Everything I Need to Know, I Learned From Good Will Hunting Jessica Tholmer

Holler, kiddos, and happy February! It is the month of the Oscars! Finally! Wait, I don’t mean “finally”, because time is flying by. I cannot believe January is gone, though…good riddance. I only have THREE more Oscar posts, so we are really getting into the good stuff here. And what is gooder than Ben Affleck + Matt Damon + Robin Williams?

The fact that I just used the word “gooder”, but that’s the only answer I am willing to accept.

If you have never seen Good Will Hunting, you are insane. I saw this movie in 2007, and actually hated myself for waiting ten years to see it. To be honest, I could not have pulled as much from it if I saw it the year it came out, though, just like when I watched it last weekend, it meant more to me than it had the last time I watched it. This movie is like my A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, in film form: every year, it teaches me something new.

Hi, this will be a corny one. Sorry, dudes. January doldrums.

EINTKILF Good Will Hunting

1. How to use the phrase “how do you like them apples?”
My older brother used to punch me really hard in the arm, basically every day of my life until I moved an hour north of him where my arm is protected. It was cute; like a love punch thing, but he used to follow it up with, “how do you like them apples?!” and I hated it, because what does that even mean? Like, if he gave me an apple after he punched me, I would have been more excited about the literal present of the statement, but as far as I can remember, Daniel Tholmer has never given me an apple.

Hey Dan! Honeycrisps are my favorite. You owe me like a million of them.

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But anyway, when Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and their friends all decide to hit up a “Hahhvahd bahh” one night instead of their typical dive choices, Matt totally shows up this smart-aleck jerk dude who is hitting on Minnie Driver (in a spaghetti tank top, throwback to the 90s, you’re welcome!) by disproving his seemingly, but not real intelligence on the subject he is spouting off. Matt Damon gets her number because A) he’s smart 2) he’s smooth, and D) duh, he’s Matt Damon.

…I am so sorry you guys, I will stop referring to Will Hunting as Matt Damon. Character names starting………….now.

2. Education can come from anywhere.
REAL RANT COMING ON.

Sometimes, people are born with an incredible sense of intelligence, just because that’s how they were born. Or maybe, just to be fair, it is how the person is raised. My older brother Daniel, the one who now officially owes me one million Honeycrisp apples, is the smartest man I have ever met, or at least in the top five smartest men I have ever met. Daniel picked up giant books when he was too young to even hold them up and read everything he got his hands on throughout his entire life. But academically, Daniel was disinterested. Because he listened to rap music and wore/wears baggy clothing, teachers in the public education system did not give him the time of day, ever. I noticed it from a young age, because I, though you may not know it because I say “like” thirty times in the same story, am also really smart. Daniel and I were born sharp; we remain sharp. The difference between the two of us is: because I am a nice, young girl and I was always the teacher’s pet, I was given the time of day by teachers, and the benefit of the doubt, as well. I did well in school because I was expected to do well in school. Daniel did not, because no one thought he would. Homework assignments and class discussions are not relevant at the end of a life, but intelligence is. Daniel is smarter than most people that pay thousands and thousands of dollars on their educations…which I can prove because he hasn’t paid thousands of thousands of dollars on an education. Sure, he will never be a lawyer, even though he argues better than anyone I have ever known, but he has no interest in becoming a lawyer.

See, the sad thing about a guy like you is in fifty years, you’re gonna start doing some thinking on your own, and you’re gonna come up with the fact that there are two certainties in life: one, don’t do that. And two, you dropped a hundred and fifty grand on a f***ing education you could have got for a dollar fifty in late charges at the public library.

Will is the same way. He was born smart, and fed it by reading everything he comes across. Those people are better in my mind.

3. Boston accents = the best accent.
Um, sorry, but it is true.

Have you ever seen The Departed? Like…50% of the reason I love that movie is because of their accents.

4. What best friendships should look like.
Will and his best friend Chuckie (Affleck) are like, the cutest best friends ever. I love when best friends joke around and mock each other with no apologies, but even more than that, I love when best friends protect each other. The reason Will steps in to shut that Harvard know-it-all down is not because Skylar (Driver) is really pretty, but because the Harvard jerk is trying to make Chuckie feel very small for lying about being a student of Harvard. I love when a man stands up for someone’s honor.

And Chuckie loves Will so much, which is clear in that scene that always makes me cry.

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Every day I come by your house and I pick you up. And we go out. We have a few drinks, and a few laughs, and it’s great. But you know what the best part of my day is? For about ten seconds, from when I pull up to the curb and when I get to your door, ’cause I think, maybe I’ll get up there and I’ll knock on the door and you won’t be there. No goodbye. No see you later. No nothing. You just left. I don’t know much, but I know that.

Now if that self-sacrificial monologue is not true best friendship love, I don’t know what is.

5. “Real loss is only possible when you love something more than you love yourself.”
Sean (Williams) is a psychologist that Will is assigned to in order to work through some of the many internal issues he has based on his childhood and upbringing and abandonment issues, and everything else in his life. The other psychologists that are assigned to Will quit on him quite quickly due to his “bad attitude” and inability to respect their professions–not to mention, Will is usually smarter than they are. Sean does not quit on Will, though, and they eventually rely on each other to cope with their baggage. Sean, though an even-keeled, sweet older man, lost his wife to cancer, and snaps when Will approaches the subject carelessly. Sean doesn’t leave Will because he angered him, though–he uses the subject as a way to teach Will that, though he may be well-versed in literature, and mathematics, and science, he knows nothing about love, feelings, or true emotion.

And when Sean tells Will that he does not understand love, or loss, he goes on to tell him that there is a big difference between being a genius, which Will truly is, and being able to comprehend human nature. MY FAVORITE, since I am definitely not a genius, but I understand human beings much better than most people.

Sigh. I am getting a little choked up, and it is only going to get worse. Sorry, kiddos.

6. The definition of a soulmate. 

Sean: Do you have a soul mate?
Will: Define that.
Sean: Someone you can relate to, someone who opens things up for you.
Will: Sure, I got plenty.
Sean: Well, name them.
Will: Shakespeare, Nietzsche, Frost, O’Conner.
Sean: Well that’s great. They’re all dead.
Will: Not to me, they’re not.

Sean’s soul mate is his late wife. Will’s are a bunch of dead authors. If you don’t have a human connection in your life, you better get your head out of the books and meet someone.

I have a soul mate. His name is Levi, and he is my youngest brother. That counts, right?

7. Women > Baseball.
Sean had tickets to Game 6 of the World Series in 1975 when the Red Sox played, but he chose to miss the game to get a drink with his future wife.

Will freaks out that Sean missed Pudge Fink’s (is that a real name?!) home run for “some lady” that Sean had never even met, but Sean, such a romantic, says, “yeah, but you should have seen her. She was a stunner.”

I have realized something about myself in the past few months. I used to think I didn’t care if a dude was into sports or not, but I actually do care. I actually find myself more attracted to men that don’t care about sports. Isn’t that crazy? Someone else’s interests shouldn’t matter to me, but I find it extremely attractive when a man would rather have a conversation than watch a bunch of dudes throw a ball back and forth.

Men, prioritize.

8. There is no such thing as perfect.
…but there is such a thing as perfect for each other.

I’ma get real again for a second.

I know so many couples. So, so many couples. I feel like I can speak on this subject freely.

My ex-boyfriend was the love of my life. I wanted to marry him, and have kids with him, and always be able to stare into his blue eyes. But someone asked me once if I thought we were good for each other, and I told him that no, I actually didn’t. I used to think that the struggle was good for couples: that not getting along, not seeing eye-to-eye was important for broadening horizons, and such.

Don’t get me wrong–I think healthy fighting is great for a relationship, but if you are not good for each other, you should not be together. There is a difference between disagreements on an issue, and disagreements within your personalities.

I know when someone is perfect for me. I know when someone is perfect for my friends and family. I wish all of the people I know in relationships would open their eyes and realize that sometimes, you accidentally settle for whatever reason. Sometimes, people get caught up in the romanticism of their meet-cute and maintain a relationship just because it is interesting.

But if she cannot support and love you, or cannot be there for your needs, or cannot make you feel like a million bucks when you feel like a discarded penny, she is not perfect for you.

And if you know who is, don’t lose her.

9. “People call those things imperfections, but aww, that’s the good stuff.”
I am relatively well put-together at all times. My makeup always looks nice, I am always dressed well, I speak properly, I cover my mouth when I cough, I laugh at jokes, honestly. Everyone likes me because I am really nice and personable.

But my hair is wild and curly, and I swear too often, and I like multiple bottles of wine, not just one, and I have a bad temper when provoked, and there are always runs in my tights.

Those are the things I like about myself. Imperfections are endearing; perfection is irritating.

10. Other things: I love Ben Affleck so much, and not just because he’s a Leo; I am so happy Williams won the Oscar for this movie; I am so, so, so happy Affleck and Damon won the Oscar for writing this movie; can you believe they wrote this movie?! I want to move to Boston, who’s coming? Where is Minnie Driver these days? And lastly, “going to see about a girl” is just about my favorite phrase in the world.

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Also, can I get a high five for not mentioning the fact that Leonardo DiCaprio got snubbed this year for an Oscar, but Matt Damon was nominated? Thanks.

Featured image via thebestcolleges.org, Apples picture via misdirectedthreads.blogspot.com, Chuckie and Will image via blacksheepreviews.blogspot.com, “See about a girl” image via cinema-fanatic.com

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  1. Confession: I didn’t like it the only time I saw it, but this article makes me want to re-evaluate that stance and give it another chance.

  2. I recently re-watched this movie for the first time in years and gained a completely new perspective and love for it. It really is perfect. That scene you also love when Chuckie tells Will that the best part of his day is the 10 seconds before he gets to his door and hoping that he won’t be there – UGH. PERFECT. And yes, you should definitely visit Boston, but don’t move here expecting to fall in love with a Ben/Chuckie or Matt/Will because, um…they do not exist. That is, by far, the biggest lie of this movie.

  3. Man, I love this movie. My biggest takeaway from GWH was to not take what you have for granted. Don’t squander it. That Ben Affleck scene about wanting to see his friend gone and doing something with his life really struck a chord with me. Also, Matt Damon’s face is a beautiful, wondrous thing, omg.