Is This Really "As Good As It Gets?"
Melvin Udall is a mean spirited, rude, unpleasant old man who lives alone and has never connected with anyone. His obsessive-compulsive disorder along with his fear of germs, cracks and fears of intimacy has raised a wall around him keeping others out. Mr. Udall feels comfortable alone, that's what he knows and he also has a keen way of putting off anyone with whom he comes into contact. His constant ritual performances and anxiety issues prevent him from living a normal life. Melvin Udall is racist, homophobic, sexist, narcissistic, as well as showing dislike for the Jewish faith and suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder. As a man living in Manhattan, New York, Melvin Udall lives an abnormal daily life, when Melvin truly connects with other human beings he realizes there is a normal side to his erratic lifestyle and existence.
As a romance novelist, Melvin lives in a nice apartment in Manhattan. He has his own schedule, including eating at the same restaurant, with the same waitress, Carol, with his own silverware daily. His rituals include locking the door and turning on and off the lights multiple times, washing his hands with soap and extremely hot water, and never stepping on any cracks on the sidewalk or in buildings. His neighbors detest his negative attitude and complete disregard for other people. Simon Bishop, the gay, artist who lives next door takes the brunt of Melvins offensive behavior. After Simon is seriously injured after an attack in his apartment, Melvin ends up with his dog, Verdell.
Melvin hates dogs. He has even been known to throw them down the garbage chute. When he sarcastically tells Simon he loves Verdell, Simon comes back with, "You don't love anything, Mr. Udall" (Sakai, Mark & Brooks 1997). And it's true. After caring for Verdell, Melvin notices the dog picking up his unusual habits: Verdell no longer steps on cracks and mimics Melvin's emotions. After...
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