Matt’s Movies: Netflix Nook


Matt Chouinard, Film Critic

Good Will Hunting (5 out of 5 Stars)

Released in 1997, Good Will Hunting is an example of just how captivating a simple story can be. Matt Damon is awesome in the lead role of Will Hunting, a man who is the smartest person in any room, but is content going through life working blue collar jobs with his childhood buddies (Ben Affleck and Casey Affleck). With the help of a new love interest, Skyler (Minnie Driver), and a shrink, Sean (Robin Williams), that he is being forced to see as part of a court punishment he begins to find his way in the world.

The story is a simple one about real people in real life situations, and it is carried by its incredible acting performances. Nearly everyone in the movie delivers a career best performance including Matt Damon, Minnie Driver, and Robin Williams who provides a thoroughly engaging performance that rises about the talented rest. Williams provides his best performance and is a joy to watch as the shrink that is tasked with breaking through to Will and getting him on the right track in life. The story is relatable and the dialogue is enjoyable, but above all the film creates a situation where you can simply sit back and watch acting at its best. Everyone should enjoy this funny, emotional, serious, and heartfelt story.

Rain Man (5 out of 5 Stars)

Released in 1988, Rain Man is a simple, yet captivating, story of brothers venturing out on an adventure that will bring them together. Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) never knew he had a brother until his father dies and leaves his inheritance to him. Raymond Babbitt (Dustin Hoffman) is an autistic savant who has been living in an institution for most of his life until Charlie comes looking for his inheritance. Frustrated, Charlie kidnaps Ray and bringing him out into the world with him. What begins as an angry action turns into a bonding opportunity as the two brothers eventually begin to bond.

This film is centered on two performances, and it really succeeds. Dustin Hoffman gives the performance of a lifetime as the autistic brother. His mannerisms and actions are quite convincing and his character evokes a great deal of empathy from the audience. Tom Cruise provides the perfect foil as Charlie, a man who is pretty much a jerk. He is a character that also evokes emotion from the viewer, with audiences despising him in the beginning, which is a testament to Cruise’s great performance. He undergoes a huge amount of character growth over the course of the story though, eventually growing to love and care for his autistic brother. Cruise and Hoffman play off each other with great chemistry and timing, creating both humorous and heartfelt scenes of interaction. Everyone should enjoy the wonderful performances on display in this intimate story about family.

Pulp Fiction (4 out of 5 Stars)

Released in 1994, Pulp Fiction is stylized violence at its best, with Quentin Tarantino doing a masterful job directing this pop culture classic. This non-sequential story follows lives of two mob hit men (Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta), a boxer (Bruce Willis), a gangster’s wife( Uma Thurman), and a pair of diner bandits (Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer) as their paths cross over the course of this violent, but highly entertaining story.

The best quality of this film is the script, written by Quentin Tarantino as well. The dialogue is very witty and enjoyable, with characters conversing constantly throughout the story regarding topics that are highly original. The acting in this film is also great, with Samuel L. Jackson giving the performance of his career as a religious hit man for the mob. He creates a layered character that is a joy to watch every moment that he is onscreen. John Travolta and Bruce Willis also give quality performances in their roles, helping carry their weight of the story. The film’s violence can be a turnoff to some Tarantino critics, but it is overall his most widely liked movie, possessing a great deal of flair and style.

Forrest Gump (4 out of 5 Stars)

Released in 1994, Forrest Gump is the story of a simple man (Tom Hanks) who leads an extraordinary life, finding his way into many of history’s notable events during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Growing up in Alabama with his mother (Sally Field), Forrest meets and befriends a girl named Jenny (Robin Wright). He falls in love almost immediately and spends the rest of his life chasing the girl of his dreams.

Forrest Gump is a splendid tale of a character audiences will fall in love in from the very beginning. Forrest is not the smartest person by any stretch, but he is very friendly and has a great heart. Tom Hanks delivers a career best performance, capturing the lovable nature of the character perfectly, and is an absolute pleasure to watch carry the story from beginning to end. The entirety of the story successfully revolves around Hanks, but strong supporting efforts are given by Sally Field and Gary Sinise as well that help elevate the quality of the film even higher. The story isn’t as strong as the acting, but it is heartfelt and possesses extremely quotable dialogue. It is a lighthearted venture that should be enjoyed by everyone, especially fans of Tom Hanks.