‘A Few Good Men’ Courtroom Scene Parodies, Ranked
Thirty years ago this week, A Few Good Men, the film that launched a thousand courtroom parodies, premiered in theaters. It was nominated for four Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor for Jack Nicholson, the rascal with the receding hairline previously best known for sneering “Here’s Johnny!” in The Shining. That all changed with A Few Good Men, with everyone and his uncle owning a third-rate impression of Nicholson’s red-faced exclamation, “You can’t handle the truth!”
No form of expression was safe from the line. Burger King warned us that “You can’t handle the Rodeo Burger!” Deadpool has deadpanned it a few times in comic books and cartoons. Lil hits Phil with a variation in Rugrats in Paris: The Movie. The titular characters have a go in Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. Shows from Space Ghost: Coast to Coast to Castle to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air have tried out the trope. But not all A Few Good Men courtroom scene parodies are created equal. Here is our definitive ranking of the 10 best...
The ‘You Can’t Handle the Truth’ Supercut
Okay, we’re cheating here, but dozens of sitcoms, cartoons and crime procedurals have dropped Nicholson’s famous line. Here’s your chance to get pummeled in the face with a boatload of ‘em! From Boy Meets World to Third Rock From the Sun, marvel at how this line used to get automagic laughter and applause in the 1990s.
Jim Breuer Gets Slapped on SNL
Saturday Night Live gets it — Nicholson impressions are generally lazy and lame, including (and especially) Jim Breuer’s. When host Helen Hunt arrives to promote her new movie with Nicholson, As Good As It Gets, cast members including Breuer, Darrell Hammond, Cheri Oteri, Tim Meadows and Colin Quinn all take their turns impersonating the icon. Hunt is appropriately annoyed and embarrassed, but it takes an appearance from the actual Jack to prove to Breuer that he sucks.
What If Jack Nicholson Was Replaced with Matthew McConaughey?
Rather than simply relying on a recitation of Nicholson’s catchphrase for a cheap laugh, Rotten Tomatoes’ MisCast series reimagines the entire courtroom scene with Matthew McConaughey standing in for Nicholson. McConaughey’s laidback drawl and insistence on removing his shirt make the scene pretty funny, although “All right, all right, all right” is practically as tired a cliche as “You can’t handle the truth.”
George Does the World’s Worst Nicholson
Short and sweet, Seinfeld realizes that George Costanza is exactly the kind of guy who would work on a Nicholson impression to impress his friends and coworkers. Adding a snappy military salute? Perfection.
Patriots Equipment Co-Manager Dougie Spoons Defends Tom Brady
Confession: The obligatory “You can’t handle the truth!” is a bit of a throwaway in this Saturday Night Live sketch. But we’re including it as a celebration of Bobby Moynihan, an underrated cast member who brought the juice every time Lorne Michaels handed him the pigskin. Bring it, Bobby!
The Simpsons Really, Really Likes A Few Good Men
We’re not sure if it’s laziness (heck, let’s call it laziness), but The Simpsons has used Nicholson’s slogan as a punchline not one, not two, but three times. In the episode “Secrets of a Successful Marriage,” Homer lets Marge have it with both barrels (and mixed-up movie references): “Look, Marge, you don’t know what it’s like — I’m the one out there every day putting his ass on the line. And I’m not out of order! You’re out of order! The whole freaking system is out of order! You want the truth? You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth! ’Cause when you reach over and put your hand into a pile of goo that was your best friend’s face, you’ll know what to do! Forget it, Marge, it’s Chinatown!”
Then in “Mommie Beerest,” seen in #10’s supercut above, animated playing cards have this tired exchange:
“Hey Jack, you got any twos?”
“You can’t handle the twos!”
But our favorite is this gem, delivered by Sideshow Bob in inimitable Sideshow Bob fashion:
A Few Good Men Gets Jake Peralta Canned
On Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Captain Holt asks Peralta to withhold evidence from a tribunal for reasons he can’t disclose. Jake reluctantly agrees, but not before doing his own caffeinated version of Nicholson’s famous speech. (Jump to the :45 mark if you want to get to the parody stuff.)
’Tis the Season for DIY Parodies
Leave it to the internet to come up with A Few Good Men parody that’s funnier than most of the comedy created by the pros. Imgur user u/Romobyl uploaded this one to Reddit a few years back. There’s no sound, but somehow, it works better as a silent Santa sketch.
You’re Both Fired!
A dynamic movie pair since 1939, James Corden and John Krasinski have been cast in several classics over the years, including an early version of A Few Good Men. The chemistry — or is it clickability? — between the two men is electric, and their dismissal raises questions even today. It should have been Krasinski’s Oscar, damn it! Someone get these guys going on a Carpool Karaoke feature film.
Florence Effin’ Henderson!
A very tough Carol Brady, snarling her way through the Nicholson role, has never been more intimidating. Poor Greg looks like he’s afraid of imminent castration. Honestly, we’d pay good money to see this entire film remade with Bradys.