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Posts Tagged ‘jack nicholson

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

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Oh Jack.  Why do you have to be so awesome?

Randle Patrick McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) is a lazy-wise-A criminal.  So in order to avoid a sentence of hard labor and frustration, he claims insanity and hopes to live out the rest of his sentence in the more relaxed environment of a mental institution.  There we are introduced to fellow crazies, Martini (Danny DeVito), Billy Bibbit (Brad Dourif), Max Taber (Christopher Lloyd), Charlie Cheswick (Sydney Lassick), Dale Harding (William Redfield), and Chief (Will Sampson) – the deaf and dumb 7 foot tall Indian.  The coop is run by Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher) and she’s something.  She humiliates, she degrades, she makes McMurphy’s life a living hell.

So guys.  What makes this movie great?  Let’s talk about all of the “before-i-saw-the-actual-movie” bits.  First, it won the big 5 Oscars (directoractoractressscreenplaypicture).  It’s ranked #20 on AFI’s top 100 movies.  Jack Nicholson is IN it and he gets to be in a mental institution.  An iconic classic of the ’70s.  Everyone’s heard of the title even if you haven’t heard of the movie.  So walking into this, my expectations were high.  And, luckily, I actually knew a lot less about the plot than I thought I did.  Except, naturally, that Nurse Ratched is a nazi-woman who is far crazier than her patients. (Seriously… AFI’s Heroes and Villains list really screwed up some things about movies for me… Maybe I should just stop looking at anything about movies until I watch every movie ever made.  Eh, not worth it).

Everyone knows that Jacky boy is bad-A.  He’s as hard core as they come.  (And I just watched The Shining not too long ago…)  Man is he great in this.  He’s loud.  He’s a leader of the pack.  He’s an unrelenting optimist, refusing to succumb to the lows of the nuthouse.  He frustrates Nurse Ratched enough to put a flicker in those calculating eyes.  He embodies that role with more enthus than I thought possible and few are as good at wreaking havoc as he.  What a guy.

What I didn’t expect was how attached I was going to become to every single other nut job.  It’s so easy to connect with their childlike mannerisms and you have hope for their futures.  Martini’s ever present grin, Billy Bibbit’s stutter, Chief’s admiration for McMurphy.  You’re cursing Ratched’s name and you’re  cheering for any small triumph they may have over her (and her name sounds like a cuss).  At first, I couldn’t decide if all the buzz for Fletcher was legit, but her acting performance will always remain a triumph for she’ll forever be remembered as one of the sickest villains in history.  Subtle and malicious.

I feel like the overall greatness is built up of small scenes of genius.  Stealing the van… teaching Chief to play basketball…. McMurphy petitioning for the World Series to be displayed and consequently monologuing an imaginary play-by-play to show his inmates how to stick it to the man and stray from the norm… all brilliant.  They, of course, build upon one another towards an ending but they also stand out as individual moments in which the audience could connect to the action.  The penultimate scene with Billy and Nurse Ratched is particularly moving as heart breaking as it may be.  Each scene is so perfectly constructed, and on emotional overload.

The music is solid, Milos Forman’s  directing is without fault, the script is unforgettable, the cinematography is bleak, morbid, and stunning.  The tone is an interesting mix between humor and misery, with tragic undertones to comedic exchanges; it’s barbaric how mental institutions actually used to be like that – electroshock therapy and lobotomy to boot.  But in the end it’s about character growth.  At first I wasn’t sure what to think of the ending but after thinking (like I usually do for hours after a movie as pivotal as this…) I recognize its poetic and beautiful wonder.  But no matter what – the journey was worth it for these guys.  And worth it for Chief. 9/10

Written by laurenthejukebox17

January 28, 2011 at 7:24 pm

quote-of-the-week #8

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Get out of my way son, you’re using my oxygen.

-McMurphy, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

Yes, quotes of the week are back.  I’m excited, so you should be too.  There are many quotable one-liners comin’ from this character, but I particularly enjoyed this one.

Written by laurenthejukebox17

January 22, 2011 at 10:56 pm

Posted in 1970s, movies

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please, don’t shoot me

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Should you happen to read this post and the thought crosses your mind that someone who has not seen these movies is obviously under-qualified to write a movie blog… keep in mind that I’m only 18-years-old.  I’ve still got time.  This whole list thing is all very embarrassing, so give me kudos for admitting my shortcomings to the world.  It goes something like this:

Movies I haven’t seen (but should have)

30. Alien (1979)

This would be higher on the list, but I have seen a LOT of this movie.  The problem being, I can’t remember if it was Alien or Aliens… all I remember is Sigourney Weaver, violence, and aliens.  Which is basically common knowledge.  So I just need to sit down and watch the whole thing.

29. Bonnie & Clyde (1967)

A bank robbing couple?  I’m there!  Why haven’t I seen this movie again?

 

 

28. The Usual Suspects (1995)

Despite my interest in Kevin Spacey, no dice.  I haven’t seen this one either.  Though, I must add, my interest in this film grew after I moved to Tahiti, so I haven’t really had a chance to see it.  See, now I’m making you feel pity, rather than disgust.

27. Harvey (1950)

I’ve seen….. roughly 80% of James Stewart’s movies.  Just not this one.  Ironically enough, I became more interested in seeing this after watching Donnie Darko.  You know, giant rabbits?

 

26. His Girl Friday (1940)

Basically the same thing as above.  I’m a hard core Cary Grant fan since birth, but I’ve never seen this one.

25. L.A. Confidential (1997)

Kevin Spacey.  Russell Crowe.  Guy Pearce.   David Straithairn.  Why haven’t I seen this yet?

 

 

24. The Big Lebowski (1998)

I really haven’t seen that many Jeff Bridges movies, to be honest (and embarrass myself further) so I’m not sure why I’m choosing this one as the “one to see” but I’ve always had this off-hand interest in “The Dude.”

23. Shadowlands (1993)

Despite my love for C.S. Lewis and Anthony Hopkins…

 

 

22. Waiting for Guffman (1996)

Oh have I heard so much about this movie.  It’s Christopher Guest, after all, that can mean nothing but good.  It’s my kind of movie, and seems like my kind of humor.  I can’t wait to see it one of these days.

21. Capote (2005)

I’ve been dying to see this movie ever since it was released.  We even rented it, but for some reason I wasn’t able to watch, so my mom saw it by herself.  She raves about it, and I’m still dying to see it.

 

20. Twelve O’Clock High (1949)

Gregory Peck, how I love you.  I can’t believe I haven’t seen this movie of yours.

19. Spirited Away (2001)

I remember watching  the Oscars when Spirited Away won Best Animated feature.  I thought, (being  eleven) what the heck IS that?   Since then, I’ve heard nothing but critical acclaim and  I am now very anxious to cross this off my list.

 

 

18. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Best Actor win (classic film fans will hate me for saying that, ha) plus Director, Picture, and Screenplay wins… I should probably see this movie one of these days.  It’s a favorite of my parents.

17. The Hustler (1961)

Ever since I saw Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid for the first time I’ve been in love with Paul Newman.  I’m pretty far behind on his filmography and this is the first on my list to see.  Plus I dig the poster.

 

 

16. The Great Dictator (1940)

I grew up with Charlie Chaplin, and Modern Times is one of my all-time favs.  I’ve yet to see this classic, though.

15. The Deer Hunter (1948)

These are getting kind of repetetive aren’t they?  Christopher Walken’s Oscar winning performance, Meryl Streep’s first nomination and Best Picture winner deserves (more likely than not) SEVERAL viewings, and I haven’t even seen it once? WTF?

 

 

14. The African Queen (1951)

My mom has raved about this movie, and I love me some Bogart.  Since its recent DVD release, hopefully I can check it off soon.

13. Schindler’s List (1993)

Yeah… like I said.  Don’t shoot me.  I know this is an excellent movie, I’ve seen several scenes in fact.  I know I should see this movie pronto.

 

 

12. Dr. Strangelove (1964)

Honestly, I may have heard of this movie ages ago but I didn’t REALLY know about it until just a few years ago.  My interest piqued when I went through my Stanley Kubrick obsession phase and read absolutely anything I could get my hands on about him.

11. Out of Africa (1985)

Meryl Streep.  Robert Redford.  In the same movie.  I promise, I’ve seen SOME movies.

 

10. Annie Hall (1977)

The ultimate Woody Allen.  Ranked #4 in AFI’s 100 Laughs series.  Won the Oscar for Best Picture, Director, Actress, and Screenplay. This is a bad caption.

9. Sophie’s Choice (1982)

In case I haven’t made this clear, Meryl Streep is my favorite modern actress.  Someday I’ll do a post especially for her because I just love her so (and I’m still pulling for another Oscar!)  Sophie’s Choice won Meryl her Best Actress Academy Award and is, perhaps, her best film to date.  Or so I’m told.

 

 

8. Die Hard (1988)

Seriously?  I haven’t seen DIE HARD? Yeah, I know.  I suck.  I lurve Alan Rickman too, so it’s really a shame I haven’t seen it.

7. The Graduate (1967)

“Mrs. Robinson you’re trying to seduce me… aren’t you?”  Basically I already love this movie.  And I knoow I love Dustin Hoffman.  But, all I really know of it is Anne  Bancroft’s sexy legs.

 

6. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

Jack Nicholson in a mental institution?  1 of 3 movies to take home the big five Oscars?  Man, I gotta get me some of this action.

5. Edward Scissorhands (1990)

One of Johnny Depp’s billions with Tim Burton.  Yeah, I can’t believe I haven’t seen this one either.  It’s totally my kind of movie.

 

4. The French Connection (1971)

The most famous chase scene of all-time.  One of my favorite actors, Gene Hackman.  Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, and Actor winner.  I cannot describe the anticipation I have to one day see this movie.

3. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Another Hopkins.  And (like Cuckoo) 1 of 3 to win the big five Oscars.  (In case you’re wondering, the other is It Happened One Night. I’ve seen that one!)

 

2. Citizen Kane (1941)

Wow, this is really getting embarrassing now.  I’m pretty sure I’ve previously lied to people about this one.  See, my family and I were going through the AFI 100 movies list and we just… didn’t make it that high!   I’ve sort of had this two year hiatus of serious movie-watching through this whole Tahiti excursion, and seeing as I don’t have as much access to what I want, this one has had to wait.

1. The Godfather (1971)

It’s a sin, I know, not to have seen this movie.  Forgive me.  I want nothing more than to repent, and quickly.

Yeah.  I know I suck.  There are many more great movies I haven’t seen (I won’t name them, however, or NO ONE will read this blog!)  but these are just the ones that I, personally, can’t believe I haven’t seen.  Now go ahead.  You may mock me all you want.