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Nick Nolte: No Exit (2008)
** 1/2 (out of 4)
Interesting, if not totally successful, documentary has Nick Nolte pretty much interviewing himself as he discusses various issues ranging from his acting career, to People's sexiest man and even his infamous DUI mugshot, which we learn wasn't really a mugshot. The documentary kicks off with us learning Nolte has three testicles and things pretty much don't let up from that point on. We see two different versions of Nolte here. One appears to be himself with the other, dressed like a reporter from the 40s, asking all the questions. This style is a rather weird one and it takes a while to get use to and one really has to wonder why this decision was made. Was it meant to show that Nolte is a strange guy so they're going to show this in a strange way? Perhaps but where the documentary fails is that we really don't get to learn too much. We learn that Nolte was a big fan of Brando and we learn that he's proud of his film work and wants to be looked at as a great actor and not a sex object. We learn that getting laid is a great reason to become an actor. He briefly mentions films like 48 HOURS, NORTH DALLAS FORTY, Q&A and a few others but says very little about them. We really don't get to know too much about their making and we get to know even less about various other subjects. Jacqueline Bisset, Rosanna Arquette, Ben Stiller, James Gammon, Powers Boothe, Barbara Hershey and F.X. Feeney are just a few of his friends who are interviewed here. All of them add some pretty interesting and at times funny stories but in the end we still don't get to know too much. It's obvious that the documentary wants us to know that Nolte is weird and he wants us to look at him that way. As lacking as the film is, at the same time it's rather hard to take your eyes off Nolte no matter what he's saying.
Nick Nolte is a smart, and physically attractive actor. Even more so in
his heyday in the seventies, eighties, and nineties. Nick Nolte: No
Exit is an awkwardly made, awkwardly shot, and awkwardly executed
documentary of Nick Nolte being interviewed by none other than himself
dressed in a suit, cowboy hat, and a big white tie.
Suited up Nick is broadcasting on a Mac and asking the questions while regular Nick appears hazy, inattentive, and perhaps hungover broadcasting to himself on a black computer. Why did he chose this method? My guess is maybe he wanted a "the only person who understands me is myself" type of message or maybe he wanted his ranger-like persona to be like a news reporter. I don't know, but it begs an explanation.
Throughout the course of this documentary actors like James Gammon (the coach in Major League who I was very happy to see), Ben Stiller, Rosanna Arquette , Jacqueline Bisset , Powers Boothe, F.X. Feeney, Barbara Hershey, Paul Mazursky, Mike Medavoy, and Alan Rudolph make little cameo appearances talking about their experience working with Nick Nolte. Many admire him for his "no limits" sense and his devotion to acting, but others question what is left for him the future.
When Nolte asks Nolte questions, he just replies. The point of a Q&A event is to give thorough and elaborate answers to one's questions. Nolte just replies to them, and sometimes skips over by saying "next question" or "let's move on." This leaves many things open and leaves the audience just as curious as they were going into it.
The title claims "No Exit," but Nolte finds ways to exit things asked by himself. This reminds me very much of the 1989 video diary Corey Haim: Me, Myself and I. In that, Corey Haim answered questions, strangely, and replied as if he was trying to come up with the funniest and quirkiest answer. In this, Nick Nolte doesn't even want to answer. Why'd he make it? Who knows.
Nick Nolte: No Exit is a documentary that goes nowhere, and even though it clocks in at just seventy-four minutes, it tediously moves along. The celebrity interviews are nice, but next time if there shall be one, one of them should interview Nolte and instead of letting him let questions slip by, demand an answer from him. That may make for a more appealing, and honest documentary.
Starring: Nick Nolte, James Gammon, Rosanna Arquette , Jacqueline Bisset , Powers Boothe, F.X. Feeney, Barbara Hershey, Paul Mazursky, Mike Medavoy, Alan Rudolph, and Ben Stiller. Directed by: Tom Thurman.
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