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
In the first café scene, the song that can be heard playing in the background is "Too Many Colors" by River Phoenix's band, Aleka's Attic. See more »
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 »
[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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Odd, touching, River Phoenix is intensely brilliant..
This is the movie that I sincerely hope River Phoenix will long be remembered for. His performance as the narcoleptic and confused street-hustler Mike is so perfect and touching and realistic that it makes me cry every time. Gus Van Sant's films often have a strange aura about them (see Drugstore Cowboy, To Die For) and never has it been more evident than in this oddly affecting road movie/drama. The camera shots of long horizon-spanning roads and skylines, fast-motion clouds, surreal and symbolic shots of houses and rushing rivers provide the film with a strange almost other-worldly charm. Interspersed with the gritty realism of life on the streets of Portland Oregon in the early 90's, and (stranger still) Shakespeare. Some of the plot (Bob and Scott mainly) is based on the Shakespeare play Henry IV (with Keanu Reeves playing the Prince Hal character of Scott, and William Richert playing the Falstaff-like role of "King-Of-The-Streets" Bob.) It's a fascinating, touching and very successful blend of styles overall. The big themes (the search for love and belonging) are conveyed in a very interesting and genuinely moving manner. I particularly enjoyed the symbolism and pathos the film flittingly suggests. The performances are uniformly excellent, and this movie remains one of my all-time favourites. One of the greatest (and most unique) indie movies of the 1990's.
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