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Overall Rating

Awesome: 30.36%
Worth A Look57.14%
Average: 8.93%
Pretty Bad: 1.79%
Total Crap: 1.79%

4 reviews, 32 user ratings

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Rainmaker, The (1997)
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by Ryan Arthur

"Not bad."
4 stars

Grisham. Damon. Coppola?

Initially, I thought to myself, "Wow, Coppola doing a Grisham adaptation. Hell really did freeze over. He must just be trying to redeem himself for releasing Jack on an unsuspecting public in 1996." The good news is that Coppola succeeds in adapting a Grisham novel to the big screen. The bad news is that Coppola succeeds in adapting a *Grisham* novel to the screen. Like in every Grisham storyline, a lawyer gets in over his/her head with some shady characters, ends up going to trial, and miraculously wins one for the little guy in a case that could only be cracked (and won) in the movies. It was Tom Cruise in The Firm, Julia Roberts in The Pelican Brief, Susan Sarandon in The Client, Matthew McConaghey in A Time To Kill, and Chris O'Donnell in the Chamber.

But on the strength of his actors and the sense of humor that's lacking from most Grisham adaptations, Coppola pulls it off. This time, it's golden boy Matt Damon as the idealistic young lawyer who gets pulled into the web of an insurance company scam. Damon's perfect for the role. His Rudy Baylor is green, fresh out of law school and already disgusted with his chosen profession. Damon has charisma, leading man looks, and what's more, the guy can act. Jon Voight seems to be content in using the latter half of his career to work on villainous roles (in 1997 alone: sinister snake hunter in Anaconda, sinister Army General in the blink-and-you-missed-it Most Wanted, sinister weird guy in U-Turn, and sinister defense lawyer here). Amazingly enough, Claire Danes shows depth as the battered wife of...Andrew Shue?...whom Damon falls for, and the rest of the cast (Mary Kay Place, Danny Glover, Danny Devito and Mickey Rourke, who seriously needs to start showering) all do quite well with the cardboard cutouts that pass for characters that Copplola is forced to deal with. But it's Damon's movie, and he carries it well.

In short, The Rainmaker can't compare with earlier Coppola films (duh), but it's still a diamond of the rough.

This movie got beat out opening weekend at the box office by Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. Isn't that just wrong?

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originally posted: 09/01/98 14:50:24
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User Comments

12/24/19 Jamie What a waste and so much potential! No character development at all, just hollow. Sad. 2 stars
9/13/17 morris campbell very good 4 stars
5/23/09 Monday Morning Very good story & film because key characters played by great actors. Highly recommended!! 5 stars
8/31/08 Shaun Wallner This ones ok. 3 stars
8/22/06 Irwin Lublin I thought that the screenplay, the direction, and the performances were uniformly excellent 5 stars
1/05/06 R.W.Welch Has a rare wry quality in the early going; slowly gets more routine. Pretty fair overall. 4 stars
5/06/05 jordan springer shitty 1 stars
8/17/04 Betty Lewis Enjoyed the movie - unfortunately, the public may actually believe this can happen. 4 stars
10/20/03 John Bale Well directed adaption with excellent performances by Dillon and cast 4 stars
5/22/03 leon %%0qwe very enjoyable!ranks with time to kill for best grisham adaptation!book is better though 5 stars
3/24/03 Jack Sommersby By-the-numbers and impersonal. Still, it's watchable. 3 stars
11/26/02 Charles Tatum One of Coppola's few good recent films 4 stars
10/27/02 MarktheShark6 Highly under-rated; it's gotta be one of Matt Damon's best drama movies of the 90's. 4 stars
2/21/01 Jake Very impressive. Damon should stick to playing modest characters. 4 stars
9/02/00 Rosalie Coleman This movie tugs at your heart. A movie I would purchase fro my home library. 5 stars
6/07/00 TERRIE SMITH Good adaptation of the novel; Danny De Vito walks away with the film 4 stars
4/15/00 Elvisfan Very good, very entertaining, talented/great cast & director 5 stars
3/13/00 Trina Barnard Good movie. Book is better! 4 stars
1/03/00 Lindsey I really enjoyed this movie, another good John Grisham. Matt Damon was great as well! 5 stars
1/02/00 Anthony Burroughs Very good, the best of Grisham movies, Matt was great as always 5 stars
10/08/99 Igor It's bad for great director, but it's nice for unknown one. 3 stars
4/28/99 Matt&Danny Kudos to Matt - much more believeable as a young Memphis lawyer than Tom Cruise (The Firm) 5 stars
3/02/99 Rachel Though I hated the only other Grisham flick I've seen, this one was brilliant 5 stars
2/20/99 Piz Emotional and dark, a look at the underbelly of law and beauracracy. Best Grisham piece. 4 stars
2/19/99 Derek By no means perfect, but well worth your rental. Admit it with me - Matt Damon can act. 4 stars
1/13/99 Melissa It's nothing outstanding, but definitely good. Damon is a great, he IS this movie. 4 stars
11/27/98 Mr.Pink Coppola's best film after Apocalyse Now. 4 stars
10/13/98 tom matt damon at his best---he really fit the memphis boy type---kudos to a boston kid 5 stars
10/06/98 katherine matt matt matt damon damon damon matt matt matt damon damon damon matt matt matt damo...... 5 stars
8/29/98 Mister Whoopee I quite liked this. Thought Damon was great. No arguments, good film. 4 stars
8/29/98 Johny cutting the claire danes subplot would have helped 3 stars
8/26/98 FrankG Would have been better if they didn't use the campy music to accompany Danny DeVito. 3 stars
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  21-Nov-1997 (PG)


  22-Jan-1998 (M)

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