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YMMV / Good Will Hunting

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  • Awesome Music:
    • Elliott Smith's "Miss Misery"
    • Similarly his performance of the song at the Oscars, just before it inevitably lost to "My Heart Will Go On"
    • Also features "Afternoon Delight" well before it was hip or ironic.
  • He Really Can Act: Before Ben Affleck pulled off his Career Resurrection, this was a retroactive example. He would become best known for the likes of Pearl Harbor and Gigli for a while, but his defenders pointed to this as an example that he did have talent.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The scene where Will verbally deconstructs the NSA has gotten harsher thanks to the War on Terror and the recession that occurred through the next decade. Not to mention that the NSA's reputation got shattered by whistleblower revelations towards the end of that period.
    • The Arc Words "Time's Up", after the sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein, one of the film's producers, spurred the #TimesUp movement against sexual harassment in the entertainment industry.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Whenever Will's therapy sessions are over, he announces that "time's up". Matt Damon would later get in hot water for making remarks against the #Me Too! movement, leading to an apology and his endorsement of the Time's Up movement.
    • Will's rant that ends with him suggesting he could be president someday is amusing if you've seen The Adjustment Bureau - where Matt Damon plays a character destined to become president.
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  • Jerkass Woobie: Will's rough demeanor and general dickishness come from the fact that he was abandoned by his birth parents, beaten up frequently by his foster father and has spent his life thinking he's nothing.
  • Memetic Mutation: Do you like apples? Well, (insert "gotcha" comment). How do ya like them apples?
    • My boy's wicked smaht!
  • Narm: The scene where Chuckie poses as Will in the meeting. The rest of the movie had its humorous moments, but this felt like something out of American Pie.
    • Narm Charm: The "It's not your fault" scene. Very easy to make fun of, but still very poignant in the context of the film.
  • Older Than They Think: "How do you like them apples?" was first used in film in Rio Bravo after Walter Brennan's character throws a stick of dynamite and his partner shoots it in the air. The expression reputedly comes from a trench mortar grenade called a "toffee apple" used in The Great War. It's been a Stock American Phrase of gloating long before Good Will Hunting came out.
  • Stoic Woobie:
    • Sean's wife died of cancer - which she suffered from for years - and he's clearly not over it yet. He never cries or raises his voice, but keeps plugging away.
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    • Skylar eventually reveals that her father died when she was only thirteen, which still haunts her. It's quite a sobering moment from the seemingly happy-go-lucky girl when she says this line.
    "You don't think if I could I'd give the money back so I could have one more day with him?"
  • Truth in Television: The ubiquity of Dunkin Donuts in the film. There's so many in Boston you'd think they outnumber Starbucks. It'd be weirder if the characters DIDN'T drink Dunkin Donuts coffee.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Will can come off as this sometimes because he tends to behave like a jerk throughout the film despite everyone and their dog making it clear they're on his side.


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