Thursday, June 26, 2014

Matt Damon should get back to writing.

Last week I wrote about recent coming of age movies that I felt were really mediocre and disappointing to say the least. These films could have been so much better had they been written by someone with talent, compassion and insight in life.

That got me thinking about movies of this genre that managed to get it right. Movies the draw you in from the get-go. Movies that make ordinary seem extraordinary. Movies that make you feel like you're actually worth something.

Naturally one stood out from the rest. It wasn't really hard for me to start thinking about Good Will Hunting, a  film about a troubled genius with pretty incredible abilities. A movie that in my opinion is one of the best of all time.

There are a lot of reasons why Good Will Hunting is a really good movie. For example, it is wonderfully acted and directed. The performances are all great. It also has a relaxed feel, even though it's a pretty serious movie.

However, the biggest reason that the movie is so good is because of its script, written by the actors Matt Damon and Ben Affleck (mostly by Damon). It has all the elements that makes the audience care and gets them involved with the story.

For example, Damon's character Will Hunting is an underdog, which is something that you can almost never emphasize enough. He's a math genius who for some reason only works as a janitor at M.I.T university.

He is also a conflicted character with a troubled past. But even though he gets in trouble with the law, he's not an unlikable person. Everything that he does happens for a reason. As an audience member you can't help but to root for him. 

He has real problems that make the story so compelling. He's about to go jail, until a Math professor saves him - as long as he's willing to work for the professor. So the stakes are real - it's about his freedom, both physical and psychological.

The movie is about change, which makes it important that it has strong characters. Will's therapist is a great match for Will's sensibilities. Without good protagonists/antagonists, movies can rarely succeed. 

The movie is also exceptionally well structured. It manages to make its big moments feel natural and real. Like when Will breaks up with his girlfriend (token break up), This feels completely natural. It makes sense, which is really rare in today's movies.

Also the dialogue in Good Will Hunting is really wonderful. Not only is the dialogue amazing but the scenes themselves are amazing. Watch any of the numerous clips on youtube and see for yourself.

So many movies fail or are mediocre because they don't get the important ingredients right. The characters aren't interesting enough, the problems aren't real or big enough, the stakes aren't there or perhaps the writers make too many misreads.

Good Will Hunting is a great movie because it manages to get almost everything right.  Its script is one of the best ever, and watching the movie makes you wonder why Matt Damon hasn't really written that much after this wonderful film.

Here's a guy who has a real gift. It's a shame that he hasn't utilized his skills more in recent years. After all, there are too many hacks and clowns in the business anyway. Damon on the other hand, is the real deal.

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