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As Good as It Gets (1997)

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A single mother and waitress, a misanthropic author, and a gay artist form an unlikely friendship after the artist is assaulted in a robbery.

Director:

James L. Brooks

Writers:

Mark Andrus (story), Mark Andrus (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
989 ( 378)
Won 2 Oscars. Another 36 wins & 53 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Nicholson ... Melvin Udall
Helen Hunt ... Carol Connelly
Greg Kinnear ... Simon Bishop
Cuba Gooding Jr. ... Frank Sachs
Skeet Ulrich ... Vincent
Shirley Knight ... Beverly
Yeardley Smith ... Jackie
Lupe Ontiveros ... Nora
Jill the Dog ... Verdell (as Jill)
Timer the Dog Timer the Dog ... Supporting Dog (as Timer)
Billy the Dog Billy the Dog ... Supporting Dog (as Billy)
Bibi Osterwald ... Neighbor Woman
Ross Bleckner Ross Bleckner ... Carl
Bernadette Balagtas ... Caterer
Jaffe Cohen ... Partygoer
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Storyline

New York City. Melvin Udall, a cranky, bigoted, obsessive-compulsive writer, finds his life turned upside down when neighboring gay artist Simon is hospitalized and his dog is entrusted to Melvin. In addition, Carol, the only waitress who will tolerate him, must leave work to care for her sick son, making it impossible for Melvin to eat breakfast. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A comedy from the heart that goes for the throat. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 on appeal for strong language, thematic elements, nudity and a beating | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 December 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Old Friends See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,606,928, 28 December 1997, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$148,478,011

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$314,178,011
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the scene where Carol reads out a letter of apology and thanks to Melvin, Helen Hunt did one take where she read out an eighteen-page letter in its entirety. See more »

Goofs

In the fancy restaurant, the singer in the background sings the same song twice. Once as they enter and again after Melvin returns with a jacket. See more »

Quotes

Melvin Udall: I've got a really great compliment for you, and it's true.
Carol Connelly: I'm so afraid you're about to say something awful.
Melvin Udall: Don't be pessimistic, it's not your style. Okay, here I go: Clearly, a mistake. I've got this, what - ailment? My doctor, a shrink that I used to go to all the time, he says that in fifty or sixty percent of the cases, a pill really helps. I *hate* pills, very dangerous thing, pills. Hate. I'm using the word "hate" here, about pills. Hate. My compliment is, that night when you came over...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

In cast credits dogs are credited as: Verdell - Jill Supporting dogs - Timer, Billy See more »

Connections

Referenced in Rules of Engagement: The Five Things (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

DAYS LIKE THIS
Written & Performed by Van Morrison
Courtesy of Exile Productions/Polydor Ltd.
By Arrangement with Polygram Film & TV Licensing
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
How to create something out of nothing? Ask Mark Andrus and Jim L. Brooks
19 April 2000 | by matanoviSee all my reviews

Really, how to make something original, fresh and odd out of absolutely nothing except a few characters? Using characters, only characters and nothing except characters. That's the simple formula Brooks uses in all of his work, but, for me, he has never created so much charm, warmth and sensibility as he did in `As good as it gets'.

Characters write the screenplay in this movie, and everything that happens - happens because of what they are. They are nothing special – they are ordinary people we meet in the street every day and that have the same problems a lot of other people have. This movie presents the example of how much you can pull out of that. And if that is written as well as it is in this case, not even a happy ending can bother you. Because, in real life, shown here, what is the end?

Everything is good and warm in this movie, everything is fresh and vivacious, understandable and well performed. Jack Nicholson brings one of the best performances of his career, that terrific Helen Hunt finally got a chance to show how skilfully an actor can connect naturalism with the laws of the camera performance, and Greg Kinnear shows the most convincing emotions coming from a gay character I've ever seen.

The relationships between the characters are created in the way that you can't predict anything that's going to happen, eventhough you know in advance what could come out of their mouth and what kind of attitude they'll have in a certain situation.

You can simply feel the progressive collaboration that occurred between Brooks and the actors and the mutual understanding they developed, and it's not often that you see that kind of artistic superstructure shining on the screen so much as it does here.

I find `As good as it gets' complexed, vital, intelligent, emotionally deep and studied, fresh, original, amusing, cheerful, funny, and one of the best films of 1997.


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