Rob Reiner (USA, 1947), who grew up in Beverly Hills, the son of an actor and an actress, and was already himself a famous actor, debuted as filmmaker with
This Is Spinal Tap (1984),
The Sure Thing (1985),
Stand by Me (1986), an adaptation of Stephen King's story "The Body",
and The Princess Bride (1987), an adaptation of a William Goldman novel.
When Harry Met Sally (1989), written by Nora Ephron, is a love story
between two neurotic characters adrift in the post-sexual revolution age.
Not much of a comedy, it feels like a bad Woody Allen film.
Harry and Sally have known each other since they shared the trip that
took them to New York, where she planned to become a journalist and he planned
to become a politician (during the trip he warns her that friendship between
a man and a woman is impossible because of sexual attraction).
Years later, they are both successful yuppies renting Manhattan apartments.
They meet by accident at the airport: she has a boyfriend who is an acquaitance
of Harry, but Harry does not recognize her. He does recognize her on the plane
by the pedantic way she orders a drink.
Harry's cynical comments on relationships get on Sally's nerves and she says
Years later, Sally has just broke up with her boyfriend and Harry is going
through a divorce.
This time they become friends and talk about their respective relationships
and about their new single life (at a restaurant she fakes an orgasm to prove
to him that she has experienced great sex).
Eventually they get close enough that, when she is devastated by a news
related to her ex, she calls him to console her and they have sex.
Thinking they made a mistake, they decide to remain just friends and forget
But then they can't help it: during the New Year's Eve party Harry proposes to
Sally and she accepts.
Misery (1990), an adaptation of a Stephen King novel,
A Few Good Men (1992), the adaptation of a theatrical play
by Aaron Sorkin about military justice, is a pretext for a
(mediocre) star-studded blockbuster.
A marine died at a military base when, incited by their superiors,
other marines attacked him to teach him a lesson.
The two marines are arrested and charged with murder.
Attorney Joanne is instructed to assign the case to her subordinate lawyer
Daniel, whose only title to fame is to be the son of a famous lawyer and who has
a reputation for being soft and not creating embarrassments to the navy.
Joanne and Daniel interrogate the two suspects and realize that they are
hiding something. But
the code of honor of the marines keeps them (both proud of being
marines) from talking to the lawyer and incriminating others.
Joanne, Daniel and another lawyer fly to the base and interview the commander,
a disturbing old man who dresses his sweet talk with sexist and racist
Daniel is a practical person, not an idealist, and keeps mediating between the
parties, while Joanne is determined to get straight to the bottom of it.
It is obvious, though, that the two marines were just following orders
originating from the commander in person. The dead marine had challenged the
commander's authority and, after tha hazing incident, the commander had
covered up the beating that led to the death.
The film then turns into a courtroom drama (equally trivial and predictable).
Daniel, finally converted to Joanne's ideals, defends his clients but does not
have witnesses, especially after one of the officers commits suicide.
During a momentous confrontation in court, the commander loses his temper
and confesses that he gave the order.
Daniel wins the trial.
The American President (1995)
tells a romantic story that repeats an age-old stereotype: the simple, resourceful girl who becomes the woman of a powerful man. Reiner wastes too much time describing the president`s activities, thereby slowing the action to soporific levels.
The president of the U.S., a good-natured widower, finds time among his myriad duties to fall in love with a young lawyer who fiercely defends an environmentalist cause. She is upset and incredulous at first, and everyone around the president stands in the way of the politically dangerous idea. The president doesn't listen to anyone. But she cannot resist the temptation and becomes his girlfriend. For the girl this is a huge responsibility: the newspapers go wild. Her rival, who hopes to undermine him from the White House in the next election, does not miss the opportunity. He discovers that thirteen years earlier she had participated in a demonstration in which an American flag was burned and unleashes a witch hunt against the woman. The president remains unmoved, but the girl cannot remain unmoved in the face of infamous accusations.
The president's staff is also faltering under the blows, and they eventually convince him to compromise to save his political career. But it is those compromises, which the girl interprets as ideological weakness, that cost him her. Left alone again, the president has his existential crisis. And, finally, he attacks his rival: he holds a press conference in which he exposes his cowardice and hypocrisy, then forces Congress to pass an environmentalist bill as the girl wanted it. He takes a regular car and is driven by the girl, who of course forgives him.
He then directed:
Ghosts of Mississippi (1996),
The Story of Us (1999),
Alex & Emma (2003),
Rumor Has It (2005),
The Bucket List (2007),
The Magic of Belle Isle (2012),
And So It Goes (2014)
Being Charlie (2015),
the biopic LBJ (2016),
Shock and Awe (2017),