From the Hip (film)
|From the Hip|
|Directed by||Bob Clark|
|Produced by||Bob Clark
|Written by||Bob Clark
David E. Kelley
|Music by||Paul Zaza|
|Edited by||Stan Cole|
|Distributed by||De Laurentiis Entertainment Group|
Fresh out of law school, Robin "Stormy" Weathers cannot stand the tedium of case filing and research. Desperately wanting to "practice law" and go to trial, one morning he intentionally withholds the fact that a trial is scheduled to begin that very afternoon to compel his superiors to let him try the case because he is the only one familiar with the facts of the case. During his meeting with the client (the president of a bank who intentionally struck another banker), the banker declares the "simple assault case" to be a no-winner (explaining that he hits people all the time), but wants the one-day trial to somehow be stretched to three days to run up the other banker's court fees.
Weathers prolongs the case by creating a 1st Amendment constitutional challenge as to the admissibility of the word "asshole". Escalating the case into a media frenzy, the senior partners of the law firm are embarrassed by Weathers' behavior and unconventional methods and try to fire him. The client retaliates on Weathers' behalf threatening to take the bank's business elsewhere. Weathers appears to be crafty and intuitive, but in reality, had conspired with the other attorney (a friend of his) to stage a brilliant legal engagement to make themselves look good. Almost like a gameshow, Weathers wins the trial and in doing so attracts a plethora of new clients to the firm which skyrockets him to be a junior partner.
In an act of unfair retaliation, Weathers is assigned to be lead defense counsel in a first-degree murder case involving a university professor (Benoit) who is almost certainly guilty of bludgeoning a prostitute to death with the claw of a hammer. Benoit wanted Weathers because he saw him in the previous case. Weathers takes the case and his loud and odd courtroom behavior soon amazes the judge, the spectators and sometimes embarrasses his girlfriend. Determined to impress his employers by winning a verdict of not guilty, no matter what, his courtroom antics soon visibly gain even the jury's favor and raise the likelihood of acquittal.
Weathers unsuccessfully tries to get Benoit to accept a plea-bargain to manslaughter charges and soon discovers that Benoit is guilty by a veiled confession where Benoit vividly describes to him the "clarity of mind" it takes for a man to be able to split someone's skull open with the claw of a hammer while the person remains alive. Weathers becomes conflicted between his sense of duty and ethics and his moral obligation to see Benoit pay for his crime. Despite the possibility of being disbarred, he decides to antagonize Benoit into a confession on the stand.
Benoit is decidedly found guilty.
- Judd Nelson as Robin 'Stormy' Weathers
- Elizabeth Perkins as Jo Ann
- John Hurt as Douglas Benoit
- Darren McGavin as Craig Duncan
- Dan Monahan as Larry
- David Alan Grier as Steve Hadley
- Nancy Marchand as Roberta Winnaker
- Allan Arbus as Phil Ames
- Edward Winter as Raymond Torkenson
- Richard Zobel as Matt Cowens
- Ray Walston as 1st Judge
- Robert Irvin Elliott as Scott Murray
- Beatrice Winde as 2nd Judge
- Art Hindle as Lt. Matt Sosha
- Priscilla Pointer as Mrs. Martha Williams
Released on February 6, 1987, the film grossed $9.5 million in U.S. theaters.