A Few Good Men/YMMV

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Some people take Jessep's courtroom rant as a Take That and a "The Reason You Suck" Speech towards the kind of limousine liberals (who would never dream of joining the military themselves) who sit back and criticize armed might and believe the use of violence against anyone is illegitimate, all the while ostensibly being champions of the people and defenders of human rights and the guardians of the environment and so on, and yet in fact do nothing but talk, and attend parties and live rich and frivolous lifestyles and take in all the material benefits of the society and the system that they claim to oppose and abhor, and finally go to sleep every night under the guard of those same people who they disdain: those people who make personal and psychological sacrifices to defend them. Of course, this really only works when extracted from its context, as Jessep is arguably just as much of a hypocrite as they are.
  • Misaimed Fandom: The number of viewers who admire Jessep's Motive Rant is staggering. Sure, he's supposed to have depth, and isn't a Card-Carrying Villain but when he says soldiers shouldn't be accountable to the law, you're not supposed to agree with him.
    • Not to mention that, at heart, what he was doing was sanctioning assaults against his own Marines and then trying to cover it up.
    • The worst part is that Jessup's breakdown isn't supposed to be the center of the movie - it's supposed to be about the duty of the strong to protect the weak, and how Jessup betrayed that duty when he had a kid brutalized and accidentally killed him for being weak. Nicholson should have been cast as Weinburg, not Jessup, so that he could have put his personality behind it. As is, everybody remembers Jessup talking about Necessary Evil.

Lt. Weinberg: They beat up on a weakling, and that's all they did! The rest is just smokefilled coffee-house crap! They tortured and tormented a weaker kid! They didn't like him! So, they killed him! And why? Because he couldn't run very fast!
Galloway: They stand upon a wall and say, "Nothing's going to hurt you tonight, not on my watch."
Dawson: We were supposed to fight for the people who couldn't fight for themselves. We were supposed to fight for Willie.

  • Straw Man Has a Point: See the above Misaimed Fandom; many viewers side with Colonel Jessep and see his "you need me on that wall" argument as true.
    • Let's remember it's Straw Man Has a Point, not necessarily "Strawman is Right." Parts of Colonel Jessup's speech taken out of context do resonate with a lot of people. It's understandable that a lot of people in the military do get frustrated with the attitudes of the civilian population at times. But for most of us is a momentary frustration we brush off and go back to work and doesn't lead to assault on your junior personnel.
      • Following orders isn't the be-all-and-end-all in modern armies. You need soldiers who follow orders, but not unthinkingly. How that balance works out in practice is definitely tricky, but that doesn't mean we never try to work it out at all.
      • The be-all-and-end-all of armies is to protect the people who depend on them, the ones who lack the capability to protect themselves, as they're busy being doctors and engineers and whatnot. The strong protecting the weak, as pointed out in Misaimed Fandom. Galloway's defense of the Marines is the ideal, but Weinberg's condemnation of them is the reality of their actions. So the strawman is full of it.
      • As mentioned in the Alternate Character Interpretation entry, context is everything here. The idea that soldiers in the field deserve a bit of leeway, which is the ultimate point of Jessup's speech, is a perfectly mainstream position, and taken out of context there's nothing sinister about it. It's only because we know from the rest of the film that "the manner in which [he] provide[s protection]" involved brutalizing one of his own men to the point of death and then setting up two (mostly) innocent underlings to take the fall that the monologue gains its Unfortunate Implications.
  • Speaking of Unfortunate Implications, let's talk about how the lone female character is totally incompetent in the courtroom.
    • That's not really fair. She doesn't have Kaffee's talent for witness examination and oratory, but she's an absolute bulldog in pursuit of justice, and she's the one who gets him back on his feet with "The Reason You Suck" Speech. She's also established as a very effective internal affairs investigator, if only as an Informed Attribute. Galloway is a pretty well-rounded character, really.
    • In any other situation, she would have been the lead attorney on the case, given her higher rank. And indeed, her first appearance in the film was as part of a discussion in assigning her from her investigation position to representing clients. The only reason she was not was because certain powers that be didn't want her to, preferring the rookie with a history of plea-bargaining in order to keep the case from airing a high-ranking officer's dirty laundry.
    • Galloway really is a strong female lead. The only Unfortunate Implications that would apply to her would be the criticism that "she didn't end up with Kaffee in the end." The two made good friends and partners for the case, but being the lead female does not require you to end up with the lead male.