Prior to law school there were so many fun legal movies and some of them will still stand: To Kill A Mockingbird, 12 Angry Men, and yes, even Erin Brockovich. But then, there are those movies that were fun, and now you can’t watch. Because they’re not real. The Pelican Brief, A Time To Kill, and yes, sad-to-say, Miracle on 34th Street. I chose to suspend my disbelief at Christmas, but it was rough. And prior to law school I loved Tyler Perry. But his legal knowledge is either sorely lacking or he just changes it up to be dramatic.
So law school is on it’s way to murdering my love of movies. I thought I had found an exceptional movie the other night: Murder In The First. I have to admit it was a good movie. It kept me entertained. Until I paused and went to my computer and googled it. MY word, the movie is almost pure fiction cloaked in a wrapping claiming to be true. It’s a good thing the people that were portrayed so badly are dead or can I say “potential lawsuit.” Yes, I know, we could argue that some of them were public figures, etc.
Yes, this is another casualty of law school (the first being your family and friends). I remember watching “L.A. Law” and loving it. Not now. So unrealistic. Where is the day-to-day mundane? Where are the years of poverty starting out? Where is working 70 hours a week? And no show that just touches on the law and who does it horribly is exempt. So movie producers, take note: make realistic legal movies. Oh wait, that might show lawyers as real people, with families, mortgages and doing a ton of paperwork. It might show lawyers as human. It might show typing page after page, spending hours on FASTCASE, printing out reams of paper and then highlighting the pertinent parts. Who wants to watch a highlighter at work? But that’s law – oh wait, WestLaw now allows you to highlight a case online. You no longer have to resort to printing if you can afford WestLaw Next. Oh yeah, the law is sexy, just like Blair Underwood. Not. But the law is a demanding mistress, ruining movies and tv for lawyers and law students forever.
By the way for fun, check out the ABA’s List of “The 25 Greatest Legal Movies of All Time”.