Laugh until you cry (Bucket List)

January 27, 2008 at 9:00 am | Posted in movies | 1 Comment

Edward Cole: The sequel was like that. She never backed me up on anything.
Carter Chambers: The sequel?
Edward Cole: The second Mrs Edward Cole.
[Carter rolls his eyes]
Edward Cole: Hell, that woman hated me.
Kyle the parachutist: Maybe its because you called her the sequel.

Laugh until you cryThe Bucket List
Island 16 – January 24, 2008

Usually, I tend to shy away from formulaic movies… A “Throw them together and see what happens” kind of film. In this case, Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. These two powerhouse performers have just as much chance at chemistry as did Robin Williams and Billy Crystal, or Uma Thurman and Meryl Streep, or even David Spade and Chris Farley. Now I’m guessing that these two gentlemen chose the project thinking that they would/could transcend the roles to appeal to the everyday man, which I admit is a noble effort. At the end of the day, they are forever Morgan Freeman and “Jack.” Directed by Rob Reiner (of Stand by me and Princess Bride fame), these three bring all of their combined experience and talent into an heart-warming, age-appropriate relational comedy about two men making the most of their final days.

I quite enjoyed this film. It was not a movie I would consider extraordinary, but there are genuine laughs throughout. Sometimes its the company you see movies with that makes all the difference. My father, his girlfriend and I had come from a wonderful dinner at Kotobuki (one of my favorite Sushi restaurants in New York) and decided to make a night of it with a movie. My father very much enjoys Jack Nicholson, as there are certain recent roles when Jack Nicholson reminds us both of my Boompa (my father’s father) who past away in 1990.

According to IMDB, The Bucket List was rated PG-13 for language, including a sexual reference. They always rate movies with a warning if you are going to see a naked body or someone’s head getting blown off. But what of graphic realism? What about those moments that are considered acceptable by movie censors for teenagers to see, but you might want a warning ahead of time about it? Well, here’s my warning to you.

This movie contains scenes showing the various stages of cancer, including brain operations, chemo and the rest. To the target audience (I dain to use the phrase “older generation” here again, as I was reemed for my use of it last time) where experience or knowledge of this process is much more prevalent unfortunately, these images may not be as shocking. These scenes got me thinking about my grandfather’s final days, having been diagnosed with prostate cancer that was untreated for a very long time. I guess if he was like Jack Nicholson’s character Edward Cole and had owned the hospital himself, he could have recovered and climbed to the top of the Egyptian pyrmaids too. I couldn’t decide if this portion of the film was glamorized or not. The recovery period of the two gentlemen suffering from cancer of the brain did seem remarkably short. But that’s Hollywood for you – can’t draw out the long recovery process and bore the audience.

The premise is sweet and in the end, unfolded exactly the way it should have. Some reviews I heard were disappointed with the outcome, stating that it was just an extended version of the trailer. To that, I say… Well, of course it is. When a plot is simple, it doesn’t take long to explain. Sometimes that is the beauty of it. This kind of spiritual journey is one that I can see for myself one day. A quote from the movie LA Story comes to mind (paraphrased) “It may not be the truth, but it is what we wish were true.”

RATING: ****/5
Recommendation: Ignore the 13 and up rating. See it with a parent.

bucket list

P.S. Yay Sean Hayes! Do more films! We love you!

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  1. I agree with the reviewer who said it was just an extended version of the trailer. Although of course, the trailer was misadvertising – making it seem like a a comedy. Nearly all the comedic bits were in the trailer and the rest was for the most part boring filler dialogue or sad and depressing bits. Aside from a few poignant moments and the already-saw-it-in-the-trailer funny bits I have to rate this movie: Snoozefest!


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