' ' Cinema Romantico: Pitching the New John Grisham Movie

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Pitching the New John Grisham Movie

In declaring the Summer Movie Season’s WINNERS and LOSERS early in July, I declared John Grisham Movies a LOSER, writing “Remember how the 90s were awash in John Grisham cinematic adaptations that were not good, per se, but still entertaining because each one had, like, a dozen really good actors collecting paychecks by chewing up scenery? We can keep the MCU, fine, but bring my JGU back.” My Beautiful, Perspicacious Wife can attest to my yearning for JGU movies; I am always whining out loud about how actors no longer have JGU trash to romp through. Well, loyal frustrated followers, too bad for you because it seems I’m not alone. Because Joe Reid wrote a piece for Vulture lamenting the death of the legal thriller, tying it to the 25th anniversary (that no one is celebrating) of the cinematic adaptation of Grisham’s “The Client”, and noting that even as Netflix is reinvesting in the romantic comedy to try and push back against the MCU, no one is doing likewise for the legal thriller, citing Amy Adams as someone who might make a good fit in helping resurrect that genre. That’s why Cinema Romantico is here! To scan John Grisham’s books, see one called “Gray Mountain” about a Big City Lawyer coming to a Small Town and taking on Big Coal and promptly imagine a poster with Amy Adams in a Kamala Harris-ish pantsuit standing sternly with her arms crossed next to the image of, well, a gray mountain. And the poster will be adorned with the blurb I pulled from Kirkus Reviews: “There’s a new sheriff in town, and she’s come to bring down Big Coal.” {The whole world explodes.}

“Expect the expected,” writes Publishers Weekly of “Gray Mountain”, “in this tepid legal thriller from bestseller Grisham.” That’s what I’m talking about!!! “A third-year associate in the commercial real estate division of a massive New York firm, Samantha (Kofer) expected her 100-hour work weeks -- most often spent poring over contracts a foot thick -- to add up to a partnership someday,” writes Dennis Moore in his 2014 “Gray Mountain” review for USA Today. As such, we will introduce Samantha in an over-the-credits prologue working deep into the night by the light of her green lamp in an empty, spacious office looking out over Central Park with a pile of foot-thick folders like the ones on T*ump’s desk.

“But the financial crash in 2008 sends her reeling to the Mountain Legal Aid Clinic in Brady, Va.,” Moore writes, “for a non-paying internship.” He continues: “Practicing law in Brady consists of helping women disentangle themselves from abusive marital relationships, protecting homeless families from predatory collection agencies and challenging Big Coal. Samantha is adamant about avoiding the latter. But the horrors wreaked by strip mining companies can't be avoided. And the handsome and fearless litigator who stands up to them, Donovan Gray, can't be resisted.” Timothy Olyphant will play Donovan Gray because this is the big screen, baby, and we need our central couple to smolder, see. To establish Samantha’s working life in Brady, meanwhile, the client she first helps will be played by Jennifer Beals.

The extremely helpful “Gray Mountain” Super Summary, meanwhile, explains that Mattie Wyatt runs the Legal Aide clinic where Samantha works, which is apparently housed in a converted hardware store (Production Design Oscar here we come!). Mattie will, of course, be played by Ashley Judd. This is non-negotiable. Annette, meanwhile, the junior lawyer at Mattie’s firm, and in whose garage Samantha apparently stays because of course she does, will be played by Blake Lively. (I don’t know if this book sets scenes in a small town diner where Samantha receives prescient advice from the owner who lost her husband to black lung, but if there isn’t, we’re adding one. And the owner will be played by Mary Steenburgen.)

This will naturally yield questions from concerned movie-goers like “Wait, a pro bono law firm in rural Virginia is run entirely by Amy Adams, Ashley Judd and Blake Lively? This is believable?” To which we say: Believable? BELIEVABLE??? This is middlebrow Hollywood trash, you imbeciles!

Big Coal will be played by Bruce McGill. Because he should be in everything.

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