The limits of rhetoric

Image: Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting

Had a little think. If I don’t share something of what has come back, it’s a wall that blocks something that might be interesting or useful to you to read. I’ll keep the personal (speculation and feelingsbomb) thoughts out, and make it a review of sorts. Yes, they inform it, of course. Can see where it came from, a few things you shared. Disclaimer though, you’re not Matt Damon the actor, or WH, or RW, and I’m not x y z it’s not so neat and MD is a dickbag.

Good Will Hunting is a thumbs down movie for me, and always has been. I didn’t watch it again, no way. Heavy-handed, and features two of my least favourite actors – Matt Damon and Minnie Driver. Him, a genius? Give me a break.

Matt Damon and Minnie Driver are two of my least favourite actors. Was she in Team America? Should have been

The thing about “living up to your potential” (by others’ markers) grates on me, always has. When it comes from within, on one’s own terms, it’s powerful stuff.

I read Williams’ speeches in quotes from the movie, refreshing my memory, and they are typical Hollywood speeches, rhetoric performance. Robin Williams, for all his roles of wise wounded healer, is dead by his own hand. He was so good at those roles (Dead Poets’ Fisher King, Awakenings etc), because he knew, those eyes had so much in them, and yet on some level they fail, not only because he is dead, but because they’re scripted performances made by Americans who don’t understand much, and who are in a money-making venture, harping on all the emotions complete with music. I can imagine he died a bit inside every time he did one. Imagine drawing on real stuff and Damon high fiving him after a great take and primping in the trailer? No-one seeing Williams? Him hiding it? It swimming around in the humour hiding from itself? I can.

That’s a stretch, I know. He was never diagnosed with anything, just drew on stuff from manic to depressive and had substance abuse issues. He got it, is what I’m saying, and in moments, he would have felt it all keenly. Killing himself was other factors added on, by the sounds of things. Posthumous diagnosis shits me to tears, just leave your dumb frameworks out of the past and don’t try to legitimise them retrospectively by adding Van Gogh and others to the roster.

Therapists annoy me, too, in movies. That is not how they work, at all. Interestingly the way Robin Williams’ character ends up working with Will, as equals, both with a lot of shit to throw at each other and trust to build was the one good element of that movie, but also seriously dramatised. Therapists are firmly behind their walls, and disclose crumbs, on purpose.

Minnie Driver and Matt Damon, hell no. Heading off into the sunset to “live life” with “love” (infatuation, someone you just met in a bar) leaving a great university town and your home behind because you had a couple of vulnerable moments with a therapist? So she can change him further into a success because he’s been nagged by everyone and that will work out? Nonsense. His fears aren’t of smelling things, or because of his genius, and take time to work through.

How about you try Prozac, honey?

Not touching on the grains of truth and parallels, I’m not that much of a stupid genius.

Williams, though. Tragic, shitty. Haven’t watched any of his films since he died, not on purpose, just haven’t wanted to.

Thumbs down from me.