In the wake of Bo Goldman‘s passing I’m fully aware of what I’m supposed to say, which is that his screenplays were wonderful.

Well, I’m sorry but over the decades I never regarded Goldman as much more than a good, respected, dependable craftsman.

That’s not a putdown as very few screenwriters have made their way into that kind of pantheon, but I never thought of Goldman as one of the pip-pip-pips. I’ve understood for decades that everyone thought he was great, and I never offered an argument.

I’ve never mentioned that 34 or 35 years ago I was assigned to write coverage of Goldman’s screen adaptation of Susan Minot‘s “Monkeys“, and I honestly didn’t think it was all that rich or profound or even, to be perfectly frank, good.

Tonally Goldman’s Monkeys reminded me of the fractured and despairing family weltschmerz that Goldman’s Shoot The Moon was consumed by.

The best line in that 1982 Alan Parker film, which I never liked all that much, was when Albert Finney said that “San Francisco could die of quaint.” I also got a huge kick out of Finney destroying Peter Weller‘s backyard landscaping with his station wagon…crazy nuts.

But I loved Goldman’s script of Melvin and Howard, for the most part. And I admire his screenplays for Scent of a Woman and The Flamingo Kid (uncredited).

I never loved anything about Milos Forman‘s One Flew over The Cuckoo’s Nest (’75), Goldman’s adapted screenplay included, and I’m saying this as a guy who once played Dr. Spivey in a Stamford, Connecticut stage production of the 1962 play, written by Dale Wasserman and based on Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel.