Good Will Hunting (1997)

Directed by Gus Van Sant
Written by Ben Affleck & Matt Damon
Starring Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Ben Affleck, Stellan Skarsgard, Minnie Driver

My Advice: Don't Miss It.

Although I missed too many movies to make a decent Top 10 of 1997, I can tell you that this at the top of my list right now.  Granted, I might find a surprise at the rental store in the coming months, but that's my story right now.  The most impressive thing regarding this story is that every time I prepared to wince as the movie could have taken a turn down an easy, formulaic, trite path--it turns out I should have had more faith, because it didn't do it.  For instance, how easy would it have been to let Robin reprise his character from Dead Poets Society or simply become the "Flashing Neon Robin" (TM) that we all know and love?  Nope, sorry.  Instead we get the type of honest performance that's been missing from recent Williams outings.  Damon and Affleck are living the words they wrote, and giving it everything they've got.  Especially brilliant are Damon's barroom verbal brawl with a Harvard intellectual and Affleck's role as Will's "chief negotiator."  In fine form as well are Driver and Skarsgard, although Cole Hauser and Casey Affleck are worth noting as well for their role as Will's "gorilla" compatriots.  To sum, this is the sort of honest and moving story that Hollywood doesn't put out much anymore.  We at will be watching Damon and Affleck very closely.  Well done, gentlemen.

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