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Raanan vs the CLASSICS (pt. 2 of 6) – GOOD WILL HUNTING

GOOD WILL HUNTING is the second of the 6 so-called classics my irascible cousin simply cannot stand.

As stated before, we tend to feature mostly positive reviews here at Isle of Cinema. But all that seems on the verge of changing, thanks to Raanan, our resident curmudgeon:

Overrated Movie #5- Good Will Hunting

“So what if Will Hunting was viciously beaten as a child- even to the point of cigarettes being burned into his chest- he was blessed with the most enviable combo: dashing good looks and a brain to rival Einstein’s. To be born good-looking and brilliant are the two best cards you can ever be dealt, which is why most people are usually dealt one without the other. As for me, I’d gladly have Will’s movie star looks and effortless genius than be some ordinary-looking schmuck of average intelligence whose parents are decent enough to use an ashtray when its time to put out their cigarettes. Because the sad truth is most people don’t want to see a movie about a so-so-looking person who isn’t very good at anything, because, well, that’s most people. Gus Van Sant’s Good Will Hunting (1997) is uplifting precisely because it’s not relate-able – it allows us to indulge in the very comforting fantasy that we too are not living up to our genius potential because of unresolved emotional issues (and that in the right light, we look like Matt Damon). Real inspiration in movies comes from real hardships, and Damon’s genius is so innate and effortless, all the obstacles he faces in the movie seem easily solvable: Just grab a couple hugs from Robin Williams, have one good cry about your abusive step dad, then walk into NASA, show them you’re IQ score, and take over the desk of whoever’s getting paid the highest salary there. But what about the rest of us? Even if we’re lucky enough to find a psychiatrist as warm as Robin Williams to help us untangle all the paralyzing emotions that keep us from moving on in life, we still have to find out what – if anything – we’re good at, and work really hard at that one thing our whole life. But thankfully for the film’s protagonist life and math end up being super easy, which adds up to Good Will Hunting being about as inspirational as the story of Paris Hilton’s rise to the top.”

For the record, my personal pet peeves have always been 1) movies about super geniuses – wires will suspend my disbelief that a man can fly but no amount of special fx can convince me an A-list celebrity might be a super-genius. And 2) biographical movies – if I want to know someone’s life story, I’ll read memoirs – not watch some oscar-hungry actor impersonate them. Which is why I never watched Good Will Hunting – a biographical picture about a super genius that didn’t even have the decency to exist.

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August 9, 2010   1 Comment

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