OCD and As Good As It Gets
As Good As It Gets [M], James L. Brooks’ film about a misanthropic, rude, yet brilliantly ascerbic OCD type won both Oscars and box office grosses when released in 1997, and it’s certainly one of Jack Nicholson’s top performances. It’s also part of Helen Hunt’s better work, given she dropped those grating mannerisms from TV’s Mad About You and focused on enlivening her character of a no-nonsense single mother who doesn’t quite understand why she’s attracted to a very rude writer.
Twilight Time’s limited Blu-ray’s out (sporting a bonus isolated Hans Zimmer score track), and the film’s definitely a time capsule of the comedy-drama’s evolution from smack-in-your-face rudeness and surreal hijinks to something more earnest and believable. I’d actually never seen the film before reviewing the BR – this, in spite of the massive attention it received in theatres and first home video debut – and I was pleasantly surprised it wasn’t as saccharine as I’d expected.
The writing’s quite solid, and there are some memorable exchanges of pure vitriol and ego, plus Hunt’s character holding her own against Nicholson’s cruel barbs. The OCD condition is central to the character being fallible (and he knows it). Part of his daily trials is making sure his routine remains sacrosanct inside and outside of his apartment, and it’s not dissimilar from trying to remain calm and ordered when a day’s quite dreadful; the chief difference is Nicholson’s character endures the challenges each and every day.
‘Nuff said. More reviews to follow.
And lastly: Launching today is The First Weekend Club, a clever plan by a CanCon-friendly group to “put as many bums as possible” in cinema seats across the nation so the opening weekend of a new local flick will get more than a perfunctory weekend release by its distributor before it’s dumped in favour of generic studio fodder.
The first screening in Toronto – The Whistleblower – sounds like a promising portent of a great interactive process between cinema patrons and filmmakers: there’s intro music, the screening, and a Q&A with director Larysa Kondracki via Skype, and producer Christina Piovesan in person. Cost is $12. Visit the above links for further info.
Also (still) new: an announcement of what CanCon’s coming in September to TIFF. And coming soon to the TIFF Bell Lightbox: another installment of Packaged Goods – The Art of the Edit – Wednesday August 22 at 7pm. To hear a Q&A with curator Rae Ann Fera about the prior sreening, Girls on Film, go here.