I am a huge GVS fan. I have seen Milk and loved it. More in the line of Good Will Hunting rather than Elephant.
My favorite of his films are Elephant and Paranoid Park. And I totally understand where people are coming from with the whole “It’s over indulgent” feeling. But I like it.
And I thought the middle section of Paranoid Park is one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen
Everytime I hear the name Gus Van Sant I think of that house falling from the sky.
I mean that in a positive light.
Elephant is his masterpiece.
I want to see Gerry, is that really wrong?
I like his work. He is a truly gifted filmmaker.
But I grow tired of his gay themed storylines using post pubescent boys. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
Double post. Sorry
Not a GVS fan. I think he did a few outstanding films like Elephant, but a lot of his work is totally overrated.
Psycho, let’s not even get into it.
Finding Forrester, is so damn boring.
Then the dude got into portraying these androgenous kids, with white skin and blond hair… i dunno…
Good will is a decent film.
I have some expectations with Milk too
I haven’t watched a ton of Gus Van Sant films, but I love Drugstore Cowboy, and I really like My Own Private Idaho. However, Elephant is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. It seems like he can be pretty hit or miss, but what I’ve seen I liked enough to give any of his films a shot.
I love GVS, though I did not feel this way until I saw Gerry. That’s a film that gets a bad rap because it’s so different from the kind of films people are used to seeing – I don’t mean some kind of Hollywood vs Indie dichotomy, either. It’s more the difference between classical narrative filmmaking of all kinds and experimental film, especially the “landscape” films of James Benning, for example. I love Hollywood films and quirky independent films and classics and B movies and everything, but watching Gerry or Last Days is a truly rare experience. I’ve had a similar response to Bela Tarr’s work; the experience of watching/reading a film becomes new again when viewing the extremely long shots of these films. We are so used to constructing meaning from montage when viewing a film (or television) that its lack is frustrating at first, as we impatiently wait for the decisive, specific, framing information of the cut to arrive; when it does not, and does not, and does not we begin to realize that it is our own experience that is the subject of the film. In Gerry, particularly, the character’s/s’ crisis is magnified a thousandfold by our own experience of the relentless, savage beauty of the desert and the long march through it; rather than our own experience being one of movement from the point A to point B of shots and scenes, expecting at all times the deliverance and resolution of FIN, instead we, like the Gerrys, discover a kind of infinitesimal eternity of motion without resolution, of motion for its own sake, of time on a geologic scale, cruel, indifferent, eternal. It’s a masterpiece, y’all.
Am 35 and been watching movies all my life in a serious and analytical fashion. Been exposed to European and Far Eastern work as well but I can confidently tell you all that Gerry is my favourite movie of all time! Thoroughly enjoyed every second of it and would watch it again any day. Same natural delivery with Last Days. One’s on this voyage with GVS right after the first few seconds which has its own rules and language, and the cineme/reality barrier is often challenged ever so subtly. Every time the scene starts feeling like forever, the audience is once again reminded of the lack of commercial worries in Gus’ creative process. An admirable and rather rare quality in a director in my view.
His mainstream works To Die For and Good Will Hunting are solid too which is to me the clearest proof of his allroundedness.
In the same league as Kubrick and I hope he’ll have another few decades of productive filmmaking. It feels his voracious mind is yet to give us some more cutting edge works of art in the near future and I am eagerly awaiting them.
I think Gerry is incredible. One of the finest films about losing your mind.
He should have been tarred and feathered for his Psycho remake though
“Not a GVS fan. I think he did a few outstanding films like Elephant, but a lot of his work is totally overrated.”
This makes no sense. its totally overrated, yet you stick up for his highest rated film?
I’ve enjoyed all of his films that I’ve seen, especially Elephant and Drugstore Cowboy. I’m a huge fan of long takes, and he does them especially well, in my opinion. Gerry wasn’t what I’d call great, but I found it watchable, though I doubt if I’ll ever need to watch it again. It was great in that it put Casey Affleck on my radar. He is excellent in Gone Baby Gone, I think. Even his big brother showed some chops in that one (Of course, he was behind the camera. I’m thinking he should stay there).
My brother in law was walking on a dune, got lost, and lost his shoes, then had to wander around for hours until he found the road. When he told me about that, I couldn’t stop thinking about Gerry.
Private Idaho was my first van sant experience and i still enjoy it. also one of river phoenix’s best roles.
I like how Van Sant leaves so much of the interpretation to the viewer, and how in watching a Van Sant film, I feel like I’ve completely entered the atmosphere and mind of the characters. I personally love the dream-like quality of his films like Elephant and Paranoid Park; also greatly looking forward to Milk
Not a fan of Gus Van Sant. However, I will still go and see Milk.
I love Van Sant. I would argue his worst movies are Paranoid Park and Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. Even though I enjoyed Cowgirls. My Own Private Idaho, Drugstore Cowboy, To Die For, Good Will Hunting, Elephant, Milk are all brilliant.
Gerry IS a good movie. I think he missed something with Paranoid Park, his direction was supurb as was the cinematography but his non-actors were AWFUL and the storyline wasn’t there. A nice effort but a miss.
I’m looking forward to his adaptation of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.
Elephant should be his best yet followed by Milk, good will hunting and private Idaho
paranoid park and last days are awful
I haven’t seen Milk yet. Saw Paranoid Park last week and hated it. I love Drugstore Cowboy and To Die For. Found Gerry impossible to get thru and disliked Elephant and Last Days. I do admire him for not making safe films but this doesn’t always mean good films. Years ago I was at a free advance screening for Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. By the half way point only a handfyul of people remained. Terrible movie but given the source material it should never have been made into a film.
There is an interview with Gus on the Mala Noche Criterion wherein I think he himself characterizes his career best. He says something along the lines of loving how simple and honest Mala Noche was to make and how he’s been trying to get back to that type of filmmaking ever since. And for me, when he is closest to that goal, he is at his best: Mala Noche, My Own Private Idaho, Gerry, Elephant, Last Days, and Paranoid Park. I would classify the style of his (in these films) as risk-taking, ethereal, and innovative. He is playing with time, creating new narrative techniques as well as a visually interesting environment. Some call Gus a formalist, but his storytelling is also very valuable. Gus’ rhythm (something prized in the films of Bresson and Tarkovsky) is almost unrivaled in today’s cinema.
No offense to Drugstore Cowboy, Good Will Hunting, Finding Forrester or even Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. They were enjoyable (for the most part) viewings, but just nothing new or full of vitality, like his aforementioned riskier films. I could take them or leave them.
Milk, in my opinion, was the first true blending of his commercial and true filmic sensibilities. And I thought it was one of his most successful films thus far in terms of expression. It really felt instilled with his voice (and eye).
If not taking his entire body of work into account when saying he is a worthy filmmaker or not, and instead considering the high points he hits pretty consistently (and recently, almost every time), he has emerged as one of my favorite filmmakers working today. I put him in the ranks of Jim Jarmusch (which I consider to be a high billing).
i think he’s right on half of the time. drugstore cowboy is great, as is my own private idaho, to die for, and good will hunting. i’m pretty sure milk is awesome. elephant was boring as f.u.c.k., i didn’t see last days as i had no interest, saw some of even cowgirls get the blues but fell asleep, and finding forrester…i mean what the hell was that piece of crap?
I like most of his stuff, but I wasn’t a huge fan of Last Days or Psycho. I met GVS when he showed up at my school for a discussion and I asked him why he wanted to remake Psycho. He told me that he wanted to try to see if he could start an experiment to see if other filmmakers would start remaking films shot for shot. I thought it was a failed experiment and a waste of Christopher Doyle’s talent.
the remake of psycho was just about the worst film experience of my life. i never ever ever ever ever want to see it again.
paranoid park was one of those movies that, immediately after watching it, i had to purchase the dvd for myself. christopher doyle is amazing, and the narrative and subjective depth into the main characters paranoia and distress is simply astounding.
I don’t like Elephant or Last Days, but I really liked Paranoid Park a lot. What does that mean?
I invented Gus.
Paranoid Park is the best movie I saw all year. Van Sant’s command of sound and image, in that film, is head and shoulders above almost every other American filmmaker currently working.
Mac-Gee, I thought Paranoid Park one of the worst films last year. Dull film about dull witted skaterats wuth little personality. I could’nt care less about these people or what was going on. Seems to be a polarizing film-you either love it or hate it. Haven’t seen too many responses in the middle. Same with Gerry and Last Days.
Steve, it’s not that Paranoid Park is a necessarily polarizing film, but it seems you are seeking different characteristics in a film (caring about the characters or plot) than Mac was mentioning (“command of sound and image”).
Gus makes both: story-driven films or more abstract character studies. I think the polar reactions to him overall (and some films more specifically) are due to this.
ELEPHANT is amazing. I wasn’t crazy about GVS movies. I only kinda like Good Will Hunting, and i definitely didn’t like Last Days or his remake of psycho or finding forrester. But I just recently saw Elephant and it makes me wanna rewatch his movies and re-evaluate them. Because I thought Elephant was not only a technical masterpiece, but an extremely important film about its main subject matter, and about traditional film-making.