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My Own Private Idaho (1991)

7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 31,170 users   Metascore: 77/100
Reviews: 147 user | 52 critic | 18 from Metacritic.com

Two best friends living on the streets of Portland as hustlers embark on a journey of self discovery and find their relationship stumbling along the way.

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Title: My Own Private Idaho (1991)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Rodney Harvey ...
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Carmella
Michael Parker ...
Digger
Jessie Thomas ...
Denise
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Budd
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Tom Troupe ...
Jack Favor
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Sally Curtice ...
Robert Lee Pitchlynn ...
Walt
Mickey Cottrell ...
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Storyline

Surreal character study focusing on the friendship between two male hustlers, Mike and Scott, in Portland, Oregon. They live on the streets, do drugs, and sell themselves to men and women. Mike is quiet, gay and suffers from narcolepsy. Abandoned as a child, he is obsessed with finding his long-lost mother. Scott is the rebellious son of a high-ranking family, who lives this life mostly to embarrass his father. Mike is in love with Scott, who still maintains he is straight and insists that his wild lifestyle on the streets is only temporary. Together, they embark on a quest to find Mike's mother, traveling from Portland to Idaho to Italy, with Scott picking up a beautiful girl along the way. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

whatever it takes to have a nice day See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sensuality, language and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

29 September 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Caminho de Idaho  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,500,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$6,401,336 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

(Alphacine)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The time-lapse footage is meant to represent the dreams/flashbacks of River Phoenix' character during his narcoleptic episodes. The old super-8 footage was written into the script, but the time-lapse footage of nature was not. Cinematographer Eric Alan Edwards shot it himself using unused film left over from the day's shooting. Gus Van Sant didn't learn about it until production was nearly complete. See more »

Goofs

When Bob approaches Scott in the bar near the end of the film, two marks of black gaffer tape can be seen on the floor. See more »

Quotes

Scott Favor: But how could you see green if it was so dark you could not see your own hand?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Tesis (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Der Adler
Music Composed by Tom Dokoupil
Lyrics by Udo Kier
Performed by Udo Kier and Tom Dokoupil
Courtesy of Whitehouse Music
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User Reviews

. This road will never end. It probably goes all around the world.
9 July 1999 | by (New Jersey, USA) – See all my reviews

This movie isn't about being, or even about being a hustler. "My Own Private Idaho" is about finding a home. In his finest performance, River Phoenix plays Mike, a narcoleptic street hustler with false memories of a terrific childhood. Mike wants to find his mother and family, but how or why he left them is never discussed. This is a movie that shows life at the lowest rung, and is very similar to Kerouac's "On the Road" and especially John Rechy's "City of Night." (In fact the line about becoming a fairy is straight from "City of Night"). Mike and Scott (Keanu Reeves) are both male prostitutes in Oregon. Why either of them have drifted into this profession is anyone's guess. Scott is clearly not gay, but Mike might be and their relationship is what holds the movie together. The film works on many levels, but does have its flaws. It's faux-Shakespearen scenes make the film drag in the middle. Van Sant directed the movie like a dream, which is what Mike's life basically is.

This is a haunting and very sad tale about friendship and finding a home. The performances, especially Phoenix and Udo Kier and Van Sant's dream-like direction are what you remember. "My Own Private Idaho" may be a flawed film, but in my opinion, it is one of the very best of the '90's.


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