If you never knew about the maximum torque allowance for an industry-standard motel bathroom faucet, then you only had to watch one scene from a famous Marisa Tomei movie to become a full-on expert. But she was so captivating in this one scene, and really the rest of the movie that this particular role helped launch her into stardom. And now you have a chance to catch the movie totally free with My Cousin Vinny streaming at no cost on YouTube right now.
My Cousin Vinny stars Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei as two fish-out-of-water Brooklyn-ites who’ve been summoned to the deep South when Vinny’s (Pesci) nephew and his friend are accused of murdering a convenience store clerk. This begins a series of events almost too hilarious and odd to describe but that helped establish both Tomei and Pesci as incredibly funny comedic actors in their own right.
From the very first scenes of the movie, it’s clear Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei don’t belong here. With their thick New York accents, hard-charging personalities, persnickety insistence on arguing about every single thing, and adherence to a strict leather-only fashion sense, they stand in complete and hilarious juxtaposition to everything else around them. But because the nephews are in legal dire straits and no one else can really help them, they call the titular cousin down from NYC to handle the case. He’s about ten minutes out of law school but is a seasoned arguer so they put their faith and life in his hands.
Both Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei have a number of scene-stealing moments in this film, some of which have become long-lasting quotes that still hang around today in the everyday lexicon. Vinny’s pronunciation of “the two yooots” remains one of the funnier send-ups of the New York accent. And Tomei, who plays the aptly named Mona Lisa Vito, drips confidence and New York swagger throughout all of her interactions with the exterior somewhat hiding her whip-smart intelligence and confidence. Here, check out the scene mentioned at the beginning with Pesci and Tomei arguing about whether the faucet was turned off.
And though she starts as a side character in the film, Marisa Tomei is integral to the entire case with Vinny, guiding him through the legal process that she’s only in the moment studying and calling him out on any bullshit he tries to throw her way. And she even has to take the stand at one point to act as the defense’s expert witness in the field of, wait for it, auto mechanics. Here’s that classic scene.
Marisa Tomei commanded every scene in which she appeared for this film, and it ended up paying award-season dividends. The then somewhat unknown actress took home the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her work in the film. It was much deserved though a bit of a surprise considering those are typically reserved for more dramatic roles. But Tomei is just that freaking good. It’s almost like she convinced the judges just like her character is able to convince the other characters in the movie of her superiority.
Besides just the star performances from Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei, My Cousin Vinny was a hit at the box office as well. It turned in a surprising $64 million on its $11 million budget and remains as funny today as it was back then. It’s rather timeless in this sense. It’s sitting at 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, a very high number for a comedy and honestly even that feels a bit low.
As for Marisa Tomei, she’s set to reprise another role as a New Yorker in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Peter Parker’s only family as Aunt Mae. She’ll have that part again when we get the much-anticipated Spider-Man: No Way Home which is set to bring back nearly the entirety of the Spider-Man universe, both past and present. She’s also in post-production on Delia’s Gone with Travis Frimmel and Paul Walter Hauser. But before that, check her out in My Cousin Vinny. There’s no excuse with the flick totally free on YouTube.