Good Will Hunting

Good Will Hunting is a 1997 American drama film directed by Gus Van Sant, starring Robin Williams, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Minnie Driver, Stellan Skarsgård. Written by Affleck and Damon, the film follows 20-year-old South Boston janitor Will Hunting, an unrecognized genius who, as part of a deferred prosecution agreement after assaulting a police officer, becomes a client of a therapist and studies advanced mathematics with a renowned professor. Through his therapy sessions, Will re-evaluates his relationships with his best friend, his girlfriend, himself, facing the significant task of confronting his past and thinking about his future; the film grossed over $225 million from a $10 million budget. It was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including the Academy Award for Best Picture, won two: Best Supporting Actor for Williams and Best Original Screenplay for Affleck and Damon. In 2014, it was ranked at number 53 in The Hollywood Reporter's "100 Favorite Films" list. Twenty-year-old Will Hunting of South Boston is a self-taught genius, though he works as a janitor at MIT and spends his free time drinking with his friends, Chuckie and Morgan.

When Professor Gerald Lambeau posts a difficult mathematics problem on a blackboard as a challenge for his graduate students, Will solves the problem anonymously, stunning both the students and Lambeau. As a challenge to the unknown genius, Lambeau posts an more difficult problem. Will flees. At a bar, Will meets Skylar, a British woman about to graduate from Harvard College, who plans on attending medical school at Stanford; the next day and his friends fight a gang who used to bully Will as a child. Will is arrested. Lambeau watches Will defend himself, he arranges for him to forgo jail time if he agrees to study mathematics under Lambeau's supervision and participate in therapy sessions. Will tentatively treats his therapists with mockery. In desperation, Lambeau calls on Dr. Sean Maguire, his college roommate, who now teaches psychology at Bunker Hill Community College. Unlike other therapists, Sean challenges Will's defense mechanisms, after the first session where Sean threatens Will after he insults his deceased wife and a few unproductive sessions, Will begins to open up.

Will is struck by Sean's story of how he met his wife by giving up his ticket to the historic game six of the 1975 World Series, after falling in love at first sight. Sean does not regret his decision though his wife died of cancer; this encourages Will to build a relationship with Skylar, though he lies to her about his past and is reluctant to introduce her to his friends or show her his rundown neighborhood. Will challenges Sean to take an objective look at his own life, since Sean cannot move on from his wife's death. Lambeau sets up a number of job interviews for Will, but Will scorns them by sending Chuckie as his "chief negotiator", by turning down a position at the NSA with a scathing critique of the agency's moral position. Skylar asks Will to move to California with her, but he refuses and tells her he is an orphan, that his foster father physically abused him. Will breaks up with Skylar and storms out on Lambeau, dismissing the mathematical research he has been doing. Sean points out that Will is so adept at anticipating future failure in his interpersonal relationships that he deliberately sabotages them in order to avoid emotional pain.

Chuckie challenges Will over his resistance to taking any of the positions he interviews for, telling Will he owes it to his friends to make the most of opportunities they will never have if it means leaving one day without looking back. He tells Will that the best part of his day is a brief moment when he waits on his doorstep thinking Will has moved on to something greater. Will walks in on a heated argument between Lambeau over his potential. Sean and Will find out that they were both victims of child abuse. Sean helps Will to see that he is a victim of his own inner demons and to accept that it is not his fault, causing him to break down in tears. Will accepts one of the job offers arranged by Lambeau. Having helped Will overcome his problems, Sean reconciles with Lambeau and decides to take a sabbatical; when Will's friends present him with a rebuilt Chevrolet Nova for his 21st birthday, he decides to pass on the job offer and drive to California to reunite with Skylar and he sends Sean a letter telling him to tell Lambeau that he had to go "see about a girl", stealing Sean's quote.

Some time Chuckie goes to Will's house to pick him up, only to find that he is not there, much to his happiness. Matt Damon started writing the film as a final assignment for a playwriting class he was taking at Harvard University. Instead of writing a one-act play, Damon submitted a 40-page script, he wrote his medical student Skylar Satenstein, into his script. Damon said the only scene from that script that survived — "it survived verbatim" — was when Will Hunting meets his therapist, Dr. Maguire, he came to Ben Affleck and asked him to develop the screenplay together, the two completed the script in 1994. At first, it was written as a thriller about a young man in the rough-and-tumble streets of South Boston who possesses a superior intelligence and is targeted by the government with heavy-handed recruitment. Castle Rock Entertainment bought the script for $675,000 against $775,000, meaning that Damon and Affleck would stand to earn an additional $100,000 if the film was produced and they retained sole writing credit.


The First Four Years (novel)

The First Four Years is an autobiographical novel by Laura Ingalls Wilder, published in 1971 and considered the last of nine books in the Little House series. The series had concluded at eight children's novels following Wilder to mature age and her marriage with Almanzo Wilder. Roger Lea MacBride found the work in the belongings of Wilder's daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, while going through her estate after her death in 1968. Wilder wrote all of her books in pencil on dime store tablets, this one's manuscript was found in manuscript form as Wilder had written it, it is not clear whether Wilder intended this first draft to be a ninth book in the Little House series, or a standalone novel for adults. Much of the material is more for an adult audience than anything in her Little House books, she seems to have written the extant first draft sometime around 1940, apparently lost interest in the project. MacBride, Lane's adopted grandson, executor of her estate, made a decision to publish this novel without any editing so it came directly from Wilder's pencil to the written page.

Because she never reworked the manuscript - and Lane never edited it as she had her mother's published works, the novel is less polished in style than the books of the Little House series, but it is still unmistakably Wilder's writing. The novel gets its title from a promise, she decided to try farming for three years. Laura keeps house and Almanzo tends the land and the stock, they go on frequent pony rides together. At the end of the first year, just as the wheat is ready to harvest, a serious hailstorm destroys the entire crop, which would have brought them three thousand dollars and paid off their debts on farm equipment and the building of the house. Faced with mounting debt, Almanzo decides to mortgage the homestead claim, he and Laura will have to live on it as a condition of the mortgage, so they rent out the house on the tree claim and Almanzo builds a small home on the homestead claim. Their daughter, Rose, is born there in December. At the end of the second year, they harvest a fair wheat crop, share the proceeds of the sale of the wheat with the tree claim's renter, making enough money themselves to pay some of their smaller debts.

In December of the third year, both Laura and Almanzo contract diphtheria, he suffers a complication which leaves him permanently physically impaired. The renter decides to move away, as Almanzo can no longer work both pieces of land, they sell the homestead claim and move back to their first house. Laura receives an opportunity to invest money in a flock of sheep; the wool from the sheep repays her initial investment with enough left over only for the interest on their debts. Meanwhile, the wheat and oats grow well, but are ruined just before harvest when several days of hot, dry wind damage them irreparably. At the end of the third year, though farming has not yet been a success and Almanzo agree to continue for one more year, a "year of grace", in Laura's words, since they have no other prospects and Almanzo believes they just need one good year to turn things around. Hot winds again ruin the next planting of wheat and oats, their unnamed son dies a few weeks later. Their house is destroyed by a flash fire.

Despite this, the novel ends at the close of the fourth year on an optimistic note, with Laura feeling hopeful that their luck will turn. In reality, continual debt and the hot, dry Dakota summers drove Almanzo from their land. Wilder's first editor at Harper, Virginia Kirkus, had retired from her pre-publication book review service and long retired from writing all of its contents. Of the unfinished novel marketed as volume 9, Kirkus Reviews wrote in part, "For a moment it's all wrong, this manuscript left unrevised by Mrs. Wilder, Manly takes hold and reasoning and promising... Compared to its predecessors this is telegraphic, with little development of incident; the spirit as well as the format is that of the Little House." Little House Books at HarperCollins Children's Books

Walpole collection

The Walpole collection was a collection of paintings and other works of art at Houghton Hall and other residences of Sir Robert Walpole. Many of the important works were sold to Catherine the Great of Russia, the Hermitage Museum still owns more than 120 works from the collection; the collection was put together by Sir Robert Walpole, Britain's first prime minister and housed at Houghton Hall and his other residences. It included paintings by Van Dyck, Poussin and Rembrandt, as well as a number of portraits of family members. Many of the portraits and some of the other paintings came from the collection of the Wharton family which Walpole reputedly bought for £1500; these included royal portraits and family portraits by van Dyck. Walpole bought the complete collection, most of which went to Houghton, but a few of which were sold. Walpole's sons were active in obtaining works for his collection, he received gifts from friends and from those seeking support or honours. Walpole's collection of marble Roman busts was noteworthy and the collection included a pair of silver wine coolers by William Lukin that are now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Horace Walpole, son of Sir Robert, published a catalogue of the collection in 1736. Following the death of Robert Walpole, the 2nd Earl of Orford, in 1751, "a lesser part of the collection" was sold at auction by the 3rd Earl. In 1777, John Wilkes tried to persuade parliament to buy the collection for the nation. Many of the Old Master paintings subsequently went to the Hermitage Museum having been sold by the 3rd Earl to Catherine the Great in 1779 for £40,550. In total 206 works travelled from Houghton to the Hermitage. Many of these remain in the Hermitage; some items from the collection were sold in 1853, including a portrait of Joseph Carreras by Sir Godfrey Kneller which returned to Houghton Hall. Further sales took place in the 1930s. During the 2nd World War, the collection was stored for protection in Sverdlovsk; the collection returned to the Hermitage in 1946 and it still owns 127 works from the collection. Some works remained at Houghton after the sale to Catherine including Thomas Gainsborough's oil painting of his own family -- Thomas Gainsborough, with His Wife and Elder Daughter, Mary.

From 17 May 2013, until 24 November 2013, 70 pictures from the Hermitage and other museums that were part of the collection were loaned to Houghton Hall to be exhibited in their original settings. Campbell, Kristin. "Pictures for the Nation: Conceptualizing a Collection of'Old Masters' for London, 1775-1800", pp 48-107. Online Coutu, Joan Michèle, and Now: Collecting and Classicism in Eighteenth-century England. Moore, Andrew. Houghton Hall: The prime minister, the empress and the heritage. Moore, Andrew W. and Larisa Aleksandrovna Dukelʹskai︠a︡, eds. A Capital Collection: Houghton Hall and the Hermitage: with a Modern Edition of" Aedes Walpolianae", Horace Walpole's Catalogue of Sir Robert Walpole's Collection