As Good as It Gets

Melvin Udall: Never, never, interrupt me, okay? Not if there’s a fire, not even if you hear the sound of a thud from my home and one week later there’s a smell coming from there that can only be a decaying human body and you have to hold a hanky to your face because the stench is so thick that you think you’re going to faint. Even then, don’t come knocking. Or, if it’s election night, and you’re excited and you wanna celebrate because some fudgepacker that you date has been elected the first queer president of the United States and he’s going to have you down to Camp David, and you want someone to share the moment with. Even then, don’t knock. Not on this door. Not for ANY reason. Do you get me, sweetheart?

Jack Nicholson

Helen Hunt

Greg Kinnear

Cuba Gooding Jr.

Skeet Ulrich

As Good as It Gets really is as good as it gets. What a wonderful story this film shares between three central characters who are all extremely different. As you can see on the cover picture the legend himself Jack Nicholson stars in this romantic comedy that is incredibly unique.

It all starts with a single mother/waitress, a gay artist, and a author with a strong case of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). If you are a Nicholson fan (and really who isn’t?) you can imagine how many scenes he absolutely owns on the screen with this case of OCD. Another “character” worth mentioning is Verdell the smartest little dog you will ever see. Verdell just seems to connect everything in ways only a little cute dog can.

The story kicks off with Nicholson and his daily routines that you would expect from a man with OCD. Things are systematic and obsessively clean. Nicholsons character does not like to be bothered, and being that he’s an author he really focuses on ways to get his juices flowing. Throughout this process of expected peace, he gets a rude awakening from his gay neighbor played by the talented Greg Kinnear. It’s obvious Nicholson’s character does not EVER want to be bothered, but throughout his journey in this film he is transformed by not only his gay neighbor but a waitress and single mother he sees on a daily basis at the restaurant she works in. Interestingly enough she is the only person that can handle Nicholson’s character. You have to remember this is a man with no emotion, with OCD, and to put it lightly no sense of manners. The waitress role is played by the wonderful Helen Hunt.

This interesting process of transforming Nicholson’s character into a more “earthly” figure heavily involves these two individuals. This is one of the only movies I have seen where three central characters truly make the script pop.

The incredible Jack Nicholson plays Melvin Udall the OCD heartless human being who just wants to be left alone! Notice his sanitary efforts in the picture. Nicholson did grab the Oscar for best actor for this film, and I couldn’t be more happier for him. This role is picture perfect Jack and I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing this role to perfection. As the movie begins you quickly tend to feel like Udall has no heart, no compassion, and no real feelings that normal human beings have. As the script progresses you see his character transform into this lovable person who starts to understand what life is all about. His communication with others progresses, and his romance with Helen Hunt’s character blossoms. It’s almost like watching an incomplete man close in all the gaps. It’s an intriguing journey that will make you laugh, frown, and feel every other emotion in between.  If you are a Jack Nicholson fan and this movie somehow slipped your list, take a few steps back and watch this masterpiece.

Helen Hunt plays the lovable Carol Connelly. Hunt’s character is genuinely a good person at heart. She has a son who struggles with an ailment and knows that financially she has to work to keep her son protected. Hunt also won an Oscar for this film in the lead actress role. Clearly two Oscars in the leading roles is self explanatory of how great the chemistry is between Hunt and Nicholson throughout the film. Carol Connelly is the key character that changes the life of Melvin Udall. Melvin feels a sense of connection to Carol, and goes as far as to help her financially so her child is safe and getting the proper attention medically. As I mentioned earlier for a man with no feelings and sense of compassion this move was completely out of the ordinary for Udall. As the script progresses Melvin and Carol start to bring in the romance and chemistry straight to the screen. These two have numerous amounts of memorable scenes, and the main ones being at a restaurant on a trip the trio takes. A wonderful performance from Hunt that deserved an Oscar nod.

Greg Kinnear plays Simon Bishop a gay artist that lives next door to Melvin Udall. Simon similar to Carol is a very nice guy that means no harm, but at the same time can’t stand the rudeness Udall possesses. During the film Simon’s dog Verdell works as a connection to bridging the gap between Udall and Bishop. This particular relationship is what makes the film so unique. These two characters can’t be more different yet in a very odd way change each other for the better. Udall throws in the gay jokes, and is very blunt towards Simon’s way of life. It goes on to show you, never judge a book by its cover. The world has an abundance of unique human beings and in this film you meet three wildly unique and relateable individuals who work together to form a unexpected bond. Kinnear was nominated for an Oscar but unfortunately did not win it, and most As Good as It Gets fans wanted to see that trifecta happen.

Other fantastic performances outside of the three central characters come from Cuba Gooding Jr. and Skeet Ulrich who both in the limited time given leave a great impact on the film.

As Good as It Gets is different, it’s not for every moviegoer but those that are hesitant to see it shouldn’t be. The central message is applicable to everyone, and after watching this unique film you will feel like learning more about others before judging them.

My 1-10 scale = 9

Melvin Udall: Judging from your eyes, I’d say you were fifty.
Carol Connelly: Judging from your eyes, I’d say you were kind, so so much for eyes.

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