>the bucket list: #1 do not watch the bucket list.

Posted on April 26, 2011


i don’t really like movies that blatantly manipulate your feelings, that play on your emotions so obviously, or set out to turn you from a strong man into a weeping mess on the sofa, but for one reason or another, i’d had quite an emotional weekend so when the good lady wife suggested we watch ‘the bucket list’, i was quite happy to sit through it, fully aware that it would probably destroy me!
now the director, rob reiner, has done some wonderful movies. ‘stand by me’ being my favourite – although others may choose ‘a few good men’ or ‘this is spinal tap’. but his last 10 or so movies haven’t really done anything to light up the movie world.
nicholson and freeman do well in their roles but they aren’t amazing. nicholson plays a filthy rich hospital exec who finds himself sharing a room with freeman, a working class family man. both are having treatment for terminal cancer. their time in hospital together is quite moving as they are like chalk and cheese – yet they have this bond, this sudden realisation that there is an urgency to the things they wish they had accomplished in their lives. the bucket list of things they see as must do’s – skydiving, kissing the most beautiful girl in the world, climbing the himalayas, seeing the pyramids, getting a tattoo, etc.
it’s obvious to any viewer that they didn’t splash out on the settings as their journey reminded me of those photos you see taken in front of billboards to make it look as if you were at the location. it was blatantly clear they were in front of a green screen of egypt, then off they went to get changed to return to a green screen of the taj mahal etc. while decidedly average, it was rather funny to watch.
there was also lots of material that could have been scripted here for serious discussion about life and death, faith and religion, the love of a family and the effect of loneliness. alas all these are just touched on and left me wanting more from these two acting powerhouses.

as i said, if you like to be spoonfed sentimentality, this may very well be for you. for those of us whose cinematic taste buds enjoy character development, authentic conversations and emotions, a believability to the characters and a little less [for want of a better word] mush, i warn you – if the bucket list catches you at the wrong time – you will leak profusely! so steer clear.

as for morgan and nicholson – they shouldn’t be wasting their time on stuff like this, there must be better scripts and movies for them to sign get involved in.
one final thing that did annoy me though – and it annoyed me big time.
how can your character narrate the story when your character is no longer living?
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