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Entries in Jack Nicholson (7)


Just Jack

JA from MNPP here with some sad news - it's being reported that Jack Nicholson has officially, if quietly, retired from acting. Given that's it's been two years since the 76 year-old made a movie it's not the most surprising news in the world, but he's taken that long between roles before and I kept hoping he'd come back with one killer role and not go out on a sour note like How Do You Know (a title whose lack of punctuation still grates two years later). Radar is quoting ye old anonymous "Hollywood insider" as saying that it's due to memory loss - that he just can't remember his lines anymore, and that's why he passed on reuniting with his About Schmidt director Alexander Payne on the upcoming Nebraska, a role that eventually went to Bruce Dern. So... there's Johnny. What's your favorite Nicholson?


Golden Globe Predictions (+ Shirley Maclaine's Third Jack)

The Golden Globes are tomorrow night, so I'll surely be here tweeting or live-blogging. One wonders if any of the HFPA's oft wined and dined members were treated to Christmas carols from one Jack Black over the holiday break? If not he missed quite an opportunity. If you've seen Bernie you know the man can sang. Though I doubt anyone can work around what's shaping up to be a Silver Linings Celebration tomorrow night (The Globes do love their Weinstein Co. product) the Comedy/Musical categories are typically home to the biggest Globe surprises throughout the years so Jack Black as a surprise winner has crossed my mind a time or two during the season. Remember when Sally Hawkins and Colin Farrell won in 2008? No one was expecting that! If Silver Linings were a little less beloved I'd assume that the Comedy or Musical prize would be going to "24601" himself Hugh Jackman but I'm guessing that now it's Bradley Cooper's to lose.

But back to Black. The comic's awards campaign for Bernie started fairly early-- there's something to be said for early launches -- and when I met him very briefly da few months ago he was so completely casual he almost seemed like a member of the press himself, just there for the free food which he kept recommending. I immediately broached the topic of working with Shirley Maclaine because, well, I am me. They bonded over the musical genre and Jack implied that Shirley kinda takes credit for Bob Fosse's film career basically under the from her movie clout at the time 'I'll do Sweet Charity but I want Bob Fosse to direct it!' I was told that Shirley referred to Jack Black as "My Third Jack"  

Me: Fine company to be in. LEMMON. NICHOLSON. Nerve-wracking! Or maybe you're confidently okay with it?
Jack Black: Not too shabby. I'm okay with it! It's hard to choose between the two. Lemmon kicks so much ass in "The Apartment"... but Nicholson in "Cuckoo's Nest"!

It didn't occur to me until his Globe nomination arrived that both of the performances he name checked were Golden Globe Winners in their days. Coincidence or subliminal sign of his nomination to come?!

Is it annoying that I always bury the lede? Golden Globe predictions are after the jump

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Curio: Jacks of All Trades

Alexa here. I couldn't let Jack Nicholson's 75th go by without weighing in. In the past I've spied some curios that feature moments from his long career, like an Academy's Players Directory from 1961 that featured him as a young actor, and some amazing finger puppets inspired by The Shining that are, alas, no longer available. So here are some that feature my favorites of his performances, along with a odd little item from my own collection.  

Chinatown poster by Claudia Varosio, available here.

Czech poster for Prizzi's Honor, designed by Zdeněk Ziegler, available here.

German poster for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, available here.Click for more, including Heartburn matches and an As Good As It Gets hankie...

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Jack Attack

Jack Nicholson is 75 years old today. He has only made 3 movies in the past eight years and his last great performance (About Schmidt) was a full decade past. His frequent absences would be a much greater loss to cinema if his current taste didn't lean more Bucket List and less Schmidt. But he has meant so much to so many moviegoers for so many decades that his big day is definitely worth celebrating.

So herewith ten random things off the top of my head that I love about Jack Nicholson... and it shouldn't surprise you that most of them involve his actress co-stars. That's not just because you're reading this at The Film Experience but because, for all of Jack's showboating style, he regularly ups the game of his leading ladies (and vice versa)

• "Dear Ndugu..." (About Schmidt)

• the fascinating and atypical restraint of his character work as Eugene O'Neill in Reds (1981). He lets Warren Beatty & Diane Keaton lead (which they do spectacularly well -- what a great movie) but manages to leave an indelible searing impression all the same. I sometimes wonder if it's his best performance.

• That it took him a good  long while to become JACK NICHOLSON -- he started in 1956 and he wasn't really JACK til 1969's Five Easy Pieces, and those slow burn rises to superstardom really ought to inspire all great actors who are looking for a defining breakthrough.

• The electric but very different push/pulls of his beastly seductions of Michelle Pfeiffer in Witches of Eastwick (1987) and Wolf (1994). They had great chemistry together. 

• Chinatown (1974) in general and in its entirety. Also specifically in just about every scene. Let's simplify...

 Chinatown (1974) !!!!

• "Do I ice her? Do I marry her? Which one of dese?" Dumb pussy-whipped Jack in Prizzi's Honor (1985) who is talking about Irene (Kathleen Turner) but might just as well be describing his topsy turvy relationship with his ex (Anjelica Huston) too. 

...His women keep pulling the rug out from under him, the Oriental rug to be precise.

 Right there on the Oriental. With all the lights on. 

Everything about The Jack & Shirley Show within Terms of Endearment (1983)

His long friendship with Warren Beatty, also newly 75. Imagine the influence and power they've wielded in their time on American cinema.

• "Heeeeeere's Johnny!" My favorite Jack Nicholson moments are rarely the iconic ones that everyone knows (in which I always find myself feeling "pull it back!") but his literally splintering-crazy work in The Shining is the best of his YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH style screen beats. 

Your turn!

What's your favorite Jack Nicholson performance? Which screen moments from his long history stick with you.


Distant Relatives: Five Easy Pieces & Greenberg

Robert here with Distant Relatives, which explores the connections between one classic and one contemporary film.

Growing up is Hard to Do
Hollywood has always been interested in man-children, and they've gone through a variety of manifestations through the years. During the silent era they were innocent clowns filled with the insecurities and curiosities of children. During the age of the screwball comedy they were flailing baffoons unable to compete with their strong professional female counterparts. In the 1950's they were dark brooding rebels looking for causes and that lead the way to the serious sixties, where young men were similarly angry (though lighter on the melodrama, heaver on the realism) painted as victims of a combination of social indifference and their own unambitions. Though if you called them "victims" to their faces, they'd probably punch yours. This contingent was fronted from Britian by the likes of Finney and Harris but soon found plenty of eager representatives in the US, not the least of whom was snide, sarcastic, and so-damn-cool Jack Nicholson. In Five Easy Pieces, Nicholson plays Bobby Dupea, a man meandering through life, trailed by the shadow of his lost potential, trying to understand who he is as adulthood passes him by.

 Almost forty years later, Ben Stiller, a man who has made his living playing the goofiest kind of man-child plays the dark and cynical Roger Greenberg, a man also trying to figure out his life in the face of shattered potential. He has a lot in common with Bobby Dupea. In both cases, the impetus for our characters' confrontations with their immaturities comes in the form of a move. But while they're both going west, they're actually heading in two different directions. Bobby is going to his family's house in Seattle, where his person will be juxtaposed against their culture and civility. Even if we want Bobby to get his act together and take his place in the world of his family, we feel as out of place there as he does. Roger meanwhile has just moved to Los Angeles where his cynicism is juxtaposed against an even greater immaturity; immaturity as an accepted state of Nirvana. He asks while at a child's birthday party "Why are all the grown men dressed like kids and all the kids dressed like super heroes?" It's a beautiful symbol for a world in which dreaming for great power and great responsibility evolveds into longing for no power and no responsibility.


As much as a misanthrope as Greenberg is, we feel for him at times, if only because we get to experience the horrors of L.A. through him. [more after the jump]

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