Sunday, January 20, 2008

Movie Review: "The Bucket List"

Generally speaking, I seldom agree with movie critics. Once in a while, they’ll get it right, but I have found that the worse a film is panned by a critic, the better I like it, with few exceptions. (Okay, that Cabin Boy thing was a big disappointment to everyone. But generally speaking, okay?)

Take “The Bucket List,” the latest offering from Rob Reiner, featuring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, which has gotten raspberries and rotten tomatoes from most who’ve seen it. I disagree, and will make one more generalization about those who have seen the movie and panned it: They’re too inexperienced to get it.
Insufficient funds in their life's emotional bank account.

If you’ve never had cancer, you won’t get it.
If you’ve never been told you have a terminal illness, you cannot comprehend.
If you’ve never had regrets about things in life you always wanted to do, and didn’t, for whatever reason, the story will not resonate with you, because, frankly, you haven't lived long enough yet.

Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.
The pairing is genius.
Both actors are Academy Award winners.
While any acting ensemble is at the mercy of their script, Nicholson and Freeman could read the NYC Phone Book together, and make it entertaining.

Imagine what they can deliver about the aging process, proving that in the right context even normally scatalogic humor can hit pretty close to home (reference Nicholson’s comments about passing up certain opportunities most of us take for granted: “Never pass up a bathroom, never waste a hard-on, and never trust a fart.”) Thanks, Jack.

The subject of death is not one we like to entertain.
Oh, we’re entertained enough about someone else’s death, hacked to pieces by Freddie Krueger, impalings, beheadings, dismemberments, disembowelings, fryings, gassings, burnings, and blowing into oblivion the other guy—that’s entertainment.

But contemplating our own, eventual demise tends to be a turn-off for most audiences. Perhaps that’s why we pay premium dollars for front row seats to see the Rolling Stones, but tend to sit in the back at church services.

Go see "The Bucket List" if for no other reason than to pique your curiosity about how these two unlikely room mates in the oncology ward decide to address their mortalities, and a little unfinished business in their lives, too. There is as much fodder for laughter as tears, which would fulfill one of the requirements on their Bucket List, “to laugh until I cry.”

I won’t ruin the ending for you.
But I’ll bet by the end of the week, you’ve composed your own, internal Bucket List…and I’ll bet you don’t have to go to the hospital to find someone with whom to share that list.

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