17 Truthful Facts About A Few Good Men

YouTube
YouTube

Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin first came to the public's attention after writing the legal drama A Few Good Men, first as a play, then as a film. Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, and Demi Moore starred in the 1992 Rob Reiner-directed movie about two U.S. Marines who are court-martialed for the murder of a fellow Marine, purportedly under orders from their higher-ups. Here are some truths about the critically-acclaimed courtroom drama that you can definitely handle.

1. AARON SORKIN WROTE THE PLAY ON BAR NAPKINS WHILE BARTENDING.

Sorkin’s older sister, Deborah, had recently joined the Navy JAG Corps fresh from graduating from law school when she called him one Sunday morning. Deborah told Aaron about a case she was working on involving a hazing gone wrong at the U.S. military base in Guantanamo Bay, where the accused said they were ordered to do it by a superior, involving a “Code Red.” Sorkin then went to work as a bartender at Broadway's Palace Theatre. While patrons were taking in the first act of La Cage aux Folles, he began writing A Few Good Men on some cocktail napkins. He went home that night and typed up what he had written on the napkins on a Mac 512 K he shared with his roommates, and continued to do so until he was finished.

2. LINDA HAMILTON AND JODIE FOSTER AUDITIONED FOR THE ROLE OF LT. COMMANDER GALLOWAY.

A then-eight-months-pregnant Demi Moore ended up getting the part, and was paid $2 million for the role.

3. JASON ALEXANDER WAS SET TO PLAY LT. SAM WEINBERG.

But when Seinfeld was renewed by NBC for a second season, he was no longer available. Reiner then gave Kevin Pollak the part after he read with Cruise.

4. TOM CRUISE SAW THE BROADWAY PLAY BEFORE SIGNING ON TO PLAY LT. KAFFEE.

He also insisted on learning all of the “legalese” dialogue in the script.

5. LANCE CPL. HAROLD DAWSON WAS PLAYED BY ROB REINER’S PERSONAL ASSISTANT.

Wolfgang Bodison started in the mail room at Reiner’s production company, Castle Rock, before becoming a production assistant, then Reiner’s personal assistant on Misery. He was scouting locations for A Few Good Men when Reiner decided Bodison looked like a Marine and that he should act in the film. Bodison has gone on to act in other films, as well as write and direct.

6. JOSHUA MALINA WAS IN BOTH THE BROADWAY PLAY AND THE MOVIE.

Frequent Sorkin collaborator Joshua Malina played PFC Downey for the last six to eight months of the stage production. He played Tom, Colonel Jessup’s clerk, in the movie. It was his first feature film role.

7. DESCENDANTS OF HOLLYWOOD LEGENDS TOOK PART IN THE PRODUCTION.

Frank Capra III was first assistant director. Marlene Dietrich’s grandson, J. Michael Riva, was the production designer.

8. JACK NICHOLSON WAS PAID $5 MILLION FOR 10 DAYS OF WORK.

Nicholson, as Colonel Nathan R. Jessup, was in just three scenes in the entire movie. Technically he worked an extra morning for free when Reiner and crew didn’t get all of his footage shot in time.

9. NICHOLSON DID A LOT MORE WORK THAN HE HAD TO.

He recited the famous courtroom speech an estimated 40 to 50 times, at full intensity every time—even for all of the shots that were of Cruise, Moore, Pollak, Kevin Bacon, and the rest of the courtroom simply reacting to what he was saying. Nicholson said he was “quite spent” by the time he finished.

10. A LOT OF DEFERENCE WAS SHOWN TO NICHOLSON.

The three-time Oscar winner told Reiner he noticed that when he walked into the first rehearsal, the rest of the cast rushed to their seats. "Afterward I told him, 'Rob, it was so strange I felt like the (expletive) Lincoln Memorial,'" Nicholson told the Los Angeles Times. "I blushed actually."

11. KEVIN POLLAK’S MOTHER HIT ON JACK NICHOLSON.

Pollak wrote about the incident in his book, How I Slept My Way to the Middle, and recalled the story during an appearance on Conan.

12. REINER THOUGHT ONE LINE OF DIALOGUE WAS MUCH FUNNIER.

After Galloway tells Kaffee and Weinberg she has the medical reports and Chinese food, she suggests they eat first. After a beat, Weinberg asks, “You got any Kung Pao chicken?” Reiner thought it should have gotten a laugh. He claimed it never did.

13. KIEFER SUTHERLAND WAS A BAD DRIVER.

Multiple takes were needed for a scene in which Kiefer Sutherland's Lt. Kendrick drives the legal team around the base, after he clipped a couple of Marines. He wasn’t used to driving a military Jeep.

14. SORKIN MADE A CAMEO.

Fittingly, he’s in a bar scene, as one lawyer talking to a woman about a case.

15. THERE WAS A LOT OF DISCUSSION ABOUT GALLOWAY.

An unnamed executive gave Sorkin the note: "If Tom Cruise and Demi Moore aren't going to sleep with each other, why is Demi Moore a woman?" His response? "I said the obvious answer: Women have purposes other than to sleep with Tom Cruise." He claimed the incident was his worst experience as a screenwriter.

Demi Moore said she really wanted the part in the first place because Galloway was a “genderless” role. Roger Ebert in his 2.5 star review wrote that a friend of his intuited that Galloway was originally written as a man. In Sorkin’s third draft of the screenplay, dated months before shooting, the movie ends with Kaffee asking Galloway out on a date. She responds by telling him to wear matching socks, like she did before the first day of the trial. That exchange did not make it into the movie.

16. THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT REFUSED TO ENDORSE THE FILM.

This meant that the filmmakers couldn't utilize any military installations during filming. Most of A Few Good Men was shot on a Culver City soundstage.

17. FOUR LAWYERS HAVE CLAIMED KAFFEE WAS BASED ON THEM.

The men all played a role in Deborah Sorkin’s Guantanamo Bay case, where 10 Marines faced assault charges, each with his own lawyer. One advertised on his law firm’s website that his exploits became the basis for Kaffee, and it was great for his career. Through a spokesman, Sorkin told The New York Times that Kaffee wasn’t based on anybody.

Jessup was though, according to Jack Nicholson, who recalled two Marine generals who were on set as consultants. They both knew the actual Jessup and his story.

10 of the Most Popular Portable Bluetooth Speakers on Amazon

Altech/Bose/JBL/Amazon
Altech/Bose/JBL/Amazon

As convenient as smartphones and tablets are, they don’t necessarily offer the best sound quality. But a well-built portable speaker can fill that need. And whether you’re looking for a speaker to use in the shower or a device to take on a long camping trip, these bestselling models from Amazon have you covered.

1. OontZ Angle 3 Bluetooth Portable Speaker; $26-$30 (4.4 stars)

Oontz portable bluetooth speaker
Cambridge Soundworks/Amazon

Of the 57,000-plus reviews that users have left for this speaker on Amazon, 72 percent of them are five stars. So it should come as no surprise that this is currently the best-selling portable Bluetooth speaker on the site. It comes in eight different colors and can play for up to 14 hours straight after a full charge. Plus, it’s splash proof, making it a perfect speaker for the shower, beach, or pool.

Buy it: Amazon

2. JBL Charge 3 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker; $110 (4.6 stars)

JBL portable bluetooth speaker
JBL/Amazon

This nifty speaker can connect with up to three devices at one time, so you and your friends can take turns sharing your favorite music. Its built-in battery can play music for up to 20 hours, and it can even charge smartphones and tablets via USB.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Anker Soundcore Bluetooth Speaker; $25-$28 (4.6 stars)

Anker portable bluetooth speaker
Anker/Amazon

This speaker boasts 24-hour battery life and a strong Bluetooth connection within a 66-foot radius. It also comes with a built-in microphone so you can easily take calls over speakerphone.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth Speaker; $129 (4.4 stars)

Bose portable bluetooth speaker
Bose/Amazon

Bose is well-known for building user-friendly products that offer excellent sound quality. This portable speaker lets you connect to the Bose app, which makes it easier to switch between devices and personalize your settings. It’s also water-resistant, making it durable enough to handle a day at the pool or beach.

Buy it: Amazon

5. DOSS Soundbox Touch Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker; $28-$33 (4.4 stars)

DOSS portable bluetooth speaker
DOSS/Amazon

This portable speaker features an elegant system of touch controls that lets you easily switch between three methods of playing audio—Bluetooth, Micro SD, or auxiliary input. It can play for up to 20 hours after a full charge.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Altec Lansing Mini Wireless Bluetooth Speaker; $15-$20 (4.3 stars)

Altec Lansing portable bluetooth speaker
Altec Lansing/Amazon

This lightweight speaker is built for the outdoors. With its certified IP67 rating—meaning that it’s fully waterproof, shockproof, and dust proof—it’s durable enough to withstand harsh environments. Plus, it comes with a carabiner that can attach to a backpack or belt loop.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Tribit XSound Go Bluetooth Speaker; $33-$38 (4.6 stars)

Tribit portable bluetooth speaker
Tribit/Amazon

Tribit’s portable Bluetooth speaker weighs less than a pound and is fully waterproof and resistant to scratches and drops. It also comes with a tear-resistant strap for easy transportation, and the rechargeable battery can handle up to 24 hours of continuous use after a full charge. In 2020, it was Wirecutter's pick as the best budget portable Bluetooth speaker on the market.

Buy it: Amazon

8. VicTsing SoundHot C6 Portable Bluetooth Speaker; $18 (4.3 stars)

VicTsing portable bluetooth speaker
VicTsing/Amazon

The SoundHot portable Bluetooth speaker is designed for convenience wherever you go. It comes with a detachable suction cup and a carabiner so you can keep it secure while you’re showering, kayaking, or hiking, to name just a few.

Buy it: Amazon

9. AOMAIS Sport II Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker; $30 (4.4 stars)

AOMAIS portable bluetooth speaker
AOMAIS/Amazon

This portable speaker is certified to handle deep waters and harsh weather, making it perfect for your next big adventure. It can play for up to 15 hours on a full charge and offers a stable Bluetooth connection within a 100-foot radius.

Buy it: Amazon

10. XLEADER SoundAngel Touch Bluetooth Speaker; $19-$23 (4.4 stars)

XLeader portable bluetooth speaker
XLEADER/Amazon

This stylish device is available in black, silver, gold, and rose gold. Plus, it’s equipped with Bluetooth 5.0, a more powerful technology that can pair with devices up to 800 feet away. The SoundAngel speaker itself isn’t water-resistant, but it comes with a waterproof case for protection in less-than-ideal conditions.

Buy it: Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

The Empire Strikes Back Topped the Weekend Box Office—40 Years After Its Original Release

Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker go head-to-head in The Empire Strikes Back (1980).
Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker go head-to-head in The Empire Strikes Back (1980).
Lucasfilm/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

The Empire Strikes Back is clearly a classic for a reason. A full 40 years after its initial release in 1980, the second film in the original Star Wars sequel is once again dominating the weekend box office. As Deadline reports, the 1980 hit took in an estimated $175,000 at 483 drive-in theater locations nationwide this past weekend—with the gross sales only projected to skyrocket from there. The site reports that the beloved space opera would likely end the weekend with ticket sales landing between $400,000 and $500,000.

Due to safety concerns surrounding COVID-19, movie theaters across the country remain closed, which is giving new life to drive-in theaters. The decision to re-release The Empire Strikes Back was a pretty major one, too; this weekend marked the first time the film was back in theaters since its February 1997 re-release.

According to Box Office Mojo, The Empire Strikes Back held the number one spot at the domestic box office for eight weeks following its May 21, 1980 release. The film then raked in another $67.6 million when the 1997 edition arrived.

But The Empire Strikes Back wasn't Disney's only success this weekend. The company held the top three box office spots with Marvel’s Black Panther and Pixar’s Inside Out coming in at number two and three, respectively.

[h/t Deadline]