BY LAURA JANE & ERIN (ILLUSTRATION BY JEN)
My friend Erin and I like getting stoned and watching movies together. We're really good at it.
We recently decided that it's probably for the best if we start using this incredibly refined "skill" of ours to benefit the greater good, and so was born Stoned Movie Reviews.
We kicked off our cool new column by getting stoned and recording ourselves watching Good Will Hunting on a really great app called iTalk (highly recommended, if you ever need to record yourself), because IT'S NOT OUR FAULT that getting stoned and watching Good Will Hunting is a WICKED-awesome thing to do!!!!! ahahahahahahaha ;) ;) ;) #howdoyoulikethemapples
(ABOVE: Erin & me JUST KIDDING ew that's not us)
1. GOOD WILL HUNTING IS A STUPID TITLE
“What are the chances that his name would be Will Hunting?” I asked, which doesn’t make any sense.
“Is Will Hunting that good of a guy?” we wondered. If so, we certainly didn’t pick up on it- Will Hunting’s kind of an asshole, in our opinion.
“Are all the characters in Good Will Hunting supposed to be ‘hunting’ for ‘good will’?” we asked ourselves. “It doesn’t seem like it,” we decided, “Though kind of.”
All in all, we concluded: “It’s a weird pun. It doesn’t relate to the, like, themes of the… movie.”
2. THE OPENING CREDITS ARE "BORING," REALLY BAD," AND "HEARTWARMING"
The opening credits felt like they lasted about an hour. We kept asking the television to “cut to the chase.”
“It seems like movie credits are less like this now,” I posited.
We got into a convo about how weird it is that movies have to begin by telling the audience all this boring information they don’t care about, ex. the name of the Director of Photography or the Casting Agent. When you go to a concert, or, like, a “sports match” (that’s what Erin called it), they don’t make you sit through “And the sound engineer is…” “The waterboy’s name is…”
“It’s out of respect!” I said, like fifty fucking times. I remember feeling very connected to such respect. I wanted writers to be as respectful to their colleagues as filmmakers. I felt like writers were fucked-up people, maybe, for not beginning all of our books by shouting out the guy who laid out the pages on InDesign.
3. WE HATE GROSS LAMBEAU
(ABOVE: Ew, look how gross and smug he is. Don't you just want to hit him in his smug fucking face?)
Gerald “Gerry” Lambeau is the snooty annoying math professor who “discovers” Will Hunting. He is played by an actor whose last name is too hard for me to figure out how to type. Lambeau is a narcissistic dick who you can tell subscribes to Food and Wine magazine and self-identifies as a “cool prof”; it’s gross. Everything about him is gross. And he is styled heavy-handedly. He is never not wearing a scarf.
“Too much,” we scoff, “Sometimes, like, in real life, he wouldn’t be wearing a scarf.”
"He's such a pedant," says Erin, "I, like, never use that word- but that's what this man is!"
Our dislike of Lambeau builds upon itself as the movie progresses. “He’s obsessed with involving himself in Will Hunting’s life,” is a major criticism. Lambeau, we feel, needs to "chill out," and he definitely needs to stop trying to sit in on all of Will’s therapy appointments. That’s not normal behavior. It’s insane to believe that Robin Williams (“Sean”) is the first of five therapists Lambeau's taken Will to see who tells him that he’d like to conduct his session in private. Why are all the other therapists totally okay with having some sketchy math professor sketchily ogle them as they do their job? We spend a great deal of the movie making the spectacular point, “It’s unrealistic,” which we attribute largely to real-life Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s being “rich kids.” We get caught up in imagining Matt Damon and Ben Affleck as heart-shatteringly good-looking unknowns sitting in their probably-not-that-crappy-because-they're-rich Hollywood or maybe Boston apartment writing this dialogue and congratulating themselves. It makes us sad/creeps us out. At one point, Will makes a Chomsky reference:
LJ: Ew! I didn't realize Chomsky was in it. That's so lame.
E: That is lame.
LJ: They're like, "Ooh, we're so into Chomsky, and we're writing this movie... our movie's so poignant." Ew. I can't deal with it.
There's a gross scene where gross Lambeau asks gross Sean/Robin Williams "Why didn't you come to the reunion?" We repeat the sentence "Why didn't you come to the reunion?" in a Lambeau-voice over and over again.
LJ: This guy! This professor! He's a dweller.
E: Imagine having friends that are, like, mad that you didn't come to the reunion? Like, if he cared that Robin Williams wasn't at the reunion that much, why didn't he just fucking call him?
Erin is a speech therapist, and reacted to this scene by saying:
“I like how all the shrinks know each other. The, like, Boston shrink community. Imagine if this is us one day? I'll be like, "How many speech therapists did you go to before me?" - Laura Jane, if you do that to me one day, I will fucking kill you. You come to me last with, like, some exceptional kid, like, one of your children is, like, a very exceptional case. And you’re like "Nobody can fix him…Hey! Wait! I know! Erin!" And I’m like, "You went to someone else first? Five of them?!? You ASSHOLE!”"
4. "WHO DO YOU LIKE BETTER, MATT OR BEN?"
E: Ben. I like Ben... and Matt.
LJ: I like Ben too, but I know in my heart that I'm Matt.
E: That's, like, exactly right. Only with Ben, for me.
5. THOUGHTS ON ELLIOT SMITH'S ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
LJ: Oh, I forgot that Elliot Smith did, like, an original score for this. That's fucked up.
E: It is fucked up.
LJ: I can't even think about it.
E: It's too much.
6. CLUB SODA INTERLUDE
7. WE EACH BEAR SEVERAL "WILL HUNTING COMPLEXES"
Sometimes, we hate Will. We make a lot of comments like, “You pushed it too far, Will,” “He doesn’t have anything nice to say about anything or anyone,” "He's a contrarian."
“Will, don’t be such a sassy idiot,” I tell Will.
We hate the part when Will first meets Minnie Driver at the Hahvahd bah and outsmarts a gross intellectual baby-Lambeau blond dude in the most irritating battle of wits of all time:
Post annoying-battle of wits, Minnie Driver approaches Will and asks him out for coffee. Will says, “Great, or maybe we could go somewhere and just eat a bunch of caramels.” Minnie Driver asks, “What?” and Will says, “When you think about it, it’s just as arbitary as drinking coffee.”
ERIN: This I'd be like, "You're an asshole."
LJ: That would not work in real life.
E: Really dumb line.
LJ: You'd fucking hate that guy!
E: "You blew it."
LJ: "I liked you, but..."
E: "You blew it." You blew it is a fun thing to say.
LJ: That's true. "You blew it. You blew it, Will."
We are also resentful of Will's begrudging attitude toward receiving FREE THERAPY.
LJ: He's ungrateful. Are you fucking kidding me? Will's life is, like, my dream. Like, some famous writer... like, fucking, I don't know, Jonathan Lethem takes me in and is like "I'll teach you everything, and make your career happen in a really awesome way, under one condition: you go to therapy. Which, by the way, I'll pay for. Out of my own pocket." I'd be like, "And you'll pay for my therapy??? That makes it even better!"
E: The therapy's the icing on the fucking cake! Sign me up immediately!
But we also love Will, and kind of want to be Will. At one point, we even think we are Will, but then, sadly, we realize we are not:
LJ: It's cute how all the friends are so supportive of Will.
ERIN: He’s their champion. They hold him up! Because of how he’s different. They know he’s different.
LJ: Yeah! They all do! They’re painfully aware of it.
E: Basically, like, his role is, like, what I imagine mine to be in my linguistics department? Like, the really smart person that has, like, an outside life? That’s how I imagine people think of me. The Will Hunting of the Linguistics department at U of T. Oh my God. I kind of do!
LJ: I feel the exact same way. I feel like I’m the Will Hunting of… every situation I've ever been in!
E: Maybe that’s the story, that’s the lesson: that everyone thinks they’re Will.
LJ: But only Will is Will?
E: We all know that nobody is Will.
LJ: He’s not a realistic character.
E: He’s not, like, an archetype, really. But, like, we think he is and that we’re it.
LJ: But do you really think you’re Will Hunting?
E: I see parallels! What? Come on! Everybody thinks they do!
LJ: I mean…
E: They don’t. They don’t.
LJ: I do! But I don’t think everyone does.
E: But maybe it’s a type of person! We’re getting at something about ourselves.
LJ: That there are Will Huntings, in the world?
E: People that think they’re Will Hunting!
LJ: No! I want us to at least be actual Will Huntings.
E: We're people who identify as Will Huntings.
LJ: Do you think there’s no such thing as an actual Will Hunting?
E: There are!
LJ: But we’re not them!
E: We aren’t them, but…
LJ: We think we are!
E: So that’s, like, that’s a strata, in itself… stratum. Stratum.
LJ: Yeah. People who think they’re like Will Hunting-
E: But aren’t. But they’re close! In some way! Like, enough that they can see parallels, where a lot of people just couldn’t.
E: People who think they’re different, or…
LJ: Smarter. Markedly smarter.
LJ: Different. A cut above.
E: But they get along with everyone!
LJ: Everyone’s just drawn to them.
E: ‘Cause you’re like, really grounded.
LJ: You’re so chill about your genius! That's what everyone's always saying about me, behind my back: "Laura Jane's so chill about her genius."
E: We might be the only two people who identify as Will Huntings! And we found each other!
Next, we realize that we're both obsessed with trying to date Will Hunting:
LJ: Erin and I were just outside on the patio. She has an awning up in her backyard now and we were having a little joke about if a really hot dude came and slept underneath it, like, instead of a homeless person.
E: (from the other room) WHAT?
LJ: I’m talking to the voice recorder!
E: Yeah! Okay, good.
LJ: And… then we were like, we’d probably think it was cool. I was like, “Oh, that guy’d be so punk rock,” and Erin would be like “That’s so romantic!” And then Erin was like, “We would think it was Will Hunting! A Will Hunting,” and then we realized that we want every man to be Will Hunting.
E: We think every man is. Has the potential to be.
LJ: We see so much Will Hunting-esque potential in every dude we date. And we really believe, we let ourselves believe…
E: But really they’re just the fucking Ben Afflecks!
LJ: Ew! Or the guy from the bar scene, the guy with the blonde hair, the intellectual… ew! I just date that guy! I date that guy!
E: No! I don’t think about that guy at all, but maybe I should?
LJ: You shouldn’t!
E: I definitely go dirtier. I definitely go to the dumber one of them all who doesn’t have any potential.
LJ: The one who’s not Casey Affleck. Or Ben Affleck. Or Matt Damon.
E: Exactly! He’s just a scrapper. Just… shitty. You know? I still, I even say it, and I think that guy’s kinda cool:
8. OUR FAVORITE BEN AFFLECK MOMENT:
LJ: Chuckie really got into this lil' pantomime.
E: He really, really loved doing that. I feel like he was like, “I want to do this for you, Will. I’m gonna ham it up, though! I’m just gonna warn you- is it okay if I, like, take it way over the top?” And then Will’s like, “What? Fuck, sure. I don’t care. Do what you want. I don’t even want to work for these people, so do whatever the fuck you want.” And then Chuckie just goes for it. He, like, makes Casey Affleck go shopping with him, or, like, go rent a suit with him: “Yeah, drive me, bro! Drive me down there!” “I gotta do my hair pomade, is it good in the back?” Everything a decision!
9. "IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT"
The "It's not your fault" scene worked on us. We had no mean words to say about it, no smart-alecky observations.
It was poignant. I cried.
10. THE END
The scene where Chuckie shows up at Will's door and discovers that Will has gone to see about a girl is cool because Ben Affleck wears his white track pants in it. We love when Ben Affleck wears his white track pants.
"It's like that Bruce Springsteen song!" said Erin- she meant Bobby Jean.
Bobby Jean is a song about Bruce Springsteen showing up at his best friend Bobby Jean's front door one solemn afternoon and finding out that Bobby Jean has disappeared. "There's nothing you could have done," Bobby Jean's mother tells Bruce. It's strange.
Erin and I had an in-joke about Bobby Jean last summer, a lot of which revolved around the lyric "We liked the same clothes," which is a weird point for Bruce Springsteen to make since his whole fashion deal comes across as being all "Oh, I'm just a good ol red-blooded American male who don't give no shit about clothes; I just happen to put on a white t-shirt and jeans every morning," but no, proves Bobby Jean- this is not the case. It's all very constructed, and Bobby Jean's in on it too. (It's also funny how Bruce sings "We liked the same music/ We liked the same bands"; essentially, he is making the same point twice).
But the part about Bobby Jean that confuses us most is how after Bobby Jean's mom tells Bruce that Bobby Jean is gone forever, Bruce just accepts it. He makes no effort to call or find Bobby Jean, but if nobody knows where Bobby Jean went, shouldn't somebody call the police or something? "Maybe you'll be out there on that road somewhere... [and] in some motel room there'll be a radio playing, and you'll hear me sing this song- well, if you do, you'll know I'm thinking of you," sings Bruce- like, really?!? Is that honestly the best you can do? "Oh, I guess I'll write him a song... it's kind of a long-shot, but hey! Maybe I'll get really famous and it'll be a hit; that might motivate Bobby Jean to get back in touch with me."
Chuckie dealt with Will Hunting's abrupt departure in a similarly irrational manner: he smiled knowingly. He was happy. Why are Bruce Springsteen and Ben Affleck so sociopathically calm about their best friends disappearing off the face of the planet? If that happened to us, we'd be flipping the fuck out! If I went over to Erin's one day and there was absolutely no sign of her, I wouldn't automatically think "Oh, good for her! I'm just going to assume that she must have made a really great life decision! I'm so excited for Erin to embark upon this exciting new chapter of her life!"
I would think, "Oh my God. Is Erin fucking dead?"
"It's like Bruce Springsteen song!" said Erin, and I said, "Matt and Ben would love that. That's, like, the ultimate compliment that anyone could ever give them," and I agree with myself. Good Will Hunting is the Born In The USA of cinema, and I mean that as a compliment in the highest regard-
At the end of the day, you can't fuckin' beat well-executed middlebrow; HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES, LARS VON TRIER?!?! ;) ;) ;) #420