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The Bucket List

Posted by admin | Posted in Movies | Posted on 17-09-2010

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You only live once, so why not go out in style? That’s what two cancer- ward roommates, an irascible billionaire (Jack Nicholson) and a scholarly mechanic (Morgan Freeman), decide when they get the bad news. They compose a bucket list – things to do before you kick the bucket – and head off for the around-the-world adventure of their lives. Sky dive? Check. Power a Shelby Mustang around a racetrack? Check. Gaze at the Great Pyramid of Khufu? Check. Discover the joy in… More >>

The Bucket List

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Comments (5)

Selecting a category for this very fine film results in the all-encompassing label ‘mixed media’, for lack of a better term. It is smart (with an excellent script by Justin Zackham), addresses some important social issues, and it has moments of touching tenderness and equal moments of very sold comedy. AND it greatly benefits from the casting of Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, two consummate actors playing out a theme that is unexpectedly a solid study of friendship and love.

Carter (Morgan Freeman) narrates the story: Carter gave up his dreams for a college education and major career to support his surprise child from his wife Virginia (Beverly Todd) and has worked as a mechanic to support his own family, including his son Roger (Alfonso Freeman, Morgan’s son in real life also!). After his children have all become successful, Carter is suddenly diagnosed with terminal cancer. He is hospitalized for chemotherapy, only to be placed in the same room with the wealthy and cantankerous owner of the hospital, Edward (Jack Nicholson) who also has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and is also in the hospital for chemotherapy. Edward’s only ‘friend’ (he has basically alienated the world through his behavior) is his assistant Thomas (an excellent Sean Hayes) who tends to his every need. Gradually the two disparate men grow into a friendship united by the common bond that they both must face impending death. Together they create ‘the bucket list’ – things they want to do before dying, and because of Edward’s wealth, they leave the hospital on a worldwide adventure of skydiving, racing cars, visiting the pyramids, etc. The manner in which these two elderly men bond casts a warm glow over the film without ever touching on the maudlin risk of communication. They simply grow in their appreciation of life as they learn from each other.

Freeman and Nicholson are in peak form here and the supporting cast is very fine. But special credit must go to director Rob Reiner for giving us yet another film about humanism that would enrich the lives of anyone who takes the time to watch this very fine film. Grady Harp, June 08
Rating: 4 / 5

By what they’ve accomplished? According to soft-spoken cancer patient, Carter (Freeman), you measure a man’s life by who measures their lives by yours.

Edward Cole probably was a lot of people’s yardstick. He was wealthy, powerful, and he ran hospitals.

“We run hospitals–not resorts!” E. Cole (Nicholson)

If Cole hadn’t been so mercenary, he’d never have been stuck with another patient in his hospital room. At first, the very wealthy Cole doesn’t care for the soft-spoken auto mechanic, but as time goes on the two develop a friendship–and Cole begins to both share food and care for Carter.

When Edward sees Carter’s ‘Bucket List,'(a list of items he wants to accomplish before he kicks the bucket) he realizes it’s something the two of them can do–and says they should. That’s when the two cancer patients break out of the hospital and go on a world tour. Together, they write out a new bucket list and work to make each other’s dreams come true.

“Bucket List” is sentimental, predictable, and yet more than my words can encompass. The film’s not just about dying, but friendship, and finding joy to spread to others–even at the worst times in a person’s life.

In my opinion, the three best aspects of this film were Morgan Freeman’s outstanding narration and Sean Hayes’ well-done portrayal of Cole’s ever-present assistant (Thomas). Another nod goes to actress Beverly Todd, who played Virginia Chambers. Even the young girls in the film were exclaiming how amazing she looked and acted.

Warnings:

Bring tissue

If ‘laugh til you cry’ is on your ‘Bucket List,’ you can check this item off

Rating: 5 / 5

The Bucket List tells the sensitive and well thought-out story of two older men who are diagnosed with cancer so severe that they have six months to live–or maybe a year if they’re lucky. Look for stunning performances from both Morgan Freeman as Carter Chambers and Jack Nicholson as Edward Cole. Beverly Todd also acts her heart out as Beverly Chambers, Carter’s wife.

The action begins when Carter Chambers, a working class black man, and Edward Cole, super-wealthy self-made rich white guy who actually owns the hospital they’re in become roommates in the oncology ward of the hospital. At first Carter and Edward don’t exactly hit it off but it isn’t long before they forge a friendship. When they each learn that by coincidence they have six months to a year to live, they embark on a trip to accomplish certain lifelong dreams and personal goals before they die. The list of things to do is called The Bucket List because it’s a list of things to do before they “kick the bucket.”

Of course, because Edward Cole is wealthy many scenes in this movie become almost miraculously possible. They travel the world by private corporate jet; and they live more in just a few weeks than most people ever do in a lifetime.

Of course, life has its ways of surprising just about any of us; so still the plot could go just about anywhere. How will Beverly, Carter’s wife, react to all this? Will she understand and remain patient while Carter lives out a few lifelong dreams or will she want her husband home NOW? Will Carter and Edward be able to keep their cool when they are stranded in Asia during a monstrous snowstorm and they are not allowed to fly? What happens if one of them gets very sick along the way? What about Edward’s refusal to make up with his daughter who disowned him long ago–will he ever decide to approach her or will he remain obstinate in his refusal to even meet with her? The results may surprise you. No plot spoilers here, folks–you’ll just have to watch the movie to find out!

As a cancer survivor who is finishing my own chemotherapy soon, I will add that some of the side-effects of the chemotherapy they receive are exaggerated. However, I think director Rob Reiner added these elements to the film to make it somewhat more dramatic.

Overall, The Bucket List is an excellent movie; and I couldn’t have enjoyed it more. Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman turn in superlative performances that proves these guys can still act better than the vast majority of actors ever could. Beverly Todd does a great job as Carter’s wife; and Sean Hayes also does well as Edward Cole’s personal assistant Thomas. I highly recommend this film for fans of these terrific actors; and people comfortable with the subject matter will appreciate this motion picture as well.

Rating: 5 / 5

Rob Reiner’s “The Bucket List” functions with a strong sense of What If: What if you discovered you were terminally ill? What if you finally decided to live your remaining days to the fullest? What if you discovered more in those remaining days than you ever discovered before? Edward Cole (Jack Nicholson) and Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman) are faced with scores of What Ifs when both are diagnosed with cancer and given a finite number of days to live–with Cole’s help, Chambers uses that precious time to see the world and experience things he had previously only dreamed of. This is obviously not a new idea for a story like this, and the reality is that most of the film is unrealistic and cliché. But it’s also touching and meaningful, so I have to give credit where credit is due. Simply put, “The Bucket List” is an unabashed tearjerker, a film that’s simultaneously witty and sentimental for maximum effect.

The film opens with one of Freeman’s voiceover narrations, and that in and of itself is a cliché: consider “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Million Dollar Baby” and “War of the Worlds” and “March of the Penguins” and “Feast of Love” and “The Hunting of the President” and … I think you get the idea. Anyway, his character’s narration acts as a framing device, one that will be filled with the events of the main story. The first character to be established is Chambers, who has worked as a mechanic for the past forty-five years. He’s knowledgeable about many things, which is why he’s able to watch “Jeopardy!” and answer virtually every question. We first see him in his auto shop, answering trivia questions with his co-worker; at that point, he receives a devastating phone call from his wife, one that forces him to drop his cigarette and walk away in a daze. Apparently, the test results from his latest medical exam paint a grim picture for his future.

Soon after, Cole is introduced. A multimillionaire, Cole is savvy and inflexible, with a dry and completely off-putting sense of humor. He also has an affinity for Kopi Luwak coffee, the world’s most expensive (and most disgusting–if you really must know why, look it up on your own). He owns a hospital in Los Angeles, and he has a strict policy when it comes to patient lodging: Two beds to a room, no exceptions. Private rooms aren’t allowed because, as he puts it, “I run hospitals, not health spas.” Upon his cancer diagnosis, he’s taken in for emergency surgery, after which he’s wheeled into the same hospital room occupied by Chambers; at that point, Cole pleads to be given his own room, and never mind the bad PR.

Before long, Cole and Chambers form a companionship of sorts. It would be too much to say that they become fast friends–Cole’s personality would make that virtually impossible, especially so soon after they meet. But they definitely tolerate each other, which is probably why Cole is willing to indulge Chambers in his last days. You see, Chambers begins writing what his old history professor called a Bucket List, which is a list of things one wants to do before dying (also known as kicking the bucket); Cole gets a hold of it and convinces Chambers to not only follow the list, but also to add a few exciting things, like skydiving and racecar driving and seeing sights all over the world. Cole would tag along, but merely as a financier and a motivator, not as a confidant. Not at first, anyway.

All this comes as a surprise to Chambers’ wife, Virginia (Beverly Todd), who feels that Cole is stealing her husband away during his final days. Chambers would like nothing more than for his wife to understand where he’s coming from: he devoted years of his life to her and their children, and now that he’s dying, he feels he’s earned a little time for himself. Much to Virginia’s chagrin, Chambers and Cole set off on their journey, and as you’ve probably guessed, this journey will be profound, revealing many things about both characters. For one thing, we learn that Chambers had once hoped to be a history professor. We also learn that Cole has endured four failed marriages, one of which introduced his daughter into the world. For reasons I won’t reveal, the two haven’t spoken in years–this is a golden opportunity for Chambers, who tries to use his knowledge and philosophical wisdoms to urge Cole towards reconciling.

If these themes of self-discovery, friendship, and family seem routine, that’s because they are. “The Bucket List” doesn’t really give us anything new, especially when it comes to the obligatory epiphanies; in stories like this, a character’s impending death always makes him or her appreciate life, usually for the first time. But I have to be honest–it’s still an effective movie, if not for the story, then for reaffirming our emotions. This applies to both ends of the scale: parts of the film are incredibly funny while other parts are incredibly sad. One of the funnier moments occurs when Cole and Chambers visit the Taj Mahal in India: Cole can’t decide on his funeral arrangements. An ordinary burial makes him feel claustrophobic. Cremation is risky because the person may not be completely dead when it happens.

The sadder moments are mostly reserved for the end, and while I won’t say what happens, I think you have a pretty good idea. “The Bucket List” is not a perfect film, but it’s still poignant and endearing, and its sense of humor is generally well placed. There’s also a decent performance by Sean Hayes as Thomas, Cole’s personal assistant (his real name is Matthew, but Cole found that too Biblical). I’m recommending this film mostly for its well-established but important message of living life to the fullest. Why? Let me answer that with another question: What if?
Rating: 4 / 5

The Bucket List

A Universal DVD

This is a story that coveys the close relationship that develops between two utterly different men that must share the same hospital room after being both diagnosed with advanced terminal cancer. The first, Edward Cole- Jack Nicholson- is the CEO that runs the hospital and is a ruthless persona and the second is a mechanic, Carter- Morgan Freeman-, who wanted in his youth to be a history teacher but life circumstances did not allow him to do so. They share the common adversities of the infirmity and they, ant the same time, share a long trip that will tie the relationship even further.

One day, Carter starts to write a “Bucket List” containing all the things that he would like to do before he dies and Cole finds it out. Afterward, they decide to write the “Bucket List” together and start going on marvelous trips around the world and sharing precious moments and becoming the best of friends. Two utterly different persons become the closest friends ever in the last months of their lives.

What really stroke me about this DVD was that it not only applies to two terminal cancer patients: What stroke me the most is its universality. If we think a little deeper, it could apply to two or more persons sharing similar adversities- or joyfulness for that matter- and relying on each other for comfort, understanding, and the sharing of knowledge and experiences.

The performances of the two principal actors are outstanding and make you laugh and cry at different times during the performance.

Highly recommended!!!

Rating: 4 / 5

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