As Good as It Gets (1997)

Director: James L Brooks

Writer: Mark Andrus, James L Brooks (Screenplay)

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, Greg Kinnear, Cuba Gooding Jr, Skeet Ulrich,, Shirley Knight, Yeardley Smith

 

Plot: A single mother and waitress, a misanthropic author, and a gay artist form an unlikely friendship after the artist is assaulted in a robbery.


Tagline – Brace yourself for Melvin.

Runtime: 2 Hours 19 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderfully Charming Drama

 

Story: As Good as It Gets starts as we meet arrogant obsessive disordered ridden author Melvin Udall (Nicholson) who hates his gay neighbour artist Simon (Kinnear) and his dog Verdell, he goes to the same diner needing to keep the same seat with the same waitress Carol Connelly (Hunt) who has her own problems with money and her sick son.

After Simon gets brutally attacked by burglars Melvin is forced into looking after Verdell which opens up his life to being nice to other people including Simon and Carol.

 

Thoughts on As Good as It Gets

 

Characters – Melvin Udall is an author that has a perfect routine to keep him happy, he OCD is clear with how he enters rooms, lock doors, he doesn’t get on with his neighbours and drives the people in his life crazy. Once he is forced to look after his neighbour’s dog he starts being nice to those important in his life, learning that there is more to life. Carol Connelly is a waitress in a Manhattan diner she has waited on Melvin for years even with his difficult behaviour, she has a sick son at home that she has never been able to get proper medical care for him, leaving her constantly worrying about him instead of focusing on her own life. Simon Bishop is the gay artist neighbour that clashes with Melvin on a daily basis, he gets brutally attacked in his own apartment leading to him facing financial ruin and needs to try and make up with his parents.

PerformancesJack Nicholson won an Oscar for his performance here and clearly show why he is such a talented actor, he takes on a performance unlike most of his normal performance we know him for. Helen Hunt shines and with her Oscar winning performance that showed her at the very top of her game. Greg Kinnear is also fantastic in the supporting role, he might have missed out on the Oscar he shows us just the talent he has.

StoryThe story here shows us how three people from different lives can meet and help each other with their problems. We mostly focus on Melvin and how he hates everybody not in his normal routine, we get to see the arc for him to become more open while still dealing and learning to overcome his own problems. We get a woman that has never been give help offered a lifeline which could help save her son and a staving artist learn about the risks he must take to become the artist the world will remember. This is a story that shows you can change people’s life by just listening to their stories, it has charm about how things unfold and just leaves you with a smile on your face by the end.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in this film works with you getting plenty of laughs through the film and it does give us a good romantic angle about needing to learn to take a chance with love.

SettingsNew York city, well how often do I say this is a wonderful setting for anything to do with inter-connecting lives, this delights with seeing people in different backgrounds coming together.


Scene of the Movie –
The dog walk.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not taking the dog on the trip for extra laughs.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful movie that can be enjoyed by everyone, it has brilliant performances from the three leads and hits the comedy romance throughout.

 

Overall: Brilliant film.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – # – 8 Mile (2002)

Director: Curtis Hanson

Writer: Scott Silver (Screenplay)

Starring: Eminem, Kim Basinger, Mekhi Phifer, Brittany Murphy, Evan Jones, Omar Benson Miller, Michael Shannon

 

Plot: A young rapper, struggling with every aspect of his life, wants to make it big but his friends and foes make this odyssey of rap harder than it may seem.


Tagline –  If the streets had a voice, this would be the story they’d tell.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Rap Based Drama

 

Story: 8 Mile starts as we head to Detroit to follow Jimmy B-Rabbit Smith (Eminem) as along with his friends David ‘Future’ Porter (Phifer) Cheddar Bob (Jones), Sol George (Miller) are trying to make an impact in the raping world, this world is dominated by the black community though he does have the skills.

The world is filled with gangs that are out for control, Jimmy must deal with his mother Stephanie (Basinger) and her problems as well as meeting a new love in Alex (Murphy), we follow as he is desperate to get out of the town which has held back man before.

 

Thoughts on 8 Mile

 

Characters – Jimmy B-Rabbit Smith is a young man who aspires to be a rapper, he is from the wrong side of town in Detroit, where he is given a chance to prove himself in the underground rap battle world, where any wrong move could be his last move with the gangs around him. He has the close friends that will watch his back, while working a dead-end job for any money he can get. Stephanie Smith is the mother of Rabbit, she is dating an aggressive man around he sons age and struggling to pay the rent to keep the roof over her daughter’s head. She does try to do the best things but has her own personal demons holding her back. David is the closest friend to Jimmy, he offers him the chance he wants to reach the next level but also needs to be the one to stop him making the mistakes in his life. Alex is the new romance in Jimmy’s life, she dreams of leaving too, to become a model which helps the to connect on a level unlike what Jimmy is used to.

PerformancesEminem is strong in this leading role, there are a few moments where he does look lost, one second too long for fight sequences, but the emotional levels he shows good. Kim Basinger is good in her role which shows that we have the most experience from her. Mekhi Phifer continued his rise in the early 2000s with this performance where he shows his ability to blend into any film. the whole cast performers well through the film with talent that went onto bigger things.  

StoryThe story shows the struggles of a young man trying to break into the world of rapping in the mean streets of Detroit, he is from the wrong side of the town and the gangs are always dangerous. Seeing the struggles for everyday life is very interesting to see unfold, however I was expecting something different with more rap battles. If you are a fan of the underground rap scene this will be a story that you want to watch.

MusicThe music in the film starts with a battle rap and I was expecting more as the song Lose yourself did win Best Oscar Song.

SettingsThe film shows us just how difficult growing up in Detroit can be, we feel the tension and feeling of abandonment the city is feeling.


Scene of the Movie –
Battle rap.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not enough rapping.

Final ThoughtsThis is a look at the mean streets of Detroit in the battle rap world where every corner could be dangerous.

 

Overall: The rap world unfolded.

Rating