Gus Van Sant - Rotten Tomatoes

Gus Van Sant

Highest Rated:   100% Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
Lowest Rated:   8% Virginia (2012)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Louisville, Kentucky, USA
A director who is capable of crafting both deeply unconventional independent films and mainstream crowd-pleasers, Gus Van Sant has managed to carve an enviable niche for himself in Hollywood. In the years that followed his debut in 1985 with Mala Noche, Van Sant established himself as one of the most vital directorial voices in the U.S.The son of a traveling salesman who rapidly worked his way up the corporate ladder into middle-class prosperity, Van Sant was born in Louisville, KY, on July 24, 1952. Due to his father's job, the family moved continuously during Van Sant's childhood. One constant in the director's early years was his interest in painting and Super-8 filmmaking; while still in school he began making semi-autobiographical shorts costing between 30 and 50 dollars. Van Sant's artistic leanings took him to the Rhode Island School of Design in 1970, where his introduction to various avant-garde directors inspired him to change his major from painting to cinema.After spending time in Europe, Van Sant went to Los Angeles in 1976. He became fascinated by the down-and-out residents of L.A., especially in context with the more ordinary, prosperous world that surrounded them; his film Mala Noche (1985) would reflect his observation of these societal outcasts.Mala Noche was made two years after Van Sant went to New York to work in an advertising agency; saving 25,000 dollars during his tenure there, he was able to finance his tale of doomed love between a gay liquor store clerk and a Mexican immigrant. The film, which was taken from Portland street writer Walt Curtis's semi-autobiographical novella, featured some of the director's hallmarks, notably an unfulfilled romanticism, a dry sense of the absurd, and the refusal to treat homosexuality as something deserving of judgment. Shot in black-and-white, Mala Noche earned its director almost overnight acclaim on the festival circuit, with the Los Angeles Times naming it the year's Best Independent Film. The film's success attracted Hollywood interest, and Van Sant was briefly courted by Universal; the courtship ended after Van Sant pitched a series of project ideas (including what would later become Drugstore Cowboy and My Own Private Idaho) that the studio declined to take interest in. Van Sant reacted by moving to Portland, Oregon, where he set up house and began giving life to the ideas rejected by Universal.With the assistance of independent production company Avenue, the director made Drugstore Cowboy, his 1989 film about four drug addicts who rob pharmacies to support their habit. Cowboy met with great critical success; in addition to furthering Van Sant's reputation as a gifted director, it helped to revive the career of Matt Dillon, who was remarkable as the junkie leader who decides to come clean. The similarly acclaimed My Own Private Idaho (1991) centered around the dealings of two male hustlers (played by River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves), and was a compelling examination of unrequited love, alienation, and the concept of family. The film won him an Independent Spirit Award for his screenplay (he had won the same award for his Drugstore Cowboy screenplay), as well as greater prestige. Van Sant's next project, a 1994 adaptation of Tom Robbins' Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, was an excessive flop, both commercially and critically. Featuring an unusually large budget (for Van Sant, at least) of 8.5 million dollars and a large, eclectic cast including Uma Thurman, John Hurt, and Keanu Reeves, the film was worked and then reworked, but the finished product nonetheless resulted in something approaching a significant disaster. Fortunately for Van Sant, his next project, 1995's To Die For, helped to restore his luster. An adaptation of Joyce Maynard's novel, the black comedy starred Nicole Kidman as a murderously ambitious weather girl. It was Van Sant's first effort for a major studio (Columbia), and its success paved the way for further projects of the director's choosing. T

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Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
12% The Sea of Trees
  • Director
$20.6k 2016
23% The Canyons
  • Dr. Campbell
$31.8k 2013
83% Laurence Anyways
  • Executive Producer
2013
51% Promised Land
  • Director
  • Executive Producer
$7.7M 2013
No Score Yet The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
  • Director
2013
No Score Yet Trespassing Bergman
  • Actor
2013
8% Virginia
  • Executive Producer
$11.6k 2012
36% Restless
  • Producer
  • Director
$0.2M 2011
80% The Story Of Film: An Odyssey
  • Actor
2011
No Score Yet The Advocate For Fagdom
  • Actor
2011
88% William S. Burroughs: A Man Within
  • Actor
$46.9k 2010
62% Howl
  • Executive Producer
$0.7M 2010
No Score Yet 8
  • Director
2009
94% Milk
  • Director
$31.8M 2008
95% Mala Noche
  • Producer
2007
77% Paranoid Park
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
$0.3M 2007
87% Paris Je T'aime
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
$4.9M 2007
65% Wild Tigers I Have Known
  • Executive Producer
2007
57% Last Days
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
  • Producer
$0.4M 2005
92% Tarnation
  • Executive Producer
$0.5M 2004
72% Elephant
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
$1.2M 2003
61% Gerry
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
2003
29% Speedway Junky
  • Executive Producer
  • Producer
2002
53% Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
  • Himself
$29.9M 2001
74% Finding Forrester
  • Director
$51.4M 2000
37% Psycho
  • Producer
  • Director
1998
97% Good Will Hunting
  • Director
1997
No Score Yet Guns on the Clackamas
  • Actor
1996
87% To Die For
  • Director
1995
48% Kids
  • Executive Producer
1995
22% Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
  • Director
  • Producer
  • Screenwriter
  • Executive Producer
1994
82% My Own Private Idaho
  • Director
  • Executive Producer
  • Screenwriter
  • Producer
1991
100% Drugstore Cowboy
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
1989
No Score Yet The Discipline of D.E
  • Director
1977
No Score Yet They Learned About Women
  • Jerry Burke
1930
No Score Yet Critico
  • Actor

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
81% When We Rise
2016
  • Director
  • Executive Producer
  • 2017
97% Portlandia
2011
  • Actor
  • 2014
84% Boss
2011-2012
  • Director
  • Executive Producer
  • Producer
  • 2012
  • 2011
67% Entourage
2004-2011
  • Himself
  • 2008

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