May 1, 2012

As good as it gets, 1997

As good as it gets, 1997
Director: James L. Brooks
Cast: Helen Hunt, Jack Nicholson

Stage: Home theatre, a lovely Tuesday night

As good as it gets in short: New York City. Melvin Udall, a cranky, bigoted, obsessive-compulsive writer, finds his life turned upside down when neighboring gay artist Simon is hospitalized and his dog is entrusted to Melvin. In addition, Carol, the only waitress who will tolerate him, must leave work to care for her sick son, making it impossible for Melvin to eat breakfast.

Preps: I have seen the piece. One of the most spectacular shows Nicholson has ever done. And I am in the mood for this.

Reality: Is this as good as it gets? Are we supposed to enjoy what we are living through in present tense? Melvin is irony itself. He handles all the people in his life in a pure black sarcastic way. As well as everything revolving around him. Melvin is a weirdo. You need to see it to know what I am talking about. Jack Nicholson made one of his lifetime performances in this piece. I cannot imagine this part being done by anyone else in the movie world. It's so unique it fits Nicholson's skin perfectly.
All the situations are well chosen. Scenario carefully written. The words selected with precise sense of touchy themes and way to address them. I am deeply impressed with the word game Melvin is playing all the time. Open honesty, hidden in ironic debates, ironic quotes, ironic sayings. It throws me off my feet to see something like this. On the other hand, Helen Hunt is the waitress that is quite the opposite of the snob Melvin is playing. Carol's role is to get his head out of clouds and bring him to reality. A true situation with her son and what some money can do, brings the dark perspective of health insurance program in US. Once again I am thankful to be living in Europe.

The gay neighbour is even more grateful to my burning ironic cells. The way Melvin interacts with him is simply hard to handle and to understand, yet, it reflects all the tragic prejudice our society pours on gay people. Without any sense. In this sense, Melvin is the voice of the nation and in the process, he grows fond for his neighbour Simon, more or less through his dog and affection, he suddenly grows towards Simon's pet.

The piece is simply irresistible. You need to love it, and you need to embrace it. I take it as one of the peaks of Nicholson's cast and even deepens my admiration for him. All the things you shouldn't say, are said in the piece. All the things you shouldn't do, are done. And a progress of one single human is shown in the most remarkable way. I want the romance to last, when I finally see it pulled through. Adore the energy and love that Hunt brings out of Nicholson.

Some of the great quotes from the movie, first two done by Melvin to Carol, the third one needed to be a dialogue to make sense. I adore the selection of the words Melvin uses.

You make me want to be a better person.

I am the only person in the world that knows how amazing you are in everything that you do.

Carol Connelly: Is it a secret what you're doing here?
Melvin Udall: I had to see you.
Carol Connelly: Because?
Melvin Udall: It relaxes me. I'd feel better sitting ouside your apartment on the curb than any other place I can think of or imagine.

My personal rating: 9,0 (an amazing movie. Will rock your stones all the way. Plus, it will adjust your view or perspective of someone that despises gay people. Refreshing, new, never aging. Superb. A must see).

As good as it gets on IMDB

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