I might as well wrap this list up before I start in on another review. For the longest time this film was second on my list to Vanilla Sky (Crowe, 2001) but after further analysis of each film I capriciously came to the decision that this was my favorite movie instead. Despite having been released in 1997, I don’t think I saw it until 2006 and if I did see it before then I certainly didn’t appreciate it enough. This is it, the best movie I can think of.
- Good Will Hunting (Van Sant, 1997)
Holy poop, I thought having watched 23 Tom Cruise movies was a bit ridiculous but looking at IMDB, unless my calculations are incorrect, I have watched 35 Matt Damon movies. It seems a bit excessive especially considering that is out of a possible 47. So I guess I should talk about Matt Damon for a bit. Not all of his films are outstanding but I also can’t really say I hated any of them with the notable exception of Gerry (Van Sant, 2002) which my disgust towards has long outlasted my memory of. I recall there is a scene where they are sitting around a camp fire discussing an episode of Wheel of Fortune and that is about it. Also one of them dies at the end of the film but I can’t remember whom. <– Spoiler alert, but what did you expect? Along with Last Days (2005) and Elephant (2003) it forms Van Sants death trilogy. Should that have been another spoiler alert? I don’t think so those films are reminiscent of Cobain and Columbine respectively so obviously they end in suicide and murder, again spoiler alert. I have yet to look it up but I am not exactly sure why those particular films make up Van Sants death trilogy, from what I can remember someone relatively important dies in Milk (2008), Paranoid Park (2007), Psycho (1998), Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1993), My Own Private Idaho (1991), and Drugstore Cowboy (1989) and I am assuming To Die For (1995) which I have not watched but it has “die” right in the title. Okay this is probably starting to get spoiled let’s stop talking about Matt Damon and move on to Gus Van Sant. Which of his films have I yet to mention? Finding Forrester (2000) is just a reworking of Good Will Hunting and now that I think about it does Sean Connery die in the end? I can’t remember I saw it so long ago but either way I would skip it, and then Mala Noche (1986) which I think is Spanish for “brother” is okay considering it was his first feature length film but overall not that great. He tends to be a very streaky director making films that range from top shelf to bottom of the barrel. Alright now I will attempt to distill wisdom out of this ramble:
Watch – Good Will Hunting, Milk, Paranoid Park, and Drugstore Cowboy
Probably Watch – My Own Private Idaho, Elephant, and Last Days
Skip – Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Finding Forrester, and Mala Noche
Avoid – Psycho, and Gerry
? – To Die For
Look Forward To – Restless (2011)
Alright enough about Gus Van Sant let’s get back to Matt Damon. If Vanilla Sky has the best sound track of all time, Good Will Hunting certainly comes in a close second. I am not a huge fan of Elliott Smith but I do find a number of his songs enjoyable, I listened to Baby Britain in High School quite a bit. Miss Misery was nominated for Best Original Song in the 1998 Academy Awards but lost out to fucking My Heart Will Go On which is complete horseshit. His music compliments this film perfectly but I think my favorite Elliott Smith accompaniment would have to be Needle in the Hay from The Royal Tenenbaums (W. Anderson, 2001). O and he was fatally stabbed or fatally stabbed himself in 2003, quite a bit of death in this article so here is a video to cheer you up.
I was going to wrap things up with a brief summary of the things I like about the film but in all honesty it is everything. There isn’t one single thing I think should be changed in that movie, every scene is exactly how it should be. So I give it:
12 out of 0 Marky, Ricky, Danny, Terry, Mikey, Davie, Timmy, Tommy, Joey, Jonny, Robbie, and Brian’s
In conclusion, here are five films that came close but didn’t make the cut. Arrested Development (Hurwitz, 2012) according to IMDB its current status is Announced/Weirdsies (really? referencing 30 Rock in a sentence about AD, come on!) but that coupled with my previous experience with the television show is already enough to put it right on the cusp of my top 5. It could be Michael Cera and Jason Bateman walking through the desert for 100 minutes talking about Wheel of Fortune until one of them dies and I would still pay to see it twice in theaters. I Heart Huckabees (Russell, 2004), because Arrested Development doesn’t exist yet, would most likely be my favorite comedy (not sure if that is true or not), Mark Wahlberg is hilarious in this film and any time he teams up with David O. Russell it seems to work out well. Plus if you watch closely you may notice Jonah Hills first on screen performance. GoldenEye (Campbell, 1995) must be included in the honorable mentions section, I have been a fan of James Bond since I was a little kid and TBS aired those 007 Days of Christmas marathons. GoldenEye isn’t even my favorite James Bond film that title goes to The Living Daylights (Glen, 1987) but I use to watch GoldenEye every day after school and played/still play enough of the video game to be the best player I know (has anyone else memorized the order of spawn points in Stack and Temple?). Also speaking of The Living Daylights and GoldenEye, it pisses me off that Joe Don Baker plays different characters in both movies like they really could not find anyone else that fit the bill, I hate when they double up on actors. Primer (Carruth, 2004) is an amazing little indie sci-fi film. I really enjoy the scene where they are working on the machine and talking about NASA making a pen that writes in space. This film also instilled in me my greatest fear of all time – meeting myself. Seriously, I can’t think of one scenario where I would travel back in time to tell myself something good. It would either be to warn me of some impending doom or to murder me and in my imagination it always occurs by breaking into my room in the middle of the night and waking me from my slumber so I would still be groggy uncertain whether I was awake or if this were still a dream and then it would slowly dawn on me that my future self is in the room with me and I would get super freaked out and probably fuck up time. Finally, Closer (Nichols, 2004) has a great story, classic director, and good looking people. It has everything necessary to be a great film just lacking that je ne sais quoi sort of connection with me to allow it a spot on the top 5. Did I just write more about my top 6-10 than I did about my number 1?