Category Archives: Top 5.

4 of 366: Good Will Hunting


Boston Magazine

Good Will Hunting (1998, USA, Gus Van Zant, Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Ben Affleck) is most certainly a film that has shaped my love of cinema. I don’t know if it’s because of the time in my life when I saw it or because it’s a cinematic “boy genius from Southie” or a combination of the two, but Good Will Hunting is worth watching again, and then again.

I took those notes as I was watching the film tonight only to realize I documented similar thoughts about it in 2013 for a post about five films I could watch over and over again. I didn’t even watch Good Will Hunting again at that time … I just knew.

Here are my thoughts from the post three years ago … “I chose Good Will Hunting because it is one of the many titles I associate with why I love film and I am okay with watching it over and over. This choice probably sounds silly and insignificant among all the other accomplishments in film, but I’ve admired and respected Matt Damon’s career from the beginning. This is my list and I am sticking to it. Now, when I actually have the time, I am going to watch Good Will Hunting again.”

I can’t say I am going to have the time to watch 366 films this year, but I am making the time.

As I watched Good Will Hunting tonightI found myself taking notes on the dialogue between the characters, especially Will and his therapist Sean (Robin Williams) and girlfriend Skylar (Minnie Driver.)

These characters, not to mention his best friend Chuckie (Affleck) break Will down just enough for him to learn what he really wants.

The screenplay by Damon and Affleck has so many good lines and, more importantly, insight into human nature that make it groundbreaking in the world of cinema.

It’s going on 18 years since the film was released in January 1998, and I am glad I watched it during the start of my 365 movies project.

Good Will Hunting is an inspirational story to study as a film and as how Damon and Affleck made it and received critical acclaim that shaped their careers.

“You do what’s in your heart son, [and] you’ll be fine.”

No surprises here … 4 out of 4 stars.

“Motivation is thought of as this magical, glorious, divine energy that takes you over when you need it most, but I have found that that’s mostly bullshit. The process of change isn’t always about having some deep insights into yourself and then deciding to alter your behavior as a result; sometimes it’s about making the changes whether or not your’re “feeling them”–and then letting your insights catch up.”

Emily V. Gordon

Up Next (still as of now): Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (I am waiting for the DVD to arrive) Macbeth, City Lights, Edward Scissorhands, Roman Holiday


Top 5 Movies

Hey hey.

My friend and I had a discussion last night about how Netflix should suggest movies based on mood, not genre, the cast or critical acclaim. For example, if you’re in the mood to watch something that will make you feel like texting your ex wasn’t a horrible idea, then watch “Gremlins.” Or if you’re in the mood to be motivated to get a new job, watch Friz Freleng’s “Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie.”

Okay, maybe that’s not as easy as it seems because I quickly resorted to looking at my shelf of DVDs (and one VHS) to come up with ideas that most likely would not fit either of those scenarios.

But Netflix certainly has the resources, or at least an intern, to complete psychological studies in order to rework its movie suggestions to match the mood and emotions of customers.

In the meantime, here are the Top 5 movies for all your moods, I promise (plus my favorite quote from some of them.)

5. “High Fidelity.”

fidelityDo you need something to watch because you just went through a break-up, started dating someone, signed some young hipsters onto your record label or decided to reorganize your record collection? Good news, “High Fidelity” is nestled in what should be the nostalgia category on Netflix. If you’re mood doesn’t prompt you to watch this film, don’t forget that it has the best dance scene to “Walking on Sunshine” in existence.

It’s a therapeutic film on all levels, especially when John Cusack’s character Rob has fantasies of different ways he would tell off his ex-girlfriend’s new lover, Ian (Tim Robbins.) I don’t know how many times I have wanted to tell customers to “Get their patchouli stink outta my store!”) while serving up their popcorn orders and endless amounts of Diet Coke.

Customer: “Do you have a soul?”

Rob: “That all depends.”

4. “Jurassic World.”

jurassicworldMaybe everyone has seen”Jurassic World” at this point, but if you are trying to decide between blockbusters with a hunky leading man (or men) try this before “Magic Mike XXL.” Besides, I heard (through my dream nerd/hunk Chris Hardwick on @midnight) that Channing Tatum doesn’t take his shirt off until an hour into the film.

“Jurassic World” also has a bit of nostalgia in its references to “Jurassic Park,” including the score to the film. I don’t know about you but my high school band played the theme from “Jurassic Park” at our concerts so I was especially hoping that would be a part of the film.

I imagine director Colin Trevorrow must have a special place for “Jurassic Park” in his heart and decided to pay homage to it in his second feature-length film (also see “Safety Not Guaranteed.”) It’s pretty impressive what he was able to do for the dinosaur franchise while, I think, opening up the possibilities for it to continue.

Of course Chris Pratt would make an appearance in the sequel but I am also hoping for leading roles by two of the supporting characters Lauren Lapkus (Vivian) and Jake Johnson (Lowery).

Vivian and Lowery show up enough as workers in the control room of the dinosaur theme-park but their final scene alone is worthy of its own spin-off.

They certainly will (or should) be the stars of “Jurassic World in Space” or whatever the next installment of the franchise is.  In summation, “Jurassic World” has the perfect mix of camp and dinosaurs on land and water and Chris Pratt ultimately saving the day.

Lowery: “Someone has to stay behind.” (Leans in for a kiss)

Vivian: “Uh, I have a boyfriend.”

3. “The One I love.”

the one Keeping with the science fiction and romance theme (minus the dinosaurs) try “The One I Love” on Netflix. It certainly will make you think about relationships and provides and interesting look into people’s desires and curiosity and how they would act on those emotions if given the opportunity and when they think no one is watching. Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass play a couple trying to fix their marriage and, following the advice of their therapist, spend a weekend at a cabin away from the city.

What Ethan and Sophie don’t know is they are not alone at the cabin and the guests they encounter are there to help them dissect their relationship, what’s wrong and what’s right and figure out what can help solve their problems.

“The One I Love” is designed to make you think and the ending, despite being ambiguous as far as what really happens, is still somehow a satisfying resolution to Ethan and Sophie’s journey.

2. “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”

earlIf you didn’t guess by the title, this film isn’t a laugh-a-minute but it is an effective and realistic exploration of friendship and loss and family and how young people cope with all the pains of growing up. It’s also set against the backdrop of a close-knit Pittsburgh neighborhood and high school with use of creative cinematography and animation to tell the story.

Greg Gaines (Thomas Mann) is the main character who is forced by his mom to start spending time with his friend from kindergarten (who he hasn’t really talked to since then) after she is diagnosed with cancer. It’s heavy, I know, but the story has a slow burn to what you ultimately fear will happen and builds its characters well to create an understanding of what they are going through, even though it is heartbreaking.

“Usually it’s when your guard is down that you find yourself saying the most dick sentences of your life.”

1. “The Wolfpack”

wolfpackIt’s hard at this point to decide which of these films is my favorite but “The Wolfpack” is definitely the most intriguing and unique story that would honestly make for a good television show or miniseries to allow more of it to be told.

The documentary focuses on the Angulo brothers, who were raised in an apartment in Manhattan and never were allowed to leave while growing up. As some of the brothers got older their curiosity to explore the outside world  grew enough to sometimes challenge their bond to stay together and especially their relationship with their father.

At the same time they learned about life and a perceived version of the world through movies and often reenacted them with costumes and props and their own scripts. By the end, one of the older brothers makes his own film that reflects his experience and emotion from being trapped inside and not knowing society for most of his life.

It’s heartbreaking on a whole other level than “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” but also leaves a sense that the brothers will accomplish their dreams and find a way out in their own way while always sticking together.

“That’s probably the best damn apple I’ve ever tasted in my life.”

Ok, there you go, enjoy the show. Honestly I don’t know if I did these films justice, but I’ve worked on this post on and off over the past week and it’s time to move on.

Speaking of  Enjoy the Show,  here is a short film starring my Edina Cinema coworker “A Million” Mohn and manager Jed Schlegelmilch. It’s pretty fantastic.

That is all.