“I have memories, and then I don’t.” The Judge Steadies Us

The Judge

I went to go see The Judge on Friday night. I was looking forward to this movie in a big way and almost talked myself out of going a couple of times. (I wound up committing myself in a not so small way…but forget that at the moment.)

This is a well written movie about fathers, sons, brothers and the law, kind of? This is a terrifically acted movie by three very different masters of the craft.

There’s almost no link between the captivating screen presences of Robert Duvall, Robert Downey Jr. and Vincent D’Onofrio.

Duvall is one of those great 70’s leading men from the time in movies that is talked about in film critic and buff circles in hushed tones. He creates nuanced and beautiful and full characters. He inhabits them and gives them dignity and gravitas.

RDJ is, well, he’s RDJ, he’s one of those movie stars who has ceased to be a star. He is a movie supernova. He’s living the biggest second act in the history of Hollywood. Someday, I’d like to go to heaven and seen RDJ walked up to F. Scott Fitzgerald and say, “No second acts? NO SECOND ACTS! Screw you, Scott, screw you hard!” Can’t we all hear that it his voice can’t we see him, with a mineral water, and a stunned foppish Fitzgerald, with a martini. Ugh, it’s going to be beautiful.

I was discussing D’Onfrio with a family friend on Saturday and we couldn’t even find words. He’s so absurdly talented and in this role his quiet intensity makes the schlubby older brother/eternal good son role, that could have been really cliché and made it something special.

The story of the The Judge isn’t new or special, middle son of the Palmer clan Hank (Downey) comes home after the death of his mother. His stern judge father James (Duvall), and his brothers one of whom is mentally handicapped don’t exactly welcome him, and as his days at home drag on, his wrecked marriage gets pulled out of the shadows. The real story begins when James is accused of killing a released murderer in a hit and run and Hank takes on the challenge of Jame’s case.

The movie meanders down several paths it doesn’t need to, resulting in it being about 20 minutes too long, but it’s three lead performances and some really beautifully crafted scenes more than make up for that. It’s a good movie, bolstered from mediocre by some really transcendent performances.

Also, while I had a nice experience, maybe don’t go to see it on a first date. I was way more “intense and philosophical” and dinner afterwards, rather than, “sparkling and witty” which is obviously how I want someone I’m dating to see me at least at first. (I must have not been terribly bad, because we’re going out again YAY! But oof…yeah…)


  1. Guardians of The Galaxy
  2. Godzilla
  3. Chef
  4. X-Men: Days of Future Past
  5. The 100 Foot Journey
  6. The Judge
  7. How To Train Your Dragon 2
  8. Lucy
  9. The Boxtrolls
  10. Jersey Boys
  11. Maleficent
  12. The Amazing Spider-Man 2


I didn’t know much about Big Eyes, but I’m psyched to see Tim Burton take on something more reality based again. Big Fish is my favorite work of his and this looks similar.

I actually don’t remember any of the other trailers, except Into The Woods, again, and sadly, I did get a weird look from my date for singing along, especially since there’s no singing in the trailer. But when you whisper, “more than moon,” under your breath with someone you just met…look, I’m just saying I have a good feeling!


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