7.1/10
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154 user 61 critic

My Own Private Idaho (1991)

R | | Drama | 20 July 1991 (Japan)
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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9 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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William Richert ...
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
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Storyline

Mike Waters lives on the street and befriends the somewhat older and streetwise Scott Favor who shows him what is necessary to survive. Waters suffers from narcolepsy and can fall asleep at any moment and in almost any circumstance. Favor comes from a rich family and is rebelling against his own background. They travel together extensively - Waters is driven by the need to find his biological mother - and spend time in Italy. Later in life however, Favor has joined mainstream society and has little time for his old friend. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It's not where you go, it's how you get there. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

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Details

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Language:

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Release Date:

20 July 1991 (Japan)  »

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:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

(Alphacine)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

My Own Private Idaho was the result of three projects coming together. The first was a modern adaptation of Henry IV called "Howling At The Moon", which was about street kids in Portland, and was told entirely in William Shakespearean verse. The second was called "In A Blue Funk", and was about two Spanish cousins, living on the streets of Las Vegas, who decide to go to Spain after seeing their last name on a Spanish map, and wanting to find out about themselves and their family. The third was actually titled "My Own Private Idaho", and was about an early version of the Mike character as a hustler, who gets picked up by a German auto parts salesman and "kept" at his house. Gus Van Sant had trouble finishing the scripts, so he merged them together into the finished form. 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

Daddy Carroll: I am so lucky, i was born on April 4th 1944, thats 4.4.44, if you add that up it comes to 16: 1-6, one plus six is seven: luckiest number of all.
Mike Waters: You know your Math.
Daddy Carroll: It's more than math Mike, it's... imaculate perfection!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Autopsy: The Last Hours Of: River Phoenix (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Deep Night
Words and Music by Charles Henderson
Performed by Rudy Vallee
Courtesy of Warner/Chappell Music, Inc. and the RCA Records label of BMG Music
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User Reviews

 
My Own Private Idaho
5 December 2007 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Mike (River Phoenix) has narcolepsy, and whenever he feels super-stressed he suffers what I interpret to be attacks of cataplexy, that is, sleep triggered by heightened emotions. His friend, would-be lover and fellow male prostitute, Scott (Keanu Reeves), has a rich dad who's going to leave him a hefty sum when he turns 21. These two characters are the main focus of "My Own Private Idaho" which deals with common and uncommon themes, such as home, sexual identity and love. Van Sant throws in some Shakespearean language plagiarised straight from Henry IV and a non-linear narrative and you've got one very cute surrealist indie film.

The credits to this film are it's director and star, River Phoenix, whose understated and moving performance lifts this film above the trash it easily could've been in another director or actor's hands. Van Sant uses symbols to represent emotional states and his use of special effects is limited and effective. There is some really heartfelt dialogue in this movie, especially the much-mentioned camp-fire scene.

This film can be irritating; sometimes the Shakespearean dialogue doesn't work (and it's okay to admit that a near-perfect film like this has flaws) and Reeves is sometimes a little stiff. The film is mostly redeemed by its bitter-sweet ending and fun opening titles.

I'm not going to tackle any issues in this film because I just don't have the energy. Just appreciate the film for what it is and have a nice day. :)


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