0898: My Own Private Idaho (1991)

My Own Private Idaho.jpg

Rating: 2.5/10

You might understand this movie, but I sure as hell don’t. It feels disjointed, weird, and super pretentious. It also doesn’t seem to know what kind of film it wants to be. Much of it is trying to be arthouse as it shows scenes that might not seem to have anything to do with the surface of the story, like dark clouds before a storm suddenly before cutting back to the action, and this is meant to be metaphorical, but I’m not sure it really pulls it off. It also has moments that’s meant to show how mystical it is to be a male hooker or something. There’s parts when people are talking and acting like they’re in a Shakespearean play. Other scenes are trying to be “slice of life” showing people as they are. It’s all over the place in tone and legitimately feels like this movie is on drugs.

Our main character is a narcoleptic who is also a prostitute. At some point, he and his best friend, Keanu Reeves, who is also a hooker, decide to find his mom. It’s a road movie, which usually follows a formula: go from place to place, meet interesting people, solve problems as you go, learn about yourself, etc. This does those things but it does it in such a pretentious way that it just takes me right out of the movie. The people in this movie don’t act like people, for the most part.

I feel everyone involved in this movie was only there because they thought they would get an Oscar. They were probably right, I don’t care enough to look it up. The problem with movies like that is that it takes all the actual character out of it and replaces it all with melodrama. Melodrama belongs in soap operas and stage plays because it works on stage, I don’t know why it’s less effective on the big screen. Melodrama used to be a big thing in movies back in the 30s though but that time has passed…except when the Oscars roll around again every year. Hopefully this is a fading thing and we’ll eventually learn to get passed it but who knows.

There’s only one scene I really liked in this movie, the two main characters get involved with a gang of thieves who have this convoluted plan that shouldn’t work in real life but does and then the main characters trick them with another convoluted plan that shouldn’t work in real life but does, and this is also one of the Shakespearean acting scenes which I don’t like anywhere else in the movie, but here it all kind of makes the scene work. Reminds me of the likes of Clockwork Orange or something else that’s both classy yet twisted.

Why you should watch it before you die: Because you’re really into arthouse films, if you are you should watch it, come back here, and explain to me why this movie is good. Of course, then I’d probably just argue with you why you’re wrong…


+3: Rather watch Forbidden Planet again than this

+1: For the one good scene (I’m being super generous…)

-.5: Too much melodrama

-1: inconsistant tone throughout

2 thoughts on “0898: My Own Private Idaho (1991)

  1. It’s a mess but in a good way. Van Sant perhaps could have made 2 or 3 movies from the concepts here. Adding Shakespeare is either genius or a pretentious waste of time. Still, has some good moments and I’d have given it a 7.

    Liked by 1 person

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