I don’t feel like I’ve seen many Jack Nicholson movies, especially from before he was “Jack Nicholson”. Before this weekend’s viewing of ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,’ inspired by Trevor’s and my initiative to watch each of AFI’s Top 100 Films, the oldest film of his I’d seen was ‘The Shining’. By the time ‘Terms of Endearment’ came out, I feel like he was already playing a “Jack Nicholson” role, and I’ve never seen ‘Easy Rider,’ ‘Reds,’ ‘Chinatown,’ the original ‘Batman’ or even ‘As Good as It Gets’. So it’s good for me to watch him work, and think of him as more than a Lakers fan and the butt of good-natured jokes at the Oscars.
There is little new to be said about a film that was released 33 years ago, but what I will say is that it doesn’t feel dated, which I suspect is because it was already set in the past at the time of its release. Even moreso than Jack Nicholson, the success of the film is 100% reliant on the very engrossing ensemble cast. I found myself most riveted by Christopher Lloyd, as a mental institution patient who seems pretty with it except for one major outburst. Just like with Nicholson’s character, that’s where the power of the script lies, to make the audience think – if these guys, with their very human emotions and reactions and often reasoned arguments, are crazy, what does that make the rest of us? Engrossing and faster-paced than its 2 plus hour run time, I give it eight and a half Twix bars!
Parenthetically, seriously – how much does Danny Devito look like David Archuleta in this movie?