Aaron Sorkin

The First Time: Sam & A Few Good Men

by Alex Jones

I wanted to kickoff this series of blog posts with a recent first time I got to experience with Sam. It’s important to give some background to help set up this weeks first timer. Sam has been mentioned various times on WTM podcasts and is responsible for much of graphic design work that goes into the site. She also happens to my roommate, girlfriend, and partner in crime. We’ve both had the pleasure of witnessing some of each other’s first times. This weeks post will bring you onto the couch of our living room for Sam’s first time watching Rob Reiner’s A Few Good Men (1992).

It’s important to understand my emotions going into this viewing. I had seen this film several times, but hadn’t watched it for several years. I remembered A Few Good Men as being an excellent courtroom drama with one of cinema’s most classic lines. In addition, it had an impressive cast to include Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon, Keifer Sutherland, and Kevin Pollack. Hell, even Cuba Gooding Jr. makes an appearance in this heavy hitter.  Not to mention it was nominated for 4 Oscars including Best Picture. Aaron Sorkin wasn’t messing around when he adapted this book into a screenplay.

With that set up, I knew Sam would so into it that she’d have a paralegal degree by the time credits rolled. So I sat back, hit play and prepared to watch history in the making. About an hour into it, I began to feel as though Sam may not be as grabbed as I thought. The first red flag: her comment on the music. She said the electronic keyboard was “so 80’s” and loud that it was comical. Hmm. That’s not good, but I can’t say I didn’t agree. Regardless, the best performances were yet to come. We’ll get past this.

As the two-hour mark approach, so did the second red flag: her phone appeared. While my eyes are locked on the TV getting into the dialogue and counting how many times Tom Cruise picks up his baseball bat, I see a screen light up to my left. She’s pulled up her phone. I ask what she’s doing and she said “nothing” and puts the phone back down. Meh. Must have just been a habit to check her email. That’s all right. I’m not trying to change behavior, just blow minds with this movie. 

The best part of the movie has just occurred on screen and I’m fired up mouthing, “You can’t handle the truth!” I look at Sam with absolute enjoyment.  Her eyes are watching the screen, but her mind is counting the minutes. Shortly after, the credits roll and before I can ask the ultimate question, “What’d you think?” she yells out “That was the most boring movie I’ve ever seen. The cheesy lines, Tom Cruise and his f’ing baseball bat, and that keyboard. Ugh. I went through all of that just too see those last few minutes of dialogue. I’ll never watch that again.”

SAYYY WHATTTTT?!?! I’m so caught off guard that I burst out in laughter. She laughs as well. Then I proceed to defend the movie and inform her that she just could not handle the truth and that was the issue. In the end, her first time with A Few Good Men was not something she was willing to try again – at least not as long as a keyboard is involved.