My Own Private Idaho (1991)

Wherever, whatever, have a nice day.

Original Title : My Own Private Idaho
Director : Gus Van Sant
Writer : William Shakespeare
Gus Van Sant
Genre : Drama
Country : USA
Language : English
Producer : Anthony Brand , Allan Mindel , Laurie Parker
Music : River Phoenix
Bill Stafford
Photography : John J. Campbell
Eric Alan Edwards
IMDB ID : 0102494
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poster for "My Own Private Idaho" by Gus Van Sant (1991)
My Own Private Idaho (1991) - Gus Van Sant


River Phoenix Mike Waters
Keanu Reeves Scott Favor
James Russo Richard Waters
William Richert Bob Pigeon
Rodney Harvey Gary
Chiara Caselli Carmella
Michael Parker Digger
Jessie Thomas Denise
Flea Budd
Grace Zabriskie Alena
Tom Troupe Jack Favor
Udo Kier Hans
Sally Curtice Jane Lightwork
Robert Lee Pitchlynn Walt
Mickey Cottrell Daddy Carroll
Wade Evans Wade
Matthew Ebert Coverboy
Scott Patrick Green Coverboy/Cafe Kid
Tom Cramer Coverboy
Vana O'Brien Sharon Waters
Shaun Jordan Cafe Kid
Shawn Jones Cafe Kid
George Conner Bad George
Oliver Kirk Indian Cop
Stanley Hainsworth Dirtman
Joshua Halladay Baby Mike
Douglas Tollenen Little Richard
Steven Clark Pachosa Hotel Manager
Lannie Swerdlow Disco Manager
Wally Gaarsland Rock Promoter
Brian Wilson Rock Promoter
Mark Weaver Rock Promoter
Conrad 'Bud' Montgomery Rock Promoter
Pat Patterson Cop
Steve Vernelson Cop
Mike Cascadden Cop
Eric Hull Mayor's Aide
James A. Arling Minister
James Caviezel Airline Clerk
Ana Cavinato Stewardess
Melanie Mosely Lounge Hostess
Greg Murphy Carl
David Reppinhagen Yuppie at Jake's
Tiger Warren Himself
Massimo Di Cataldo Italian Street Boy
Pao Pei Andreoli Italian Street Boy
Robert Egon Italian Street Boy
Paolo Baiocco Italian Street Boy
Mario Stracciarolo Mike's Italian Client rest of cast listed alphabetically
Jesse Merz Mean Kid (uncredited
Tom Peterson Bit Part (uncredited
Eli Swenson Street Hustler (Seattle


Surreal character study focusing on the friendship between two male hustlers, Mike and Scott, in Seattle. They live on the streets, do drugs, and sell themselves to men and women. Mike (River Phoenix) is quiet, gay and suffers from narcolepsy. Abandoned as a child, he is obsessed with finding his long-lost mother. Scott (Keanu Reeves) is the rebellious son of a high-ranking family, who lives this life mostly to embarrass his father. Mike is in love with Scott, who still maintains he is straight and insists that his wild lifestyle on the streets is only temporary. Together, they embark on a quest to find Mike's mother, travelling from Seattle to Idaho to Italy, with Scott picking up a beautiful girl along the way.


Really, really f**ked up I'm not really sure whether I want to like this movie, or not. It has a definite appeal to fans of art films, which I'm not (though B movies.... wait, those aren't art films..), but anyone searching for anything resembling a mainstream movie is advised to look elsewhere. Though I'm sure this is the effect director Gus Van Sant was aiming for, the movie looks very crude and low budget, it may have even been shot on 16mm. The only positive effect this has is that it seems to be happening to us, and that the movie was made specifically for us, and no one else. This is hardly the main reason that it's, to be frank, messed up. It's obvious that any movie that opens with the main character (in this case Mike, played by River Phoenix) getting a b***job is not going to be another Hollywood money pit. There is quite a bit to be admired about the film, however. One is the caliber of the acting, especially the surprise given to us by Keanu Reeves. That's right- he actually acts here. This is likely the only movie he's ever been in where the word 'dude' is not in the script. He easily delivers a career best performace here, not a hard feat by his standards. The rest of the cast, made up mostly of no-names, is also exceptional, and the acting may be the only thing saving this movie. My advice is to see it only if you're a fan of art house films, or of either of the two stars. Everyone else stay far, far away. 5.5/10
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My Own Private Idaho (1991) - Gus Van Sant
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My Own Private Idaho (1991) - Gus Van Sant
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My Own Private Idaho (1991) - Gus Van Sant
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My Own Private Idaho (1991) - Gus Van Sant
poster for "My Own Private Idaho"
400 x 570
My Own Private Idaho (1991) - Gus Van Sant