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OK let's forget that Jack is my favourite actor and I lately really
like movies about ordinary people from US countryside and small towns
and communities. I am just fascinated somehow - but let's return to the
topic. Ther movie shows an ordinary and average life of one man -
better to say the second or just the very last part of his life. After
you loose all you used to like or used to take as something usual you
are going to see the world in other color. You see that one man means a
lot for himself but not a damn for the others - including your family.
You start to understand what the life is about - what was wrong in your
life and what was the biggest goal you achieved. You start to
understand that small ordinary habits and everyday experience is all
what left and you have.
And finally after staying alone and thinking about the life you may find that the least important thing you have done is finally the most important and everything else doesn't matter.
So in the end > good story with good acting of our star JAck and nice views of US people and life. 8/10
Jack Nicholson is part of these unique actors who are not afraid of
playing demeaning parts.While most of his peers in their
sixties/seventies are still playing heroes ,see what he does.He has
almost never played the brilliant-lawyer-with-good-prospects.Two
examples :"one flew over the cuckoo's nest" and the overlooked
"Ironweed" which almost nobody knows and which paired him with an
equally extraordinary Meryl Streep.
"About Schmidt" is a very good film,cause it succeeds in blending comedy and drama.And this drama involves US ,cause like Schmidt we are all potentially retired people .We are afraid of losing our job for good (the scene when Nicholson returns to his office is revealing),we are afraid to live with a partner getting old (who's THAT old woman living in my house?) ,we try to enlighten our children for fear they might go astray (and the daughter's family-in-law has nothing to recommend them)... and most of all,we are afraid of this: when you reach 65,you take stock of your life and you realize it's an unfulfilled one.Then you live in the past conditional.
That's why the little African boy is so important;although we never see him ,he's a character in the story: a confident ,and finally,when Nicholson begins to cry,the one thing he can be proud of.The letters he writes to his foster child provides the movie with an unusually inventive use of the voice over.
There are numerous memorable scenes:my favorite is Nicholson's speech during the wedding meal:his attitude is in direct contrast to the praises he says to everyone ,particularly to his daughter's mother-in-law ( Kathy Bates is sensational).
About Schmidt deals with the many problems and uncertainties dawning
particularly when the burden of growing old spreads its weight. Add to
that solitude and rejection and the elements for a reflective and
touching drama, whilst not distancing themselves from an ordinary
reality, are sure ingredients for a gem in the 'indipendent budget'
Although the main character, as said, is nothing but an ordinary guy, the subtlety, control and communicative effectiveness with which Nicholson embodies his character are a first.
The actor is known for having forged roles as the stubborn and self-made, shrewd man with an obvious taste for peril, to the downright psychopathic maniacal individual with the devilish eyebrow. But the frailty and 'want-of-love' in Warren Schmidt cannot do anything but open up the heart of the strictest and most cynical viewer, portraying a myriad of emotions with one single glance or old-age crease.
Overall not to be missed, the comical moments are not lacking and in my eye, a new, better understanding Nicholson emerging.
'Dear Ndougu', you will certainly love this.
This is my first online review. I registered with imdb to write it
I am sick and tired of seeing people gush over About Schmidt, which is
easily one of the 8 or 10 worst things I have ever seen in nearly 50 years
of going to the movies.
What do I know about Warren Schmidt?
He considers his wife of many years a stranger. Indeed, after the initial shock of her death, he seems glad to be rid of her. He didn't like her much anyway, but apparently the main reason for his relief is that he can now realize a lifelong ambition to live in a state of slovenliness that would not be tolerated in most university fraternity houses, much less in the homes of grown men.
He loves his only child as "daddy's little girl", but seems not to have even noticed that she has grown into a young woman and, for better or worse, embarked on a life of her own. She is a stranger, too, since Schmidt makes no attempt to know her.
He rejects his only remaining friend from the job over an affair the friend had 25 years before with Mrs. Schmidt, about whom, as noted above, he cared nothing anyway. At least this scene let me know Schmidt has a pulse. Before, he reminded me of the joke about an accountant who became an actuary because accounting was too much excitement.
For all his actuarial knowledge of other people's futures, he has given no thought to his own future and seems unaware that one might even plan for a future, beyond financial planning. An excellent title for this film would have been The Man Who Wasn't There, if someone else had not already used it.
It is a hallmark of good fiction that the author makes the reader or viewer care about the characters and hope things turn out well or badly for them, according to what they deserve. I cannot even imagine why anyone would care whether Warren Schmidt spends the next 20 years communing with other shrieking losers in RV parks, or, alternately, drives his motor home into the Missouri River and sinks out of the world forever. He doesn't seem to deserve any fate because he doesn't seem to be anyone. What is it About Schmidt that I was supposed to bring home from the theater? I have no idea.
I think this is one of the most moving films I've ever seen. I'm not saying it is entirely enjoyable. Jack Nicholson's Schmidt comes to realize that he has quite a bit of time left after a forced retirement, and that his worth is minimal. At least in his own eyes. The sad thing about a "failed" life is that for many it is he only life available to him. Granted, he could have made better choices; but he is only a man. He also comes to realize that he has been cheated on and now has no influence on his daughter or anyone else. When his tiresome, but quite normal, wife dies he is faced with days and days ahead of him with no purpose. So off he goes in his motor home (which was purchased so he and his wife could finally travel) to attend his daughter's marriage to a dull, uninspiring man (probably much like him). There are a series of episodes along the way (he ends up in a hot tub with a naked Kathy Bates for one). But there is still hope and there is still life, and we need to recognize it and grasp it. An outstanding performance by Nicholson, exhibiting the pain and angst that are just part of being alive.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
About Schmidt is a 2002 American comedy-drama film. The film is
directed by Alexander Payne, who is known for his high-quality scripts
and who won two and was nominated for five Oscars in this category. It
stars Jack Nicholson and Kathy Bates, who both won Oscars for their
performance in this film. This film is about Warren Schmidt, who
decided after the retirement to set out for a trip to his daughters'
This film is one of my favorites. It has lots of strengths. First of all, Alexander Payne is good as a director and a screenwriter, he is especially good at making so called slow in pace movies. Then comes, of course, the brilliant performance of Jack Nicholson who managed to get the feel of his part, he is perfect in the role of an old, arrogant chap. Furthermore, the work of the cameraman is also worth- mentioning because there is a bunch of nice shots of breathtaking views of the countryside of Omaha and Iowa. And the last, but definitely not the least strength of the film is its content. It has so many important subjects brought up. For example, it scoffs at the superficiality of the people's relationship, words and actions, it was well shown during the retirement party of the main character it is said that gifts and the party itself do not matter. And it is devotion of your life to something meaningful that is really important. And Mr. Schmidt saw that his lifework was pointless, so he decided to change his life, but, of course, old age is not the best time to start new things. Loneliness is another problem of this movie. Warren Schmidt after the death of his wife is staying alone in his house, because his daughter is living in Iowa and preparing for the wedding with the guy, whom Schmidt really hates. The film helps me to understand that everyone is lonely, in his thoughts, wishes and fears. Each of us has to walk his way, and the people that surround us are only like bumps on the life road, some of them are bigger than others, so they have more influence on our trip, but they can only change our direction a little bit, and we are still the ones who choose places of destination. Payne also invokes us not only to appreciate what you have while you still have it, but to remember the history and respect our ancestors. So the film is very versatile, it shows the problems of old people, the theme of loneliness, sadness because of anger and irritation, egoism, relationship between relatives, pursuit for some significance of your life and things that make anyone's other life different. I guess soul-searching is the thing that connects both parts of the screen during the film, because it is impossible not to search for the answers that the main character is trying to find. The humor of the film is constructed with the help of its content and actions of characters, not with the help of jokes. The film is like a knitting needle which penetrates deep into your heart and mind causing a slight pain. I hope that more people will open for themselves this pure, measured and moving drama with the elements of adventure and satire.
Probably the 4th or 5th time I'm watching this brilliant movie. Just
Excellent writing, direction and acting by the entire cast without exception (especially Nicholson and Bates).
The score is brilliant and without it the movie would have been something completely different.
"About Schmidt" and "Sideways" are Payne's masterpieces.
What especially amazing in this movie is how effectively, brilliantly and quickly it switches between heavy drama and comedy.
Yes, yes, I cried at the last scene - like always.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There some familiar ingredients here. Another dark comedy-drama from
Alexander Payne with a Nebraska setting. Jack Nicholson being less Jack
and daring to be more of the kind of character he played in The King of
Marvin Gardens. Whereas in that film he played a depressed radio host
telling stories to the listener, here we have Schmidt telling stories
to a sponsored child in an orphanage in Africa.
Schmidt has newly retired from a lifetime of working in the insurance industry. His replacement a young hotshot has no time for him, he secretly is irritated by his wife and she by him after we find out when she suddenly dies that she had an affair.
They planned to have a road trip after they retired and he is now on his own, travelling to his daughter's wedding. Her daughter resents him, her husband to be is a jerk, excellently portrayed by Dermot Mulroney.
The film is a character study, a man failed to be interesting, worked to provide for his wife and family and realising that he will soon be forgotten. He is empty, sad and even resentful inside when he realises his wife never understood him and he never really understood her. His daughter cannot see that the husband although very nice is a bit of a jerk with get rich quick schemes.
The film starts slowly, gets absorbing but despite the emotional pay off at the end, I did find it less than enthralling. I do find Payne's films rather heavy going and although well acted, pacing makes it off kilter.
I'm always floored by a powerful ending, particularly one without
words. Japanese films are known for it, my faves being "The Summer of
Kikujiru" (2000), "Sway" (2006) and the Kurosawa masterpiece "To Live"
(1952). It takes a bold filmmaker to end without words, and if
successful, the impact on the audience is staggering. Without ruining
anything, I'll just tell you that "About Schmidt" pulls a real ace out
of its sleeve in the final moments, unexpected yet perfect, and the
delivery by Jack Nicholson is one of those moments that asserts how
nobody but Jack could have pulled it off.
Well, maybe Christopher Walken, but that goes without saying.
Other reviewers have reacted to this film with everything from hysterical laughter to utter despair. While I didn't experience either of the two, I came away with a feeling of total satisfaction, like I just learned something profound and eye-opening. "About Schmidt" is an underdog story but with a message unlike any I've seen in a while. If you focus on the underdog part of the story, then yes, you might think this is a sad film. But if you dig under the surface, you may find it beautifully inspiring. In that respect, it's like many of the classic underdog stories that leave audiences either dancing or despondent. It's entirely up to you.
This is a slow-paced film, so if you're looking for something breezy and snappy, you won't find it here. The comedy is extremely subtle, so there aren't many LOL moments. But like a good satire, characters and situations are so bizarre and inappropriate that you can't resist a few chuckles. The pacing and delivery reminded me of the subdued Adam Sandler character in "Punch Drunk Love" or the equally low-key Tom Hanks in "Joe Vs the Volcano", two surreal comedies I highly recommend. Jack Nicholson, I realize now, is a great deadpan comedian, owing largely to his slightly sinister presence even when he's playing a harmless old man.
His role as retiree Warren Schmidt is definitely one of his tamer performances. But egads, the ending brings it all together with a powerful message we all should remember. I highly recommend this film to people of all ages, particularly those who often ask themselves, as the character Warren Schmidt does: "What in the world is better because of me?" Watch the movie, and it may help you answer that cosmic question for yourself.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
About Schmidt is a comedy-drama film directed by Alexander Payne and it
stars Jack Nicholson in the title role together with Hope Davis,Dermot
Mulroney and Kathy Bates. The main narrative of the film follows
Schmidt as he retires from his pedestrian job, followed by the death of
his wife for whom he has lost affection. He goes on a road trip in
order to attend the wedding of his only daughter to a man and into a
family he does not particularly like. Events compel him to reflect on
his life with a sense of futility that lasts until the final moments of
the film.It is very loosely based on the novel of the same title by
Warren Schmidt has settled into a dormant life. He has an unfulfilled marriage to Helen and conspires to spend as much time away from her as possible. His daughter Jeannie is engaged to Randall Hertzel, a man Schmidt believes is entirely unworthy of his daughter. When Helen unexpectedly dies, Warren is adrift until he discovers old love letters sent to his wife from his best friend. This inspires Warren to make a valiant effort to stop his daughter's wedding. His plans start to go awry when he meets Randall's extroverted mother, Roberta.
In this character study, Nicholson gives one of the best performances of his career as he provides us a cuttingly funny, moving portrayal of a man searching for meaning in his unremarkable, unmemorable life.Also,it was a great movie on a touching and human story about a man who comes to the realisation that his life is nothing more than a failure.
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