My Own Private Idaho #MovieReview

Film 246 in the “1001 Films to See Before You Die” challenge is 1991’s “My Own Private Idaho”. Loosely based on Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Henry IV, Part 2, and Henry V, this Gus Van Sant romantic drama is about two friends, Mike (River Phoenix) and Scott (Keanu Reeves), as they embark on a journey of personal discovery that takes them to Mike’s hometown in Idaho and then to Italy in search of Mike’s mother. Well.. That’s was the last 30 minutes or so of the film’s plot. The rest of it felt more like a documentary about life as a homeless hustler. Throughout the film, I felt both sad and depressed while watching this. Was this the goal of the film? All I got out of this was that you shouldn’t be a hustler if you have narcolepsy. Also, what’s the deal with all the fish/salmon colours in the film? Is the film saying Mikey’s life is the same as one of a fish? Overall, this film was ok to watch but really made me sad throughout. Fun Fact of the Film – The film’s title is taken from The B-52’s song “Private Idaho” from their 1980 album “Wild Planet”. If you have seen this film then let me know what you thought of it in the comments. Here is what I had to say while watching 1991’s “My Own Private Idaho”


Film – My Own Private Idaho
Year – 1991
Director – Gus Van Sant
Written by – Gus Van Sant
Staring – River Phoenix, Keanu Reeves, James Russo
IMDb Rating – 7.1/10
My Rating – 5/10
Length – 98 min (1h 38min)
Genre – Drama, Romance

We open with a definition of the word “Narcolepsy”
So… This is Idaho… And that is Mike
Why is Mike comparing roads to faces?
We’re in Seattle
Did they just compare orgasms to a collapsing barn?
Isn’t that the woman who helped me in Idaho?
Mike is then picked up by an old man
So.. The old man is turned on by clean carpets and the sound of cleaning (Dutch Boy)
Now Mike’s been picked up by an old woman and taken to see Scott
What is with the fish? And the salmon coloured walls?
And Mike passes out before shagging the old woman
Better leave Mike’s body in the middle of the street
We then see that Scott and Mike are models for gay magazines
Hans arrives and tries to take Mike to his home
And Mike passes out again and ends up in Portland with Scott
That food doesn’t look good
Bob sounds like a good guy
What the fuck is he wearing?
Can you stop smoking in the smoking section?
I’m confused
Wait… You paid a guy to rape you and stick a bottle up your ass?!?!
Who sleeps on a rooftop?
Looks like Bob is in town… and he looks homeless…. Yet he lives in a run down hotel
This film is making me sad watching it
Don’t mind if I steal your cocaine in your sleep
Someone proposes the idea to steal money from a rock promoter
One more week and Scott gets his inherit of $1m
Time to steal money from rockers dressed in pink bathrobes and pretending to be monks
Scott and Mike decide to from Bob dressed in potato sacks
The Mayor wants his son back
Mike and Scott return to Bob and laugh at his story
So… He started with two and now he’s onto eleven
So… Bob and the rest of the junkies are using Scott’s inherit to help them
Looks like The Sheriff and the police are here to arrest Bob
Scott decides to visit his Dad
45 minutes in and I still feel sad and depressed
Mike decides to take Scott to his brother’s house in Idaho
Think that bike is out of gas
Time to talk about life by the fire
“Two guys can’t love each other”
So… You can only truely love someone if you pay them
The next day and a cop car arrives and helps start the bike up
Meanwhile, Mikey passes out and is taken to his brother
Mike’s brother looks like Rafael van der Vaart… only a little fatter
Bit odd having paintings of families that aren’t your own
Is everyone in this film from The Pacific North West a hustler/prostitute?
Who cooks stir-fry with a loaded gun?
This might explain why I didn’t like Rio Bravo
Wait… Mike’s brother is also his dad?!?
Mike decides he wants to find his mom who might work at a Family Tree Inn
30 minutes and we finally get the plot of the movie told to us
What’s Gus Van Sant doing as a hotel servant?
Turns out Mike’s mom moved to Rome
They then find Hans and order room service
Another fish in the background
Hans decides to give Mike and Scott a performance by dancing with a lamp
I can see why Hans quit being a performer and became a car salesman
Then… They all have sex… to sell their bike for a flight to Rome
Stop rubbing that bike
We’re in Rome… And Mike passed out again in public
He and Scott take a taxi to a barn in the middle of nowhere to find out that Mike’s mom isn’t in Rome anymore
Scott meets with Carmella
Wait… So the old woman from the beginning of the film was Mike’s mom
Scott then tells Mikey that he’s found true love with Carmella
This doesn’t help with Mikey’s narcolepsy
Did he take Mikey’s plane ticket and give it to Carmella
Mikey’s passes out again before having sex with an Italian customer
Mikey somehow wakes up on a plane back in Portland
The Simpsons? – Who needs sex when we can watch this
I’m confused again
Meanwhile, Scott took his inherit and kept it for himself
Meanwhile, Mikey is back living with Bob
Better take Scott’s money from him while he has dinner
Wait.. When did Scott’s dad die?
And what is Hans doing there
Scott appears to have forgotten his past and has turned his back on Bob
Bob then dies… of a broken heart
At Scott’s dad’s funeral, they also bury Bob at the same time
Pretty sure this isn’t how funerals are meant to happen
Let’s have a gangbang on Bob’s casket
Back to the footage of fish
And back to Idaho where we find Mikey talking about roads again before passing out
Two truckers drive by but steal his luggage and shoes
Another car pulls up and takes Mikey away
“Have a nice day”


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