-frame 4:3, of course.
Jerry Maguire’s Mission Statement: Jerry’s introspective “mission statement” in the movie was seen as a big bound tome but naturally never fully revealed. Here it is in its entirety, on 44 nicely-designed screens. It can also be read online, by the way, in the Jerry Maguire section of Greg Mariotti’s terrific Crowe web site The Uncool - the link’s over on the right there.
Theatrical Trailer: Self-explanatory…! This is a full-frame version with stereo sound.
Filmographies: The dreaded “selected” filmographies that Columbia Tristar still insist on doing, with pointlessly incomplete lists for seven of the cast and of course Crowe himself. For example, Kelly Preston has made over 40 films - Jerry Maguire was her 28th, according to the IMDB. Believe the list here, however, and she’s done only seven.
Photo Gallery: Lots and lots of still images, including both promo stills and on-set photos.
DVD-ROM Content: While the DVD-ROM section, on the second disc, uses the Interactual Player to provide a special interface for the disc when played on a computer, you really don’t need to go to the lengths of installing software to access the single real feature here - the complete movie script. Instead, you can access it directly by navigating through the disc’s directories, where you’ll find the script in both HTML and text chapter form, as well as a complete text version for printing.
Dolby Digital City Trailer: Before the movie, enjoy being blasted by this inescapable and very, very tired slab of show-off. Or just quickly hit the chapter-skip button and save a little piece of your sanity…!
Easter Egg: Yes, there is one, and it’s worth finding. We won’t give the game away here, though - check this site’s Easter Eggs section for details on how to find it if you’re stumped.
The movie which put Cameron Crowe onto the directorial A-list once and for all, Jerry Maguire may be his biggest commercial success to date but loses none of the warmth, humour and emotional insight that makes his films seem so, well, complete. Finally available on a remastered DVD, the movie looks better than ever - and while much of the extra material is less than compelling, the video commentary more than makes up for it.
Now, Columbia Tristar - how about that equally-overdue Almost Famous special edition?