In 1963, the night before the 18 years old "Birdlace" Eddie and his friends are shipped to Vietnam. They play a dirty game called 'Dogfight': all of them seek a woman for a party, and who ... 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
Many members of the cast (including River Phoenix, Keanu Reeves, Flea, and Michael Parker) moved into director Gus Van Sant's large old house in Portland, Oregon during filming. They apparently caused such a disturbance (staying up late, getting drunk, partying, and playing music) and overtook the house to such an extent that Van Sant eventually had to move out of his own house and stay with a friend in order to get some sleep. See more »
When Mike is in Idaho he has a clear view of Mt. Hood. Not only is the mountain too far away to see (over 200 miles), there is another mountain range lying between Idaho and Mt. Hood, blocking the view. See more »
[in a coffee shop]
How'd we get home?
That German guy. Hans. He brought you downtown, you were passed out. He said he was heading to Portland, so I asked him for a ride.
For some reason I'm forgetting a German guy named Hans.
Well. You were sleeping.
How much do you make off me while I'm sleeping?
Just a ride, Mike. I don't make anything. What, you think that I sell your body while you are asleep?
[Scott stirs his coffee]
No, Mike. I'm on your side.
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. This road will never end. It probably goes all around the world.
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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