Friday, July 5, 2013

Good Will Hunting (1997)

Number Rolled: 5
Movie Name/Year: Good Will Hunting (1997)
Genre: Drama
Length: 126 minutes
Rating: R
Director: Gus Van Sant
Writer: Matt Damon, Ben Affleck
Actors: Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Ben Affleck, Stellan Skarsgard, Minnie Driver, Casey Affleck, Cole Hauser, John Mighton, Rachel Majorowski, Colleen McCauley

Will Hunting is a 20 year old, janitor, genius. Spending his free time with his buddies drinking, picking up girls and getting into fights, he seems like the average “wrong side of the tracks” young adult. That is, until an MIT professor (where he works) puts a seemingly unsolvable problem on a chalkboard outside the classroom. In almost no time at all, Will has snuck the correct equation onto the board and the professor goes on the search to find him.

“Good Will Hunting” is one of my favorite movies. Even if I were to strip away the main storyline, it would still hold my favorite love story along with my favorite movie quote (which you’re just going to have to guess at since I don’t like to reveal spoilers).

I don’t know where Matt Damon and Ben Affleck came up with this, but it just plain works. Everything about it feels real and believable. The banter is witty and fits the psychological standpoint taken with the characters. The back stories are interesting and each and every character comes with a wealth of depth that’s very rare outside of books.

I love the entertainment value of “Good Will Hunting,” but I also love the meaning behind it. I get a lot of enjoyment from movies that explore the good points of a rough background. Maybe it’s just where I’m from, but I can’t see anyone being unscarred by the time they’re twenty. If I were to go through the histories of me and my closest friends I’d come up with only about two fathers still in the picture and so many traumatic experiences, we could fill a psych textbook easy. So, when I come across a movie like this that acknowledges a person can be screwed up by their past but still have something amazing to offer, it feels more real to me than any other kind of movie.

Robin William’s character struck me as an interesting piece of the puzzle. Most people think of therapists as the stereotypical “…and how does that make you feel” kind of people who don’t really say much and just sit there like a life-support system for a pair of ears. I spent most of my life in therapy. From six years old until I was twenty-six, I went through them like you wouldn’t believe. I had a lot of the stereotypical ones, and for each and every one of them, I had a Will Hunting attitude. There was one woman I saw when I was thirteen or so, my mom was ecstatic because she was world famous or some shit, meanwhile I would go to her office, take an hour nap and go home. This lasted about six months before people finally got that I didn’t trust her enough to let her make me a sandwich – let alone let her into my mind. Meanwhile, the best therapist I ever had never wrote a book. She wasn’t world-famous; in fact, I was her very first patient. I will never forget Denise, the therapist that helped me finally move on in my life. She understood that I wasn’t going to trust her until she gave me a reason to. She WAS Robin William’s character, and this movie serves to remind me of her and the good she did for me.

The only problem I had that keeps it from being a 5, is Ben Affleck. Look, Affleck is a MUCH better actor than people give him credit for. I mean, when he’s bad, he’s ridiculously bad (Daredevil). However, when he’s good, he’s ridiculously good. In this movie he was good… he just sucks so much with accents. It’s like my ears TRY not to hear him when he puts one on. It’s a really small issue, but he talks so much in the movie that it seems bigger.

Fantastic movie. Everyone should see it.

Overall Opinion – 4.5/5

P.S. Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier were co-executive producers of this movie.

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