- Benny & Joon
name = Benny & Joon
caption = Theatrical release poster
Jeremiah S. Chechik
Barry Berman Lesley McNeil
Johnny Depp Mary Stuart Masterson Aidan Quinn
distributor = MGM
April 16, 1993
runtime = 98 min.
country = USA
language = English
amg_id = 1:4829
imdb_id = 0106387
"Benny & Joon" is a 1993
romantic comedyabout how two misfits, Sam ( Johnny Depp) and Juniper/Joon ( Mary Stuart Masterson), find each other and fall in love. The film is perhaps best known for Depp's numerous physical comedyroutines and for popularizing in the U.S. the song " I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by The Proclaimers. The film was shot entirely on location in Spokane, Washingtonthough many of the places filmed, such as the hospital, used fictitious names.
In a small town, an auto mechanic named Benjamin (Benny) devotes his life and his time to taking care of Juniper (Joon), his unbalanced sister. Though a very talented artist and normally sweet natured, Joon is unable to take care of herself and function alone in the world. After the resignation of the last of many "housekeepers" who are there solely to look after Joon (who frequently has "episodes"), Benny decides to take Joon along with him to a poker game he plays with his friend Eric that evening, despite his worries over her penchant for reading, painting, and lighting things on fire.
The next day, Benny sees Joon's doctor, who suggests Joon be put into a group home so that she can be among her peers, to which Benny responds, "She hates her peers; all we need is a new housekeeper." Joon's doctor tries to persuade him still, saying that a group home would be nurturing and supportive, as well as equipping Joon with the necessary skills to have a part time job.
Meanwhile, Joon has ventured outside the house alone and is attempting to be a traffic cop wearing a snorkel and using a red ping pong paddle as a stop sign. A policeman appears on the scene and Joon through the snorkel shouts, "I have every right to be outside!" He asks Joon for some ID, to which she responds by handing over her medical alert card. Benny, now back at his auto shop, is then given a message by one of the mechanics that "Joon called. You've run out of tapioca and the police will corroborate." He is then asked out on a date by an attractive woman whose car he fixed the previous day. He rejects her proposal of dinner, saying "I can't, but I'd like to."
That night when Benny returns home, he finds that his goldfish has died. After flushing the goldfish down the toilet, he is seen with Eric, saying "I can't even keep a goldfish alive," and mentions that if anything happened to Joon he'd never be able to forgive himself. Eric tells Benny that he thinks the group home would definitely be for Joon's own good, and emphasizes the point by saying to Benny that his life is literally passing him by, to which Benny responds, "you're right."
Joon, in the meantime, has weaseled her way into a game of poker with some of Benny's friends. Not knowing that Benny and his friends "play for keeps," Joon ups the ante with a "medium sized green haired troll." The bets go back and forth between Joon and Benny's friend Thomas, until finally she adds scraping and painting the exterior of her house, while he adds "you take my cousin off my hands." After revealing their cards, it is shown that while Joon had a Flush, she is beaten by Thomas' Full House. Benny comes through the door and finds out that Joon lost. Upon asking "What's in the pot?" Joon replies, "A cousin."
Thomas' cousin Sam seems to be just as imbalanced as Joon. After eating dinner at a cafe, Sam comes home with the two of them and it is decided that he will stay home as Joon's new "housekeeper." The next morning when Benny is leaving for work, he advises Sam not to hang around Joon's room when she's painting, and to make sure that nothing happens to her. Sam starts to look after the house and plugs in a stereo to play. Joon then comes in and starts screaming that the music is too loud. Sam then turns the radio off and Joon walks over, unplugs it, and leaves the room. When Benny comes home from work, Joon is alone and says, "I didn't mean to kick him out. I didn't kick him out, he just left." Benny then asks, "What did he do?" to which Joon responds, "he cleaned the house." They then laugh together when a knock on the door sounds. Joon opens the door and finds a jack in the box on the stoop and sees that Sam is sitting on the post office mailbox outside. It is then suggested by Benny that Sam be invited back in before "someone sticks a stamp on his head and mails him to Guam."
The next day, Sam is shown writing a letter to his mom, where most of the words are terribly misspelled. Joon offers to help him write it, and then they go to the cafe together for some tapioca pudding. It is served with raisins, which Joon picks off. When Sam questions whether or not she likes raisins, she responds with "Not really. They used to be fat and juicy and now they're twisted. They had their life stolen. They taste sweet but they're just humiliated grapes."
Later on, Benny comes home and sees Ruthie, one of the waitresses at the cafe, driving Sam and Joon home. He asks where they've been and Joon shows him a bag of water and two new goldfish. She then informs him that Ruthie is staying for dinner also, and that they have rented the horror movie that Ruthie starred in. After they all watch the movie and have dinner, Benny tries to fix Ruthie's car but ends up taking her home. Ruthie invites Benny in. After some small talk, he asks her out to dinner. In the meantime, Joon is painting with Sam. They almost kiss, but at the last second Sam puts a balloon in his mouth and blows it up until it pops.
The next day, Sam goes to a video store where there is a "Help Wanted" sign in the window. He walks in and says to the manager, "I want to help." The manager gives him an application to fill out but he can't write very well so he leaves. Later that night, Benny gets ready and then leaves for his date with Ruthie. She invites him in after they kiss in the car, but he says no and that he should get back to Joon.
The next day, Benny, Joon and Sam go to a park. Sam starts doing funny tricks with his hat and gathers a crowd and everyone is laughing and applauding. Benny says to Joon as everyone is watching Sam, "He's amazing!" and decides to persuade Benny that he could do more with his life than be Joon's housekeeper. In the meantime, he tells Sam and Joon to go home without him and that he'll be home later. When they arrive home, they kiss and end up sleeping together. Sam then tells Joon that he loves her, to which she responds, "Me too." They hear Benny come in and Joon sneaks out of bed to go back to her room, whispering to Sam, "Don't tell Benny!"
The next morning, Sam inquires as to how sick Joon really is, but all Benny can talk about is how Sam should do more with himself after what happened in the park the day before. Sam goes back into the video store later that day and gets a job there. When he comes home, Benny and Joon are sitting at a table discussing with him the things he could do with his life. The idea of Sam leaving seems to upset Joon, who says, "We have to tell him." Sam then tells Benny the nature of his relationship with Joon, and Benny kicks him out of the house. Joon starts screaming at Benny, who yells back, "You are crazy!" She then screams back at him that she hates him. Later, he comes upstairs to check on her and asks her if she wants anything. She replies, "Tapioca with raisins." Because there isn't any in the house, Benny decides to go to the cafe to get her some. While he's gone, Joon burns a childhood photo of the two of them that she has. Sam, who saw Benny leave, knocks on the door. They get on a bus together and while riding on it Joon seems to be having an episode on the bus. Sam finally asks the driver to pull over and an ambulance comes and takes Joon to a hospital. Benny sees her being taken away on his way home from the cafe. When he arrives at the hospital he is told she refuses any visitors and doesn't want to go home. He sees Sam waiting in the waiting area and says, "I hope you're happy. You stay the hell away from my sister," to which Sam replies, "no," and accuses Benny of being scared. He then goes to stay with Ruthie, who is still upset with Benny for rejecting her after their date.
The next day, Sam is working at the video store when Benny comes in. Together, they go to the hospital to try to get to see Joon. After pretending that he belongs in the mental ward, Sam gets Benny entrance so that he can sneak over to Joon's room. After trying to get her to talk to him, he offers her the chance to live in an apartment of her own in Ruthie's building. Her doctor then comes and though initially upset with Benny for sneaking into Joon's room, the three of them have a meeting in which Joon tells them that she's tired of everyone telling her what to do. Meanwhile, Sam is outside trying to get up to her window with the help of one of the orderlies who is also friends with Benny. He then starts swinging back and forth outside of Joon's window. Joon, who didn't believe Benny when he said Sam came with him, is surprised and happy to see Sam and says "I would like to live in my own apartment." The doctor agrees to this and the three of them leave the hospital together.
The movie ends with Benny going over to Ruthies with an armful of roses, and Joon and Sam in their apartment together making grilled cheese sandwiches with a clothes iron.
Johnny Depp- Sam
Mary Stuart Masterson- Juniper 'Joon' Pearl
Aidan Quinn- Benjamin 'Benny' Pearl
William H. Macy- Randy Burch
Julianne Moore- Ruthie
Oliver Platt- Eric
CCH Pounder- Dr. Garvey (as C.C.H. Pounder)
Dan Hedaya- Thomas
Joe Grifasi- Mike
Considered a modest hit, grossing $23,202,734.
Awards and nominations
Although, film didn't win any awards, actor
Johnny Deppgained his second Golden Globe Award nomination.
The film holds an 80 percent positive review rating from
Rotten Tomatoes. [ [http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/benny_and_joon/ "Rotten Tomatoes" Review Webpage] ]
* [http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19930416/REVIEWS/304160301/1023 Roger Ebert Review]
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