ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

10 Things I Learned Listening to the DVD Commentary from "As Good As It Gets"

Updated on October 27, 2017
adamsasso1 profile image

Adam is a writer/producer currently living in Marin County, CA who loves storytelling in all of its forms.

Here are ten interesting tidbits I learned from the DVD commentary by director (And co-writer) James L. Brooks, actors Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt, editor Richard Marks, producer Laurence Mark and composer Hans Zimmer.



1. Melvin's Work In Progress

In the opening scene, author Melvin Udall is at his desk working, searching for words to describe Love. This foreshadows the arc of the film, for this is exactly what Melvin learns through his relationships with Carol, the waitress at his favorite eatery, and Simon, his neighbor.

2. Couldn't Cut Cuba

During the editing process, the filmmakers tried to remove an early scene in which Frank Sachs, Simon's overprotective art dealer (played by Cuba Gooding Jr.), confronts Melvin. They ultimately put the scene back in, deciding that it was important for the audience to see someone give the ornery Melvin his comeuppance.

"They needed to see that it was okay to respond to him in that way."

-Richard Marks, Editor

Frank confronts Melvin:

3. More Skeet, Please...

In early versions of the film, there was more screen time devoted to the relationship between Simon and Vincent (Skeet Ulrich), the young model who poses for him in his apartment studio and who ultimately robs him with the help of friends.

Initial cuts of the movie were running long, so they decided to cut most of the scenes out.

4. 'Old Friends'?

The film's original title was 'Old Friends'.

At some point, Hans Zimmer suggested, "How about that thing he says in the psychiatrist's office?" 'As Good As It Gets' became the new title.

5. Melvin's 'Eureka' Moment

Nearly an hour into the picture, there's a scene where Melvin is gazing out of his window and suddenly figures out how he can help Carol with her son, thereby allowing her to return to work at the cafe where she can continue to wait on him.

The scene was actually shot as a piece of a different subplot that was subsequently cut from the film. Melvin was actually wondering how he could track Carol down after she stopped going to work. The scene worked anyway, so they left it in.

6. Breaking the Law

After Melvin has Dr. Bettes (a cameo by Harold Ramis) visit Spencer, Carol's sickly son, at home, Carol impulsively travels by train to Melvin's apartment to issue her "No-Sex Oath".

While filming part of the travel montage, Co-producer and Production Manager John Scofield was in a helicopter flying alongside a train planning to get an exterior of Carol sitting inside. They discovered that they had the wrong camera lens, so were forced to fly closer than New York City law allowed to get the shot.

7. 18 Pages!

In the scene in the restaurant when Frank (Cuba Gooding Jr.) asks Melvin to drive Simon to see his parents, Carol tries to give Melvin a long thank you letter she wrote for him. He refuses to accept it, so she feels it necessary to read portions of the letter to him right there at the table.

In one take of this scene, Helen Hunt actually read all 18 pages of the letter to Jack!

8. Last Tango in Maryland?

When Melvin busts into the suite the morning after his disastrous date with Carol, she and Simon are wearing matching robes from the hotel.

The robes they wore were the same ones used in the Marlon Brando film 'Last Tango in Paris'. Director James L. Brooks did it as an homage to the film.

Helen Hunt and father:

9. Rained Out

There was a plan to shoot a scene where Simon does, in fact, meet with his parents. Helen Hunt's father, Gordon, was supposed to play the role of Simon's father.

The shoot was cancelled due to rain and the scene was never re-scheduled.

James L. Brooks: "We didn't need it anyway. We felt we didn't want to leave the story of the three main characters together and neither would the audience."

Change is hard but worth it!

10. The Big Idea

Brooks struggled mightily to determine what the "Big Idea" of the film was, even through much of the filming.

"About a third or a half of the way in, it came to me. 'That which makes us safe can also imprison us.' "

After the film was completed another idea hit him. "How hard it is to change just a minute amount and what you can get from life if you can do it."


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)