Trial by Jury (1989) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Joanne Whalley-Kilmer is a single mother and an entrepreneur who could easily get out of jury duty because of her circumstances, but she won't do so because of her sense of civic responsibility.

Bad choice

She ends up on the panel hearing a multiple felony trial against a mafia don. During the trial, the don and his minions need an "innocent" vote, so they threaten her, her child, her pets, her business, yadda, yadda, yadda. The don even makes a personal visit to her house and fucks her while the trial is going on, just to intimidate her by proving that he can get away with it. He's out on bail, I suppose. Or maybe they just let him out for a forcible conjugal visit. By the way, his name is Don Rusty. Don Rusty? Sounds more like a veteran pinch hitter.

When the jury retires to deliberate, the evidence is overwhelmingly against the ol' don. And it's not subtle. He personally strangled people's mothers at home plate of Yankee Stadium during a World Series game, then admitted it that night when he was hosting Saturday Night Live. Or something like that. But Whalley holds out as the dissenter in an 11-1 vote, because ... gee ... the evidence just isn't very convincing to her. Needless to say, the other jurors think she's full of ... um ... the Holy Spirit, but be that as it may, the don goes free until he can be retried.

Call me cautious, but if I had been the judge, I would have sequestered the jury in such a case, but even without sequestering it's hard to believe that he can just come to her house and rape her senseless during the trial. I found all this to be stretching my credulity a bit, although not as much as the opening scene, in which the government's star witness, Tony "The Stoolie" Scungulli, is killed in a hotel room he shares with five armed guards, because they let in a completely unknown hooker to gratify his lusts. I guess this shows that all law enforcement officials are as dumb as they are powerless.

This movie was a mistake. Same-old same-old script, complete lack of plausibility, lack of star power (Whalley is reasonably attractive and reasonably talented, but she surely doesn't have the kind of charisma needed to carry a picture.), clichéd dialogue, one-dimensional cartoon characters ...

It wasn't surprising that the box office topped off at seven million.

Sidebar #1: Heywood Gould received writing credits on some solid movies early in his career, but what happened in 1987? His worst pre-1987 film is rated higher than his his best post-1987 film.


  1. (6.89) - The Boys from Brazil (1978)
  2. (6.45) - Rolling Thunder (1977)
  3. (6.39) - Fort Apache the Bronx (1981)
  4. (5.93) - Streets of Gold (1986)


  1. (5.47) - Double Bang (2001)
  2. (5.43) - One Good Cop (1991)
  3. (5.27) - Trial by Jury (1994)
  4. (5.20) - Cocktail (1988)




  • widescreen
  • no meaningful features



Whalley never gave up the goods, except in a non-revealing shower scene.

Kathleen Quinlan, as the murderous hooker, showed off a very impressive derriere for a 40 year old woman.

The Critics Vote ...

  • James Berardinelli 2/4


The People Vote ...

  • Box Office: $7 million
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.


Based on this description, this film is a D+. Decent production values, but the film is just not worth the time investment.

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