My Cousin Vinny

My Cousin Vinny

When two Italian-American boys from New York are falsely accused of murder in a small Alabama town, they call for a lawyer--but the only lawyer they know is their cousin Vinny (Joe Pesci), who made six attempts before he passed his bar exam. My Cousin Vinny is a classic fish-out-of-water comedy; the flimsy plot about clearing the two boys and solving the murder is just a hook to support a lot of culture-clash humor. Thanks to the strong cast of character actors like Fred Gwynne, Austin Pendleton, and Lane Smith, it's pretty funny--even old-hat jokes about Brooklyn versus Southern accents come to life. Pesci has played a few too many schticky characters, but this time it works. There's just enough humanity in his caricature to make Vinny likable and entertaining. When the movie was released, there was controversy about whether Marisa Tomei, playing Vinny's big-haired and black-leather-wearing fiancée, deserved to win the best supporting actress Oscar (she beat out Judy Davis, Joan Plowright, Miranda Richardson, and Vanessa Redgrave); but seeing her performance on its own, it's a comic marvel and worthy of honor. --Bret Fetzer

Genre: Comedy, Crime
Director(s): Jonathan Lynn
Production: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
  Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 6 nominations.
 
IMDB:
7.5
Metacritic:
68
Rotten Tomatoes:
85%
R (Restricted)
Year:
1992
120
55,488 Views

Mona Lisa Vito:
The car that made these two, equal-length tire marks had positraction. You can't make these marks without positraction, which was not available on the '64 Buick Skylark!

Vinny Gambini:
And why not? What is positraction?

Mona Lisa Vito:
It's a limited slip differential which distributes power equally to both the right and left tires. The '64 Skylark had a regular differential, which, anyone who's been stuck in the mud in Alabama knows, you step on the gas, one tire spins, the other tire does nothing.

Vinny Gambini:
Is that it?

Mona Lisa Vito:
No, there's more! You see where the left tire mark goes up on the curb and the right tire mark stays flat and even? Well, the '64 Skylark had a solid rear axle, so when the left tire would go up on the curb, the right tire would tilt out and ride along its edge. But that didn't happen here. The tire mark stayed flat and even. This car had an independent rear suspension. Now, in the '60's, there were only two other cars made in America that had positraction, and independent rear suspension, and enough power to make these marks. One was the Corvette, which could never be confused with the Buick Skylark. The other had the same body length, height, weight, wheel base, and wheel track as the '64 Skylark, and that was the 1963 Pontiac Tempest.

Vinny Gambini:
And because both cars were made by GM, were both cars available in metallic mint green paint?

Mona Lisa Vito:
They were!

Vinny Gambini:
Thank you, Ms. Vito. No more questions. Thank you very much.

Vinny Gambini:
You've been a lovely, lovely witness.

Guard:
Here. Got somebody for you. (Vinny slips guard a 'tip', and enters the cell)

Vinny:
You must be Stan, how ya doin’?

Stan:
Why'd they bring you in here?

Vinny:
Well, I just got in. I asked where the new guys were, and they brought me here. Hey, sleepin’, huh? Cute little guy. Ya know, maybe I should start wit you. Let him sleep a little bit.

Stan:
I don't wanna do this.

Vinny:
Hey, I don't blame ya. If I was in your situation, I'd wanna get through this whole thing as quickly, and with as little pain as possible. So, ya know, let's try our best to make this a simple, in-and-out procedure. (Reassuring Stan that he’s not there to hurt him in any way; has him sit down) What's the matter? Hey, relax, relax. Ya know, maybe we should spend a couple minutes together. Ya know, to get acquainted before we uh, ya know, before we get to it. What's wrong with you?

Stan:
I don't wanna do this.

Vinny:
I understand, but ya know, what are your alternatives?

Stan:
My alternatives? To what, to you? I don't know, suicide, death...

Vinny:
Look, it's either me or them. You're gettin’ f***ed one way or the other. (Stan tries to get up, but Vinny stops him) Hey, lighten up. Don't worry, I'm gonna help you.

Stan:
(somewhat sarcastically) Gee, thanks.

Vinny:
Excuse me, but I think a modicum of gratitude would not be out of line here.

Stan:
You think I should be grateful?

Vinny:
Yeah, I mean it's your ass, not mine. I think you should be grateful. I think you should be down on your f***in’ knees!

Stan:
I'm sorry. I didn't know it was such an honor to get a visit from you.

Vinny:
Hey, I'm doin’ a favor here, ya know. You're gettin’ me for nothin’, you little f***.

Stan:
Boy, that's one hell of an ego you got.

Vinny:
What the f*** is your problem? I did not come down here just to get jerked off.

Stan:
No. No, no. I'm not jerking you off. I'm not doing anything.

Vinny:
That's it. You're on your own. I'm just takin’ care of Sleepin’ Beauty.

[Wakes up Bill, who gets startled]

Bill:
Hey, back off! Vin! Vinny!

Vinny:
Is that a drip I hear?

Lisa:
Yeah.

Vinny:
Weren't you the last one to use the bathroom?

Lisa:
So?

Vinny:
Well, did you use the faucet?

Lisa:
Yeah.

Vinny:
Why didn't you turn it off?

Lisa:
I did turn it off.

Vinny:
Well, if you turned it off, why am I listening to it?

Lisa:
Did it ever occur to you that it could be turned off and drip at the same time?

Vinny:
No, because if you turned it off, it wouldn't drip.

Lisa:
Maybe it's broken.

Vinny:
Is that what you're sayin’? It's broken?

Lisa:
Yeah, that's it; it's broken.

Vinny:
You sure?

Lisa:
I'm positive.

Vinny:
Maybe you didn't twist it hard enough.

Lisa:
I twisted it just right.

Vinny:
How can you be so sure?

Lisa:
If you will look in the manual, you will see that this particular model faucet requires a range of 10-16 foot pounds of torque. I routinely twist the maximum allowable torquage.

Vinny:
How can you be sure you used 16 foot pounds of torque?

Lisa:
Because I used a Craftsman model 1019 Laboratory edition, signature series torque wrench. The kind used by Cal Tech High Energy physicists, and NASA engineers.

Vinny:
In that case, how can you be sure that's accurate?

Lisa:
Because a split second before the torque wrench was applied to the faucet handle, it had been calibrated by top members of the state and federal Departments of Weights and Measures, to be dead-on balls accurate. Here's the certificate of validation. (Rips a page out of a magazine)

Vinny:
"Dead-on balls accurate"?

Lisa:
It's an industry term.

Vinny:
I guess the f***in’ thing is broken.

Vinny:
My clients were caught completely by surprise. They thought they were gettin’ arrested for, uh, shopliftin’ a can of tuna.

Judge Haller:
What are you tellin’ me? That they plead not guilty?

Vinny:
No. I'm just tryin’ t’explain.

Judge Haller:
I don't wanna hear explanations. The state of Alabama has a procedure. And that procedure is to have an arraignment. Are we clear on this?

Vinny:
Yes, but there seems to be a great deal of confusion here. You see, my clients--

Judge Haller:
Uh, Mr. Gambini? (motions for him to approach the bench) All I ask from you is a very simple answer to a very simple question. There are only two ways to answer it: guilty or not guilty.

Vinny:
But your honor, my clients didn't do anything.

Judge Haller:
Once again, the communication process is broken down. It appears to me that you wanna skip the arraignment process, go directly to trial, skip that, and get a dismissal. Well, I'm not about to revamp the entire judicial process just because you find yourself in the unique position of defendin’ clients who say they didn't do it. The next words out of your mouth are either gonna be "guilty" or "not guilty." I don't wanna hear commentary, argument, or opinion. If I hear anything other than "guilty" or "not guilty", you'll be in contempt. I don't even wanna hear you clear your throat. Now, (enunciating) how... do... your... clients... plead?

Vinny:
(enunciating, but the words go right past him) I think... I get... the point.

Judge Haller:
No, I don't think you do. You're now in contempt of court. Would you like to go for two counts of contempt?

Vinny:
Not guilty.

Judge Haller:
Thank you.

[Vinny is cross-examining Tipton]

Vinny:
Is it possible the two defendants entered the store, picked 22 specific items off of the shelves, had the clerk take money, make change, then leave... Then two different men drive up in a similar - [sees Tipton is already shaking his head] Don't shake your head. I'm not done yet. Wait till you hear the whole thing so you can understand this now... [continues] Two different men drive up in a similar looking car, go in, shoot the clerk, rob him, and then leave?

Tipton:
No. They didn't have enough time.

Vinny:
Well, how much time was they in the store?

Tipton:
Five minutes.

Vinny:
Five minutes? Are you sure? Did you look at your watch?

Tipton:
No.

Vinny:
Oh, oh, oh, I'm sorry. You testified earlier that the boys went into the store, and you had just begun to make breakfast. You were just ready to eat, and you heard a gunshot. That's right. I'm sorry. So obviously, it takes you five minutes to make breakfast.

Tipton:
That's right.

Vinny:
So you knew that. Uh, do you remember what ya had?

Tipton:
Eggs and grits.

Vinny:
Eggs and grits. I like grits too. How do you like your grits? You like 'em regular, creamy or al dente?

Tipton:
[confused by the question] Just regular, I guess.

Vinny:
Regular. Instant grits?

Tipton:
[chuckles] No self-respectin’ Southerner uses instant grits. I take pride in my grits.

Vinny:
[Walks over to Jury, as he prepares his next question] So, Mr. Tipton. How could it take you five minutes to cook your grits, when it takes the entire grit-eating world twenty minutes?

[Tipton falls silent for a moment. Lisa smiles excitedly, and the entire courtroom stares at Tipton apprehensively, realizing he’s been stumped]

Tipton:
[nervously] I dunno. I'm a fast cook, I guess.

Vinny:
[Walks back over to Tipton] I'm sorry, I was all the way over here. I couldn't hear you. Did you just say you're a fast cook, that’s it!? Are we to believe that boiling water soaks into a grit... faster in your kitchen... than on any place on the face of the Earth!?

Tipton:
[faltering] I don't know.

Vinny:
Well, perhaps the laws of physics cease to exist on your stove! Were these magic grits? I mean, did you buy them from the same guy who sold Jack his beanstalk beans!?

Jim Trotter:
Objection, Your Honor.

Judge Haller:
Objection sustained. You can ignore the question, Mr. Tipton.

Vinny:
[advancing on Tipton] You sure about that five minutes?

Tipton:
I don't know.

Vinny:
Are you sure about that five minutes?

Tipton:
I don't know!

Judge Haller:
[banging his gavel] Mr. Gambini, I think you made your point.

Vinny:
ARE YOU SURE ABOUT THAT FIVE MINUTES!?!?

Tipton:
[embarrassed] I may have been mistaken.

Vinny:
I got no more use for this guy.

[Haller looks shocked by the exchange, while Lisa gives Vinny a proud look, and someone in the public gallery applauds. Stan turns to his public defender]

Stan:
You're fired. [gets up and points at Vinny] I want him!

Vinny:
Hey, Vincent LaGuardia Gambini--

Lisa:
His name's J.T.

Vinny:
J.T., I believe you and Lisa played a game of pool for two hundred dollars, which she won; I'm here to collect.

J.T.:
How 'bout if I just kick your ass?

Vinny:
Oh, a counteroffer. That's what we lawyers, I'm a lawyer, call that a counteroffer. Let me see, this is a tough decision you're givin’ me here. Get my ass kicked or collect two hundred dollars? Hmm, let me think. I could use a good ass kickin’, I'll be very honest with you. Nah, I think I'll just go with the two hundred.

[The people in the room laugh]

J.T.:
Over my dead body.

Vinny:
You like to renegotiate as you go along, huh? Okay then, here's my counteroffer: do I have to kill you? What if I was just to kick the ever-lovin’ sh*t outta ya?

J.T.:
In your dreams.

Vinny:
Oh, no, no, no, in reality. If I was to kick the sh*t outta ya, do I get the money?

J.T.:
(contemplates this) If you kick the sh*t outta me...

Vinny:
Yeah.

J.T.:
...then you get the money.

[Some people weakly laugh. Vinny looks at a guy who's in a neck brace.]

Vinny:
What happened? Rear-ended?

Neck Brace:
No, I fell.

Vinny:
Oh. Okay, let’s see if we agree on the terms. The choice now is: I get my ass kicked, or, option B: I kick your ass, and collect the 200. I'm goin’ wit option B, (takes his coat off) kickin’ your ass and collectin' two-hundred dollars.

J.T.:
Are we gon’ fight now?

Vinny:
Yeah, first let me see the money.

J.T.:
I have the money.

Vinny:
All right, show it to me.

J.T.:
I can get it.

Vinny:
You can get it? All right, get it. Then we'll fight.

Vinny:
What's the matter with you?

Lisa:
I don't know.

Vinny:
You're actin’ like you're nervous or somethin’.

Lisa:
Well, yeah, I am.

Vinny:
What are you nervous about? I'm the one that's under the gun here. Trial starts tomorrow.

Lisa:
You wanna know what I'm nervous about? I'll tell ya what I'm nervous about. I am in the dark here with all this legal crap. I have no idea what's goin’ on. Alls I know is that you're screwin’ up and I can't help.

Vinny:
You left me a little camera, didn't you?

Lisa:
Oh, Vinny! I'm watchin’ you go down in flames, and you're bringin’ me with you, and I can't do anything about it!

Vinny:
And?

Lisa:
Well, I hate to bring it up because I know you've got enough pressure on you already. But, we agreed to get married as soon as you won your first case. Meanwhile, ten years later, my niece, the daughter of my sister is gettin’ married. My biological clock is (stamps foot three times) tickin’ like this, and the way this case is goin’, I ain't never gettin’ married!

Vinny:
Lisa, I don't need this. I swear to God, I do not need this right now, okay? I've got a judge that's just achin’ to throw me in jail, an idiot who wants to fight me for two hundred dollars, slaughtered pigs, giant loud whistles. I ain't slept in five days. I got no money, a dress code problem, and a little murder case which, in the balance, holds the lives of two innocent kids, not to mention your (stamps foot three times) biological clock; my career, your life, our marriage, and let me see, what else can we pile on? Is there any more sh*t we can pile on to the top of the outcome of this case?! (Stares upward to indicate him thinking of anything else) Is it possible?! (looks up again)

Lisa:
Maybe it was a bad time to bring it up.


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1 Comment

  • Bill Wallace
    What does Vinny say right before Trotter questions Ms. Vito about the ignition timing on a 1955 Belair with a 327?
    LikeReplyReport1 year ago

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