Daniel Miller: Why do you drive this?
Jeep Owner: What?
Daniel Miller: I'm curious. I see people driving these things. What do you know that I don't? Are floods coming? Hoover Dam broke? What's going on?
Jeep Owner: I like this car.
Daniel Miller: It's not a car, it's a battering ram. This is what Patton drove: "Hey you, soldier! Follow us!"
Jeep Owner: Make fun, but in an 8.5 earthquake, you'll beg for a Jeep.
Daniel Miller: In an 8.5 earthquake, I'll beg for a coffin.
A very funny and original movie, with Albert Brooks at his best. The story itself is a neat concept, what happens when you die? No overdoing it, just a nice idea where people are sent to a place where things get determined for you in an orderly fashion. The idea is to repeat life until you sort of learn a deeper meaning and can move on.
Brooks plays Daniel, a man who is killed at the beginning of the movie only to arrive in this afterlife setting. He is informed by his lawyer-type person, played by Rip Torn, that he will be judged based on clips from nine days of his life, and it will be determined whether he will be incarnated back on earth or move on.
While not on trial, Daniel gets to move around this afterlife town known as Judgment City. During this time he meets a woman Julie, played by Meryl Streep. Many jokes in the movie come from how much better Streep's life was and how much better she is treated in Judgment City because of it.
Daniel Miller: What is this?
Julia: It's my hotel.
Daniel Miller: This is your hotel?
Julia: Yeah. Where are you staying?
Daniel Miller: Obviously at the place for people that weren't very generous and didn't adopt anybody. I'm at the Continental. Come over one day; we'll paint it.
The movie is very funny overall due to Brooks style of humor. The way he writes his comedy works so well and is helped even more so when Brooks gets himself into various stages of his conversations, observations, or arguments. Also very funny are the actual judgment scenes going between scenes from Daniel's life and the discussion afterward.
Along with watching this movie for its story and humor, there are also various elements that hint at some deeper themes involving the thoughts on death and the assessment of life. The inclusion of a love interest and how that factors into the story is also effective.
I've watched this movie many times and love it. Its a good premise, featuring solid work from Brooks as well as the supporting cast. The ideas introduced here are good setups for the movie's concept without going to deep. Its very entertaining and well done.
Bob Diamond: Did we ever stop to think that this young boy had a bond with his father? I don't think it had anything to do with the friend. I just think Daniel couldn't lie to his dad. That's all.
Lena Foster: You're nodding, Mr. Miller. Does that mean you agree with Mr. Diamond?
Daniel Miller: Oh, yes. I had a bond with my father. I pretty much never lied to him.
Lena Foster: You never lied to your father? Would you like me to show you at least 500 examples?
Daniel Miller: I said "pretty much" never lied. I didn't say I never, ever lied. You have to lie sometimes... in an emergency. But, ah, it doesn't mean the bond is affected. If you've got the bond the bond is always there, and if you have to lie occasionally you're not going to interfere with the bond. You know, the bond can wait for a little lie and... in the end it's there for you... You know, sometimes in the middle of a lie I found that the bond would kick in... maybe squeeze a little truth out.
Bob Diamond: Psst, wrap it up.
Daniel Miller: I'm through.