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Jerry Maguire on DVD

Columbia Tristar has given Cameron Crowe's "Jerry Maguire" the DVD treatment it deserves with a special edition disc that's well worth having in your collection.

Tom Cruise is the title character, a sports agent who suddenly develops a conscience. Whatever happened to the pursuit of excellence, he wonders, to having relationships with your clients rather than just being the keeper in a high priced meat market? He puts his thoughts down on paper, a mission statement for where he thinks he and his company should go, and everyone seems to love it and agree with him.

But it's just lip service and shortly thereafter Jerry has been shown the door and screwed out of most of his clients at the same time. He ends up keeping only one, a talented receiver named Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr. in an Oscar-winning portrayal) who has talent to spare, but a bad attitude that's preventing him from getting to the big NFL bucks he so desires.

Jerry, meanwhile, has teamed up with the one person at his old office that had the courage (or stupidity) to throw her lot in with him: Dorothy Boyd (the luminous Renée Zellweger). She's his assistant/accountant, but soon they begin an after hours relationship spurred on by his desperation and her maternal concern - as well as Jerry's budding relationship with Dorothy's son.

This is a wonderful movie, a real Cameron Crowe tour de force. It's at heart a romance, but it's also about personal growth and character and the pursuit of excellence. It's a welcome sight in this cynical age.

Crowe also has a knack for choosing music that's perfect for the mood, from the opening with The Who's "Magic Bus" (from the original, unremastered Live at Leeds), through music from Paul McCartney's first solo album and various other rock classics. Crowe's wife, Nancy Wilson, also wrote and performs some very nice music that blends with the other songs beautifully.

The cast is excellent. Cruise is wonderful as we see him go from jaded to exultant - to desperate - and back again, and Zellweger is perfectly cast as the single mother trying to make it and to keep her head in a difficult world. Gooding Jr. deserved his Oscar; he brings a likable exuberance to his role that leaps right out of the screen at you.

Mention should also be made of Bonnie Hunt's outstanding performance as Dorothy's older sister; also keep an eye out for a variety of sports stars in cameos and walk ons.

Cameron Crowe is a gigantic talent. Jerry Maguire and, more recently, Almost Famous show him to be an excellent filmmaker and storyteller, able to make us laugh and cry almost at the same time.

The DVD is excellent as well. First of all, it's presented in digitally mastered anamorphic widescreen (16x9 TV compatible) and though the picture looks a tad soft at the beginning, most of the movie looks superb. Likewise the audio, which here is offered in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround, is also terrific. We would have liked to see a DTS option here as there is on Almost Famous, but that's really gilding the lily. Crowe's use of Rock and Roll music coupled with crowd-filled stadium footage makes good sound even more necessary, and fortunately they've come through.

You also get a pile of extras in this two disc Special Edition. On the main disc you're treated to a running commentary with Crowe, Cruise, Gooding Jr., and Zellweger, and it's pretty interesting. Even more interesting, though not as good a way to watch the movie, is a video commentary on disc two, where the movie plays in a window at the bottom of your screen, while above it the same gang holds forth on camera in another gang commentary.

Also on disc two are some deleted scenes with commentary, rehearsal footage with commentary, Rod Tidwell's "First Commercial," Drew Rosenhaus: Sports Agent (not the best extra ever offered by any means), Bruce Springsteen's "Secret Garden" music video (the song is prominent in the movie), a "making of" featurette, and trailers.

And in a surprising but pleasing turn of events, Jerry Maguire's entire mission statement is presented!

There are also a photo gallery and filmographies.

Like the movie, a DVD tour de force.

Jerry Maguire, Special Edition, from Columbia Tristar Home Video
139 min. anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 TV compatible, Dolby Digital 5.1 surround
Starring Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Renée Zellweger.
Produced by James L. Brooks, Richard Sakai, Laurence Mark Cameron Crowe,
Written and Directed by Cameron Crowe


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Updated May 13, 2006