It’s Not Your Fault
Today’s review comes as a combination of a request and a regret. I wanted to see today’s movie for a while, but never really bothered to get around to it until it was suggested by my Friendboss Josh. I don’t remember what the hell we were talking about that made him think to request this movie, but I managed to write it down in my phone so that I wouldn’t forget it along with everything else he’s requested of me. And, with the movie available on Netflix streaming, I was happy to fulfill the request. Also, I’ve heard Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier (who produced the movie) talk about it the few times on their podcast, Smodcast. Today’s movie is Good Will Hunting, written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, directed by Gus Van Sant, and starring Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Stellan Skarsgard, Minnie Driver, Ben Affleck, Casey Affleck, Cole Hauser, and George Plimpton.
Will Hunting (Matt Damon) is a genius, but he’s also an asshole. He’d much rather spend his time drinking and fighting with his friends Chuckie (Ben Affleck), Billy (Cole Hauser), and Morgan (Casey Affleck). He works as a janitor at MIT and solves a complicated math problem (I think it was “1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 – 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 x 0 = ?”) that is put up as a challenge by Professor Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgard). Will meets a Harvard student named Skylar (Minnie Driver) shortly before getting arrested for assaulting a guy. Professor Lambeau gets him out under the condition that Will study mathematics with him and see a therapist. After scaring off a number of potential therapists, Lambeau calls his old college roommate, Sean Maguire (Robin Williams), who is slowly able to get through to Will.
Despite this movie being a drama, I’m happy to report that I actually enjoyed this movie. I thought the writing was very clever, and the story was very interesting. And, thankfully, it has a happy ending, so this review won’t have to be a bummer. I was not aware that reviewing this movie today would cause back to back Massachusetts movies, but that accent always makes me laugh so it wasn’t a problem. I feel like I was uniquely able to relate to this movie because I too have lived life as a genius but choosing to waste my gifts. I also chose to react to this by pushing anyone away that tried to get close to me, drinking a lot, and beating the shit out of random people. Some or all of this may or may not be true. The dialogue was also very intelligent, or it at least seemed that way. I couldn’t tell if Will’s speech about History had any actual facts or truth in it, but it sure seemed smart. A lot of the speeches were very well-written. I especially liked the speech that Maguire delivers when he’s dissecting Will’s reasons for not trying anything in life. I feel like all of the writing in the movie was fantastic. The movie looked pretty good as well except for one glaring problem I had: the slow motion fight scene. It looked super goofy. They could’ve just had a couple of guys rolling around and punching each other in the face. Instead, they decided to make parts of it slow motion, but the slow motion seemed more like guys acting like they were fighting in slow motion than film of guys fighting that was slowed down. Close ups of people’s faces getting punched in slo-mo only works if it looks like it hurt and not as if a guy didn’t like the smell of some other guy’s knuckles. It was a really goofy scene that shouldn’t have been, located in the middle of an otherwise great movie.
Almost every performance in this movie was fantastic. Matt Damon knocked this shit right the hell out of the park. It was wicked awesome. I think the man deserves wicked praise just for being able to deliver some of the speeches he does in this movie, let alone the very real performance and a great couple of emotional breakdowns near the end. He was a dick for the bulk of the movie, but still managed to keep real and likeable somehow. His fantastic performance may have been overshadowed by Robin Williams though. That guy was great. He also had a couple of big speeches to deliver, and most of his were super emotional ones, especially when he would talk about his wife. Stellan Skarsgard also put on a pretty great performance. I wasn’t particularly impressed with either Minnie Driver or Ben Affleck until they had their required emotional speeches near the end of the movie. That elevated my opinion of their performances to “pretty good”.
I was happy to finally watch Good Will Hunting, and even happier to find that it was really good. I found the story to be very charming, the dialogue incredibly smart, and the performances mostly fantastic. I’m only 15 years late, and if you are too then I recommend you fix that problem like I did. You too can have your Friendboss recommend it to you on your review blog. But if you plagiarize me I will fucking kill you. Good Will Hunting gets “My boy’s wicked smaht” out of “Nail them while they’re vulnerable. That’s my motto.”
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