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Movie Reviews

DVD Review: “The Rainmaker”

(Paramount Home Entertainment. 1997/2007. 1 Disc. Color. Widescreen. 135 Minutes. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola.) Matt Damon, Danny DeVito, Jon Voight, Claire Danes, Mary Kay Place, Mickey Rourke, Danny Glover (uncredited). Music by Elmer Bernstein.

Wow, what an ensemble! Based on the John Grisham novel, an idealistic, young Memphis lawyer (Damon) takes on a corrupt health insurance company with the help of an ethically-malleable paralegal (DeVito), all while passing the bar, aiding and falling in love with a battered wife (Danes) and helping a little old lady (Teresa Wright) rewrite her will. Voight’s turn as a smooth Southern shark is a great counterpoint to Damon’s earnest, bumbling greenhorn, which is also in contrast to his morally ambiguous mentor/sidekick DeVito. There’s even a cameo by country singer Randy Travis! Coppola handles the multiple subplots and colorful characters with ease, and the courtroom drama is taut if a tad predictable (who would’ve thought the underdog could win?). I was a bit surprised at how cynical the tone of the movie could be, but I guess that’s where idealism can lead. The special features shine with a commentary by Coppola and DeVito; screen tests from Damon, Danes, Mary Kay Place and Virginia Madsen; some rather illuminating deleted scenes, including an alternate ending; and my favorite, a featurette detailing some of Coppola’s directorial techniques (“soundball” and “the hat game” were fun to watch). If you’re a Grisham fan, or just like compelling courtroom dramas, give this one a shot.

Jared Counts

Jared Counts

Digital Technology Manager

A UH alum, Jared Counts was hired part-time at KUHF Radio in early 2003, bouncing between departments until being hired full-time as a web developer in Febraury 2007. He currently manages the front- and back-end of this website (including the WordPress plugin that runs this staff directory), as well as...

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