Monday, March 27, 2006

Good Will Hunting

After our previous discussion of Chicago movies, my wife and I decided to have a look at some Boston movies before attending the Public Library Association's conference last week. With a bit of research, we determined that Boston hasn't fared as well as Chicago in being the subject setting of as many films, but one of the titles rose to the top.

I can't believe that I'd never seen Good Will Hunting: A rebellious 20-something MIT janitor from South Boston fights to overcome a troubling past, an uncertain present and an inability to commit to just about anything but bars and brawls, flexes his mental muscles, proves he's an unparalleled math genius and decides to take a chance on love. Sure there are many films that pit a struggling young man against the obstacles that only he must overcome: learning to love, learning to make decisions for oneself, learning to learn how to learn. A number of these movies happen to be some of my favorites (I'm a sucker for rites of passage represented in literature and film): Say Anything, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Almost Famous, and Dead Poets Society. But Gus Van Sant takes Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's astutely sensitive (albeit slightly derivative), Academy Award winning script and spins a magical yarn with amazing visual charm and top notch acting to boot. Outstanding performances by Damon, Stellan Skarsgard and Robin Williams (who won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor) propel this film to the next level.

4 out of 5 stars


At 12:43 PM, Blogger Jeannette said...

I haven't seen Good Will Hunting in a long time, but I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. I hope Matt Damon either starts picking better films or writes his own, so he can better use his excellent acting skills.

This post got me curious about other Boston films; so I did an online search and found some films that either had an impact on me or that I truly enjoyed.

The comedies that I enjoyed that were either based or shot in Boston are 1987's The Witches of Eastwick (starring Cher, Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeiffer and Jack Nicholson) and Starting Over from 1979 (featuring Burt Reynolds, Jill Clayburgh, and Candice Bergen). I recently saw this film again and still found it very funny.

The dramas from Boston that affected me are:
Whose Life is it Anyway where paralyzed artist (Richard Dreyfus) argues for the right to die.

Glory which features Matthew Broderick and Denzel Washington in a Civil War story about the first black volunteer company.

The Paper Chase about the first year for law students at Harvard. (The ending of this one really got to me!)

Mystic River, Clint Eastwood's film starring Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon. All the perfomances in this film were excellent and gut-wrenchingly believable.


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