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My Own Priv.Idaho

River Phoenix , Keanu Reeves , Gus Van Sant    R (Restricted)   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 61.31 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

My Own Priv.Idaho + Running on Empty (Full Screen) + A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon (Widescreen)
Price For All Three: CDN$ 110.11

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Product Description


Mapping the spaces between fortune and degeneracy, Shakespeare and street cant, Europe and the Pacific Northwest, and gay and straight, My Own Private Idaho is the 1991 masterpiece by director Gus Van Sant. River Phoenix gave the most generous and memory-searing performance of his tragically shortened career as Mike Waters, a narcoleptic street hustler in search of his mother. His best friend, Scott, played by Keanu Reeves, is a son of privilege who fosters plans of rejoining the moneyed world of his father after gallivanting with assorted urchins and ne'er-do-wells. The beautifully symmetrical story that emerges between the two is one of friendship, yearning for lost time, and sexual identity conveyed with a poet's eye for landscape. The camera lingers on abandoned houses in golden fields and time-lapse clouds, providing what T.S. Eliot called "the objective correlative"--external representations of interior emotional states. We're treated to striking iconic sequences like a barn falling from the sky and still-life scenes of carnal entanglement. The supporting cast is a rogues' gallery that includes Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Udo Kier, director William Richert, and a variety of "nonactors" pulled literally off the street to provide documentary veracity to a film that gleefully careens into riffs on Henry IV. It's beautiful.

What's also beautiful is the Criterion Collection's treatment of the film's DVD debut. The director-approved transfer successfully conveys the warmth of the film's palette of oranges and browns, and preserves the whimsical atmospherics of the yodeling country music soundtrack. Many members of the original crew contribute their fond memories to the documentary features, which include a conversation between Phoenix's sister Rain and producer Laurie Parker. There are also two lengthy audio-only conversations--one between Van Sant and Velvet Goldmine director Todd Hayes, and another between author J.T. Leroy and filmmaker Jonathan Caouette about their experiences on the street. The deleted scenes mostly suggest alternate endings that Van Sant wisely left on the cutting room floor. A superb example of a beloved film on DVD. --Ryan Boudinot

Stills from My Own Private Idaho

The Cast

River Phoenix

Keanu Reeves

Keanu and River

Udo Kier

Gus Van Sant

Product Description

River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves star in director Gus Van Sant’s haunting tale of two young street hustlers: Mike Waters, a sensitive narcoleptic who dreams of the mother who abandoned him, and Scott Favor, wayward son of the mayor of Portland and the object of Mike’s desire. Navigating a volatile world of junkies, thieves, and johns, Mike takes Scott on a quest from the grungy streets to the open highways of the Pacific Northwest, in search of an elusive place called "home." Groundbreaking and visually dazzling, My Own Private Idaho is a stirring look at unrequited love and life at society’s margins.

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Most helpful customer reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wishlust wanderings; or, Snapshots of the Damned Jan. 19 2004
Format:VHS Tape
When *My Own Private Idaho* hit the rental shelves of the local movie theater way back in the early 90's, its reputation spread immediately among the young and restless of my small, conservative home-town. The consensus was of near-unanimous disgust, with common descriptions including "sick," "depraved," and that age-old chestnut "Confusing" with a capital "C." And yet my opinion was, typically, not that of the consensus. My artist's spirit identified with the wanderlust-yearning and puckish wonder inhabited in the vagabond Scott and Mike - a somewhat-sheltered mind's naïve lust for that opposite of its own experience. Although I certainly found myself shocked by the depiction of homosexual prostitution, the romantic tone and Shakespearan prose-play helped to penetrate (so to speak) this gutterpunk-fantasy firmly into the deepest reaches of my life-thirsty cerebrum; if anything, I found the homophobic snarls of my teenage compatriots in regards to this film more disturbing - on an immediate, reactionary level - than any fantastical degradation the film itself presented.
Immersed in that heady sensation of nostalgia and curiosity, I looked forward to a mature re-viewing of this art house masterpiece: of filtering Van Zant's intentions through an adult lens. Accordingly, I found that which impressed me most as a child seemed less important to my current mindset, and vice versa - no longer was I wholly enraptured by the wide-shots of empty highways and the plethora of bizarre chance encounters (elements so common to life on the road): having Kerouac'ed my way across the world, I must admit to preferring my own experiences to *Idaho's* hodge-podge questing.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly Well-Acted Feb. 10 2004
Format:VHS Tape
While I thought both of these guys did a perfect job, River Phoenix in particular who was amazingly believable.. The story line on the other hand did not really carry my interest as well as it could have. Perhaps my 14-year-old mind cant really wrap around it,(I know what your wondering-why the heck is a 14 year old watching this? Because of one thing. River Phoenix was mind blowing in every role he ever played.) but I did appreciate the acting. I've watched it around 5 times, but I have to say- once you get past the obvious seriousness of the story.. it's hilarious to watch.
Also, I would like to say that I adore River Phonix completely. I'm sure that if he were still here with us, he would be ten times more amazing than he was during his short life.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart-breakingly weird on a few levels June 15 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Hmmmmm. This is a hard one to review, I mean if you have the smallest tendancy to have little or no affection for lost souls and gay young men, this is probably not for you. Plus, it's weird, well, not so much weird, but freaky or not normal, odd. That doesn't auto-pilot me to presume bad, even with Keeanu Reeves. I hate to sound like a giant cheese ball, but I thought River Phoenix had that "something special", that inverse of a possible urban myth from the time of Great Ignorance, that Native Americans didn't like to be photographed, something to do with their souls, (I don't really know, perhaps it's true and I certainly do not mean to demean that, I'm demeaing the lame way I have managed to conjure up such a stereo-typical depiction, but it is the one that popped into my head) but Phoenix, he's one of those people that has the opposite effect, he radiates in the presence of the camera. And it's just a sad movie about messed up kids, looking for that great evader, LOVE. I love this movie, but can only watch it when I'm in a state. For somewhat happier Phoenix viewing, I prefer Dogfight, but, alas, it is also a bit sad.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a sad movie May 27 2007
By Bob
I thought this movie was sad. It wasn't a great movie but still it had its moments. I think the actor that stood out the most in this movie was River Phoenix. He did a good job in this movie. I think it's sweet how his character tries to find his mom and how Keanu Reeves character tries and help him find his mom.
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By A. Hill
Format:VHS Tape
Being fairly new to the world of 'art-house' movies, i first found this a little confusing, and i was concerned that this strange approach would hinder the emotional impact of the film, rendering it yet another overly stylish, powerless and incomprehensible piece of modern film-art. I had also heard that it was extremely shocking and controversial. However, i began to understand Gus Van Sant's language, and it soon seemed completely natural. The claims regarding its explicit sexual nature have been, fankly, grossly exaggerated and probably the result of mild homophobia. The camp fire scene is the most memorable, with River Phoenix's perfomance as Mike, subtle and shining as usual, bringing to mind the very similar camp-fire scene in "Stand by me". Having only seen Keanu Reeves appear in such films as 'Speed' and 'the Matrix', in which he hardly demonstrates any power or skill as an actor, it came as somewhat of a pleasant surprise to see his humorous and striking portrayal of Scott. A sensitive choice of music contributed to the mood, both in the comic, nostalgic steel-string guitar to the gentle folk song that plays as Mike vows through tears to find his mother (by the way, does anybody know what that song is or how to find out?). I was slightly disappointed and depressed by the ending, which is extremely inconclusive, but i suppose movies don't always need a conclusive ending to make them good. Overall a visually stylish, emotionally powerful movie, with some fantastic acting by River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars wierd, different, and sad
I did not know exactly to expect when watching this movie but I am a big fan of River Phoenix so I decided to give it a shot. Read more
Published on April 10 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars Some Real Charisma, but Mostly Disjointed Elements.
Mike (River Phoenix) is a scruffy, narcoleptic street hustler who never had a home. Scott (Keanu Reeves) had a privileged upbringing as the son of a wealthy and respected man, but... Read more
Published on Jan. 18 2004 by mirasreviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your time
I couldn't MAKE myself sit through this movie. It was sick and depraved. I have no idea why River Phoenix is hailed as such a great actor with as little talent as was displayed... Read more
Published on July 10 2003
3.0 out of 5 stars Strange and dark
This film is a thinking persons film, mostly because you have to figure out what just happened. I think the acting was good and the story was sweet and dark. Read more
Published on April 21 2003 by T. Hulse
4.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Dreamy
As a friend of a narcoleptic, I found this movie to be a sensitive treatment of the disorder. More than that, I found the soundtrack, especially the steel guitar accompaynment... Read more
Published on Oct. 5 2002 by G. Jack Pond
5.0 out of 5 stars my own private idaho
..have you ever stopped in a midle of a day and think : is it real or just a dream? well, i did. and i still do cause the answer to this ridle....it's somewhere. Read more
Published on July 17 2002 by juc
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