Sunday, May 15, 2016

As Good As It Gets - Thoughts

I finally got around to seeing "As Good As It Gets" on TV. Thought I'd put down some thoughts while the afterglow lasts.

  1. "And the fact that I get it makes me feel good, about me." This, and then there's another exchange when Melvin is strong-arming Carol into accompanying him on the trip to Baltimore: "You're saying accepting your help obligates me?"-"Is there any other way to see it?". And there are other scenes that I can't remember now. What I like about all these exchanges is how the movie is very comfortable in its skin about love, and kindness, ultimately being about one's own self and ego, no matter how much we want to say, or think or feel, that it's about the other person, or that it's about being selfless. There's an acceptance of our "self-centred-ness" in relationships that's  very grown-up, world weary, tolerant, lighthearted and refreshing.
  2. "It's very weird now not feeling that stupid panic feeling inside me all the time. Without that, I just start thinking about myself, and what good does that ever get anybody?" This is what makes one fall in love with Carol. Because she puts in words the guilt that all of us, in the midst of routines and responsibilities, feel on a daily basis.
  3. Melvin's squeamishness when people are genuinely grateful to him, and also how he doesn't take advantage of certain situations, like when he doesn't let on to Carol that he's asked for Simon's things to be moved into his apartment even though it would help him score brownie points with Carol. There's something gentlemanly in his character which is otherwise curmudgeonly.
  4. Carol waving to Spence from the bus. Carol calling Spence as soon as she gets to Baltimore. You can see the pensiveness and anxiety that comes from having to care for someone who's totally dependent on you. And then, when she hears that Spence was playing soccer and scored a goal, she becomes a butterfly who wants to go dancing.
  5. The fluidity of the narrative and the natural ease with which one scene melts into the next. Great screenplay.
  6. "Well, here's a little suitcase shocked that it's being used." ... "There's no way to pack for this trip." ... "Nice packing" As someone who's had to go on multiple unforeseen trips accompanied by last minute packing, and also as someone who's had to to lug suitcases down from the loft not just for myself but for the whole family because I was the tallest, these one-liners brought a smile to my face. But then, the movie is full of great dialogue.
  7. Excellent acting from everyone in the movie. Nicholson and Hunt are downright brilliant. Their Oscar wins were well deserved.
I don't think I'll be able to do justice to the movie given that it's 6 AM and my insomnia is finally wearing off. I will see if I can write a Part Two, although it seems highly unlikely given how rarely I post here.

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