*** Official "ABOUT SCHMIDT" Review Thread

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Patrick Sun, Dec 20, 2002.

  1. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1999
    Messages:
    38,763
    Likes Received:
    488
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    In "About Schmidt" Jack Nicholson stars as Warren Schmidt, a recent retiree who has misgivings about the impending marriage of his only daughter, and takes a road trip in a big ol' Winnebago from his home in Nebraska to Denver, Colorado.

    Nicholson is in fine form as Warren, playing a man whose world changes suddenly, and spends a good while reflecting on his life and whether his presence has made a difference in the world to the people he loves.

    There are a lot of little chuckles sprinkled in the film, but it nevers veers towards slap-stick or disingenuous humor, it's played very straight and close to the vest.

    The rest of the cast does a good job as well, imparting their own mark on the future son-in-law's extended family surrounding the wedding activities.

    If you're a fan of Nicholson, it's worth seeing with other fans of Jack's at the movies.

    I give it 3 stars, or a grade of B.
     
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    32,547
    Likes Received:
    7,722
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert
    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "About Schmidt". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.
    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!
    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.
    Crawdaddy
     
  3. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 1998
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    5,110
    The more I reflect on this film, the less I like it. Nicholson's work is above reproach, but it's in service of a directorial point of view that leaves me queasy. In every film of his that I've seen, Alexander Payne seems to be hovering just outside the frame, meticulously arranging people, objects and events while whispering to the audience: "Aren't these people just too sad and ridiculous?" There's an offputting sense of superiority in the way the film portrays Schmidt's wasted life and the eccentricities of his family, friends and future in-laws. And if you're expecting the film to go anywhere, you'll be disappointed. It's more of a character study than a story, and while Nicholson invites us to sympathize with the character, Payne undercuts him at every turn. (He reminds me of Robert Altman at his most cynical and dyspeptic.)

    M.
     
  4. Jodee

    Jodee Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 1999
    Messages:
    1,044
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I can't believe more people aren't talking about this film, and only two lacklusteer reviews in this thread.

    I saw it on Christmas Day in a sold-out theater and the movie got an resounding applause at the end.

    I loved it, thought it was funny and touching and I was teared up at the end.

    I'm not a big Jack Nicholson fan (I usually find him to be too bombastic and showy in his films) but he is perfect in this.

    No one except Alexander Payne could have made this movie seem more realistic. Everybody looks like real people: the frumpy wife, the plain daughter, the mullet-sporting fiance. Payne does such a great job at capturing the Midwest and he makes a film looks so real. There is a wedding scene in this movie that looks exactly like every wedding I have ever been to, but nothing like how weddings usually look in films.

    I have even more respect for Kathy Bates, who dares to do a nude scene that is played for a joke. She is a brave actress.

    I haven't stopped thinking about this film since I saw it. It will definitely be on my top 10 list of movies this year, and I dare say it might be my favorite.

    I am only half the age of Nicholson's character, but I could really identify with him in this movie. Anyone who has ever wondered about what they have accomplished in their life and question themselves will really be touched by this film.
     
  5. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    Messages:
    12,060
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I thought that Nicholson gave a bravura performance. And I thought this was a very fine film.
    For me, Nicholson reflecting on his life and his (lack of) accomplishments, while trying (and failing) to connect with his daughter made for a poignant story, told with love and humor. I found his mostly not saying those things which were clearly on his mind, but choking them back because he either did not want to further embarrass his daughter (or others), or because it was simply a continuation of his lifelong repression of who he really was, to be endearing.
    I also thought that the director, made it clear that the few times that he did express his true feelings of the moment, things were actually worse than when he refrained from such actions.
    On a four star scale:
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  6. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    32,547
    Likes Received:
    7,722
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert
    I thought this was a very good film and it really captured the essence of everyday life in the Midwest. Jack Nicholson gave his most understated performance of his career, but it is also among his most effective performances. In this film, he actually acted out a role without turning the part into something of a "Jack" caricature. The supporting performances were on par with Nicholson's, however, Kathy Bates really stood out among the supporting cast.






    Crawdaddy
     
  7. Ryan Peter

    Ryan Peter Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 1999
    Messages:
    1,220
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Non-spoiler review:

    Side-splitting. Works great for older folks who want to see an adult film with adult humor that doesn't involve banging a pie. The sharp humor of Alexander Payne will work for anyone with a good sense of humor though.

    5 Stars out of 5 Stars

    SPOILER ORIENTED, HIGHLIGHT AT YOUR OWN RISK, REVIEW FOR THOSE WHO HAVE SEEN IT.


    I love how Payne chooses the midwest as his canvas to paint such a great picture. The movie rolls along so nicely just like the Adventurer you would never know 2 hours just went by. I saw this with the perfect audience, a bunch of aging baby boomers and also elderly people. The theater was very full and everyone was laughing pretty hard, which made for great atmosphere. The humor is less dark (and subtle) then Election, and much more abundent. I had tears in my eyes of laughter after that first letter to the African child. Then Payne brings the laughter to a stop so suddenly with the death of the wife. This really sets the bitter-sweet mood of the film though.

    This film reflects life. We must be born, we experience happiness, we experience sadness, and then at some point, if we want it or not, we must die. At the end of this ride, many will look back and see a wasteland just like Schmidt. A vast desert of potential that was never realized. But, through helping others the best way we can, we see that regret washes away. Even if our family turns out bad, and things don't go right, salvation is possible. The sweetness can be enjoyed, even amongst all the bitterness.

    I really enjoyed this flick, I loved the direction, and I the acting was fantastic. I hope it becomes a strong sleeper hit like Greek Wedding, and I think it will. There's a big baby boomer audience the perfect age to laugh at this film and "get" the humor.

    Highly recommended
     
  8. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 1998
    Messages:
    7,585
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    About Schmidt
    10 of 10
    "About Schmidt" is a remarkable triumph of mixed emotions. Few films are able to grab such emotional range with real honesty and without resorting to melodrama, which AS completely avoids. The script is simply outstanding (and I would suspect that the source book must be quite a read as well) and the direction manages to keep up with it and let it flow onto the screen.
    Nicholson is in top form, though I don't think his role gave him quite as much juice as Lewis had in GONY, but both men bring out everything that their respective characters have to offer (I see Lewis getting the Oscar still). Not as often mentioned, Kathy Bates is yet again superb in a wacky supporting role (not unlike her surprising efforts to improve The Waterboy) and gives Jack something good to play against.
    The film begins a bit dry, though still solid, but once the film's main motif is introduced (an interesting "pen pal") the story really takes off. From that point on the emotions are subtle, yet turbulent, and there is great tension at several critical points which I can honestly say I was not sure how Nicholson's Schmidt was going to react.
    The emotional ending is wonderfully earned and left me quite affected as I left the theater. This film played as honest or more so than You Can Count on Me and seems almost a sure thing for a Best Pix nom.
     
  9. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 1998
    Messages:
    3,500
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    About Schmidt contains a very fine performance by Jack Nicholson as an elderly man (Warren Schmidt) who, after an important event, gets a chance to reflect on his life and questions any kind of difference he has made. The subject matter is, at times, very affecting and for those reasons, it is worth a look.
    However, the film’s credibility suffers from its own excesses. It contains humor, whose only real purpose is to provide some comic relief but hardly anything else to move forward to the realization of its rather serious subject matter.
    Had this film played out more as straight drama without the unnecessary use of eccentric characters in the middle of the film for comic effect such as the trailer park visitors and some members of the groom’s family, it probably would have made a bigger impact and a more powerful piece. As a character study, the film takes turns where none is needed thus sidetracking it from its more important and intended purpose.
    In the end, I saw About Schmidt as a tragedy – about a man who has failed to make a difference in the lives of both his wife and daughter and others around him. When that final shot comes, we don’t sympathize with Warren and the life he has lived. But instead, we feel sorry for him because of his misplaced priorities and a false realization that he had finally made a difference in someone’s life.
    ~Edwin
     
  10. Brajesh Upadhyay

    Brajesh Upadhyay Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 1998
    Messages:
    787
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Good movie. Terrific performance by Nicholson. I have a feeling he'll win Best Actor @ the Oscars. Great snap-shot of middle America too. Seeing 'Schmidt' should make anyone want to make more out of their life.
    Grade: A-
     

Share This Page