Monday, December 22, 2008

The Bucket List (2007)

I caught "The Bucket List" on HBO the other night, and sort of enjoyed it. It was a bit schmaltzy though, and predictable, but worth seeing on cable. Both Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson play men who are given not long to live. Nicholson's character convinces Freeman's character to do the things that they haven't done before their time is up. Throughout the picture the two characters become closer and we are privy to certain secrets or regrets that they have had. i enjoyed the performances of Freeman and Nicholson, but the script seemed forced, and overly dramatic. Rob Reiner directs the film, and he does a good job at making us feel empathy for the characters, but again the schmaltz factor is hard to overcome.

I like what the movie had to say, and its message, but feel that the film could have done this in a less heavy handed way. I can see where this movie could have gone into absurdity, but Reiner doesn't let the movie go in that direction. of course it would have been interesting if the characters were a bit like ordinary guys. Sure Freeman's character is a auto mechanic, but Nicholson's character is wealthy and the two begin jetting all around the world to complete their "list". I had thought it would have been a lot interesting to see what ordinary men would have done under the circumstance. But I guess that's another movie, and maybe I'm just being picky.

I did like the performances, but then again Nicholson & Freeman are two excellent actors. I also enjoyed the message of the film, and liked the idea of two strangers actually becoming good friends in a short amount of time. Some of the cinematography is beautiful, but I did think I saw some process shots that were filmed in a studio instead of the real location. Hey even Hollywood has to adhere to budget constraints. I mean do you know how much it costs to fly a movie crew around the world?

So do I recommend this or tell you to skip it? I enjoyed the film ultimately, and found it entertaining, and yes I did get a little misty eyed, so I did feel the movie was cathartic. I see why the film didn't do so well. On one hand it's not a ha-ha laugh riot film, and on the other it's a film about dying. Maybe a bit too real for its audience. If you can catch it on cable one night it makes for good viewing, and makes you think. HBO is currently running it, and I'm sure it's on their on-demand menu. Hey you could do worse.

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