In my continuing obsession with the movie “A Few Good Men, I have another odd thought to add. We watched the movie as a family the other day, first time for the girls, and other than having to stop the movie about 394 times to explain the various plot twists to my daughters (“So, wait, which one is Kendrick?”) it was quite the success. They liked it. They instinctively understood that the Demi Moore character is a disastrous lawyer. They appreciated the lawyering skills of Kevin Bacon. It was great.
But there was another thing that bothered me in this viewing, and it’s subtle enough that I suspect it will be of no interest to you whatsoever. But what is the point of having this blog if I can’t post stuff that only I care about?
So in the scene where Jack Nicholson talks about the responsibility he has in protecting the U.S. from Cuba at Guantanamo Bay … well, here’s the beginning of the “You can’t handle the truth” speech:
“Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago, and you curse the marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: That Santiago’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives.”
So my question: Why did he take that little cheap shot at Lt. Weinberg? What did Kevin Pollak ever do to him? As far as I know, the Weinberg character did not say a single word to Jack Nicholson the entire movie. He was sort of a minor character (“I have no responsibilities whatsoever”) and there mainly for comic relief and to take down Demi Moore after she “strenuously objected.” I have no earthly idea how the Jack Nicholson character even remembered his name, much less was able to retrieve it instantly in the middle of a furious speech about his important role in the world.
This has puzzled and bothered me more and more since I saw the movie. You Lt. Weinberg? What’s that? Was he getting Kevin Pollak back for doing all those Nicholson impressions when he was doing stand-up? What?
The other day, we were having a family conversation about something completely unrelated when one of my daughters suddenly — for no apparent reason and with no opening in the conversation for doing it — took a cheap shot at me for being old and bald. I told her she cannot do that, there are rules to this sort of thing. You can’t just take a shot without it relating to what is actually happening. I am now calling those “Lt. Weinberg” moments. The witness has rights.