Tuesday, February 4, 2014
834. My Own Private Idaho (1991)
Running Time: 104 minutes
Directed By: Gus Van Sant
Written By: Gus Van Sant
Main Cast: River Phoenix, Keanu Reeves, William Richert, James Russo, Rodney Harvey
Click here to view the trailer
TRYING TO FIT IN
Note: So I was going through the remaining 210 films the other night (with the help of my wife), making sure that I had access to all of them and I realized that I'm still missing "Man of Iron". If anyone reading this can tell me where I can get my hands on this film, I'd be very appreciative. It's the only thing that I don't have access to and could REALLY use a helping hand. Thanks.
This was, I think, the third time I've seen "My Own Private Idaho" and every time I watch it, I'm sure that this will be the time I fall in love with it. However, every time I watch it, I'm left wanting something more and have been disappointed every time. More on that later.
Mike (Phoenix) is a street hustler, selling his body for 10s & 20s and suffering from a pretty rabid case of narcolepsy at the same time. The film begins by introducing us to Mike and his fellow hustlers and establishing that Mike was abandoned by his parents at a young age. The film begins in Seattle, with Mike meeting with a few clients (Mike takes on mainly gay clients, but isn't above entertaining the occasional woman). After this, Mike returns to Portland with hustler friend Scott (Reeves), where the two continue their street life. They meet up with an old friend, a father figure to them named Bob (Richert) and together with a group of other street hustlers, the boys plan a robbery. Following this, Scott and Mike travel together to meet with Mike's older brother, in search of Mike's mother, whom he hopes to find and reconcile with. Along the way, Mike professes his love for Scott, but is rejected. It's also worth noting that Scott is set to inherit a fortune from his wealthy father, but chooses the hustler life, mainly to spite the father that he never saw eye to eye with. Their journey leads them to Idaho and then to Italy, as the two try desperately to locate Mike's mother.
What's the point? There really isn't one is there? You've got several different stories, none of which are given enough time to really flourish and in my opinion, the film never really takes off. This was Van Sant's follow-up to his 1989 masterpiece "Drugstore Cowboy", another film that tried a few different stories, centered around the same characters and one that was hugely successful with yours truly. However, this one just didn't have the same success with me and I was left scratching my head & asking the question: "What's the point?" On one hand, you could say that the movie is about Mike's journey to find his mother, with Scott as his tag along, however, that particular storyline doesn't really get going until about halfway into the film and really doesn't define the picture. Other sources say it's simply a take on a few Shakespearean tales, however, that's not really what it's about, is it? THE BOOK notes that it's simply a poetic version of filmmaking, with pictures & images that are just as important as the words. Yeah, that doesn't quite work for me. I'm a man who needs a good, solid story to attach myself to, or I just can't get into it.
It's not that it was all bad. It's hard to ignore Van Sant's style and the movie just feels and even looks like something that should be brilliant. However, under closer observation, it just isn't. Most will point to fantastic acting from a before his time River Phoenix and a never better Keanu Reeves, but I have to disagree. I wasn't crazy about Phoenix and more often than not I thought Reeves was overacting and I never once bought him as a serious actor. The boys were decent at best, but certainly nothing worth writing home about, in this reviewers eyes. I hope that by committing my thoughts to this blog, I'll now remember that I just don't care too much for "My Own Private Idaho". It's one of those films that, prior to this, I'd always tend to forget why I didn't like it and need to rewatch it to find out. The final verdict points to a movie without a definitive plot and something that just isn't as special as others make it out to be.
RATING: 5.5/10 I was gonna go '6', but I think even that might be too high. It's worth noting that this was yet another one from the Netflix wait list, that happened to become available.
MOVIES WATCHED: 792
MOVIES LEFT TO WATCH: 209
February 4, 2014 12:22pm
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