We all have a list of movies we pretend to have seen — books we're too embarrassed to admit we haven't read. The widely loved 1996 romantic dramedy Jerry Maguire was on mine until recently, when I decided to fix that blind spot in my pop culture perspective.
I'm not going to say I "wasted" two hours and 19 minutes of my life, because there's a lot to love about the iconic film. As Jerry's love interest Dorothy, then-newcomer Renee Zellweger does a fine job going toe-to-toe with Hollywood heavyweight Tom Cruise in her breakout performance. As with all of Cameron Crowe's movies, the soundtrack is awesome. Cuba Gooding Jr. earned every ounce of that Oscar for his supporting role as braggadocious football player Rod Tidwell — stealing every scene he's in. And I'll be damned if Dorothy's bespectacled tyke Ray isn't the cutest fucking kid I've ever seen.
But there's a lot to criticize about the movie too, much of which hasn't been said because back in '96 there wasn't a world wide web populated with a diversity of critics — including opinionated, mildly cynical feminists like myself (the vast majority of the movie's glowing reviews were penned by middle-aged white men working at newspapers). And what better way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of a beloved classic than by pointing out everything wrong with it? I'm half-kidding. The idea isn't to bump Jerry Maguire from anyone's list of favorites; I just think it's high time we reexamined a movie we've heaped praise on pretty generously for two decades now. So in that spirit, here are the six problems I have with Jerry Maguire.