Off-late, my intellectual credentials have been called into question on the basis of movies I review on my blog. “Why review only movies which are bad enough to be easily ripped apart?”. The first and foremost answer, of course, is “Fuck you all, this my blog and I’m going to review whatever I want”. The second answer is “That’s what readers enjoy reading anyway”. I do watch so-dubbed ‘intellectual movies’, it’s just that I review them in lesser frequency on my blog.
The real answer lies in the fact that when a movie is good, well, what on earth are you expected to say about it? That it’s good? Praising the direction, cinematography, acting, visuals, sound editing et al turn-by-turn? People who do this for a living, i.e. movie critics, too are at a loss of words when reviewing most good movies. You can’t give the plot away of a good movie, so there isn’t much to do except sneakily trying to increase the word count.
I saw Good Will Hunting recently. Yeah, I know, really old movie and all, critically acclaimed etc etc – but I hadn’t seen it till now. And I must say that I missed a lot earlier. The thing about Good Will Hunting is that it’s not a movie that is original in any way. When screenplay is written by actors and not professional screenwriters, you don’t expect much. (The screenplay is by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.) But what you do get in exchange is some powerful, moving acting.
The story of this movie is so completely unoriginal that even Disney Channel Recess has used it once – a janitor with super-awesome-brilliant mathematical skills who’s talent gets discovered serendipitously. Matt Damon plays the role of the janitor – a misfit genius trying to find his place in the world. Stellan Skarsgard, for a change, isn’t spouting out Latin words on behalf of the Vatican; he plays the role of a mathematics professor at MIT who ‘discovers’ Will (Matt Damon’s character). The rest of the movie is about how both Damon’s character and Skarsgard’s character try to come to terms with Will’s genius abilities.
Thrown in is a love story with Minnie Driver. (I had a Minnie Driver overdose that day. Just a day before I’d seen this Christian Slater / Morgan Freeman / Minnie Driver starrer titled Hard Rain. It’s a godawful terrible movie. A blot in the name of ‘thrillers’. Minnie Driver reminds me of Jennifer Aniston. I hate Jennifer Aniston. Ergo, I hate Minnie Driver.) Matt Damon acts admirably as a guy dealing with issues who doesn’t want to get emotionally close to anyone. Minnie Driver just grunts and squeals like a pig.
Also in the fray is Robin Williams as a psychiatrist. Skarsgard takes Damon to Robin Williams to help Will sort out his psychological issues. These exchanges between Damon and Williams are the high point of the movie. Both deliver strong performances, and it’s refreshing to see Robin Williams do a non-comedy role so admirably well.
In the end, Good Will Hunting is this completely unoriginal yet intensely likable movie – purely for the acting. Matt Damon shines through showing the breadth of characters that he can take on. I suggest you also watch The Talented Mr Ripley and The Departed for more stellar performances by Matt Damon. (I give that movie an A+ ‘Oscar-worthy) on my ratings.)