4 Best Scenes from "My Cousin Vinny"
The only good part about Rudy Giuliani's meltdown is that it reminded us how good My Cousin Vinny is.
Rudy Giuliani is falling apart.
Just in the past month, his scandals have included: his scene in Borat 2, the Trump campaign losing the election, the Four Seasons Total Landscaping fiasco, and now a sweaty press conference claiming voter fraud.
Between his nonsensical accusations and the hair dye streaking down the side of his face, there was one moment of truth: when he said My Cousin Vinny was a great film.
As the precursor to another unfounded rant about Joe Biden, President Donald Trump's lawyer, Giuliani, made a reference to the 1992 comedy starring Joe Pesci as Vinny, Ralph Macchio as his accused cousin, and Marisa Tomei as Mona Lisa Vito. "Did you all watch My Cousin Vinny? It's one of my favorite law movies because he comes from Brooklyn."
In that moment, I wholeheartedly agreed with Rudy Giuliani. Quickly, this strange feeling was rectified as the analogy fell apart in the face of the facts as he claimed, "These people were further away than [Vinny] was from the witness — they couldn't see a thing!"
Social media quickly responded, many asking Giuliani to keep the film's name out of his mouth and redirecting the attention to more important aspects of the film: Marisa Tomei's outfits.
The film's director, Jonathan Lynn, even got involved, saying: "I regard Giuliani's praise of My Cousin Vinny as generous from the man who is currently giving the Comedy Performance of the Year." And in the apocalyptic parody movie that is 2020, at least we have have Rudy Giuliani for comedic relief and reruns of My Cousin Vinny.
We've rounded up the four best scenes to get you excited for your inevitable upcoming rewatch.
The Witness Montage
When Giuliani referenced the "how many fingers" scene, he was partially remembering a moment from a cross examination of the witnesses. After an unsuccessful arraignment and Billy (Ralph Macchio) considering abandoning Vinny's counsel for the public defender, Vinny's cross is his chance to prove himself.
What ensues is a series of unconventional and satisfying takedowns of all the prosecution's witnesses — featuring famous lines like, "How could it take you five minutes to cook your grits when it takes the entire grit eating world twenty minutes?"
The moment Giuliani was thinking of comes shortly after, as Vinny questions a witness named Constance Riley who identified the defendants as the perpetrators, claiming to have seen them from her home. But Giuliani misquoted the scene and misremembered the point.
Yes, Vinny does hold up his fingers for Constance to count, but she sees four fingers, not the three Giuliani claimed, and not because of the distance, which Giuliani's argument hinges on — she just needed new glasses.
“What Is a ‘Yute?’”
Part of the charm on My Cousin Vinny is watching the leather-jacket-wearing New Yorkers try to adapt to conventional Southern mannerisms. From courtroom dress code to an introduction to grits, many laughs of the movie depend on watching the Brooklynites stumble through rural Alabama.
One thing that gives Vinny away is his classic Brooklyn accent. In a moment in the courtroom, Vinny refers to the defendants as the two "yutes," leaving the judge to interrupt with one of the most quotable exchanges in the movie: "What is a yute?"
To which Vinny replies, "Oh, excuse me, your honor…Two youths."
The Car Monologue
What twitter has made clear today is that, undoubtedly, the star of My Cousin Vinny was Marisa Tomei. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mona Lisa Vito, Vinny's longtime girlfriend and Brooklyn hairdresser. Though the award was such a surprise it sparked rumors that the Oscars had made a mistake announcing it, her Academy Award is well deserved for the car monologue alone.
After threatening to break up with Vinny, he begs her back to the courthouse to refute the claims of the prosecution's car expert. Her initial stubborn defiance melts away to infectious giddy enthusiasm as she begins to analyze pictures of the tire marks left by the perp's car with vehicular knowledge she inherited from her family of mechanics.
Step aside Gone Girl's "cool girl monologue," Marissa Tomei talking about cars to a skeptical audience of misogynistic white men who don't believe her expertise is peak cinema.
Marisa Tomei’s Biological Clock
The only scene that could rival the car monologue is only shortly preceding it, one of Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei's greatest scenes together. At the core of the movie is their give and take, the relationship dynamic which carries the film with its pacing and the two's incredible comedic chemistry.
Before the triumphant end of the case, when things are looking bleak for Vinny, Lisa asks Vinny when they're going to get married. He'd promised her they'd do it after he won his first case, but having taken years to pass the bar exam, she paces in a skintight floral one piece, lamenting that her niece is already married and insisting that "my biological clock is ticking like this."
The physicality of her performance is amplified by Joe Pesci meeting her with the same dynamic enthusiasm, matching her body language, the two playing off each other incredibly.
The result: an Academy Award for Tomei and an endlessly rewatchable movie with a litany of memorable quotes to reference — even if you're Rudy Giuliani on a sinking ship, misremembering the lines as your hair dye sweats down the side of your face and America watches.
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