As Good as It Gets (1997) Poster

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How to create something out of nothing? Ask Mark Andrus and Jim L. Brooks
matanovi19 April 2000
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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As Good as Romantic Comedies Get
CurtMan@LVCM.com18 October 2004
"As Good As It Gets" boasts a splendid, delightful combination of wonderful, zesty acting and a remarkably bright and effective screenplay. Jack Nicholson is pitch-perfect as the obsessive-compulsive curmudgeon Melvin Udall, who possesses some of the strangest and most curious tendencies ever concocted by screenwriters; his Udall is so human, so heartfelt, so genuine, and so whimsical and Nicholson perfects him to such a degree that not a moment of his screen time is unwanted or uninteresting: in my valid opinion, this is Nicholson's best performance of his career, and one of the most reverent performances in film history. What an engaging, enthralling story: an troubled, insecure man helps a troubled, insecure waitress (troubled and insecure in different respects), and the two form an unlikely relationship from being distant acquaintances (Hunt even exclaims that Nicholson is crazy in their most uncomfortable moment in the film) to practical soul mates (Nicholson to Hunt: "I feel that I'm the only person that knows that you are the greatest woman alive"), through a series of misfortunes, self-explorations, and mutual bondings. Kinnear's character Simon has the distinct purpose in being both the bridge and the divider of Nicholson and Hunt's relationship, and he identifies with his character with compassion and understanding, as he has frequently been wronged throughout his existence. The most curious aspect to a story such as this, involving such unduly, diverse characters: a miserable recluse, a zesty, yet insecure waitress, and a sensitive and insightful, yet wronged homosexual, is that in their distinct differences, they share many of the same problems, and these problems eventually bring them all together, although hardly in a civilized manner. I appreciated practically every element in this wonderful, delightful masterpiece of exemplary romantic comedy, in its indelible acting (Oscars well deserved), its whimsical, touching screenplay (This was neons above "Good Will Hunting"'s quality) and its comforting morale, that despite all of the great odds in life which prevent us from being happy, we can perhaps find it within ourselves to take that one important step in reversing our fortunes, in "stopping with taking pills" and to allow our lives, and our desires to shine and be realized, as this story depicts life. The best romantic comedy, certainly the best film of 1997, and one of the greatest films of all time, "As Good As It Gets" succeeds in practically every entertaining and endearing cinematic respect. **** out of ****
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This comedy is as good as it gets!
movieman914 February 1999
Comedies (especially romantic comedies) can only be judged by how much they make you laugh and if they make you feel good inside. As Good As It Gets does it for me every time. I'm not just saying this on account of being a "Jack fan." The characters are so beautifully drawn, you forget it's just Jamie from "Mad About You" (Helen Hunt) and the man with the eyebrows (Nicholson). This movie deserved all of its Oscars, and then some. The role of an obsessive-compulsive is an easy one to parody and mock to death, but Jack does it with style, humour, emotion, and that usual Nicholson flair. Hunt has never been better as a waitress with a major anxiety to do something for herself for a change. Greg Kinnear is also very good as a gay artist that ends up having to turn to the irascible Jack for help after he is scarred and left destitute following a break-in. This is such a special comedy, fresh from the pen of James L. Brooks, the man behind the wonderful Terms of Endearment (another wonderful Nicholson performance) and Broadcast News. As Good As It Gets made me feel so good, even though I couldn't really relate to the characters' situations. The humor is pure Jack, set to the script with perfect ease. The emotions evoked by the actors are also authentic and heart-felt, as if they love what they are acting out. Movies like this come few and far between, and that is the reason why I appreciate this film so very much. As Good As It Gets was one of the best films of 1997. Rating: Four stars.
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Way to go, Jack!
Star-4719 December 1998
Jack Nicholson is simply phenomenal. Yes, I will give credit where it is due and congratulate Greg Kinnear, Helen Hunt, and Cuba Gooding, Jr, on their fine performances. They are talented. But I am mesmorized by Jack's intricate facial expressions and inflection each time I see this movie.

Critics panned this movie for being totally unbelievable. I would have to agree-why would Carol fall for Melvin? Why does Melvin change his ways after so many years of acid-tongued insults? I don't know. I know people who disliked the film because Melvin was such a you-know-what. Personally, I love the evil retorts he hurls at any innocent bystander. Maybe it's a sick pleasure, but Nicholson's delivery is perfect and I couldn't help but laugh as he takes on everyone.
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A superior Hollywood piece of sentimentality
bob the moo27 January 2003
Melvin is a romantic novelist who is a selfish manic compulsive who is rude and insulting to all he meets. When Melvin's gay neighbour is beaten up and robbed, Melvin agrees to look after his dog. The dog gives Melvin something to care about other than himself and his life is approaching normal until his regular waitress has to leave work to look after her asthmatic son and his neighbour wants his dog back. Melvin starts to realise that his life needs others for more than just selfish reasons.

The big Oscar winner for Jack is recent years is enjoyable if you come to it knowing what to expect. The film is very sentimental but in a good way. The film is gently comic and amusing and the characters (although exaggerated) are winning and involving. The telling is a little long winded at times and the film could have been shorter but it is still enjoyable. It does tip over into sickly sentimentality at times and can be a bit syrupy but it comes with the territory.

Nicholson is excellent and is the main reason it all works well. His un-PC Melvin is funny but also a character that you can hate and pity on several occasions. Kinnear is good because he is a solid understated character and not hammy or OTT like he can be. Hunt is good but is left with the majority of the syrup and sentiment where the other characters get more share of the laughs. Gooding Jr continues his trend of being good in over the top roles and is funny and happily avoids becoming a flaming gay stereotype.

Overall this is a sentimental romantic comedy that is typical for the genre. The story wanders to it's point but the good cast, led by a great Nicholson, hold the whole thing together. A superior piece of sentimentality.
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Simply great
ODDBear19 September 2005
As Good As It Gets is one of those incredibly moving films that is also hugely entertaining. It's not just a comedy, you can't quite label it a drama piece, it just is what it is; simply great.

What works here so well are the actors and the script. Nicholson and Hunt both won Oscars and they're simply great but Kinnear is no less effective as Nicholson gay neighbour. Plus that dog is amazing as well. This film really relies on great performances and there's no shortage of that here.

As Good As It Gets is also remarkably well written. So well defined characters and completely involving, you quite simply grow to love them and sympathize with their plight. Nicholson's remarks are terrific, each one very quotable (personal fav; I think of a man and I take away reason and accountability).

Direction is first rate, Brooks made Terms of Endearment so it's well established that he's quite capable of making great films. As Good As It Gets is very nearly as good it gets.
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When Jack's on screen, you can almost never go wrong!
MovieLuvaMatt1 August 2003
Jack Nicholson is one of those actors who impresses me the second (and I'm not overstating in the least bit) he appears on screen. The moment I see Jack's face on screen, I get this feeling that everything's going to be all right. He could do a Pauly Shore film, and elevate its quality with his mere presence. And I didn't even get to his acting.

Nicholson won a well-deserved Oscar for this movie. Then again, I feel like he deserves an Oscar for virtually everything he's been in. Hell, you can even give him an Oscar nod for "Anger Management." THAT'S how great he is! He's one of those actors who can communicate even more emotion when he's not saying anything than when he is. And of course, he has one of the coolest movie star voices ever, so it makes it a joy whenever he does speak. I still feel like "You can't handle the truth!" wouldn't be as priceless a line if Jack didn't yell it. He can say almost any line of dialogue and turn it into gold. In this movie it was "You make me wanna be a better man." Again, an otherwise forgettable line of dialogue made gold by Jack.

"As Good As It Gets" is a flawed film, with scenes that drag and an overlong running time, but it's highly enjoyable and altogether pretty well-written. Aside from its many hilarious moments, it's also quite touching. But I have to admit that it's the comedy that sticks out most in my memory. There's some priceless gags like when a Jewish couple is sitting at Jack's usual table. He first intrudes into their conversation saying, "People who speak in metaphors oughtta shampoo my crotch." He complains to Helen Hunt, his usual waitress, saying "I have Jews at my table!" He then intrudes in the couple's conversation again, noticing the food on their table, saying "Obviously your appetites aren't as big as your noses." Now, I probably wouldn't want to personally know a man like Melvin in my real life, but I still found those cracks to be hysterically funny. The same when he attacks Greg Kinnear's gay character with constant homosexual slurs.

The performances are great all-around. Though Jack pretty much steals the show, Greg Kinnear gives a wonderfully endearing performance. He doesn't play out the gay stereotypes, yet he's sensitive and feminine enough to have me convinced that he is gay (unlike Eric McCormack on "Will and Grace" who acts like he's gay for the sake of the show's gimmick). It's nice to see Kinnear rise from the host of "Talk Soup" and the thankless late night talk show "Later" to a fine actor. Previously, I wouldn't have any notion that he could become what he is now. Helen Hunt also gives a compelling, emotionally packed performance. And Shirley Knight, as her mother, provides a little bit of comic relief. Cuba Gooding Jr. has a small but interesting role, and he makes the best of it.

The film does have its dull moments, but Jack's one-of-a-kind performance makes it all worthwhile. There is nobody, and I mean NOBODY, who could've played Melvin better than him. I read in the trivia that John Travolta was originally offered the role. Now, I like Travolta, but in this type of role he wouldn't hold a candle to Jack.

My score: 7 (out of 10)
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This almost all Oscar winner cast gives such a great performance that it makes it almost impossible not to love this movie in its entirety!
macpherr21 May 1999
Directed by Oscar nominee James L. Brooks, the story written by Mark Andrus brings up not only very interesting characters but also very interesting issues. I have the video and enjoy watching it. The CD is great with music of Nat King Cole, Shawn Colkin. Outstanding acting by Helen Hunt (Mad About You, Twister) who won an Oscar for this role where she plays Carol Connelly, a single mother, working as waitress in Manhattan, New York. A single parent trying to cope with her work and paying medical bills for son Spencer Connelly, played by Jesse James (Message in a Bottle, The Gingerbread Men, Gods and Monsters). Jack Nicholson (A Few Good Men, Easy Rider, Witches of Eastwick) is Melvin Udall who is an obsessive compulsive. Nicholson also won an Oscar for his part. His obsessive compulsiveness has taken over his life and he is not able to live a normal life. Melvin Udall has tons of soap all organized in his medicine cabinet. He uses a bar of soap once and then throws it out. He will not step on a crack on the side walk but skips to the next block of concrete. When he goes to the restaurant he brings his own plastic fork, knife and spoon in a plastic bag. Udall uses plastic gloves to hold the dog and has all his office supply stacked and all color coordinated in his home/office. He eats at the same restaurant, sits at the same table, if someone is seating at his table he insults them to make them leave so that he has his table back, wants the same waiter Carol to wait on him, and takes forever to take a shower. He closes his door several times and counts how many times he has done it. As a writer who works at home I do understand Mr. Udall really well. Writers think somewhat like this: we like to be alone with ourselves in order to think. We have to go inside ourselves to produce good work. It is a very isolated world. We do not like to be bothered unless we are bored, or tired, in which case we want to communicate with the outside world for a brief period of time, then after one hour or so we want to go back inside ourselves again and be left alone. This is somehow like Melvin thinks. People think that he has nothing to do and they keep knocking at his door and he gets really aggravated about that. He is my favorite character in this movie, not to diminish the other ones. He is just so full on nuances that make him very entertaining. Helen's role is very, very, good and she did a really good job with it. Greg Kinnear (Sabrina) is Simon Bishop, the artist who is Udall's next door neighbor who finally has Melvin turning into a little more normal human being and he is there to teach him many life lessons. The supporting actors are great, you have Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr. (Jerry Maguire) playing Frank Sachs, Simon's agent.

My favorite scenes: elementary school kids all in uniform screaming: "Wait! Melvin, wait"! Greg Kinnear imitating Melvin. Melvin and Caroll going to eat fresh rolls in the wee hours of the morning. When Melvin realizes that the dog is also skipping cracks on the sidewalk.

My favorite quote: "I am drowning here and you are describing the water." This is a nice story telling movie. I recommend it!
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Unusual movie
krumski17 February 2000
This movie is bizarre because, while judged overall its story is shmaltzy and unbelievable, nevertheless each individual scene plays absolutely convincingly and feels very real. It's weird. I don't know if it's just the greatness of the actors overcoming an under-thought out script, or whether it's just the script concentrated solely on crafting great scenes one after the other, but not so much in coming up with a convincing through-line. Whatever. All I know is that this is one of the most entertaining pictures I've ever seen, extremely funny and quite emotionally affecting in places. Somehow, it just doesn't matter - I like it anyway.

The performances are uniformly excellent. Nicholson shows real range here - sure, he gets to be the sarcastic curmudgeon we've all come to expect, but his character also has moments of fear, repression and vulnerability which he brings off equally well. My problem with this character (and the "problem" only exists as I think about him afterward, not while I'm actually watching the movie) is in his conception: he seems to be whatever the writers want him to be at that moment, with no particular consistency from scene to scene so when he supposedly "changes" at the end, we're left to think, "Change? This guy's been changing through the entire movie!" And also, the fact that his character is a romance novelist is never really explained or examined in any way.

And yet, Nicholson's performance makes it not matter quite so much.

Helen Hunt is a revelation in this movie - she nails every scene she's in, whether she's forced to be witty, embarrassed, angry, defiant, emotionally overwhelmed, whatever. She keeps Jack on his toes, and they work off each other brilliantly. Also, I never thought I'd find myself saying this, but Greg Kinnear was great as Simon, the gay neighbor. (It was also nice to see director Harold Ramis - the third Ghostbuster, after all - in front of the camera again, if only briefly, in a small part as a doctor.)

What more can I say? Good comedy, good love story, great acting. None of it, in the end, is very convincing, but if you just focus on the individual moments and not on the grand design - a task made easy by the wonderful writing and playing - it's very easy to like As Good As It Gets.
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bsinc16 March 2002
Now I know what good acting means. You are absolutely surrounded with it in this movie. There is not a single actor or actress in this movie that didn't exceed himself/herself. Helen Hunt is great (I don;t know why, but I find her quite attractive) and I won't bore you about the performance given by Jack Nicholson. When I first saw this movie I thought it was really boring and overrated, but I saw it again the second day and immediately loved it. Maybe the ending is a little bogus, but it's a romantic comedy, so it didn't bother me that much. A fairly complicated plot presented with ease and simplicity works perfectly and there's a nostalgic tone to the movie in whole. Maybe because it's a rare occasion nowadays to come across a movie that isn't stuffed with special effects. This is a movie that should be seen on a beautiful day, when you're in a good mood.

Great fun that keeps getting better and better each time I see it. A strong 8/10.
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What every romantic comedy aspires to be...
longcooljolie12 May 2014
and this movie can be watched again, and again, and again (at least by me).

By now, most people who watch movies are aware that this one practically swept the Oscars for the year it was produced. It won Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt best Actor/Actress awards, came away with Best Picture and also Greg Kinnear won Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his portrayal of Simon Bishop, a sensitive gay artist.

Seventeen years later the movie stands up well because of its timeless quality. "As Good as it Gets" is a very tight story and performance by all the actors and there is not one moment, scene or actor wasted. The story centers around people's expressions more than most movies. One example is an elderly woman actress who has opened her apartment door to run an errand and her features contort in disgust when she happens upon Melvin Udall, the Jack Nicholson character who is about to do some mischief with his gay neighbor's dog.

Another example is Skeet Ulrich, who plays a street tough who somehow winds up doing a modeling job for Simon (Greg Kinnear) the gay artist. When Simon explains to Vincent (Ulrich) what he is looking for in a pose, Vincent's eyes widen and he murmurs "Wow." Moments later he nonchalantly delivers the type of pose Simon is looking for. Unfortunately, Simon and Vincent's association ends badly and creates a turning point for the movie.

There are also several layers of irony at play in the story. It is ironic that Melvin, a hardcore misanthropist mired in full-blown OCD can somehow deliver romance novels that women love and buy by the barrelful. Also ironic is that Melvin's character transformation begins when he must take care of Simon's dog, an adorable little Brussels Griffon.

It's also ironic that Carol, Helen Hunt's waitress character, works in a restaurant populated by actress-hopefuls who serve diners while striving for their big acting break. Some have stated that Hunt, a fetching but not-too-glamorous actress was too pretty for the role. However she was dressed down just enough for the role to make it work and her understated beauty comes into play in a big way later on in the story.

Finally there's Jack Nicholson. His portrayal of Melvin Udall stands out as one of his great performances because of all the subtle nuances. The shot of him holding Verdell the dog and cooing to him is one of the signature shots not only from the movie but from his whole career. Near 60 when the movie was produced, he comes across more fit and polished than usual, definitely more so that his portrayal of the raucous astronaut in Terms of Endearment, another one of his great performances, which had occurred 13 years earlier.

If you've never seen it what on earth are you waiting for? And if, like me you've seen it over and over, hopefully this review gives some new insight as to why "As Good as it Gets" is so gloriously watchable, over and over again.
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It's hard not to leave this film with a smile on your face.
estebangonzalez107 March 2014
"You make me want to be a better man."

I finally got around to watching this touching and funny film directed by James L. Brooks that stands out thanks to some wonderful performances and memorable characters. As Good As it Gets is proof that actions are louder than words because despite how cruel and mean Nicholson's character is, he does incredible and kind things for others. In a way this film reminded me of David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook as I found both films to be difficult to follow at first due to the lack of a likable character, but once we get to know who these people are we forgive their flaws and end up routing for them. Both Nicholson and Helen Hunt give excellent performances, and their Oscar wins were well deserved in my opinion. As Good As it Gets is the very definition of charm, and the screenplay written by Mark Andrus (Life As a House) shines thanks to some incredible performances. I really enjoyed this film and found myself laughing through most of the scenes. This is one more film I can eliminate from my shame list, and I'm glad I finally got to experience this romantic comedy which also has a lot to say about overcoming illness.

We are introduced to Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson), a cranky but successful author who suffers from OCD. He lives on his own in a beautiful apartment where he spends most of his time writing. He always goes out on his daily breakfast ritual which consists of walking to a nearby cafe without touching anyone or stepping on any cracks. He always sits in the same place at the cafe and always demands to be served by the same waitress, whose name is Carol (Helen Hunt). Carol is actually the only one in the cafe who stands his constant outbursts and cruel comments. Melvin's daily routine changes through two events that end up affecting his life. First, his homosexual artist neighbor named Simon (Greg Kinnear) suffers an accident and Melvin unwillingly accepts to take care of his dog in his absence. Second, Carol's son, Spencer (Jesse James) gets ill and she quits her job. Not accepting the fact that Carol isn't there to serve him, Melvin tries to find her in order to restore order back to his life. These series of events force Melvin to change his routine and at the same time he forms an unlikely friendship with Carol and Simon proving that he isn't as bad as he seems to be.

The performances by each one of the talented actors are the heart and motor of this film. Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt share an incredible chemistry together. It's funny how despite never being able to share his feelings towards her and always saying the wrong things, it becomes clear that she does inspire him to become a better person. The supporting cast is also incredible here, especially Greg Kinnear and Cuba Gooding Jr. who deliver several funny scenes. I was partial to Brooks's work considering I had only seen How Do You Know which didn't work for me and Spanglish which I did enjoy, but As Good As it Gets is without a doubt his best work thanks to an unbelievable cast. This is a smart and funny film, which also could be cruel at times, but it was well balanced. Despite the schmaltzy story it still worked thanks to the characters that carried this film. It's hard not to leave this film with a smile on your face.
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Nicholson puts on a clinic.
Peach-216 November 1998
Jack Nicholson owns this film from beginning to end. It is a tribute to James Brooks to make us care about the character of Melvin Udall. The movie has great acting all through it. Helen Hunt is fantastic. Greg Kinnear is fantastic. Cuba Gooding Jr., in a small role, is also very good. The movie seems like everybody enjoyed themselves making it. I own the DVD of this film, so I've seen it a few times. Each time I watch Nicholson's performance it seems to get better. In the last 10 years or so, Jack seemed to be running through the paces. Here in this film he does some of the best acting of his career. Brooks has made his best film since Terms Of Endearment.
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Over-rated Rubbish
O.N.22 March 1999
I'll never understand how this movie got so many good reviews. This is nothing but bottom-of-the-barrel-stuff with a glossy Hollywood touch. It has no plot. It simply goes through a whole heap of boring stuff 3 incredibly boring characters put up with in their lives. The interplay between these 3 characters (Jack, Helen and Greg) is so false and put on nobody in their right mind could mistake it for real life. Jack is the only person who deserves some credit for his performance but he's done much better and his character is not worthy of any actor of his stature. Helen Hunt is simply appalling as the whingeing single mum. Her character is completely obnoxious and hard to have any compassion for despite the problems she is facing. When acting becomes too hard for her, she simply takes to flashing parts of her anatomy across the screen. Greg Kinnear likewise does nothing in his role and although not as annoying as Helen's waitress, still seems like he's just tacked into the story (if you'd call it that) for no apparent reason. But the thing that really drove me to hatred of this film is the ending. Jack and Helen were at each other's throats literally 2 minutes before the ending credits but they still somehow get together for a supposedly romantic and happy ending. At this stage I walked out of the cinema unable to believe what I just saw. I'll never understand the mindset of film critics when they can praise trash like "As Good As It Gets". By the looks of some of the other user comments here, I'm not the only one who feels this film is highly over-rated. 3/10 - (and 2 of those are for the dog)
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Too Long...and Not Too Good
werefox083 March 2012
Without the great Jack Nicholson, this would have been a disaster. As usual he is in brilliant form. One of the many problems with AGAIG is the fact that Helen Hunt only ever plays Helen Hunt. A more serious defect is---there is no perceptible chemistry between Nicholson and Hunt. I never believed in there "love?" Or there relationship. Also--when a gay man gets beaten to a pulp----and a child is continually being rushed to hospital, I have to ask--is that supposed to be funny? The movies running time of 138 minutes is excessive. Its more of a saga than a comedy ..more of a tragedy than a romance. There is an annoying predictability about the whole--thing, too many scenes that make the viewer..uncomfortable. Also scenes that make the viewer --feel embarrassed--for the writer. That---is never a good --indicator.
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Talking' about everything upon nothing. If this has been a Sit-com series, couldn't have seen the second season.
CihanVercan27 September 2008
A telly-familiar face from the production crew of the Simpsons series, James L. Brooks, directs a 5-year old screenplay and rakes up a pretentious cast of actors. The original script has been written by Mark Andrus in 1992, and has been developed differently from its origin in 5 years time by the director James L. Brooks. The length of the time passed in between this period has surely deprived the efficiency of its editing. Hence, we shouldn't have expected a good relation between the storyline and the plot. Thankfully, James L. Brooks hasn't even put a plot on view. So we get a simple sit-com entirely tied to the actors' contribution in this comedy/family movie.

When a movie goes nowhere via its point, comedy is the easiest cure to make it find a way. Consider a horror movie, you watch it but you don't feel any fear; in order to be meant for something, a horror can be cured with some comedy, that way can it only become interesting. On the other hand, comedy is the hardest cure to make a point-lost movie find a way; 'cause you gotta have Oscar worthy performances at least to make it worth to watch. As Good As It Gets is the worst movie of 1997 with its technical features:

Editing is the worst, screenplay is a mess, no camera aspects, no successful sound editing or mixing(no one has no idea how can a puppy murmur through a garbage chute and can be heard inside an apartment unit), art decoration has zero achievement(that's why it's a sit-com) ; at the same time As Good As It Gets is at its best for 4 great performances: Helen Hunt and Jack Nicholson at the leading, Greg Kinnear and Cuba Gooding Jr. at the supporting. If a Hollywood movie is just leaning upon its cast, why watching Hollywood then?

As Good As It Gets absolutely deserved its 2 actor-based Oscars and in total 3 actor-based nominations. The other 4 nominations are a fine cods-wallop!

Priggery and meticulousness are very well staged by Nicholson, playing a quirky character at the culminating point of capturing viewers' attention, reminding us of Bart Simpson at age 60; especially with his style of walking crab-wise on the street. Helen Hunt plays and heartens a mother of a sick child within bearing of her vicissitude of fortune at one side, bearing Jack Nicholson as the menace of her emotional argument at the opposite side. Cuba Gooding Jr. is a self-assertive individual and the only person in the movie who can deliver a replication to Nicholson. Additionally, Greg Kinnear is the gingerbread of the movie playing the beaten and robbed gay artist. Because each one of the actors has a complete different view of life, the non-plotted script magnetizes us growing our curiosity on if they ever roll up like a hedgehog together.

As Good As It Gets made me want to watch Seinfeld. Based upon same idea, to play along with each other, Seinfeld is much much more better than this one of its analogous. There is absolutely no technical feature to make As Good As It Gets a worth-watching movie. It is likable only for its remarkable acting.
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That's when Hollywood was great - long ago
supermaggie15 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
These were the (good old) times, when Hollywood really was great. This movie shows what movie and television can look like, when producers and writers approach the script with decency, respect and creativity, this is how you create round characters who entertain, make you laugh, make you cry/feel with them, make you think about the world, make you feel touched, make you feel good. This was when entertainment from Hollywood meant and represented something, when movies were no vehicles for clumsy political propaganda, to deflect from national political problems and slandering other nations and not even being historically correct while doing so. If you want to get back to real decent greatness, Hollywood/TV, than you should work on perfectly written/presented stuff like this movie - heartfelt, non-offensive, valuable characters, treating each other with dignity (or rather learning to do so in the end) , perfectly acted, pure, perfect, instructive, constructive entertainment - no offenses, sex or violence necessary - this is the real thing, this deserves awe, this is what once made Hollywood great, and since then Hollywood just got more and more destructive, destroying their audiences around the world and destroying themselves/its reputation - good old times back then indeed, and they will probably never return.
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Whatta film
jamariana7 April 2017
I will admit that the first time I saw this film, I did not like it very much. I wasn't the biggest fan of Helen Hunt, or how her character treated Jack Nicholson's character. However, now several years later, I suddenly find that I appreciate the film in a way I didn't the first time I saw it. I found myself relating to Helen Hunt's character. I found myself liking Jack Nicholson's misanthropic, so-confident-and-careless-it's-funny character less. I was a teenager the first time I saw the film, and now I am a (somewhat) mature woman. I now find myself identifying, sympathising with strong, independent female characters more than I did before. I learned to disassociate the characters of the film with their actors. Instead of liking a character just because he was played by Jack Nicholson, or disliking a character because she was played by Helen Hunt, I now like the characters based solely on their traits and the things they say and believe. Helen Hunt's character is believable. She is real. She is not the most stunning woman in the world, but she is still so beautiful. It's no wonder I think that she won the Oscar. The film is great in so many ways. It is not a conventional comedy. The writing is brilliant. The story is not clichéd. All the characters are eventually lovable. I can't find many flaws with the film and I miss it - if that makes any sense to you, oh kind reader. I want to watch the film again and again. It's not the greatest film of all time, but it has affected me so deeply. It has lifted my spirits in a time of desperation and I will forever be grateful for that. Brava, Helen Hunt. Bravo, Greg Kinnear. Bravo, Jack Nicholson. But most of all, bravo to the writers of the film. You have created a timeless classic. With love, a devoted moviegoer.
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"As long as it is . . ."
drstrang-313 September 2002
It's hard to understand how a movie with Nicholson and Kinnear could be so irritating, annoying and frankly, boring. One good wisecrack about H.M.O.'s actually brought a grin to my lips. Maybe if I tried to endure watching it again - but no, it's just not worth it. Miss it if you can.
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As Bad As It Gets!
tim777ca26 August 2002
Trio of star are at their worst playing irritable characters in the movie. One minute they'd be nice to each other, the next minute they'd be mad at each other without any apparent reason. The performances are exaggerated to the Nth degree.

Nicholson still acts with that too-familiar sly manner, but runs out of steam this time. He's thrown out of the restaurant where Hunt works for bad behavior, but after a few scenes, he sits in there enjoying his meal again. It's either the restaurant owner or writer-director of this movie is out of his mind. Besides, do you believe a waitress can have long chats with customer without getting warned by her boss?

As for the story, there're not enough events to sustain it; just full of ludicrous dialogue from irritating characters. The Oscar winners of this film should have learned how to make a better romantic comedy from "It Happened One Night" (1934).
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Badly Edited, Written, and Directed
Niv-117 July 2001
"As Good As It Gets" has three great performances. Helen Hunt and Jack Nicholson deserved their Oscars. Greg Kinnear deserved his nomination.

The problem is that all of these performances could be in different movies. There is absolutely no glue holding these characters together. The direction appears to have been done scene by scene. There doesn't seem to be any story just scenes. The editing seems to have involved putting the film in a Blender and then putting it back together, piece by piece.

There are great moments though. Helen Hunt describing how she felt looking at a couple is a guaranteed tear-jerker. Helen Hunt bashing HMO's. Jack Nicholson buying a suit jacket from a doorway, washing his hands, and any scene with the dog. Greg Kinnear in the hospital, after he's beaten up. There are other good scenes as well.

"As Good As IT Gets" is worth seeing but it's barely a movie, just a jumble of scenes. James L. Brooks (the director and co-writer) obviously had a very hard time with this material.
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Over rated and over long
rob-23617 May 1999
Or, what it should have been called ' IT DOESN'T GET VERY GOOD' How on earth did this scoop 2 Oscars?????, If Nicholson portrays a more irritatingly annoying character in the remainder of his career it would be an achievement. Helen Hunt performs amicably, but to win an academy award for it?. I went in to this film expecting to be treated to a funny, inventive, original comedy with Jack on top form and I was thoroughly disappointed to say the least. In the whole film there isn't one character who you can take to. On the other hand if you want to kill time watch it, as at 2 hours 13 this beats it to a pulp over and over again, until you will be crying for it to end its suffering.
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Well, I certainly can say I've never seen a film like this before!
MartinHafer19 February 2013
Several years ago, my wife watched "As Good As It Gets" and she told me she didn't like the film. So, I avoided it for years....and now I wish I hadn't listened to her. I loved the film---just don't tell her I said so!

The film, to me, was perhaps a bit different experience than it would have been for the average viewer. As a former psychotherapist, I kept trying to analyze Jack Nicholson's character in order to understand the story better. He appeared to either have a variety of personality disorders--including an avoidant personality (where he pretends to HATE everyone and pushes them away to avoid being hurt), an obsessive-compulsive personality (or perhaps an Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) and probably a nice dose of either Asperger's or was just socially retarded. Regardless, this sort of person would NORMALLY live a very solitary and sad existence. However, the film manages to make it seem believable that a man like this could well as find love. It's all very improbable but also very charming and sweet. And, later in the film rather oddly romantic. Additionally, the film is, at times, rather funny. Overall, a quirky and well-written film with some terrific acting.

A lot of other stuff has been written about this multi-Oscar-winning I'll just end by saying my wife is 100% wrong...but I still think she's terrific.
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Despicable movie!
horrorfilmx7 September 2006
I loathe this picture. I'm not even sure I watched all of it. Jack Nicholson's character is set up as an obnoxious oaf merely so that everyone else in the movie --- blacks, gays, whatever stereotype came to mind --- can take shots at him and still appear virtuous. If this were a made-for-TV about a man with Melvin's afflictions we'd all be expected to have a little compassion and the people who abused him would be the villains, but here he's just a fish in a barrel. Really, if you paid big bucks to live in a decent apartment building and there was a dog pissing in the hallway wouldn't you have a right to be angry? But in this film it just makes him a bully who picks on cute little animals. And Helen Hunt (a fine actress, don't get me wrong) gets to once more trot out the sanctimonious bitch persona she's built a career on. Honest to god, I'm getting mad just writing this review. Over and out.
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3/10 as bad as it gets.
Ed Bone9 May 1999
This movie is the longest movie I've ever seen. I swear they played 3 showings of Titanic in the next theatre. Could this be any more boring? Okay, call me immature, fine. But I need more than Jack Nicholson hopping on the sidewalk, a gay guy, and Helen Hunt in a wet t-shirt to make this movie good. I know there are people reading this and saying, "What are you talking about?" Well, if that's you, please post to set me straight. And I suggest some activity in your life, or at least rent Armageddon.
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