As Good As It Gets (1997)

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Don’t be pessimistic.  It’s not your style.” -Melvin Udall.

As Good As It Gets is an Oscar winning movie that is the next film in the Social Distancing Binge-A-Thon starring Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt. It features another character whose life is all about social distancing.

Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson) is a famous recluse author with obsessive compulsive disorder and plenty of bigoted tendencies.  When his gay neighbor Simon (Greg Kinnear) gets beaten up, Melvin had to dog sit and forms a connection with the dog.  Meanwhile, Melvin’s OCD insists that he is served breakfast by the same waitress, Carol (Helen Hunt) and when he son becomes sick, her absence drives Melvin to do some uncharacteristic things.

I really like this movie.  I find it really charming and it has a ton of heart.  Nicholson and Kinnear are amazing and their developing relationship is one of the film’s best parts.  The writing is extremely smart and witty.  There are a lot of great things in As Good As It Gets.

There is one problem with the movie is the relationship between Melvin and Carol.  In the end, they wind up together, but I just cannot see why she would agree to enter a relationship with him.  Yes, he helped her son, but that is not the basis for a long term relationship.  He is such a rotten person, and, yes, he has troubles, but I find it hard to accept that he would make as much of a change as the movie implies.   I also kept thinking about the age difference between these two. I think it was meant to be closer than what it actually was, but I could not get it out of my mind.

If you can get past that, there is a whole lot to love in this movie.


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