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My Cousin Vinny Breakfast – A Legal Study
The movie my cousin vinny breakfast was a box office hit, winning an Oscar for Marisa Tomei as the female lead, but the real power came from the nonstop repeats on cable television. During its run, My Cousin Vinny became one of the most-watched comedy movies of all time. It also helped to bring a much-needed lighthearted tone to the otherwise serious subject of racism in the South.
The film centers on two college students from New York, Bill Gambini and Stan Rothenstein, who accidentally shoplift a can of tuna while driving through Alabama in a mint green 1964 Buick Skylark convertible. Shortly after the two friends leave the store, the attendant is robbed and killed. Billy and Stan are then wrongly arrested and charged with murder.
Luckily, their cousin Vinny is an attorney and he travels to Alabama to help them with their case. While he initially struggles with the unfamiliarity of the courtroom, he proves himself and is ultimately rehired by Billy and Stan to defend them.
A Legal Study:
The first thing I learned from My Cousin Vinny was about litigation discovery rules, which require parties in a lawsuit to exchange factually relevant documents before trial. I was amazed to see how well Vinny handled this process and secured his adversaries’ case documents. This is one of the first films I saw that made me appreciate this rule, as it is a big part of how we as litigators get to know our clients’ cases.
Another major lesson I learned from this film was how a good attorney should look at each and every piece of evidence in a case in order to decide how best to use it. Even if it doesn’t seem like it will help the case, a lawyer should evaluate all possible facts and find out whether they can be used to create a stronger, more convincing narrative than the prosecution’s.
In this movie, Vinny is able to overcome his initial insecurities and show that he can make a strong case by showing perceptive questioning skills. He successfully refutes a witness’ testimony that it would have been impossible for the defendants to leave the convenience store in such a short amount of time. He also successfully discredits a second witness by challenging their ability to identify the defendants due to obstructions in their vision and impaired sightline.
Lastly, Vinny’s aggressive questioning style helped to put many holes in the prosecution’s case. He was able to discredit a key witness’s testimony that the two defendants had a shorter period of time to leave the convenience store than the prosecution alleged, and this was particularly effective as it allowed him to convince the judge that Billy and Stan weren’t guilty of the charges they were facing.
My cousin vinny breakfast was a great movie to watch as a new law student because it showed me how important it is to analyze all of the facts in a case and look for any weaknesses they may have. It also highlighted the importance of a good attorney’s willingness to take on any challenges that arise during a trial.