A 1991 Road Trip Plot film, written and directed by Gus Van Sant, about a gay narcoleptic male prostitute named Mike (River Phoenix) who is looking for his long lost mother, along the way realizing that he is in love with his best friend Scott (Keanu Reeves), also a prostitute. Scott is wealthy, however, and only whoring himself to annoy his father, and decides to quit prostitution when he comes into his inheritance.
Part of the movie is indeed set in Idaho, but a fair amount takes part in Portland, Oregon; and Italy. Part of the plot is based on William Shakespeare's Henry IV, with Bob as Falstaff and Scott as Prince Hal. In addition, much of the dialogue between Bob and Scott is paraphrased from Henry IV.
This film provides examples of::
- Cheerful Funeral: At Bob's funeral, all the boys he mentored hold a wild party; across the street, Scott looks on rather wistfully as he attends his father's much more proper funeral.
- Depraved Homosexual: Many of the hustlers' clients.
- Double Entendre: Homo on ranch. Ready to ride.
- Downer Ending
- FaceHeel Turn: Scott, who started out as incredibly caring towards his best friend then for some reason abruptly became a Jerkass who didn't care about him. Italy did it to him.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Mike Waters.
- Incompatible Orientation: Mike loves Scott.
- If It's You, It's Okay: Scott isn't into men romantically but makes an exception for Mike just the once.
- Living MacGuffin: Mike's mother.
- Parental Incest: Mike says that his brother Richard is also his father.
- Pietà Plagiarism: When Mike falls asleep, Scott often carries him about in this manner.
- Road Trip Plot: Mike and Scott travel across America and Italy to find Mike's mother.
- "Shaggy Dog" Story
- The Twink: Mike, in particular, is this.
- Titled After the Song: "Private Idaho" by The B-52s, which contains the refrain "you're living in your own private Idaho". Oddly, the song is never heard or referenced at any point in the film.