If you thought My Cousin Vinny was just a solid comedy that picked up an Oscar for Marisa Tomei, think again. According to U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman, it’s a very real portrayal of lawyers.
Fishman served as the keynote speaker at the inaugural Governor Brendan T. Byrne Annual Lecture at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey, last week and was reportedly asked what he thought about representations of his profession in pop culture.
“Every profession in the room watches TV, movies, reads books and says, ‘That’s not the way it is it all,’” he said before naming Scott Turow’s 1987 novel Presumed Innocent and the aforementioned 1992 Joe Pesci flick about a pair of young men (“two yutes!”) from New York accused of murder in a rural Alabama town and their inexperienced lawyer cousin, Vinny (Pesci), who comes to defend them.
Fishman specifically referenced a key point Vinny makes in the film while interrogating an alleged witness, who supposedly saw the crime go down while making grits. The way Vinny makes his case — with the unforgettable line, “Are we to believe that boiling water soaks into a grit faster in your kitchen than anywhere else on the face of the earth?!!” — has inspired the New Jersey-based attorney for years.
“I have taught trial techniques for 15 years using that because his cross [examination] is terrific,” Fishman said of the film, reports NJ.com. “Go back and watch it and see. It’s over the top, it’s outrageous, but the way he does it is great.”
We’re guessing Fishman rarely finishes those cross-exams with, “I’m finished with this guy.”