Fail, fail, fail, fail, succeed

What if This is as Good as it Gets?

Jack Nicholson asks this question to a filled waiting room after being thrown out of his therapist’s office in the pretty-goddamn-great 1997 film of the same name.

The short answer is yes, this is as good as it gets.

Isn’t that enough?

I just watched this film for the second time — 24 years after the first. It was better than I remembered it; a great, darkly funny script by James L. Brooks that would be completely un-filmable today.

But there’s a great through-line that remains surprisingly relevant.

To wit: Although some people can be insufferable assholes, it doesn’t make them all bad. Maybe they just never learned how to be fully human.

This idea is perhaps best illustrated by the film’s most memorable line, spoken by the supremely clueless asshole Jack plays to the saintly Helen Hunt: You make me want to be a better man.

Sometimes, people just don’t know how to be a functional human. Maybe we should all take a deep breath, relax, and throw them a life raft.