' ' Cinema Romantico: Fake Runaway Jury End Credits

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Fake Runaway Jury End Credits

My friend Daryl recently introduced his girlfriend to John McTiernan’s 80s pop culture classic “Predator” and noted how magical it would be to see “Predator,” here, now, in 20-freaking-22, after Major Alan Dutch Schaefer became Governor of California, for the first time. And if there is a lot in “Predator” that I wish I could see for the first time a second time, there is nothing I wish I could see all over again than the end credits, the ones where all the major players are re-introduced. It’s not dissimilar to what “Top Gun” did a year earlier, though “Top Gun” merely if gloriously recycled images from the movie itself and “Predator” seemed to have its actors strike poses specifically for the end credits. 

Like so many other elements modern movies simply do not have enough of, this concluding joie de vivre is one of them. Occasionally, you’ll catch movies doing it, like “Kill Bill.” “Top Gun: Maverick” just did it too, of course, though too much in the manner of a self-serious torch song music video than an Old Milwaukee commercial from the 80s. Really, the only way you could have improved the last two “Mission: Impossible” movies would have been by referencing the “Predator” end credits: Tom Cruise grinning from ear to ear at the camera while hanging from a helicopter, Ving Rhames tipping his fedora to the camera as he eats gelato, Vanessa Kirby smiling at the camera while singing karaoke, and so on. Even more than that, though, what I’m picturing with such end credits is – what else? – the preeminent middling thriller of our time, “Runaway Jury” (2003).

“Runaway Jury” is set in New Orleans and so I’m picturing us swapping out whatever schlocky musical score was used over the end credits for Fats Domino’s “Let the Four Winds Blow” instead. Our fake “Runaway Jury” end credits begin with Nick Searcy bent over at a cigarette vending machine where he gets a pack of Marlboros, removing one as he turns toward the camera with a shit-eating grin. 

Jeremy Piven pops a fistful of TUMS and dutifully acknowledges the camera.

Jennifer Beals finishes swearing the oath in the jury box and then turns to the camera and smiles.

Jennifer Beals nudges Nora Dunn who has fallen asleep in the jury box and who gets it together just enough to sort of half-look at the camera and sort of smile.

Mingling with the Benson family in a Superdome luxury box, Bruce Davison is startled by the camera’s presence, chuckles, and offers salutations by raising his cocktail glass. 

Playing tuba in an all judges (all in judges robes) jazz band, Bruce McGill leans back from the mouthpiece, turns to the camera, and roars with laughter. 

Dustin Hoffman stands up from the attorneys table to issue an objection, only to catch sight of the camera, to his right and a little low, and smile.

I love that scene when Rachel Weisz is taunting Gene Hackman on the trolley, chewing her pen cap as she does (what actorly business!), and so we would have kept her on set that day an extra ten minutes to shoot an end credits-specific scene where she chews her pen cap and then whips her head around toward the camera and winks.

Given Gene Hackman’s noted irritability he probably would not have wanted any part of this exercise. As such, we would work that into the proceedings and have his character angrily waving the camera away and then putting his hand over it, like a politician claiming his exact quote was somehow misquoted and now trying to ward off the pesky media.

Finally we come to John Cusack whose character Nicholas Easter is set up as a gamer, meaning we will see him in a gaming chair playing some game and then looking left toward the camera and smiling the smile of the leading man. 

In a perfect world...

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