Reviewed byBenedict_CumberbatchVote: 5/10
I watched this film on TV 5 years ago, when I was only eleven years old, and I remember that I was especially impressed by River Phoenix's magnificent performance. I had already watched "Stand By Me" (one of my favorites), and it was very interesting watching him older in such a daring film. I think he was the best actor of his generation but, unfortunately, he died too young. "My Own Private Idaho" is a poetic and bittersweet road movie, one of Gus Van Sant's best. Here in Brazil it received a bad title, "Garotos de Programa" (something like "Rent Boys"). Yes, the main characters are rent boys, but this is not what defines them. "My Own Private Idaho" (what a beautiful title!) mostly deals with loneliness, virile sexuality and friendship, and paternity. It's much more than "a film about rent boys". Besides, watching it the so-called "modern boys" would realize that Keanu Reeves isn't Neo from "The Matrix", but a versatile actor; and, perhaps, they'd discover that boyish friendship may be truly sincere. 10/10.
Reviewed byMike Salvati (email@example.com)Vote: 5/10
This movie isn't about being, or even about being a hustler. "My Own Private Idaho" is about finding a home. In his finest performance, River Phoenix plays Mike, a narcoleptic street hustler with false memories of a terrific childhood. Mike wants to find his mother and family, but how or why he left them is never discussed. This is a movie that shows life at the lowest rung, and is very similar to Kerouac's "On the Road" and especially John Rechy's "City of Night." (In fact the line about becoming a fairy is straight from "City of Night"). Mike and Scott (Keanu Reeves) are both male prostitutes in Oregon. Why either of them have drifted into this profession is anyone's guess. Scott is clearly not gay, but Mike might be and their relationship is what holds the movie together. The film works on many levels, but does have its flaws. It's faux-Shakespearen scenes make the film drag in the middle. Van Sant directed the movie like a dream, which is what Mike's life basically is. This is a haunting and very sad tale about friendship and finding a home. The performances, especially Phoenix and Udo Kier and Van Sant's dream-like direction are what you remember. "My Own Private Idaho" may be a flawed film, but in my opinion, it is one of the very best of the '90's.
Reviewed bykeanufan43Vote: 5/10
Like others, I had heard about this film, but had never seen it because it can be hard to locate. Finally I rented it from an independent video store. I am not familiar with the body of River Phoenix's work, but his performance was outstanding in this film. This makes his untimely death even more tragic. The film has its merits and shortcomings. The Shakespearen references are unexpected, and I agree with others that they don't exactly "work". They seem too forced. But they do add an interesting texture to the film, elevating it above "just another social commentary". Keanu's performance isn't as flat as others may lead you to believe -- it's not bad, but it probably could have been better. I think that, now that he is more mature, he is coming into his prime as an actor. In this film, he was still rather young, and for some reason it's hard to take him seriously. Keanu doesn't quite make the transformation that his character requires. River Phoenix, on the other hand, is entirely believable, if not inspired. The film is an allegory for a lot of things. Mostly I see it as a commentary on the basic human needs for love and home. Keanu's character can go home any time he wants. River's character is searching for the ghost home of his heart; a home he will never find on a road which never ends. It's an odd film, and not everyone would enjoy it or "get" it. But if you're looking for something different, thought-provoking, and of course, want to see Reeves and Phoenix (not to mention Flea), then take a look.
Surreal character study focusing on the friendship between two male hustlers, Mike and Scott, in Portland, Oregon. They live on the streets, do drugs, and sell themselves to men and women. Mike is quiet, gay and suffers from narcolepsy. Abandoned as a child, he is obsessed with finding his long-lost mother. Scott is the rebellious son of a high-ranking family, who lives this life mostly to embarrass his father. Mike is in love with Scott, who still maintains he is straight and insists that his wild lifestyle on the streets is only temporary. Together, they embark on a quest to find Mike's mother, traveling from Portland to Idaho to Italy, with Scott picking up a beautiful girl along the way.