11. My Own Private Idaho (1991)
Love is love, even when it’s unrequited love. Nearly 25 years before he was John Wick, Keanu Reeves played opposite River Phoenix in Gus Van Sant‘s poetic, sexy and sad update of Shakespeare’s Henry IV. Phoenix’s performance as a narcoleptic male hustler with devastating abandonment issues earned universal praise, including the Venice Film Festival’s Volpi Cup for Best Actor. His death in 1993 was a shattering loss for film.

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19. I Love You to Death (1990)
This Lawrence Kasdan comedy — the first film after an incredible four-picture run of Body Heat, The Big Chill, Silverado, and The Accidental Tourist — is mostly forgotten today, and for good reason: It’s a farce that mostly features actors screaming at each other and calling it “comedy.” But Reeves hits the right notes as a stoned hit man, and it’s amusing just to watch him share the screen with partner William Hurt. This could have been the world’s strangest comedy team!
6. My Own Private Idaho (1991)
Gus Van Sant’s landmark drama is chiefly remembered for River Phoenix’s nakedly anguished performance as Mike, a spiritually adrift gay hustler. (Phoenix’s death two years after My Own Private Idaho’s release only makes the portrayal more heartbreaking.) But his performance doesn’t work without a doubles partner, which is where Reeves comes in. Playing Scott, a fellow hustler and Mike’s best friend, Reeves adeptly encapsulates the mind-set of a young man content to just float through life. Unlike Mike, he knows he has a fat inheritance in his future — and also unlike Mike, he’s not gay, unable to share his buddy’s romantic feelings. Phoenix deservedly earned most of the accolades, but Reeves is terrific as an unobtainable object of affection — inviting, enticing, but also unknowable.

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He has worked with everyone from Andy Warhol to Lars von Trier – as well as gone underage drinking with Rainer Fassbinder and chatted up hustlers with River Phoenix

Kier moved to London to study English in 1965, hoping to find clerical work. Despite no acting aspirations, he was spotted and cast in a comedy short, 1966’s Road To Saint Tropez, then was discovered time and time again: Andy Warhol’s director Paul Morrissey met him on a plane and cast him as Frankenstein, and then Dracula; Van Sant, who had loved Kier in those roles, met him at the Berlin film festival in 1986 and offered him his first American role, in the street hustler drama My Own Private Idaho. Shooting it in Portland, Oregon, Kier immediately bonded with River Phoenix who, as the narcoleptic gigolo Mike, was method acting, referring to Kier as his character Hans, demanding he pay for everything.

One night, Phoenix asked Kier to come out with him and find some genuine gigolos on the streets, for research. Phoenix wore sunglasses, hanging back while Kier made contact; they had arranged that Phoenix would kick him when one piqued his interest. “We went to a group on a corner, where the real hustlers were. I talked to a few boys and River kicked me. So I said to the boy: ‘Look, I don’t want anything from you, but I’ll pay you some money, let’s just have a drink.’ And we went to a bar and River sat in the corner and I interviewed the boy: ‘What was the worst thing you had to do for money,’ etc. River wanted to know what was going on.”

Read the full interview here

This year will see the inaugural edition of the North Bend Film Fest in North Bend, WA, which was once the original shooting location for David Lynch’s iconic television series Twin Peaks. From August 23 through 26, the town, located just outside of Seattle, will host a film festival that sees genre fare from around the world. Confirmed today is the full line-up, which will see the fest bring festival darlings such as Anna and the Apocalypse, Don’t Leave Home, and Braid to the screen.

My Own Private Idaho (1991)
Set in the 1990’s runaway-dominated streets of the Pacific Northwest and loosely based on Shakespeare’s Henry IV, this seminal film by Gus Van Sant (GOOD WILL HUNTING, MILK) tells the tale of a narcoleptic street kid named Mike (River Phoenix) who befriends a fellow hustler (Keanu Reeves) on his journey to find his estranged mother. Film presented in collaboration with Three Dollar Bill Cinema

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My Own Private Idaho is the sort of film that really shouldn’t work. The movie apparently came about when writer/director Gus Van Sant was working on three separate scripts and then decided to merge them all together. The result is a movie that ought to be a mess. The tone and story jump about, some of its pretty random and surreal, and its Shakespearean pretentions are a bit bizarre. However, it works. These disparate elements and tones come together, helped by an astonishing performance by River Phoenix as young hustler Mike. His character – an outsider living a marginal and disintegrating existence – is a reflection of the film itself. It ultimately becomes an unexpected masterclass of montage – where by placing seemingly disparate things side-by-side and throwing in unexpected imagery (not least the famous falling barn), it creates something unique and pulls you into a character and world in a way few other films have ever managed. Read More here

Three LGBT themed films to run at the Belcourt: My Own Private Idaho
This Gus Van Sant classic, released in 1991, is a loose adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry IV. Mike Waters (River Phoenix) is a gay hustler afflicted with narcolepsy. Scott Favor (Keanu Reeves) is the rebellious son of a mayor. Together, the two travel from Portland, Oregon to Idaho and finally to the coast of Italy in a quest to find Mike’s estranged mother. Along the way they turn tricks for money and drugs, eventually attracting the attention of a wealthy benefactor and sexual deviant. Special showing at midnight on February 9. Read More here // Official Website: here

As the passage of time marches on and on, it gets more and more surprising looking back at just how old some of our favourite films are. Following on from our list of classic games that turn 25 this year, we thought we’d dust off the VHS collection to bring you some of the best films celebrating their quarter of a century anniversary in 2016. Be warned, you’ll probably feel ten times older by the end of it all…
My Own Private Idaho: Gus Van Sant is one of cinema’s premier alternative directors, and this 1991 effort is about as close to the mainstream as he’s going to get (when he’s not directing Good Will Hunting). Starring Keanu Reeves and the late River Phoenix as male hustlers facing very different futures, it’s an interesting watch. Read More: // here

My Own Private Idaho was the film that showed both Keanu Reeves and River Phoenix were capable of multitudes. Everyone knew that Phoenix was someone special, but Reeves was known for playing stoner types, while here he stretched. Phoenix stars as Mike Waters, a gay prostitute who suffers from narcolepsy, which leads him to fall asleep at inopportune times. He’s best friends with Scott Favor (Reeves), who also tricks but comes from a rich family, and is slumming as a way to be a prodigal son. They’re both friends with Bob Pidgeon (William Richert), who is Falstaff to Scott’s King Henry – literally, as the film is based on the works of William Shakespeare. Eventually the two quest to find Mike’s missing mom, and though Scott is only gay for pay, Mike has feelings for Scott he can’t ignore. Read More: // here

Some filmmakers are remarkably consistent, hitting roughly the same section of the dartboard every time, whether it’s right near the bullseye or way out by the perimeter. Others, like Gus Van Sant, are more erratic, equally likely to produce a triumph or a disaster. For every Drugstore Cowboy and To Die For in Van Sant’s filmography, there’s an Even Cowgirls Get The Blues and a Restless; when he unexpectedly hit mainstream pay dirt with Good Will Hunting (as a director for hire), he immediately squandered that capital by remaking Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho with Vince Vaughn and Anne Heche. Even when signs look good, things can turn ugly—his most recent film, The Sea Of Trees, was selected to play in Competition at Cannes, but wound up receiving such brutal reviews there that it may have singlehandedly ended the McConaissance.
Read More: // here

It’s tenderness that fuels the sexuality in My Own Private Idaho, Gus Van Sant’s beloved 1991 movie about Mike, a gay narcoleptic street hustler (River Phoenix), who is desperately in love with his best friend, Scott (Keanu Reeves) — which also happens to be a savvy, queer retelling of Shakespeare’s Henry IV. It all begins with Phoenix receiving a blowjob in the opening scene, and here two of the directors who defined what was called the New Queer Cinema — Van Sant and Todd Haynes — discuss the film in original commentary available on the Criterion Collection’s new Blu-ray release. Read More: // here

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Jun 14 @ 19:00 – Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade (Gateway Film Center, 1550 North High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43201) / X
Jun 15 @ 19:00 – Indiana Jones and & Last Crusade (Gateway Film Center, 1550 North High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43201) / X
Jun 16 @ 16:30 – Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade (Gateway Film Center, 1550 North High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43201) / X
Jun 16 @ 17:00 – Indiana Jones Trilogy (Aero Theatre in Santa Monica) // X

Jul 13 @ 15:00 – Stand By Me (Prince Charles Cinema, London) // X

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