A Few Good Men


I do not know if you are a movie freak like me.  My addiction is not borne out of boredom .It is  an extension of my love for acting while growing up and even during my University days at the University of Lagos, Akoka where I was privileged to be one of the pioneers behind Theatre 15, a drama outfit. Theatre 15 provided for me a platform to achieve what I missed not studying Theatre Arts, my cherished course.

Acting is not my only pastime. I am equally a die-hard football follower with my favorite clubs, Arsenal and Barcelona topping my preferred clubs followed by our darling Super Eagles. This also is born out of my love for playing the leather game. As a movie freak, A Few Good Men is one of my cherished movies and it boasts of three of my favorite actors. There are others that space constraints me from listing.

I have watched it countless times. The movie is a 1992 American legal drama based on Aaron Sorkin’s 1989 play. It was written by Sorkin, directed by Rob Reiner, and produced by Reiner, David Brown and Andrew Scheinman. One significant thing about this movie is that  it stars a galaxy cast  that  includes some of my best and favorite actors such as Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon, Kevin Pollak, J. T. Walsh, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Kiefer Sutherland.

When I thought of doing this piece, I sourced reviews made when the film hit the cinema. So what you are reading are some of such reviews. The plot according to a review of ‘A Few Good Men’ follows the court martial of two United States Marines  charged with the murder of a fellow Marine and the tribulations of their lawyers as they prepare a case. The film was released and premiered in 1992 and thereafter received acclaim for its screenwriting, direction, themes, and acting, particularly that of Cruise, Nicholson, and Moore. It was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

The film another noted is a pure cinematic delight for those who desire to watch   stellar performances and I must say I concur with this assertion. It is indeed one of the best movies with towering performances by Jack Nicholson but one must say Tom Cruise proved his worth against the amazing performance   of   Nicholson which is worth mentioning. Demi Moore, who is perhaps one of my favorite female actors, was also stunning as she played her part perfectly.

The movie by all standards of movie production; script, screenplay, performances, direction is brilliant. The credit goes to the director as well as the cast. The movie according to a review depicts how supreme power and unquestioned obedience leads to excess   cruelty on all in the name of   discipline such that even honest and dedicated officers are not willing to speak the truth. It is a must watch and I join other reviewers, to give a five star rating to this brilliant piece of art.

Another reviewer captured it as the top three of all time movies. The reviewer whose name I cannot recollect, confessed that  he was blown away when he watched it at the theater during its initial release. Like me, he has watched it   many times since its release. What we also share in common   is that we    do have most of the dialogue memorised which is a hallmark of a freaky lover of a movie.   

The question always asked after watching the movie is why Dawson and Downey were found guilty of “conduct unbecoming of a Marine” and dishonorably discharged. The pose is that even though they “followed an order”, they killed one of their own.  Their actions caused someone’s death. They had to be culpable in some way.  This was the entire dilemma that Corporal Dawson wrestles with through most of the movie.

I know some readers would by now be wondering the essence of this to my job of saving lives on our roads. Some might wonder what the purpose of a movie is. For such readers, I need them to know that films are cultural artifacts created by specific cultures to facilitate intercultural dialogue.

According to experts, it is considered to be an important art form as it provides entertainment and historical value, which are often documented visually over a period of time.  Movies are important to our lives including road safety as they encourage us to take action colored by the life lessons of our favorite characters and heroes.  Through these heroes we are inspired to act for the good of society   instead of remaining passive while society rots.

While writing on ‘The positive effects of movies on human behavior’ in the Times of India, a writer, Ajay Rathod,’’noted that watching a movie can either make your life better, destroy it, or have a neutral or no impact. Each of the notable genres of cinema such as   Anime, Drama, Comedy, Horror, Fantasy, and Action he notes can have both positive and negative impacts on young people and I dare say  as well as on  adults.

There are however contention as to whether watching movies has more pros or cons. One school of thought maintain that violent films and maybe war films or horror make people aggressive and dangerous. In our clime there are those who vehemently oppose the bloodletting and ritual killings that are reflected in Nollywood .Other observers highlight the benefits of showing some specific films to younger people especially drama.

Without veering into any form of arguments, the point being stressed is that many characters become role models, whose actions or deeds are emulated for good. Many films help to make the right decisions and think independently. Others either provide entertainment, educational importance or critical thinking.

In summary, movies are a source of entertainment. They definitely add some spice to life and act as antidepressants. Films, especially about famous people like Denzel Washington, another favorite of mine, affect social behavior positively as they encourage us to take action. These favorite characters teach us life lessons. They give ideas and inspiration. Films are also a source of knowledge about ancient times among others including road safety behavioral tendencies.

This is why I wonder why our movie industry rarely reflect road safety vices that incapacitates. With the level of growth and impact achieved by the industry in Nigeria, I believe that our movie industry can provide the plank for remolding driving behaviours. A look at the current records of Federal Road Safety Corps between May to July 2022 reveals a dangerous driving trend that needs to be arrested. The record shows that the Corps arrested a total of 4178, 4091 and 3659 offenders respectively for seat belt violation as well as driving under the influence while   50 were arrested for driving under the influence   infractions nationwide. Within the same period, 13,404 were arrested for speed limit device violation despite the increased speed related crashes being recorded since the beginning of 2022.I am positive that we can court the movie industry to mold driving behavior so that we have increase the number of drivers and road users who could someday be counted among the few good men who drive by the rules to preserve lives on the highway.This will no doubt accelerate strategies  to meet the United Nations Decade of Actions Goals of cutting down fatalities on our roads.

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