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As Good as It Gets

Original film poster
Directed by James L. Brooks
Produced by Laura Ziskin
Written by Story:
Mark Andrus
Screenplay:
Mark Andrus
James L. Brooks
Starring Jack Nicholson
Helen Hunt
Greg Kinnear
Cuba Gooding, Jr.
Shirley Knight
Skeet Ulrich
Yeardley Smith
Lupe Ontiveros
Music by Hans Zimmer
Cinematography John Bailey
Editing by Richard Marks
Distributed by TriStar Pictures
Release date(s) December 25, 1997
Running time 139 min.
Language English

As Good as It Gets is a 1997 American romantic comedy film directed by James L. Brooks starring Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture and won for Best Actor and Best Actress. It portrays an obsessive-compulsive, misanthropic bigot who becomes involved in the lives of a single mother and homosexual neighbor and how they grow personally as a result of knowing each other. The movie is ranked number 140 on Empire's "The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time".[1]

Contents

Plot

Melvin Udall is a racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic misanthrope who works at home as a best-selling romance novelist in New York. He suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder which, paired with his misanthropy, puts off the neighbors in his Manhattan apartment building and nearly everyone else with whom he comes into contact.

Melvin eats breakfast at the same table in the same restaurant every day using disposable plastic utensils he brings with him due to his pathological germophobia. He takes an interest in his waitress, Carol Connelly (Helen Hunt), the only server at the restaurant who can tolerate his demanding behavior.

One day, Melvin's neighbor, a gay artist named Simon Bishop (Greg Kinnear), is assaulted. Melvin is forced to take care of the artist's dog Verdell while Simon is in the hospital. Although he initially finds caring for the dog distasteful, Melvin becomes emotionally attached to Verdell as he simultaneously gains more attention from Carol. When Carol decides to get a job closer to Brooklyn so she can spend more time with her acutely asthmatic son, Melvin arranges to pay for her son's medical expenses, albeit for his own selfish reasons. Wary of owing Melvin for this gesture, Carol takes the train to his apartment in the middle of the night to tell him that she will not sleep with him.

In the meantime, Simon's assault and subsequent rehabilitation coupled with the fact that Verdell seems to actually prefer Melvin, causes him to lose his creative muse. Having no medical insurance, mounting hospital bills and facing eviction from his apartment due to unpaid rent, his friends convince him that he should go to Baltimore and ask his estranged parents for money, but in order to do this, Simon needs Melvin to drive. Melvin invites Carol to accompany them on the trip to lessen the awkwardness between the two men and so he can court Carol romantically. She reluctantly accepts the invitation and relationships among the three develop.

After returning to New York City, Carol tells Melvin that she doesn't want him in her life anymore. She later regrets her statement and calls him to apologize. The relationship between Melvin and Carol remains complicated until Simon, who has moved in with Melvin until he can get a new apartment, convinces Melvin to declare his love for her at her apartment in Brooklyn, where the two realize the depth of their personal connection. The film ends with Melvin and Carol taking a walk together to buy fresh rolls at the corner bakery.

Primary cast

Soundtrack

As Good as It Gets
Soundtrack by Hans Zimmer and various artists
Released 13 January, 1998
Label Sony Records

The OST feaures instrumental pieces composed by Hans Zimmer and songs by various artists.

Track listing

  1. "As Good as It Gets" (Hans Zimmer)
  2. "A Better Man" (Zimmer)
  3. "Humanity" (Zimmer)
  4. "Too Much Reality" (Zimmer)
  5. "1.2.3.4.5" (Zimmer)
  6. "Greatest Woman on Earth" (Zimmer)
  7. "Everything My Heart Desires" (Danielle Brisebois)
  8. "Under Stars" (Phil Roy)
  9. "My Only" (Danielle Brisebois)
  10. "For Sentimental Reasons (I Love You)" (Nat King Cole)
  11. "Hand on My Heart" (Judith Owen)
  12. "Climb on (A Back That's Strong)" (Shawn Colvin)
  13. "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" (Art Garfunkel)

Reception

The film received generally positive reviews from film critics and was nominated for and received many film awards, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture and a Golden Globe award for Best Picture-Music or Comedy. Metacritic, a web site that evaluates films by averaging its overall critical response, gave the film a metascore of 67, signifying generally favorable reviews.[2] The film's two lead actors, Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt, both received Academy and Golden Globe awards for their performances. Chicago Reader film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote that what director James Brooks "Manages to do with (the characters) as they struggle mightily to connect with one another is funny, painful, beautiful, and basically truthful--a triumph for everyone involved."[3]

However, praise for the film was not uniform among critics. Roger Ebert gave "As Good as It Gets," three stars (out of four) and called the film a "compromise, a film that forces a smile onto material that doesn't wear one easily," writing that the film drew "back to story formulas," but had good dialog and performances.[4] Washington Post critic Desson Howe gave a generally negative review of the movie, writing that it "gets bogged down in sentimentality, while its wheels spin futilely in life-solving overdrive." [5]

As Good as It Gets was also a box office hit, opening at number three in the box office (behind Titanic and Tomorrow Never Dies) with $12.6 million,[6] and eventually earning over $148 million domestically and $341 million worldwide.[7] It is Jack Nicholson's second most lucrative film, behind Batman.[8]

The quote "What happened to your queer party-friends?" was sampled in the Dirt Nasty song "1980".

Awards

Wins

Nominations

References

  1. ^ "Empire Features". Empireonline.com. http://www.empireonline.com/500/71.asp. Retrieved 2009-10-17. 
  2. ^ Metacritic Retrieved on January 7, 2009
  3. ^ Chicago Reader review. Retrieved on January 7, 2009
  4. ^ Roger Ebert review Retrieved on January 7, 2009
  5. ^ Washington Post review. Retrieved on January 7, 2009
  6. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for December 26–28, 1997". Box Office Mojo. http://boxofficemojo.com/weekend/chart/?yr=1997&wknd=52&p=.htm. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  7. ^ "As Good as It Gets". Box Office Mojo. http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=asgoodasitgets.htm. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  8. ^ "Batman (1989)". Box Office Mojo. http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=batman.htm. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 

External links

Awards
Preceded by
Evita
Golden Globe: Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
1997
Succeeded by
Shakespeare in Love

As Good as It Gets
Directed by James L. Brooks
Produced by Laura Ziskin
Screenplay by Mark Andrus
James L. Brooks
Story by Mark Andrus
Starring Jack Nicholson
Helen Hunt
Greg Kinnear
Cuba Gooding, Jr.
Shirley Knight
Skeet Ulrich
Yeardley Smith
Lupe Ontiveros
Music by Hans Zimmer
Cinematography John Bailey
Editing by Richard Marks
Studio Gracie Films
Distributed by TriStar Pictures
Release date(s) December 25, 1997 (1997-12-25)
Running time 139 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $50 million[1]
Gross revenue $314,178,011[1]

As Good as It Gets is a 1997 American romantic comedy drama film directed by James L. Brooks and produced by Laura Ziskin. It stars Jack Nicholson as a misanthropic, obsessive-compulsive novelist, Helen Hunt as a single mother with an asthmatic son, and Greg Kinnear as a homosexual artist. The screenplay was written by Mark Andrus and James L. Brooks.

The film was nominated for 7 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won the Academy Awards for Best Actor and Best Actress. It is the second film of the 1990s to win both of these awards, following The Silence of the Lambs in 1991, and is currently the last film to have won both acting categories. It is ranked 140th on Empire magazine's "The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time" list.[2]

Contents

Plot

Melvin Udall is a misanthrope who works at home as a best-selling romance novelist in New York. He suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder which, paired with his misanthropy, puts off the neighbors in his Manhattan apartment building and nearly everyone else with whom he comes into contact.

Melvin eats breakfast at the same table in the same restaurant every day using disposable plastic utensils he brings with him due to his pathological germophobia. He takes an interest in his waitress, Carol Connelly (Helen Hunt), the only server at the restaurant who can tolerate his demanding behavior.

One day, Melvin's neighbor, a gay artist named Simon Bishop (Greg Kinnear), is assaulted. Melvin is forced to take care of the artist's dog Verdell while Simon is in the hospital. Although he initially finds caring for the dog distasteful, Melvin becomes emotionally attached to Verdell as he simultaneously gains more attention from Carol. When Carol decides to get a job closer to Brooklyn so she can spend more time with her acutely asthmatic son (Jesse James), Melvin arranges to pay for her son's medical expenses, albeit for his own selfish reasons. Wary of owing Melvin for this gesture, Carol takes the train to his apartment in the middle of the night to tell him that she will not sleep with him.

In the meantime, Simon's assault and subsequent rehabilitation, coupled with the fact that Verdell seems to actually prefer Melvin, causes him to lose his creative muse. Having no medical insurance, mounting hospital bills and facing eviction from his apartment due to unpaid rent, his friends convince him that he should go to Baltimore and ask his estranged parents for money. However, in order to do this, Simon needs Melvin to drive. Melvin invites Carol to accompany them on the trip to lessen the awkwardness between the two men and so he can court Carol romantically. She reluctantly accepts the invitation and relationships among the three develop.

After returning to New York City, Carol tells Melvin that she doesn't want him in her life anymore. She later regrets her statement and calls him to apologize. The relationship between Melvin and Carol remains complicated until Simon, whom Melvin has allowed to move in with him until he can get a new apartment, convinces Melvin to declare his love for her at her apartment in Brooklyn, where the two realize the depth of their personal connection. The film ends with Melvin and Carol taking a walk together to buy fresh rolls at the corner bakery.

Primary cast

Soundtrack

As Good as It Gets
Soundtrack by Hans Zimmer and various artists
Released 13 January, 1998
Label Sony Records

The soundtrack features instrumental pieces composed by Hans Zimmer and songs by various artists.

Track listing

  1. "As Good as It Gets" (Hans Zimmer)
  2. "A Better Man" (Zimmer)
  3. "Humanity" (Zimmer)
  4. "Too Much Reality" (Zimmer)
  5. "1.2.3.4.5" (Zimmer)
  6. "Greatest Woman on Earth" (Zimmer)
  7. "Everything My Heart Desires" (Danielle Brisebois)
  8. "Under Stars" (Phil Roy)
  9. "My Only" (Danielle Brisebois)
  10. "For Sentimental Reasons (I Love You)" (Nat King Cole)
  11. "Hand on My Heart" (Judith Owen)
  12. "Climb on (A Back That's Strong)" (Shawn Colvin)
  13. "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" (Eric Idle)

Reception

The film received generally positive reviews from film critics and was nominated for and received many film awards, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture and a Golden Globe award for Best Picture-Music or Comedy. Review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes reports that 85% of professional critics have given the film a positive review based on 75 reviews.[3] Metacritic, a web site that evaluates films by averaging its overall critical response, gave the film a metascore of 67, signifying generally favorable reviews.[4] The film's two lead actors, Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt, both received Academy and Golden Globe awards for their performances. Chicago Reader film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote that what director James Brooks "Manages to do with (the characters) as they struggle mightily to connect with one another is funny, painful, beautiful, and basically truthful-a triumph for everyone involved."[5]

However, praise for the film was not uniform among critics. Roger Ebert gave the film three stars (out of four) and called the film a "compromise, a film that forces a smile onto material that doesn't wear one easily," writing that the film drew "back to story formulas," but had good dialog and performances.[6] Washington Post critic Desson Howe gave a generally negative review of the movie, writing that it "gets bogged down in sentimentality, while its wheels spin futilely in life-solving overdrive." [7]

As Good as It Gets was also a box office hit, opening at number three in the box office (behind Titanic and Tomorrow Never Dies) with $12.6 million,[8] and eventually earning over $148 million domestically and $314 million worldwide.[1] It is Jack Nicholson's second most lucrative film, behind Batman.[9]

Awards

Organizations

Organization Category Recipients and nominees Result
Academy Awards Best Actor in a Leading Role Jack Nicholson Won
Best Actress in a Leading Role Helen HuntWon
Best Actor in a Supporting Role Greg Kinnear Nominated
Best Editing Richard Marks Nominated
Best Picture James L. Brooks, Bridget Johnson and Kristi Zea Nominated
Best Original Score – Musical or Comedy Hans Zimmer Nominated
Best Screenplay – Original Mark Andrus and James L. Brooks Nominated
ALMA Awards Outstanding Actress in a Film Lupe Ontiveros Nominated
Chlotrudis Awards Best Actress in a Leading Role Helen Hunt Nominated
Czech Lions Best Foreign Language Film James L. BrooksNominated
GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Film – Wide ReleaseNominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Actor in a Leading Role – Musical or Comedy Jack NicholsonWon
Best Actress in a Leading Role – Musical or Comedy Helen HuntWon
Best Actor in a Supporting Role Greg KinnearNominated
Best Director James L. Brooks Nominated
Best Film – Musical or Comedy Won
Best Screenplay Mark Andrus and James L. BrooksNominated
MTV Movie Awards Best Performance – Female Helen HuntWon
Satellite Awards Best Actor in a Leading Role – Musical or Comedy Jack NicholsonWon
Best Actress in a Leading Role – Musical or Comedy Helen HuntWon
Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Musical or Comedy Cuba Gooding, Jr. Nominated
Greg KinnearNominated
Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Musical or Comedy Shirley Knight Nominated
Best Film – Musical or ComedyJames L. Brooks, Bridget Johnson and Kristi Zea Won

Guilds

Guild Category Recipients and nominees Result
American Cinema EditorsBest Edited FilmRichard Marks Nominated
Casting Society of AmericaBest Casting – Comedy FilmFrancine MaislerNominated
Directors Guild of America Outstanding Directing – Motion Pictures James L. Brooks Nominated
Motion Picture Sound Editors Best Sound Editing – Music (Domestic and Foreign)Nominated
Producers Guild of America Motion Picture Producer of the YearJames L. Brooks, Bridget Johnson and Kristi Zea Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Actor in a Leading Role Jack Nicholson Won
Outstanding Actor in a Supporting Role Greg KinnearNominated
Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role Helen HuntWon
Writers Guild of America Best Screenplay – Written Directly for the Screen Mark Andrus and James L. BrooksWon

References

  1. ^ a b c "Box office statistics for As Good As It Gets (1997)" Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  2. ^ "Empire Features". Empireonline.com. http://www.empireonline.com/500/71.asp. Retrieved 2009-10-17. 
  3. ^ Rotten Tomatoes Retrieved on January 11, 2010
  4. ^ Metacritic Retrieved on January 7, 2009
  5. ^ Chicago Reader review. Retrieved on January 7, 2009
  6. ^ Roger Ebert review Retrieved on January 7, 2009
  7. ^ Washington Post review. Retrieved on January 7, 2009
  8. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for December 26–28, 1997". Box Office Mojo. http://boxofficemojo.com/weekend/chart/?yr=1997&wknd=52&p=.htm. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  9. ^ "Batman (1989)". Box Office Mojo. http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=batman.htm. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 

External links

Template:Obsessive–compulsive disorder








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