As Good as It Gets
|As Good as It Gets|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||James L. Brooks|
|Produced by||James L. Brooks
|Screenplay by||Mark Andrus
James L. Brooks
|Story by||Mark Andrus|
Cuba Gooding, Jr.
|Music by||Hans Zimmer|
|Edited by||Richard Marks|
|Distributed by||TriStar Pictures|
As Good as It Gets is a 1997 American romantic comedy film directed by James L. Brooks and produced by Laura Ziskin. It stars Jack Nicholson as a misanthropic, racist, obsessive-compulsive novelist, Helen Hunt as a single mother with a chronically ill son, and Greg Kinnear as a gay artist. The screenplay was written by Mark Andrus and James L. Brooks. The paintings were created for the film by New York artist Billy Sullivan, whose work is part of the modern art collection at NYC's Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New Orleans Museum of Art.
Nicholson and Hunt won the Academy Award for Best Actor and Best Actress, respectively, making As Good As It Gets the most-recent film to win both of the lead acting awards, and the first since 1991's The Silence of the Lambs. It is ranked 140th on Empire magazine's "The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time" list.
Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson) is a 60 year old misanthrope who works at home as a best-selling novelist in New York City working on his 62nd book. He suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder which, paired with his misanthropy, alienates nearly everyone with whom he interacts. He avoids stepping on sidewalk cracks while walking through the city due to a superstition of bad luck, and eats breakfast at the same table in the same restaurant every day using disposable plastic utensils he brings with him due to his pathological fear of germs. He takes an interest in his waitress, Carol Connelly (Helen Hunt), the only server at the restaurant who can tolerate his behavior.
One day, Melvin's apartment neighbor, a gay artist named Simon Bishop (Greg Kinnear), is assaulted and nearly killed during a robbery. Melvin is intimidated by Simon's agent, Frank Sachs (Cuba Gooding, Jr.), into caring for Simon's dog, Verdell, while Simon is hospitalized. Although he initially does not enjoy caring for the dog, Melvin becomes emotionally attached to it. He simultaneously receives more attention from Carol. When Simon is released from the hospital, Melvin is unable to cope emotionally with returning the dog. Melvin's life is further altered when Carol decides to work closer to her home in Brooklyn so she can care for her acutely asthmatic son Spence (Jesse James). Unable to adjust to another waitress, Melvin arranges through his publisher (Linda Gehringer) whose husband is a doctor (Harold Ramis) to pay for her son's considerable medical expenses as long as Carol agrees to return to work. She is overwhelmed at his generosity, and they agree there will be no physical relationship.
Meanwhile, Simon's assault and rehabilitation, coupled with Verdell's preference for Melvin, causes Simon to lose his creative muse. Simon is approaching bankruptcy due to his medical bills. Frank convinces him to go to Baltimore to ask his estranged parents for money. Because Frank is too busy to take the injured Simon to Baltimore himself, Melvin reluctantly agrees to do so; Frank lends Melvin the use of his Saab 900 convertible for the trip. Melvin invites Carol to accompany them on the trip to lessen the awkwardness. She reluctantly accepts the invitation, and relationships among the three develop.
Once in Baltimore, Carol persuades Melvin to take her out to have dinner. Melvin's comments during the dinner greatly flatter—and subsequently upset—Carol, and she abruptly leaves. Upon seeing the frustrated Carol, Simon begins to sketch her semi-nude in his hotel room and rekindles his creativity, once more feeling a desire to paint. He briefly reconnects with his parents, but is able to tell them that he'll be fine.
After returning to New York, Carol tells Melvin that she does not want him in her life anymore. She later regrets her statement and calls him to apologize. The relationship between Melvin and Carol remains complicated until Simon (who Melvin has allowed to move in with him until he can fully heal from his injuries and get a new apartment) convinces Melvin to declare his love for her. Melvin goes to see Carol, who is hesitant, but agrees to try and establish a relationship with him. The film ends with Melvin and Carol walking together. As he opens a door at an early morning pastry shop for Carol, he realizes that he has stepped on a crack in the pavement.
- Jack Nicholson as Melvin Udall
- Helen Hunt as Carol Connelly
- Greg Kinnear as Simon Bishop
- Jill the dog as Verdell
- Cuba Gooding, Jr. as Frank Sachs
- Julie Benz as Receptionist
- Shirley Knight as Beverly Connelly
- Jesse James as Spencer "Spence" Connelly
- Skeet Ulrich as Vincent Lopiano
- Yeardley Smith as Jackie Simpson
- Lupe Ontiveros as Nora Manning
- Harold Ramis as Dr. Martin Bettes
- Lawrence Kasdan as Dr. Green
- Brian Doyle-Murray as Handyman
- Shane Black as Café 24 Manager
- Peter Jacobson as Man at Table
- Lisa Edelstein as Woman at Table
- Peter Jacobson as Man at Table
- Danielle Spencer as Veterinarian
- Kathryn Morris as Mental Patient
- Tom McGowan as Maitre D'
- Bibi Osterwald as Neighbor Woman
- Jamie Kennedy as Robber
- Maya Rudolph as Policewoman
|As Good as It Gets|
|Soundtrack album by Hans Zimmer and various artists|
|Released||January 13, 1998|
The soundtrack features instrumental pieces composed by Hans Zimmer and songs by various artists.
- "As Good as It Gets" – Zimmer
- "A Better Man" – Zimmer
- "Humanity" – Zimmer
- "Too Much Reality" – Zimmer
- "188.8.131.52.5" – Zimmer
- "Greatest Woman on Earth" – Zimmer
- "Everything My Heart Desires" – Danielle Brisebois
- "Under Stars" – Phil Roy
- "My Only" – Danielle Brisebois
- "For Sentimental Reasons (I Love You)" – Nat King Cole
- "Hand on My Heart" – Judith Owen
- "Climb on (A Back That's Strong)" – Shawn Colvin
- "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" – Eric Idle
Review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes reports that 86% of professional critics gave the film a positive review based on 76 reviews. Metacritic, a web site that evaluates films by averaging their overall critical response, gave the film a metascore of 67, signifying generally favorable reviews. The film's two lead actors, Nicholson and Hunt, both received Academy and Golden Globe awards for their performances. Chicago Reader film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote that what director James Brooks "Manages to do with (the characters) as they struggle mightily to connect with one another is funny, painful, beautiful, and basically truthful-a triumph for everyone involved."
However, praise for the film was not uniform among critics. While Roger Ebert gave the film three stars (out of four), he called the film a "compromise, a film that forces a smile onto material that doesn't wear one easily," writing that the film drew "back to story formulas," but had good dialog and performances. Washington Post critic Desson Howe gave a generally negative review of the movie, writing that it "gets bogged down in sentimentality, while its wheels spin futilely in life-solving overdrive."
The film received generally positive reviews from critics and was nominated for and received many film awards, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture and a Golden Globe award for Best Picture-Music or Comedy.
As Good as It Gets was also a box office hit, opening at number three at the box office (behind Titanic and Tomorrow Never Dies) with $12.6 million, and eventually earning over $148 million domestically and $314 million worldwide. It is Jack Nicholson's second most lucrative film, behind Batman.
Awards and honors
|Guild||Category||Recipients and nominees||Result|
|American Cinema Editors||Best Edited Film||Richard Marks||Nominated|
|Casting Society of America||Best Casting – Comedy Film||Francine Maisler||Nominated|
|Directors Guild of America||Outstanding Directing – Motion Pictures||James L. Brooks||Nominated|
|Motion Picture Sound Editors||Best Sound Editing – Music (Domestic and Foreign)||Nominated|
|Producers Guild of America||Motion Picture Producer of the Year||James L. Brooks, Bridget Johnson and Kristi Zea||Nominated|
|Screen Actors Guild||Outstanding Actor in a Leading Role||Jack Nicholson||Won|
|Outstanding Actor in a Supporting Role||Greg Kinnear||Nominated|
|Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role||Helen Hunt||Won|
|Writers Guild of America||Best Screenplay – Written Directly for the Screen||Mark Andrus and James L. Brooks||Won|
- "Box office statistics for As Good As It Gets (1997)" Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
- "Empire Features". Empire. Retrieved October 17, 2009.
- Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 11, 2010
- Metacritic. Retrieved January 7, 2009
- Chicago Reader review. Retrieved January 7, 2009
- Roger Ebert review. Retrieved January 7, 2009
- Washington Post review. Retrieved January 7, 2009
- "Weekend Box Office Results for December 26–28, 1997". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 6, 2009.
- "Batman (1989)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on June 11, 2009. Retrieved July 6, 2009.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: As Good as It Gets|
- As Good as It Gets at the Internet Movie Database
- As Good as It Gets at the TCM Movie Database
- As Good as It Gets at AllMovie
- As Good as It Gets at the American Film Institute Catalog
- As Good as It Gets at Box Office Mojo
- As Good as It Gets at Rotten Tomatoes
- As Good as It Gets at Metacritic
- As Good as It Gets at The New York Times
- As Good as It Gets soundtrack review at AllMusic
The Silence of the Lambs
|Academy Award winner for Best Actor and Best Actress||Succeeded by
No film has achieved this since