#16- My Cousin Vinny (1992)

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Who's List Was This On
- Bryan Hernandez: #7
- Daniel Bennett: #15
- Adam Kaplan: #23

Directed By: Jonathan Lynn
Written By: Dale Launer
Starring: Joe Pesci, Marisa Tomei, Ralph Macchio, and Fred Gwynne

The Plot

Two friends from New York Bill (Macchio) and Stan (Mitchell Whitfield) are on a road trip before school starts when they get arrested and are wrongfully accused of murder while driving through Alabama. Bill calls on his cousin Vincent Gambini (Pesci) who recently graduated from a lower-tiered law school and is woefully inexperienced in criminal litigation to help represent the boys. Vinny and his fiance Mona Lisa Vito (Tomei) drive down to Alabama to help get Bill and Stan acquitted. Hilarity ensues.

Why This Movie Is Great
Hey, Stan, you're in Ala-fuckin'-bama. You come from New York. You killed a good ol' boy. There is no way this is not going to trial!
-Vinny Gambini-

It should be no surprise that when three out of the six rankers are currently in law school and one ranker just recently graduated from law school that My Cousin Vinny would make the list of the 25 Greatest Movies of the Past 25 Years.

This movie is not only the funniest legal movie of all time, but one of the funniest movies period. Of course it goes without saying that it is my favorite and probably the best legal movie ever (or at least within the past 25 years. A Few Good Men gave it a run for its money but Tom Cruise's and everyone else's over-the-top, non-subtle acting took the movie out of the running- at least for me).

This movie has scenes that make for a great tool for any law related class. I've seen about half of the movie just from taking multiple classes from one particular law professor. My favorite scene in the movie is where Vinny Gambini is cross-examining the witness who was making grits for breakfast and claims to have seen the murder take place while he was making his breakfast. I love this scene and even though I've seen this scene at least 20 times (not a hyperbole) it still cracks me up. While I was in high school, the law club used that scene to help advertise members to join their crew. Not only is that scene wildly hilarious, but it's the perfect embodiment of why Vinny Gambini is a great character and a great trial lawyer.

Joe Pesci and the rest of the cast does a great acting job in this comedy classic. I don't care that it's a comedy and that Pesci doesn't do his classic Pesci kick, great acting is great acting no matter if you makes you laugh or not. And while we're on the subject, I believe Marisa Tomei deserved the Academy Award for her performance and I don't believe Jack Palance read the wrong name when he presented. Tomei was fantastic as Pesci's fiance. She played that New York no nonsense girl perfectly and was great in Vinny. Lastly, we have Herman Munster himself (Gwynne) as Judge Haller. While he mainly plays the straight man to Pesci he brings a certain, subtle je nais se qua to the role to help anchor the movie- a lot of which takes place in the courtroom.

What I also like about My Cousin Vinny are the little things don't seem to drive the plot until the movie is completed. Vinny and Mona Lisa sitting and eating breakfast or talking about automobiles doesn't seem so important until you realize how it comes up later and how it helps develop Vinny and Mona Lisa as characters. I'm just a sucker for those moments that occur in film.

I've seen this movie about 10 times already and each and every time it makes me laugh. I still crack up when the Prosecutor (Lane Smith) goes "Eye-*claps hands together*-Dentical". I'm a big fan of My Cousin Vinny and I was pleased to see my fellow law breathren are as well.