Archives for posts with tag: Jack Nicholson

“The Right Stuff” (1983) was nominated for Best Picture and lost to “Terms of Endearment.” Sam Shepard (who plays a badass test pilot) was nominated for Best Actor and lost to Jack Nicholson (who plays a pretend astronaut) from “Terms.” (I’ve never seen “Terms.”) “The Right Stuff” has slipped from the public consciousness. That’s unfortunate, because it’s a modern-day epic about the birth of the U.S. space program. It is also epic in length (193 minutes), which might be why it is overlooked. It’s worth sitting through just to learn Chuck Yeager’s story and peek behind NASA’s sanitized public image.

“A Few Good Men” (1992) is a pretty good courtroom drama made special by some unique flourishes: it takes place around a military court martial and features Demi Moore with her original face and Tom Cruise with his original brain. Best of all, it stars Jack Nicholson in a scenery-chewing performance as a hard-ass Marine colonel who gets to say awesome lines. He promises to piss in somebody’s dead skull – and you believe he would do it. Because every morning, he eats breakfast 300 yards from 4,000 Cubans that are trained to kill him. You need him on that wall.

“As Good as It Gets” is not. This strange 1997 romantic comedy is very 1990s (code for excruciatingly chatty and somewhat depressing) and therefore doesn’t stand the test of time very well, despite Oscar-winning performances by Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt. Groans outweigh laughs. The theme: It’s not easy being someone with obsessive-compulsive disorder; it’s even harder when you are a total a-hole; that being said, if even obsessive-compulsive a-holes can be redeemed, then there is hope for all of us. Trivia: Lisa Edelstein and Peter Jacobson from “House” play “woman at table” and “man at table” in one scene.