“Hey, Carmine! It’s me, Will! Remember — we went to kindah-gahden together!” And then, PUNCH!
Thank Goodness, It’s Graphics Interchange Format Friday!
In a draft of the screenplay of Good Will Hunting, Carmine was instead a character named Bobby Champa, but the film is otherwise pretty true to the scene as written — Champa/Scarpaglia gets sucker-punched, it is “messy, ugly and chaotic,” and all because this guy used to beat up Will in kindergarten.
In the end, it’s our guys who are left standing, while Bobby’s friends stagger off. Chuckie and Morgan turn to see Will, standing over the unconscious Bobby Champa, still POUNDING him.
ANGLE ON WILL: SAVAGE, UGLY, VICIOUS, AND VIOLENT
Whatever demons must be raging inside Will, he is taking them out on Bobby Champa. He pummels the helpless, unconscious Champa, fury in his eyes. Chuckie and Billy pull Will away.
In the special edition re-release, don’t worry, I’m sure Carmine will punch first.
Read our introduction to TGIGIFF here, and check out all the GIFs in one place here. This will be the last in the series for a while, but we’ll be back, one magic Friday.
Until last weekend the only time I had been to the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade was in 2005 with a friend from high school, a friend of my friend, and a my friend’s friend’s 8 to 12 teenage English-as-a-second-language students. I really only remember three things.
It was crowded.
Some guy was selling a green long-sleeved t-shirt that said “What happens in Southie stays in Southie” and I’ve always regretted not getting one.
There were Storm Troopers marching in the parade, and they were wearing leprechaun hats.
This, Boston’s official St. Patrick’s Day parade, has been held in Southie since 1901 — and unofficially since 1737. It is such a distinct part of South Boston history and tradition that Team Affleck/Damon intended their Good Will Hunting would open with it. The opening credits were to take place over scenes from the St. Paddy’s marching and motorcading, and the subsequent opening scene would take place at the crowded Southie bar as Chuckie regales the boys with a story.
Gus Van Sant actually shot and cut together a sequence, which is available for viewing as a deleted scene on the Good Will Hunting DVD. They shot it at the real parade, months before the film began principle photography. This is notable for a couple reasons: shooting at a live event with a small crew, the footage actually looks like a Gus Van Sant movie. You know — “gritty,” “intimate,” etc. Second, according to Van Sant on the DVD commentary, since the hairstyles of the characters hadn’t yet been determined, they are all wearing ridiculous hats as they goof around at curbside. This combined with the actors’ odd clothing in these scenes points to how much those decisions about costume and makeup (and maintaining their consistency) matters in creating a set of authentic characters.
As someone who blogs regularly about Good Will Hunting, I was determined to make it to this year’s parade, rain or shine.
And rain it did.
Still, I’d say it was worth it. I shook hands with the staff of multiple candidates for Auditor, received some green bead necklaces and 2010 Census chapstick, and saw unicycling floutists, an old-timey canon, and the coldest, wettest bagpipers I’ll probably ever see.
As far as the subsequent scene of the boys in the bar, it’s not the most eloquent introduction to the characters and themes of the film. (Otherwise, the film’s strongest moments lie in the relationships amongst Will and his friends. Compare Will’s climactic scenes with Sean, his therapist, and with Chuckie, his best friend. Both communicate to Will that he must let go of his fear, but the “it’s not your fault” sequence with Robin Williams is as forced and melodramatic as the later construction site scene with Will and Chuckie is frank and stirring — “you’re sitting on a winning lottery ticket.”)
Besides making it completely unclear who the main character of the film is, the St. Paddy’s Day bar scene is territory essentially retread by Chuckie, et al, when Will introduces them to Skylar at the bar later in the film.
So, let’s be thankful Gus Van Sant served up a kaleidoscopic meditation on Will’s solitude, stuck inside his brain, instead of a story of a cat getting beaten to death, in those early moments of Good Will Hunting.
EXT. SOUTH BOSTON ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARADE — DAY
INT. L STREET BAR & GRILLE, SOUTH BOSTON — EVENING
The bar is dirty, more than a little run down. If there is ever a cook on duty, he’s not here now. As we pan across several empty tables, we can almost smell the odor of last nights beer and crushed pretzels on the floor.
Oh my God, I got the most fucked up
thing I been meanin’ to tell you.
As the camera rises, we find FOUR YOUNG MEN seated around a table near the back of the bar.
Oh Jesus. Here we go.
The guy holding court is CHUCKIE SULLIVAN, 20, and the largest of the bunch. He is loud, boisterous, a born entertainer. Next to him is WILL HUNTING, 20, handsome and confident, a softspoken leader. On Will’s right sits BILLY MCBRIDE, 22, heavy, quiet, someone you definitely wouldn’t want to tangle with.
Finally there is MORGAN O’MALLY, 19, smaller than the other guys. Wiry and anxious, Morgan listens to Chuckie’s horror stories with eager disgust.
All four boys speak with thick Boston accents. This is a rough, working class Irish neighborhood and these boys are its product.
You guys know my cousin Mikey
Well you know how he loves animals
right? Anyway, last week he’s drivin’
What? Come on!
(trying not to laugh)
I’m sorry, ’cause you know Mikey,
the fuckin guy loves animals, and
this is the last person you’d want
this to happen to.
Chuckie, what the fuck happened?
Okay. He’s driving along and this
fuckin’ cat jumps in front of his
car, and so he hits this cat–
Chuckie is really laughing now.
–That isn’t funny–
–and he’s like “shit! Motherfucker!”
And he looks in his rearview and
sees this cat — I’m sorry–
So he sees this cat tryin to make it
across the street and it’s not lookin’
It’s walkin’ pretty slow at this
You guys are fuckin’ sick.
So Mikey’s like “Fuck, I gotta put
this thing out of its misery”–So he
gets a hammer–
out of his tool box, and starts
chasin’ the cat and starts whackin’
it with the hammer. You know, tryin’
to put the thing out of its misery.
And all the time he’s apologizin’ to
the cat, goin’ “I’m sorry.” BANG,
“I’m sorry.” BANG!
Like it can understand.
And this Samoan guy comes runnin’
out of his house and he’s like “What
the fuck are you doing to my cat?!”
Mikey’s like “I’m sorry” –BANG–” I
hit your cat with my truck, and I’m
just trying to put it out of it’s
misery” — BANG! And the cat dies.
So Mikey’s like “Why don’t you come
look at the front of the truck.”
‘Cause the other guy’s all fuckin
flipped out about–
Watching his cat get brained.
Morgan gives Will a look, but Will only smiles.
Yeah, so he’s like “Check the front
of my truck, I can prove I hit it
’cause there’s probably some blood
–or a tail–
And so they go around to the front
of his truck… and there’s another
cat on the grille.
Is that unbelievable? He brained an
The opening credits roll over a series of shots of the city and the real people who live and work there, going about their daily lives.
I once watched Good Will Hunting with a math student, and she scoffed at the so-called impossibility of the problems on the hallway blackboard.
Her skepticism is validated by Professor Robin Wilson of Gresham College:
That’s right, homeomorphically irreducible trees of degree ten have nothing to do with function analysis. And this particular problem isn’t that hard.
However, when the film was released, some were simply impressed that they actually used real math.
On NPR’s Weekend Edition back on April 4, 1998, host Scott Simon spoke with mathematician Keith Devlin about the plausibility of the math in the film. Devlin’s opinion is that “they got the math right,” and describes the blackboard problem:
What they did that was very smart was… they had to make sure that it was a problem that someone like Will Hunting, who was innately a genius but had no mathematical training, someone like him had to have been able to solve the problem… and graph theory is one of the few areas of mathematics where that can happen. Someone could literally come out of the streets — or come along the corridor at night with a mop and a bucket, which is what the Will Hunting character does — and if they’ve got the ability, they don’t need the training, and they can just solve it. They have just got to be smart.
The Weekend Edition clip is definitely worth a listen in its entirety; they go on to discuss the real life story of self-taught mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, part of the inspiration for the Will Hunting character, as well as what the filmmakers get not-so-right.
A while back the Blog Will Hunting crew payed a visit to the Christopher Lee Playground, the South Boston location in which the GWH boys watch some little league before picking up some burgers (and then getting into some street fights).
The screenplay, as written, is a little different from the scene in the film:
The boys get up and walk down the bleachers.
I could go for a Whopper.
Let’s hit “Kelly’s.”
Morgan, I’m not goin’ to “Kelly’s
Roast Beef” just cause you like the
take-out girl. It’s fifteen minutes
out of our way.
What else we gonna do we can’t spare
All right Morgan, fine. I’ll tell
you why we’re not going to “Kelly’s.”
It’s because the take-out bitch is a
fuckin’ idiot. I’m sorry you like
her but she’s dumb as a post and she
has never got our order right, never
She’s not stupid.
She’s sharp as a marble.
We’re not goin’.
I don’t even like “Kelly’s.”
The next scene shows them in Chuckie’s car — with Kelly’s Roast Beef bags, of course. As you will recall, in the film the exchange doesn’t have Chuckie dissing Kelly’s this way… it’s a bit of a surprise to see such anti-Kelly’s sentiment on the page, as the local chain is regarded as something of an institution. (As we noted a couple weeks ago, guest star Julianne Moore namechecks Kelly’s in a recent episode of 30 Rock — “Let’s go to Kelly’s! Let’s get some roast beef!”).
Founded in 1951, Kelly’s lays claim to the invention of the Original Roast Beef Sandwich — “before 1951, no one had ever heard of eating such a creation!” Their original location is their beachfront outpost in Revere, and over the years four other locations have sprung up around Boston. One is inside a Jordan’s Furniture. (Also in that Jordan’s Furniture: an IMAX theater. I’m pretty sure I saw The Dark Knight there. At that furniture store. It’s weird, I know.)
Celebrating six decades of quality, customer service, and value, Kelly’s is still a family owned and operated business that continues the original philosophy of our founders. Many of Kelly’s hourly employees and managers have been with the company over thirty years! Kelly’s is open 363 days a year, providing our valued customers with the quality and consistent standards they have come to expect over the years. Now when people ask, “Why is Kelly’s So Famous Anyhow?” Our answer remains: because of our loyal customers.
They of course also mentionGood Will Hunting as one of their many claims to fame.
Their marketing plays up their sense of tradition and customer service, and though Chuckie would have found some allies in his discontent on the Yelp customer review message boards, most Yelpers have positive things to say about the staff, and especially the food, often using the word “fried” as an adjective of deeply satisfied approval. The reviews tend to prefer the flagship restaurant at Revere Beach, despite the seagulls’ attempts at food theft, and perhaps indicative of nothing, at least one reviewer at another location admits to being drunk during his visit.
So on the day of our visit to Southie, we left the Christopher Lee playground wondering, which Kelly’s did they go to?
It essentially comes down to the flagship Revere location and the one in Medford.
We know that is that it is 15 minutes out of their way… according to Google maps (assuming they were coming back to Southie afterwards) it would take 37 minutes to drive to Revere Beach and back, but only 25 to get to Medford. Also, the Medford location has a drive-thru, and Chuckie’s comment as they squabble in the car on the return trip — “I know what you ordered, I was there” — suggests they did the drive-thru and Chuck did the ordering (and the paying).
So we drove by the Medford location, and… well… it looked pretty boring….
Despite the fact that is probably the one they went to (CORRECTION: This has been disproved, thanks to Patrick and Josh. Check out the comments) … we wanted to go to the beach.
So on that summer day we had a wonderful meal — open air seating, a sea breeze, seagulls, Bostonians, and more than once, someone would sing out, “Chuck I had a double burger!”