Nearly 20 years ago, writer-director Cameron Crowe’s Jerry Maguire presented the story of a slick, successful sports agent (Tom Cruise) who experiences a crisis of conscience with life-changing, career-altering results. One of the crucial plot points early in the film is that the title character has penned what he calls a “mission statement,” both for himself and his fellow agents at the fictional Sports Management International. It’s a lot like the Declaration Of Principles from Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane, though Cruise’s character does a better job of sticking to his stated values than Welles’ does. Despite the importance of the mission statement to plot of Jerry Maguire, viewers only get a fleeting glimpse of the fateful document in the finished movie. What fans may not know is that Crowe himself penned a 25-page Maguire manifesto entitled The Things We Think And Do Not Say: The Future Of Our Business. And now, a Crowe-themed blog called The Uncool (“The Official Website For Everything Cameron Crowe”) presents the entire contents of that broadside for public consumption. It’s a sometimes painfully earnest but nevertheless worthwhile read.
To a large extent, The Things We Think is what many Jerry Maguire fans will be expecting. Supposedly writing during an all-night session while at a conference in Miami, possibly while buzzed on Diet Pepsi, the sports agent talks about his own life and how he got into the business of representing professional athletes back in 1981. He mentions his father, who worked for the United Way without even getting a comfortable chair, and Dicky Fox, the first-ever sports agent. The manifesto outlines how sports and sports management have changed over the course of 15 years. The deals have gotten bigger, everyone’s gotten greedier, and he finds himself caring less and less. And that’s a big problem. It used to be about the sports, man. The time has come, he says, for a new age of honesty. By the end, Maguire is openly calling for a “revolution,” but nothing he has said so far is really all that radical or subversive. In fact, if he took this same manifesto and cut out some of the weirder digressions (“Coffee tastes different at night. It tastes like college.”) it could make a fine motivational speech at next year’s convention. Tyler Durden would not be impressed.