Boston Globe Good Will Hunting retrospective omits Elliott Smith

Which, you know, kinda sucks, since Elliott’s music was pretty pivotal to the whole movie, and it really launched him past hipster obscurity to a wider audience. So let’s do the retrospective:

  1. Elliott Smith left the band Heatmiser in 1994 because he was tired of having all his songs played like big rock songs, and went on to become a solo act specializing in whispered lyrics and acoustic arrangements as harrowing as anything Heatmiser ever did.
  2. Gus Van Sant tapped Elliott for the soundtrack, presumably based on familiarity with his work from their joint residence in Portland.
  3. The movie was a surprise hit and Elliott ended up playing “Miss Misery” at the Oscars.
  4. Elliott released two albums on Dreamworks.
  5. Elliott got addicted (or his addiction worsened) to alcohol and other hard drugs (heroin, crack, you name it). He went into a downward spiral, and ultimately was found dead stabbed through the heart. The death was ruled a suicide.

Not as cheery as talking about Matt Damon, but just as significant a follow-up to the movie. I don’t know if Elliott would have burned up as fast as he did without the sudden fame the movie brought, but it seems pretty clear that it contributed to his issues.


There were two spectacularly wonderful things that I found online yesterday: