Anchor Bay presents
From the Hip (1987)
"Let me explain something to you, Mr. Weathers. Through the vicissitudes of wholly gratuitous genetic accidents, I was visited with extremely high intelligence. I was further blessed—or burdened, as it were—with certain physical traits that would suggest, shall we say, 'good breeding.' Now, in this proletarian stew which we laughingly call society, these attributes are not always advantageous."- Dr. Benoit (John Hurt)
Stars: Judd Nelson, John Hurt
Other Stars: Elizabeth Perkins, Darren McGavin, Ray Walston
Director: Bob Clark
Manufacturer: Crest National
MPAA Rating: PG for language
Run Time: 01h:50m:58s
Release Date: 2001-10-09
DVD ReviewSeveral years ago it was seemingly impossible to turn on a television or open a magazine without seeing the name of David E. Kelley. To put it lightly, Kelley was on a serious roll with his work on successful television shows, including L.A. Law and Picket Fences, as well as promising newcomers Ally McBeal and The Practice. Then came the feature film, To Gillian On Her 37th Birthday and although the film bombed in its box office run, it was heralded by many as the first motion picture written by the prolific writer. Or was it? In 1987 Kelley co-wrote From the Hip, the story of a rebellious young attorney. In my opinion, after having seen the film, maybe those who forgot about Kelley's involvement with this film were right to banish it from their memory.
Robin (a.k.a. Stormy) Weathers (Nelson) is a brash young lawyer who is looking for something bigger and better every minute. After winning an assault case, his wealthy client persuades his employers to grant him a partnership in the firm. Soon, he has his pick of nearly any case, the first of which is that of Dr. Benoit (Hurt), a college professor accused of murder. The problem for Weathers is that the professor might actually be guilty, thus causing Weathers to question the law and his profession. Is Benoit really insane and guilty? Will Weathers' long-time girlfriend (Perkins) nurture him through this tough time? Will the audience every really care?
Aside from the intriguing plot, From the Hip has little to its advantage. The way in which Weathers practices law is of the sort convenient to films such as this one. The antics of a screenplay-created lawyer will fly within the confines of a motion picture, though any judge worth their salt would have the lawyer disbarred in reality. Kelley has crafted a career out of creating edgy, comedic, and offbeat but brilliant lawyers on television, though the situations he creates in From the Hip don't play nearly as well.
Nelson, who was coming off a string of popular films at the time this was released, is fine as Weathers. Though one might imagine that the way in which he acts in this film may well have been what his character from The Breakfast Club might have turned out to be, had he gotten a law degree. Hurt is easily the bright spot in the cast; his performance is so well done that it is a shame that we are only graced with his presence for roughly twenty minutes. The remainder of the cast is comprised of familiar faces, including Darren McGavin, Ray Walston, and Nancy Marchand, each of whom does very nice work.
As directed by Bob Clark (who also co-wrote the screenplay), From the Hip suffers from a case of too little too late. At the start we are treated to what looks to be a sharply written black comedy about an obnoxious lawyer with his own way of dealing with practicing law. Then, as if the script had turned on a dime, we are thrust into an overblown courtroom drama, with no real tension or suspense. One has to wonder what might have been, had the abilities of the first half carried all the way through. Perhaps then, we might have had a nice, offbeat comedy, instead of an off-centered motion picture.
Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: C-
|Aspect Ratio||2.35:1 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: Presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer, From the Hip looks surprisingly good. There are a few print flaws spread throughout. Sharpness and detail look fine, as do black levels. While there are a few moments of edge enhancement, there is not enough to fault. Overall, Anchor Bay has done a great job on a fifteen-year-old film.
Image Transfer Grade: B
Audio Transfer Review: Present in a Dolby Digital 1.0 mix, From the Hip generally sounds fine, or at least as well as a mono track can. Dialogue is crisp and clear with little distortion, making this a pleasing mix.
Audio Transfer Grade: B
Disc ExtrasStatic menu with music
Scene Access with 26 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Extras Review: The theatrical trailer for From the Hip is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer and is nicely done, with the exception of a few print flaws and scratches.
Extras Grade: C
Final CommentsFrom the Hip is a hodgepodge of poor writing and poor direction. The performances are fine, as is Anchor Bay's DVD presentation, but a recommendation is not in the offering. Stick to Kelley's TV work, or even Clark's A Christmas Story.
Kevin Clemons 2002-02-15