Is The King’s Speech Really the Good Will Hunting Prequel?

Just so I can manage to get one more plug in, don’t forget about the PopRox live chat tomorrow morning starting at 11 a.m. We’re going to be talking all things Oscar since the nominations come out at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow.

We’re not bounding ourselves to Oscar talk, but that’s probably where most of the questions will be coming from. Fee free to come up with your own pop culture topic (winter TV shows, maybe?) or anything else that’s on your mind. Sorry no time for links today, we’ll get back to it on Wednesday.

Matt Damon was attached at first, but dropped out for obvious reasons, like the lawsuit he has pending against the screenwriters

Matt Damon was attached at first, but dropped out for obvious reasons, like the lawsuit he has pending against the screenwriters

But speaking of Oscars, I feel like I have a better grasp on the Oscar races now after seeing The King’s Speech this weekend. I never thought I’d be able to see it pre-DVD, but some time opened up this weekend so I checked it out. Turns out I liked it a lot better the first time when it was called Good Will Hunting. Maybe it’s just on my brain since I’ve watched bits and pieces of GWH about 67 times in the last couple months on Encore and even caught Good Will Hunting 2 this weekend, but I was almost expecting right before that final speech for Geoffrey Rush to start hugging Colin Firth, telling him it’s not his fault. Since King’s Speech is actual history, I started wondering if maybe Matt Damon and Ben Affleck actually used this story as the basis for their movie? Who knows. That movie has enough plagarism issues, I don’t need to be starting another. I’m also the person who came out of Fight Club saying it was a roundabout way of telling the story of the relationship between Hitler and Mussolini, so I’m not to be trusted when it comes to looking for deeper meaning in movies.

But at their cores, the movies are strikingly similar. There’s the emotionally damaged but extremely gifted and reluctant student (Will Hunting/King George). There’s the sage, unorthodox, broken-down-but-brilliant psychiatrist/teacher (Sean Maguire vs. Lionel Logue). There is the emotional support of a good woman/friend (Chuckievs. Queen Elizabeth). Geez, there’s even the crazy psychiatrist session intended for comic relief (the Carlton Fisk home run in GWH vs. the swearing scene in King’s Speech). You would think someone at The Weinstein Company, which distributed the movie, would have noticed. Or maybe they did and just said “Screw it, we can strike gold again.” Either way, the movies just aren’t that much different. But hey, if you’re going to copy a movie — or at least make it look like another movie — and get away with it, you might as well jack traits of one of the best movies of the 90s.

you can do it bertie, i mean will, i mean bertie, i mean ... wait, which movie is this again?

you can do it bertie, i mean will, i mean bertie, i mean ... wait, which movie is this again?

Watching King’s Speech was more of a history lesson than anything for me. I’m ridiculously vague on England’s history. Once the colonies started, forget it, I had no use for English history. I’m pretty embarrassed to say this, but I had no idea an English king ever willfully gave up his throne. And I certainly would never have guessed it happened in the 20th century. But if Wikipedia says it, it must be true! See what I mean? Me watching King’s Speech is probably the equivalent of a guy from Britain watching JFK and saying, “Wait, wait, wait … someone was able to kill the president of the United States? In broad daylight? And they’re still not sure of who did it?”

For its flaws — and there are multiple flaws — King’s Speech a compelling movie and I wouldn’t be angry at all if Firth got best actor at the Oscars. It was a joy to watch him on screen as King George the Something or Other (I’m going with VI, I think that’s right), it must have been a nearly impossible process to turn himself into that character with a pain-staking amount of research. I refuse to feel sorry for anyone born into extreme wealth, but he came pretty close to making me sympathize with him. He’s a mortal lock for a nomination, and there don’t seem to be another performances that are getting much heat. GRADE: B

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