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
This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #277. 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 »
Hey man, did you get into that Sinead O'Connor concert last night?
To the Sinead? What?
You know, the chick with the bald head.
I've never been to a concert before, dude.
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I'm not quite sure what to make of 'My Own Private Idaho.' I am aware of it's huge cult following and that makes me want to like it more than I did, or at least give some thought as to why I didn't think as highly of it as many others did.
Gus Van Sant is a hit or miss director - Drugstore Cowboy, To Die For, and Good Will Hunting were all excellent, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues and his Psycho remake were horrendous - and I hate to say that I'm leaning more towards the miss column with 'My Own Private Idaho.' The best way I can put this film is that it seems like there are too many cooks making the soup and all the ingredients have been served better. Van Sant wants to make this a road movie, a comedy, a coming-of-age movie, a Shakespeare play, a surreal picture... I feel like he's taken the best elements of 'Easy Rider', 'Pixote', and 'Henry V' and mangled them.
River Phoenix is excellent though, he's the best part of the film and I give the credit solely to him. Why? Because ever other performance just isn't very good. Reeves seems uncomfortable in almost every scene whether it's quoting Shakespeare or lying shirtless in bed with Phoenix, he can't pull off what this movie wants. Neither can Richert as the leader of the band of hustlers - who comes across so over the top and theatrical that as a contrast to Phoenix's mellow/realistic hustler it just doesn't work. The problem with taking dialogue straight from Henry IV is for one it's awfully hard to top the Bard for writing. Two; you need actors who can deliver it well.
Van Sant has imagination and the visuals in the film are breathtaking. The movie starts off extremely well, but it's obvious that he had little control of the script or the actors and in the end that kills the movie.
Very surprising that Phoenix didn't pick up an Oscar nomination.
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