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Jerry Maguire (1996)


A sports agent betrayed by his own kind, Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) represents the classic tragic hero, one who must be obliterated before he can be saved. He operates in a high-pressure atmosphere of sports management and representation that few of us could imagine, let alone comprehend. Once he decides to strike out on his own, trying to stick to a set of idealistic principles, we genuinely wonder whether he will succeed.

The film was written and directed by the legendary Cameron Crowe, and his now-trademark style of popular filmmaking is on fine display here. Pop culture references abound — often in the form of pro sport cameos — and Crowe’s wife, Nancy Wilson, has fashioned a memorable (though not overbearing) soundtrack. Cruise and love interest Renee Zellweger display tangible chemistry.

And let’s not forge the memorable dialogue. It’s amazing how many catchphrases this movie spawned, from “Show me the money” to “You complete me” to “You had me at hello.” There’s a reason why these expressions eventually became so popular: Taken in the context of Maguire‘s scenes, they work very well.