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[00:00:00]

Right, you tell it off and up to bat. No, I never go back to 30 now. I'm not even tired, I promise. Make it easy on yourself, John, and just let her stay up. No, we said we're getting back to the usual routine. Looks like I have to be the bad guy again.

[00:00:17]

Five more minutes, please.

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Remember what we agreed about a routine. You can finish watching that tomorrow.

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It takes a hero to be the bad guy. Healthy routines start with sleep to get bedtime back on track and start your kids on the way to a healthier life for more ways to start. Does it make a start that I brought to you by, say, for the HSC and Healthy Ireland? That Pat Kenny show on Newstalk. That means it's that time of the week again, where we go behind the scenes of another movie classic. She did, you know, would there be any way that you would be willing to walk his dog for him?

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Absolutely. You're a wonderful man. Two o'clock would be a good time. And here is the key in case he has to sleep, open his curtains for him so he can see God's beautiful work and he'll know that even things like this happen for the best. What do they teach you to talk like this in some Panama City sailor want to hump bar or is this getaway day in your last shot at his whiskey, Sal? Crazy someplace else. We're all stocked up here.

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The sound of Jack Nicholson in the 1997 comedy, as good as it gets to tell us all about what went on behind the scenes, television producer with Mind the films, Bill Hughes is on the line. Bill, good morning.

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Good morning. Past. This is a great one. I don't know if you know this movie and remember it. And I love it, of course, because it's one of my favorites.

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And and like it started, it was doing the rounds in Hollywood as a script for a film called Old Friends, written by Mark Andrews and Kevin Kline.

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Ray finds Holly Hunter where they were all interested in being in it. But then it fell into what they called development hell. And three years later, James Brooks got his hands on it and he decided he'd come on board, but that he'd rewrite it and rework it. And the project became known as good as it gets and the rest, as they say. So, you know, to raise the money for the movie he wanted to make because he was featuring so much of New York City of the quiet parts of New York City.

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So to pay to close off, I actually was in New York at the time when they were filming it. And I saw some of the night shoots and they were vast and they spent fifty million in 1997 on this film. And luckily it went on to take over three hundred million. So it was a massive hit. And for those who haven't seen it Bill yet.

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Yes.

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The story because Nicholson's character is it's fascinating, funny, wonderful character that you should hate, but you end up loving.

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Oh yeah. I mean, he says some of the meanest things I've ever heard come out of humans. Mouths are and actors on screen like he's racist, he's homophobic, he's misogynistic. He's he's got it all going for him. But he's got chronic OCD and he's having therapy for it and he's trying to get himself better. But he really is a hopeless case and he's violent. Everything that comes out of his mouth is vile and he's on medication and all that sort of stuff.

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And he has obsessive compulsive disorder means that he can't walk down the footpath without jumping over the cracks of everything. He can't touch a crack. He has to go back to the same restaurant every morning for his breakfast. He has to sit at the same table. He has to have the same food. And he, in a way, develops a relationship with Helen Hunt, who plays the waitress who's looking after him, Carol Connelly. And he's of New Dog.

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She's Carol Connolly. And they are chalk and cheese. Put into this mix comes Greg Kinnear, who plays the gay artist who lives next to Melvin Udall in his building. Now, it's a very upscale, upmarket building, so the apartments are ridiculously huge. And so so Greg Kinnear plays Simon and Simon is a very successful artist. And then he gets mugged in the in the apartment, a guy, a street hustler who he's painting lets his buddies in and they be Greg Kinnear almost to death.

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And it's really vicious, graphic, but and out of his misery comes something. And it's funny, James Brooks talked about when they were shooting the scene in the hospital where Simon's friend and his agent are both there with him. They were going into it and he's covered in these awful cuts. And so and that morning, they decided to play the scene as a comedy. And it really worked. And in the same way that they were halfway through the movie.

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And when there were there was a scene where Helen Hunt and Jack Nicholson were side by side. Up till then, this has always been confrontational, confrontational roles in the restaurant and all that sort of stuff. But they were side by side. And the following day, James Brooks called the men to see the dailies in the editing room. And they saw he said, Do you see what I see? Do you see what I see is very excited. And they realized they were actually making a romantic comedy.

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Up till then, the true comedic situation had not hit them. And so it became this thing that was so phenomenal that they then all worked on it. They improvised. James L. Brooks kept changing the script. He kept leaving it open to Nicholson and Hunt and Gooding to play with it, even down to when they're shooting the final one of the final scenes. And he shot five endings for the film because he couldn't make his mind up as to what he's going to do.

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So they're out on the street there in Brooklyn and they're in a nondescript place, it's 4:00 in the morning and Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt are the dialogue has run out. That's in the script. And they're trying to see what next can happen when James L. Brooks from behind a camera just shouts, kiss her, kiss her. And Nicholson leans in and they have a kiss and it just changes the whole movie. It turns it all upside down. So, you know, it's it's a film full of heart.

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It's quite shocking, the language. And certainly for the time, it is absolutely not politically correct.

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But you see that he's trying to change. He's trying to cope with his mental illness. He's trying to cope with his mental health. He is trying to be better. But she's going through hell because she has a son who's dying of a horrific ailment. And when she leaves the restaurant and Melvin discovers she's gone, he can't cope. So he drives to her home, begs her to come back. And she said she needs to be earning money to pay for her son's medical bills.

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And the next thing, Melvin, a doctor, arrives on their doorstep and all the medical bills are taken care of just so that she will come back to the restaurant to serve him his eggs the way he likes them served in the morning. But there's so much more to it than that because he has developed feelings for her. And that's what the film's about. Let's have another clip. What's this one?

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OK, so I think I might be the only person on the face of the earth that knows you're the greatest woman on Earth. I might be the only one who appreciates how amazing you are and every single thing that you do and how you are with Spencer since and then every single thing that you have in how you say what you mean and how you almost always mean something that's all about being straight and good. I think most people miss that about you, and I watched them wondering how they can watch you bring their food and clear their tables and never get that they just met the greatest woman alive.

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And the fact that I get it makes me feel good. That's not stock that's leading up to when he showed Kesser, because they're trying to figure out what to do at the end of that scene.

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And then James Brooks put it and Nicholson went on to win the Oscar for best actor, Helen Hancock, best actress. But it was the year of Titanic. So Titanic was was doing everything at the Oscars that night. And when Nicholson went up to receive his Oscar, he said, you know, I was having a sinking feeling about this evening, but it just turned around.

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And finally, Bill, there's great music on the soundtrack. Oh, my God, the music is fantastic. He is as a character. He loves his Miles Davis, but he particularly loves Van Morrison. And there's a key scene where they're going on a road trip and they get into the car and he's got the gloves on and he puts music in it and he says, this is the music that's perfect for this moment. And it's Van Morrison. Days like this with Brian Kennedy on backing vocals.

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And it's just fantastic as they head off on this road trip in a convertible Saab. It's fantastic. So.

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Well, I would advise anyone who hasn't seen that there's a treat in store as good as it gets with Jack Nicholson. It really is fantastic. And Bill, Bill Hughes, television producer with Mind the films, thank you very much for joining us.

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