Tag Archives: Jack Nicholson

The Set of 400: #182 – My Favorite Projectile Water Fountain

Today! Because I must be crazy to be in a loony bin like this –

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

Directed by Milos Forman

Starring Jack Nicholson (x4), Louise Fletcher (x3), Brad Dourif, Will Sampson, Scatman Crothers (x3), Danny DeVito (x5), Vincent Schiavelli (x5), Christopher Lloyd (x4), Michael Berryman, Peter Brocco, Sydney Lassick, Louisa Moritz, Mews Small, William Redfield

I was already well familiar with the movie by the time I read Ken Kesey’s book, which is a very different Cuckoo’s Nest experience, and then later Dale Wasserman’s play – which bears more similarity to the movie, but is sort of a neat hybrid of the two. Kesey famously hated the direction the movie went, because again, that book is wildly different, even as it tells basically the same story, but both are pretty great in their own ways.

The movie, however, does win out in the end, being the absolute cinematic classic that it is. And the whole thing came together as it did by a lot of luck – Kirk Douglas had starred as McMurphy on Broadway in the early ’60s and held the rights, only to age out of the role and pass the producing onto his son Michael, opening the door for Nicholson to come on board. That casting delayed the film, due to other Nicholson projects, which also roundabout-ly caused Lily Tomlin to vacate the Nurse Ratched role, picked up by Louise Fletcher, who subsequently dropped out of the epic pre-production on Robert Altman’s Nashville, in the role that ultimately Lily Tomlin ending up jumping into (Part of the reason Tomlin’s Linnea has deaf children in Nashville is because Louise Fletcher was fluent in sign language, having been born to deaf parents!). I think I have all that right, pulled together through various sources and my muddled memory.

And Lily Tomlin is excellent in Nashville

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Movies

The Set of 400: #207 – My Favorite Strenuous Objection

Today! Because you want me on that wall! You need me on that wall!

A Few Good Men (1992)

Directed by Rob Reiner (x2)

Starring Tom Cruise (x4), Demi Moore (x2), Jack Nicholson (x3), Kevin Pollak (x2), Kevin Bacon (x4), Kiefer Sutherland, J.T. Walsh (x4), Christopher Guest (x2), James Marshall, J.A. Preston, Xander Berkeley, Wolfgang Bodison, Cuba Gooding Jr., Noah Wyle, Joshua Malina, David Bowe

The 65th Academy Awards were the first that I really paid attention to – I had some movie-fan familiarity with prior ones, but this felt like the first year I made a point to see nominated movies, even in that limited, 1992, racing up Green Ridge Street to the Blockbuster in Dunmore, hoping copies were available, world we lived in. And as I’ve mentioned many times, 1992 is the most represented year on this list – this could certainly be part of the reason. Look at the wide smattering of films 12/13 year old Joe enjoyed enough to still remain in the consciousness now, 25+ years later – #262 The Crying Game, #389 Memoirs of an Invisible Man, #219 The Player, #242 Chaplin, #343 White Men Can’t Jump, and so on. And yes, there are still fully eight more movies to come!

Oh, the epochal shouting!

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies

The Set of 400: #310 – My Favorite Weaponized Slim Whitman Tune

Today! Because if the Martians land, they’re going to need a place to stay, just like everybody else –

Mars Attacks! (1996)

Directed by Tim Burton

Starring Jack Nicholson (x2), Glenn Close, Annette Bening, Danny DeVito (x2), Pierce Brosnan, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael J. Fox (x2), Martin Short, Rod Steiger, Lukas Haas, Tom Jones, Jim Brown, Natalie Portman (x3), Lisa Marie, Sylvia Sidney, Pam Grier, Paul Winfield, Jack Black (x3), Joe Don Baker (x2), Ray J, Christina Applegate, Barbet Schroeder (x2), Willie Garson (x2), Rance Howard (x3), O-Lan Jones, Brian Haley

I know some people were really turned off by Tim Burton’s trading card adaptation global invasion sci-fi comedy, but I really dug it in that epic winter of 1996. Ah, ’96! This is already the sixth movie from that landmark, okay-ish year for films! Coming a few months after Independence Day, I guess everyone really wanted a wild action comedy of international destruction, but Tim Burton is not that director. He can give you quirky odd-ballery, but as for fight scenes or action sequences, well, look at that track record. His Batman movies are far more mood and atmosphere than slam-bang thrills. Sleepy Hollow – better, I guess, what with Ray Park as the Headless Horseman, but the staging didn’t vastly improve. Planet of the Apes – come on. So really, anyone wanting more out of Mars Attacks! was probably kidding themselves a bit too much.

What you get is a pretty fun, funny, throwback spoof of cheesy alien flicks, which quickly devolves into a cheesy alien flick itself, blurring that parody line until it basically disappears. I was really amped for this film come my senior year of high school – figure, you’ve got Nicholson playing wacky duel roles, in a roundabout nod to Dr. Strangelove’s end-of-the-world grapplings, as the president and a huckster casino owner, plus it reunited him with his Batman director, never mind the all-star cast reminiscent of ’70s disaster films, including a James Bond, a Teen Wolf, Foxy Brown, Ed Grimley, and the Penguin.

Never mind Carrie Bradshaw’s terrific work as this dog

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies

The Set of 400: #368 – My Favorite My Fair Lady Appropriation

Today! Because without slippy-flippies or angry masturbating I don’t see how that’s possible –

Anger Management (2003)

Directed by Peter Segal

Starring Jack Nicholson, Adam Sandler, Marisa Tomei, Luis Guzman, John Turturro, Lynne Thigpen (x2), Kurt Fuller, Krista Allen, Woody Harrelson, January Jones, Kevin Nealon, Alan Covert, Jonathan Loughran, Nancy Walls, Heather Graham, John C. Reilly (x2), Harry Dean Stanton, Bobby Knight, John McEnroe, Derek Jeter, Roger Clemens

And we’ve wandered into the guiltiest of my pleasures (which sounds awfully gross in that phrasing) – Adam Sandler movies. While I enjoy the vast majority of them, you won’t see a ton of them in the days to come, because they’re largely an interchangeable group of films starring the same people, behaving in the same ways, so it’s tough to differentiate. But this one has Jack the Actor.

I remember having a very late night argument about who was the greatest actor in film history about a dozen years back, with them taking DeNiro and me backing Nicholson and I still feel I’m right in that comparison, even if, come on, Daniel Day-Lewis is the greatest, let’s face it. Not to rag on DeNiro – that guy used to be great – but he hasn’t given an even halfway decent performance in anything in about twenty years. Sure, Jack is more or less retired, but I can’t think of an occasion where he totally phoned in a film. Plus, I once heard the argument that if you were casting an Odd Couple movie today, you could easily stick Jack in either main role, and that just resonated as defining truth to me. No? It should be more complicated than that? Probably. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies