If you’ve been following this site long enough, you know I watch a lot of movies. Every week, I watch at least one classic movie and one current movie. I keep a spreadsheet that I update weekly with my favorite movies of the year. Recently, I noticed something. Minus Batman vs Superman (which I hated), and A Quiet Place (which was just ok), my reviews are overwhelmingly positive. It’s a result of me only make time for movies I’m really anticipating. Although I have Movie Pass, I still don’t go to movies and take a chance. I’ve decided to set two goals for the remainder of the year: 1) Take more chances when it comes to new releases 2) Fill in the blanks of my personal library with movies I have overlooked. With all the movies I have seen there are plenty I’ve never seen. This shocking list includes popular movies such as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, A Few Good Men, and the first Random Review, Good Will Hunting.
For what it’s worth, I have very legit reasons why I’ve never seen Good Will Hunting.
- I thought it was titled Goodwill Hunting. I don’t know why this makes a difference, but it does.
- Just as Olympus Has Fallen is to White House Down and No Strings Attached is to Friends With Benefits, I thought this movie shared a similar plot as Finding Forrester. [Note: After Googling Finding Forrester, I realized they were both directed by Gus Van Sant. Aha! I knew I was right!]
- Up until high school, I thought Good Will Hunting and Dead Poets Society were the same movie. This was until my sub for my chemistry teacher rolled out the big TV on wheels and turned on Dead Poets Society. Nope, definitely not the same movie.
- I thought Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were tools back then. I still kinda, sorta believe this but at least Affleck is the best on-screen Batman we’ve ever seen. I can clear my schedule if you need to argue about this.
So, with nothing better to do with myself on a Friday evening, I decided to finally watch this movie. If you need an introduction, allow me to get you up to speed. Good Will Hunting is about an MIT janitor with a shoddy mopping technique. He’s from blue-collar South Boston, but what sets him apart from his peers is his genius level intellect.
After the Infinity Stones sends Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) back in time, he changes his name to Gerald Lambeau and becomes a world-renowned mathematician at MIT. He left a proof that was nearly impossible to solve on a chalkboard outside his classroom. Will, being the genius that he is, solved the problem. Once Lambeau discovers it was Will who solved the problem, it’s already too late. Will has taken a trip up the river for fighting, on top of his other many offenses. In an unintentional move of white privilege, Lambeau gets the judge to release Will under his supervision under the condition that they have weekly meetings and Will sees a therapist.
The first condition is easy peezy to Will; he doesn’t mind showing his intelligence. The second, not so much. Like most men from impoverished areas, going to a therapist means you need help and needing help means you’re weak. If Will sees a therapist, that means he’ll have to figure out how he feels about being an orphan or answer questions about why he’s not doing anything with his gift. Since he’s a little rough around the edges, two of Lambeau’s colleagues determine Will is beyond help. Lambeau must then turn to the one guy who could definitely help Will: Robin Williams.
Good Will Hunting is about healing old wounds, mending fractured relationships, maturation, and direction. Will and Sean (Williams) have a lot in common. Sean sees this and won’t allow Will to end up like he did. He challenges Will like no one ever has and doesn’t give up on him. Through his own vulnerability, he gets Will to open up and bare his soul.
I could continue talking about this movie or I can rewrite the ending. I think I’ll rewrite the ending. Will takes that job with the NSA. He has a knack for cracking ciphers and breaking codes. One day, he’s abducted and taken into an interrogation room with white walls. A man in a black suit walks in. He tells Will “We’ve had our eyes on you for quite awhile now. Grand theft auto. Assault. Assault again. Yet you’ve moved up the ranks as the nation’s most valuable codebreaker. You’re wasting your skills”. The man plops a manila folder onto the table. “Read this over. It’ll change your life forever. Just know, if you accept, there’s no turning back”. Will reaches for the envelope and notices the red lettering: Codename: Jason Bourne. Boom!
Ok, but really, the movie serves as a parable to young boys becoming men. It urges them to follow their wildest dreams and most importantly, go get the girl. Admittedly, the “get out the hood” subplot hasn’t aged well with me and I rolled my eyes for most of that part. Not to discredit anyone’s experiences, but their side of the tracks looks like a lot of neighborhoods I know. I still don’t think the reception to this movie would have been the same back then if you changed the hue of the characters. The climate of today really didn’t allow me to sit back and enjoy this movie like most would have but hey, at least I can admit my bias. Anyway, that’s my small nit to pick.
I found the movie mildly entertaining, mostly due to a great performance by Robin Williams, but I doubt I’ll watch it again. It’s crossed off my list.
Score: 3.5 apples out of 5