Directed by: Joel Schumacher. A John Grisham adaptation directed by Joel Schumacher. Sounds great, right? I don’t know, I was just in a mood I guess. I figured: a compelling, serious, high-stakes courtroom drama from the mid-90’s with my beautiful Susan Sarandon and my man Tommy Lee Jones—why the hell not? Well, it turns out, there are a few good reasons why not, the most salient one being that this isn’t a very good movie. And actually, it’s enough of a not-good movie that if I had fully known how much of a not-good movie it would turn out to be, I likely wouldn’t have decided to invest 2 hours of my life into it. This is one of those bizarre films that I believe—a belief based purely on offhand speculation, not thorough research, understand—is unique to the 1990’s (but which actually might just be ubiquitous from the start of cinema). What I mean is that this is not a serious film, it’s a “serious” film: it’s a film that has all of the markers of seriousness, of wanting to be taken seriously, but the content that it places inside of those markers is so undercooked and of such laughably poor quality that it is literally impossible for any reasonable adult to take it seriously. In that sense, then, this film is of the same lineage as Avatar and ten thousand other awful Hollywood fart factories trying to pass for adult cinema. I guess when I saw the cover image, I was thinking of the sober gravity of The Fugitive (which really holds up surprisingly well). I can blame that on the Tommy Lee Jones I guess, but BOY is this film the opposite of that. The story is absurd, the dialogue is groan-inducing, the acting (following from the other two) ranges from adequate (Tommy and Susan) to excremental (little Brad Renfro). Honestly, it’s one of the lowest hack pulp writers alive teamed up with the guy behind the two worst Batman movies. What could go right?