|As Good as It Gets|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||James L. Brooks|
|Story by||Mark Andrus|
|Music by||Hans Zimmer|
|Edited by||Richard Marks|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Releasing|
|Box office||$314.1 million|
As Good as It Gets is a 1997 American romantic comedy film directed by James L. Brooks, who co-wrote it with Mark Andrus. The film stars Jack Nicholson as a misanthropic and obsessive-compulsive novelist, Helen Hunt as a single mother with a chronically ill son, and Greg Kinnear as an artist who is gay. The paintings were created for the film by New York artist Billy Sullivan. The film was released in theaters on December 23, 1997, and was a box office hit, grossing $314.1 million on a $50 million budget.
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 was also nominated for Best Picture but ultimately lost to Titanic. It is ranked 140th on Empire magazine's "The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time" list.
Melvin Udall is a misanthropic best-selling romance novelist in New York City, whose obsessive-compulsive disorder has him avoiding stepping on sidewalk cracks while walking through the city, and eating breakfast at the same table in the same restaurant every day. He takes an interest in his waitress, Carol Connelly, the only server at the restaurant who can tolerate his uncouth behavior.
One day, Simon Bishop, a gay artist who is Melvin's apartment neighbor, is assaulted and nearly killed during a robbery. Melvin is intimidated by Simon's agent, Frank Sachs, 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 Spencer. Unable to adjust to a different waitress, Melvin arranges through his publisher (whose husband is a doctor) to pay for her son's considerable medical expenses as long as Carol agrees to return to work. She is overwhelmed but skeptical of his generosity.
Meanwhile, Simon's assault and rehabilitation, coupled with Verdell's preference for Melvin, causes Simon to lose his creative muse and fall into a depression. With no medical insurance, he is approaching bankruptcy due to his medical bills. Frank persuades him to go to Baltimore to ask his estranged parents for money. Because Frank is too busy to take 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 Carol, who is frustrated, Simon begins to sketch her, semi-nude, in his hotel room, which rekindles his creativity, and he once more feels a desire to paint. He briefly reconnects with his parents, but is able to tell them that he will 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 to apologize. The relationship between Melvin and Carol remains complicated, until Simon (whom Melvin has allowed to move in with him, as he had to sell his apartment) persuades 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 the door at an early morning pastry shop for Carol, he realizes that he has stepped on a crack in the pavement, but does not seem to mind.
Owen Wilson served as associate producer, one of his first jobs in Hollywood.
|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. Zimmer's work was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Score - Musical or Comedy.
As Good as It Gets was 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 highest earning film, behind Batman.
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."
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 dialogue and performances.The Washington Post critic Desson Howe gave a generally negative review of the film, writing that it "gets bogged down in sentimentality, while its wheels spin futilely in life-solving overdrive."
Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 85% of professional critics gave the film a positive review based on 79 reviews, with its consensus stating: "James L. Brooks and Jack Nicholson, doing what they do best, combine smart dialogue and flawless acting to squeeze fresh entertainment value out of the romantic-comedy genre."Metacritic gave the film a score of 67 out of 100, based on reviews from 30 critics, indicating generally favorable reviews.
The film was nominated for and received many film awards, including Best Actor and Best Actress awards for Nicholson and Hunt at the 70th Academy Awards and the 55th Golden Globe Awards ceremony. It was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar and won Best Picture-Music or Comedy at the Golden Globes.
|Academy Awards||Best Picture||James L. Brooks, Bridget Johnson and Kristi Zea||Nominated|
|Best Actor||Jack Nicholson||Won|
|Best Actress||Helen Hunt||Won|
|Best Supporting Actor||Greg Kinnear||Nominated|
|Best Screenplay - Written Directly for the Screen||Mark Andrus and James L. Brooks||Nominated|
|Best Film Editing||Richard Marks||Nominated|
|Best Original Musical or Comedy Score||Hans Zimmer||Nominated|
|ALMA Awards||Outstanding Actress in a Feature Film||Lupe Ontiveros||Nominated|
|American Cinema Editors Awards||Best Edited Feature Film||Richard Marks||Nominated|
|Casting Society of America||Best Casting for Feature Film - Comedy||Francine Maisler||Nominated|
|Critics' Choice Awards||Best Picture||As Good as It Gets||Nominated|
|Best Actor||Jack Nicholson||Won|
|Czech Lion Awards||Best Foreign Language Film||James L. Brooks||Nominated|
|Directors Guild of America Awards||Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures||Nominated|
|GLAAD Media Awards||Outstanding Film - Wide Release||As Good as It Gets||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Awards||Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy||Won|
|Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy||Jack Nicholson||Won|
|Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy||Helen Hunt||Won|
|Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture||Greg Kinnear||Nominated|
|Best Director - Motion Picture||James L. Brooks||Nominated|
|Best Screenplay - Motion Picture||Mark Andrus and James L. Brooks||Nominated|
|Golden Reel Awards||Best Sound Editing - Music (Domestic and Foreign)||Zigmund Gron||Nominated|
|MTV Movie Awards||Best Female Performance||Helen Hunt||Nominated|
|National Board of Review Awards||Top Ten Films||As Good as It Gets||Won|
|Best Actor||Jack Nicholson||Won|
|Best Supporting Actor||Greg Kinnear||Won|
|Producers Guild of America Awards||Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures||James L. Brooks, Bridget Johnson and Kristi Zea||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards||Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy||As Good as It Gets||Won|
|Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical||Jack Nicholson||Won|
|Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical||Helen Hunt||Won|
|Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical||Cuba Gooding Jr.||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical||Shirley Knight||Nominated|
|Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role||Jack Nicholson||Won|
|Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role||Helen Hunt||Won|
|Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role||Greg Kinnear||Nominated|
|Writers Guild of America Awards||Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen||Mark Andrus and James L. Brooks||Won|