A story of amour fou. Walt is madly in love/lust with a young illegal Mexican immigrant. However, the object of his unrequited affection doesn't even speak any English and finds Walt really... See full summary »
Dealing with nuclear testing and its long-lasting deadly effects, the story portrays Boy, a young widower living in the desert on a nuclear testing site. Living as a hermit, he waits for ... See full summary »
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
While writing, Gus Van Sant was inspired by Stanley Kubrick. "I'd heard stories about Kubrick, how he'd always re-write his scripts into a different format. These were reading scripts, of course, not shooting scripts. But he'd write one version as a play, and another with, like, all the directions in a column down the middle of the page and the dialogue off to the sides. It made the project fun to work on, but confused the hell out of the studios. If it's not in twelve point courier font, they can't imagine it'll ever be a movie. I made sure to fix that by the final shooting draft, and everything was okay." See more »
In Scott and Bob's final scene together, Bob says Scottie's wearing a three-piece suit, but we see him wearing a two-piece suit. See more »
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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