# My Cousin Vinny

What about this as a storyform for My Cousin Vinny. I haven’t run this through Dramatica yet. I’ve just done the upper level calculations in my head. By the way, the ending credits song, Bible Belt, beautifully mentions some of these points. Interesting for a movie released in 1992.
MC: Vinny
Change Character: He finally lets opens himself up to Lisa’s help.
Start Character: He must begin to allow Lisa to help him in the case. This ultimately helps to win the entire case.
Linear Problem Solver: At one point, he explains to Lisa why it’s important to study procedure. He makes the comparison to fixing a car. If you do something out of order and something doesn’t work, then you are screwed. During trial, when questioning Mr. Tipton, he brings up the time taken to cook grits. He could not have finished any time sooner.
Concern: He wants Closure for his training as a lawyer. He wants to be recognized as a legitimate litigator.
Problem: Consideration
Solution: Reconsider

IC: Lisa
Steadfast Character: She repeatedly asks him how she can support him in his efforts.
Concern: She wants a future with Vinny, but she’s seeing time go by without hope for a family.
Problem: She wants Vinny to feel as much as she does about them as a couple.
Symptom?: Lisa’s physical beauty is a tempting distraction for Vinny from this critical life-altering case.

Objective Story
Concern: Both Vinny and the prosecutor respectively want to obtain a victory in the case. Vinny wants the money owed to him from the resident jerks who stiffed Lisa.
Issue: Characters are concerned about their approaches to proving whether or not the two suspects are guilty.
Problem: The two suspects are considered to be guilty, even assumed to be in the case of some in the Alabama prison system.
Solution: The jury, when exposed to new evidence, reconsiders the notion of the two suspects being guilty.
Limit: Option lock. Not sure about this. Perhaps the pieces of evidence being interpreted in favor of the prosecution or defense… the tire tracks, photographs, grits preparation time. Perhaps it’s the different stages of the trial.
Driver: Action. The two boys become arrested. One of them, Bill, calls Vinny to be their lawyer.
Decision. Bill decides he wants Vinny as their lawyer rather than the court appointed defender. The jury decides in favor of the defendants.
Success Story: Vinny wins the case.
Judgment: Good. Vinny has become recognized as an accomplished litigator in his own right. Lisa sees a future with him now.
Goal: Obtain victory in the case.
Consequence: The two defendants, Bill and Stan, will become dead if they don’t win. Perhaps there’s an implication of Vinny becoming in trouble with the law for impersonating an accomplished lawyer.
Requirements: Vinny must do several activities, such as interviewing witnesses, schmoozing with the prosecutor, ordering in the diner where he learns about southern grits preparation, etc.
Protagonist: Vinny
Antagonist: Prosecutor Jim Trotter
Guardian: Lisa providing help to Vinny (i.e. getting his suit cleaned, reading legal books)
Contagonist: Judge Haller providing undue hardship on Vinny to prove his credentials
Faith: Vinny’s young cousin, Bill, who is a suspect. He tells Stan Rothenstein why Vinny is the best hope for them. Vinny had been to a magic show and consistently caught the secrets of the tricks.
Disbelief: Stan Rothenstein who is also one of the two suspects. He’s paired up with Vinny’s cousin… as the Dramatica chart is inclined to pair opposite character functions. Rothenstein points out Vinny’s shortcomings. He didn’t even question the witnesses. Rothenstein pushes for a court appointed attorney instead.

I can’t find my storyform for this, but I remember I had Judgement: Bad.

Vinny really wanted to do this on his own, but he needs Lisa’s help. When they are driving away at the end, he is complaining about getting help. He won the case, but didn’t prove himself.

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I can see that. I’m going to generate a storyform and see if it predicts judgement of bad. In fact, he says as thry drive away that he had been hoping to win a case without her help, as I recall. She replies, “Well, I guess that’s moot now.”

Exactly. And he’s constantly telling her not to help IIRC.

Really? It’s been a while but I don’t remember that part at all, and it didn’t feel like a personal tragedy to me. Aren’t they getting married at the end?

I’ll guess I’ll have to watch it again!

They’re getting married at the beginning too, I think.

She says in the end that she wants a real wedding with flowers, etc. As I recall, this was a concern… almost like a precondition in her eyes. She tells him outside the cabin—to be followed by one of his best soliloquies— that if his lack of progress toward becoming a lawyer continues, “I ain’t never gettin’ married.”

It’s been a while since I’ve seen it. Are they engaged, but he can’t pull the trigger until he wins a case?

Interesting … I always saw it as a growth in that he asked for help, when needed. I saw that as a maturity. It was one of my most favorite movies.

I think it’s desperation as the Protagonist, as opposed to growth by the MC.

His brilliant legal zinger at the end, eagerly encouraging her auto knowledge testimony to prove his clients’ innocence was him at peace, accepting needed help whenever it was called for, imho. This movie seemed to be about him pulling together everything in his life, making it work. Protagonist desperation could lead to correct decisions in the OS, and I don’t see why it could not also be growth in the MC. I don’t know if I have this right, but I remember a workshop with Chris and/or Melanie in the 90’s, where something was pointed out about a story being stronger if more than one (let’s say) storyforming? point is at the same spot. But this is my brain’s perception, which is very individual and complicated with each human being on the planet being so unique. And I am sure no expert. I just loved this movie! And I love the Dramatica theory.

A man getting married is never going to do things on his own, and visa versa. Maybe mixed in was an insight of the screenwriter on why some people never get married. I can see judgement good with failure, though.

This is a 100% Protag moment. After this, he is complaining about her helping him.

Here is the dialogue from the movie:

My problem is…I wanted to win my first case without any help from anybody.

Well, I guess that plan’s moot. Yeah. You know, this could be a sign of things to come. You win all your cases, but with somebody else’s help, right?

You win case after case, and then afterwards you have to go up to somebody… and you have to say “Thank you.”

Oh, my God, what a fuckin’ nightmare!

Thank you, and what a homage to the screenwriter.

Roger Ebert
"Pesci is so inexperienced he doesn’t even know enough to stand when the judge enters the courtroom…”

"Pesci and Tomei, on the other hand, create a quirky relationship that I liked. Neither one is played as a dummy. They’re smart, in their own ways, but involved in a legal enterprise they are completely unprepared for. Tomei’s surprise appearance as an expert witness is a high point, and left me feeling I would like to see this couple again. Maybe in a screenplay that was more focused.”

So, perhaps some viewers see the success being he learned some courtroom basics and will be successful on his own in the future? Or could it be a lesson was learned that all courtroom success will come because of help from others?

Ebert’s first sentence was quite poetic. https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/my-cousin-vinny-1992