20 October 2014

About Schmidt

About Schmidt 2002
  • Director: Alexander Payne
  • Based on novel  by Louis Begley
  • Cast: Jack Nicholson, Kathy Bates, Hope Davis, Dermot Mulroney, June Squibb
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Jack Nicholson  The Pledge, As Good as It Gets, Mars Attacks, Wolf, A Few Good Men, Batman, Ironweed, The Witches of Eastwick, Prizzi’s Honor, Terms of Endearment, Reds, The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Shining, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Tommy, Chinatown, The King of Marvin Gardens, Carnal Knowledge, Five Easy Pieces, Easy Rider, The Little Shop of Horrors
    • Kathy Bates – The Day the Earth Stood Still, Six Feet Under, Titanic, Dolores Claiborne, Fried Green Tomatoes, Misery, White Palace, Dick Tracy
    • Hope Davis – Infamous, Proof
    • Dermot Mulroney – Burn After Reading, Zodiac, Friends, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Kansans City, Living in Oblivion
    • June Squibb – Far From Heaven, Meet Joe Black, The Age of Innocence, Scent of a Woman
  • Why? Originally because it was given to us free when we bought our first DVD player more than ten years ago. Now because Hal chose it, thinking it was As Good As It Gets, to watch with our friends after his birthday dinner.
  • Seen:  Once previously. Now October 18, 2014 with NM, VM, B-IS and ÖB.
How depressing!  Warren Schmidt doesn’t want to retire but he has to and the youngsters taking over don’t want him around.  His wife of 42 years drives him crazy but when she dies unexpectedly he’s devastated. He hates his son-in-law-to-be. His daughter doesn’t have time for him. Poor Warren. Stiff, boring, unwanted, unneeded. He pours out his heart in letters to six-year-old Ndugo from Tanzania, the boy he has started sponsoring for $22 a month.  He lies to the boy and to himself. He writes that he’s OK but he’s falling apart.  Then he discovers that his wife and his best friend...
Well.  So starts an even more bizarre road trip than Jack Nicholson’s first one in Easy Rider several decades ago. This is pure Midwestern absurdity and I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry. I do both, frequently.
And then it turns into a family drama. Welcome to Absurdsville, Part Two.  With families like that who needs enemies?
He returns to Omaha and writes a depressing letter to Ndugo: “I’m a failure.”
And then he gets a letter from Ndugo.
That’s all I’m going to tell you. Jack Nicholson is terrific.  They all are. It’s an extremely good film. See it.

4 ½ * of 5

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