DVD Review HTF REVIEW: "About Schmidt" (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Ronald Epstein, Apr 26, 2003.

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  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    [​IMG]

    About Schmidt





    Studio: New Line
    Year: 2002
    Rated: R
    Film Length: 125 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)
    Subtitles: English and Spanish




    Schmidt Happens


    It's hard not to like Jack Nicholson. As
    an actor, Nicholson is in a class by himself. After
    a decade of roles in second-rate horror and
    motorcycle movies, Jack Nicholson's big opportunity
    arrived when Rip Torn stepped out of Easy Rider in
    1969. For the nearly 35 years that followed, the
    actor has amassed a memorable body of work that
    includes One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, The
    Shining, As Good As It Gets, Terms Of Endearment,
    The Last Detail, Ironweed
    and Chinatown.
    Over the years, how many of us haven't interjected
    a famous Nicholson quote into a conversation such
    as You can't handle the truth! or Heeere's
    Johnny
    ? With his trademark cheshire-cat grin,
    and devilish attitude, Jack Nicholson is the most
    popular and celebrated actors of our generation.

    Fans of Nicholson have cause to celebrate once
    again. In his latest film, About Schmidt,
    Nicholson gives the most brilliant performance
    of his career. The film is a total departure
    from anything the actor has done before. Gone are
    the wild hair, raised eyebrows and Cheshire-grin
    that have become a trademark of his films. Here,
    the actor becomes an "everyman" that may be so
    easy to identify with, it might scare you.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Warren R. Schmidt (Jack Nicholson) is an
    insignificant insurance employee of the Woodmen
    Company in Omaha, Nebraska retiring after years
    of service at the age of 66. As the film opens,
    we watch Warren sit in his nondescript office,
    watching the final moments of his career tick
    away -- an opening that gives us a taste of the
    dryness of his Midwestern life.

    Warren Schmidt's life is a bleak one. Married for
    42 years, his wife, Helen (June Squibb) is kind
    and loving, but is somewhat of a stranger to him.
    She has kept the house clean, made him cheese
    sandwiches exactly the way he likes them, and has
    convinced him to buy an R.V. so they can travel
    together.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    When Helen suddenly passes away, Warren finds
    himself suddenly alone. He tries to persuade
    his daughter, Jeannie (Hope Davis), to stay longer
    after Helen's funeral, but she has to get back to
    her job in Colorado and to the preparations to marry
    her fiance, Randall Hertzel (Dermot Mulroney), a
    mullet-headed dolt who Warren has never really
    liked nor trusted. Warren has always felt that his
    daughter deserved better in life, and now with his
    wife gone, Warren makes it his mission to get
    into his new R.V. and travel out West to convince
    Jeannie to call the wedding off.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Director Alexander Payne not only takes us alongside
    Warren on his incredible journey, but puts us
    inside Warren's head as we hear his innermost
    thoughts through letters he has written to a six-
    year-old African boy named Ndgugu, a child he has
    sponsored through a TV infomercial. This device
    allows us to peer into Schmidt's tortured psyche.

    About Schmidt is not a feel-good film. It
    forces you to view the world through the eyes of
    a real, often sad man -- someone who you may be
    able to identify with. It could also very easily
    be a film about any one of us at the end of our
    days.


    How is the transfer?


    New Line Cinema is very consistent with providing
    first-rate transfers to DVD transfers and I expected
    and got nothing less here. Print is in flawless
    condition and sports an image that is extremely
    clear, a bit on the soft side, but well detailed.
    The colors of this film are as subdued as Warren
    himself, but are nicely rendered throughout. Chalk
    this up as another great transfer from New Line!

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    The DVD contains both a 5.1 Dolby Digital and
    DTS soundtrack. Audio comes across with wide
    frequency range and dynamics. Dialogue is very
    clear and distinct in the center channel with
    a nice sense of audio separation across the front
    channels. I'm not quite sure if a DTS track was
    necessary here, as most of the film's audio is
    front-heavy with very little use given to the
    surround channels.


    Special Features

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    What sort of surprises me is that considering this
    is New Line title, and one of their biggest theatrical
    films of last year, there isn't a heck of a lot
    of supplemental material here.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
    (these are deleted scenes)

    There are 9 deleted Scenes presented here.
    Each contains a text introduction by director
    Alexander Payne. While this sort of text introduction
    is an odd sight to find, it does carefully point
    out the reasons why these scenes had to be removed.
    Many of the scenes presented here are extensions of
    already existing material, removed to quicken up the
    overall pacing. Some of the highlights include:

    * A restaurant scene where Warren steps back in
    the spotlight and takes careful notice of the
    eating habits of the people around him.

    * Jack awakens to the sounds of a very-familiar
    sounding vacuum and demands that his future
    son-in-law immediately turn it off.

    * Warren is arrested in a Supermarket after
    he decides to avoid long check-out lines by
    shoplifting.

    * After fleeing the trailer park, Schmidt is
    stopped by a patrol officer

    * In a little tribute to Five Easy Pieces,
    Schmidt finds himself in a restaurant facing a
    waitress that offers "no substitutions."


    In the Woodmen Tower Sequences we get five
    short films about the Woodman Tower. These are all
    very unique ideas as to what the opening shots of
    the film could have looked like. May not be
    interesting for everyone. Includes text introduction
    from director Payne.
    (length: approx. 13 minutes)

    In addition to the film's original theatrical
    trailer
    , there are trailers for I am Sam
    and Unconditional Love.


    Final Thoughts

    [​IMG]

    About Schmidt is an intellectually provocative
    and emotionally touching film. Watch it with care,
    for this may be a wake-up call for some of you. Time
    is short and it's running out fast.

    A great transfer from New Line, and though the
    supplements are streamlined, I highly recommend
    this film and DVD.


    Release Date: June 3, 2003


    All screen captures have been further compressed.
    They are for illustrative purposes only and do not
    represent actual picture quality
     
  2. Tom Tsai

    Tom Tsai Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for the review. I'll be blind buying this one. [​IMG]
     
  3. RonR

    RonR Stunt Coordinator

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    Can't wait to pick this one up!
     
  4. Richard Kim

    Richard Kim Producer

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  5. DanC

    DanC Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the review Ron, I'll be picking this one up for sure. Definitely one of Jack's best (if not THE best). I've grown to appreciate it even more since seeing it at the theater.
     
  6. Travis_W

    Travis_W Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for the review Ron, I'll be picking this one up as well. This seems like a title that New Line would have put under the Platinum Series banner but they haven't done that for some time now.
     
  7. Kenneth Cummings

    Kenneth Cummings Supporting Actor

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    While I didn't care much for most of the Oscar choices this year, About Scmidt is something I do want to see. And judging from this review, I going to buy this movie and enjoy it.
     
  8. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    Never saw this in theaters but have heard good things. Looking forward to seeing this. Nice review Ron.
     
  9. Joshua_Y

    Joshua_Y Screenwriter

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    Saw this in theaters 2 times...I'm a huge Jack fan...this is without a doubt one of his best...I loved everything about it...and broke town at the end...one of the best endings ever...cant wait...
     
  10. JoeyPalmiotti

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    Thanks a lot! Will be getting this........

    Dear Ndugu...
     
  11. Jim Rankin

    Jim Rankin Stunt Coordinator

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    Nice review Ron, I checked this one out at the theater and loved it. It alternatively is painful/funny to watch, and made me appreciate my family a whole lot more.
     
  12. Ron Eastman

    Ron Eastman Second Unit

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    Great review, Ron.

    I saw this the night it premiered (New York, LA and Omaha) and loved it. This movie is alternatively thought provoking and funny - hilariously funny for those who have lived in the Omaha area. You almost have to be local to "get" the mockery of the Woodmen tower cake, the indian arrowhead collection and especially The Great Platte River Road Archway Monument.

    I'm really looking forward to owning this one. Thanks for the review.
     
  13. Joseph J.D

    Joseph J.D Cinematographer

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    Good review Ron. I'm also going to purchase this one blind because of what I've heard about this film. I do find it a little odd that New Line didn't make it an Infinifilm or Platinum series DVD....no matter though, still getting it.[​IMG]
     
  14. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

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    I have'nt seen it yet but I'll be buying it, Can this be a bookend for American Beauty Perhaps?
     
  15. Mark Bendiksen

    Mark Bendiksen Screenwriter

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  16. Billy Fogerty

    Billy Fogerty Stunt Coordinator

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    Funny,I couldn't wait to see this when it came out, all the hype about the acting and all. I was disappointed, to say the least. Nicholson has made many far better films than this one. I still say till this day, one of his better acting jobs was in " THE LAST DETAIL". I may rent About Schmidt for a second look,but for me it's not a keeper.
     
  17. RobertCharlotte

    RobertCharlotte Supporting Actor

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    While I maintain that the final scene would have been better if they'd left to our imagination what the picture Ndugu drew looked like,
    I will probably be picking this up also. Thanks for the review, Ron!
     
  18. Dave Gorman

    Dave Gorman Supporting Actor

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  19. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    "for this may be a wake-up call for some of you"

    Definitely and Im 1/2 schmidts age.

    The last minute was my favorite scene from any movie last year. [​IMG]
     
  20. Mark Bendiksen

    Mark Bendiksen Screenwriter

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