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Overall Rating

Awesome: 17.86%
Worth A Look: 17.86%
Average: 16.07%
Pretty Bad: 14.29%
Total Crap33.93%

5 reviews, 26 user ratings

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Bucket List, The
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by Erik Childress

"Pissboys and the Bucket of Shit"
1 stars

In Rob Reiner’s latest dramedy, Jack Nicholson gives us three things to remember when you get old. “(1) Never pass up a bathroom. (2) Never waste a hard-on. (3) Never trust a fart.” And that’s the most glorious piece of wisdom you’re going to find in this unfathomable scenario where two Oscar-winning actors wade through a multi-depressing bit of life cherishing. Nobel intentions don’t even factor into this objectionable bit of last wishes that would have been rejected from any Oprah-owned or watched TV network. The Bucket List doesn’t even approach the outer tear rings of sappy, treacly mush and Justin Zackham’s screenplay should be the first to be banned from writing classes everywhere let alone hospitals and support groups. But we’re not going to put it out of its misery just yet.

Opening as if it’s going to be some misplaced parody of The Shawshank Redemption, Morgan Freeman narrates his 157th film as Carter Chambers; a career mechanic who has provided for his family for 45 years and now receives the big phone call about the “C” word. The first time he met Andy Dufre….I mean, Edward Cole (Jack Nicholson) was one hospital bed over. Edward has built some hospital empire and is so loaded he brags about being asked presidential advice and lunch meetings with Michelle Pfeiffer. He also has the big “C”, but miraculously survives his 5% chance at surgery and begins treatment despite being given six months by his doctor (Rob Morrow). The two form an uneasy bond and one day Edward sees Carter scribbling down something called a bucket list; things he’s always wanted to do before he kicks the bucket. Carter saw it as a lark, as something to pass the time, but Edward responds to the idea and starts adding more adventurous things than just “seeing something majestic.” Perhaps Zackham had a little Darabont marathon before writing this.

With unlimited funds to make their dreams come true and a personal assistant (Sean Hayes) setting their activities up, Edward & Carter jump out a plane, have a demolition derby on a race track and brave the wilds of Africa. Seriously, you’ll begin to wonder if there’s anything on this fuckin’ bucket list that doesn’t involve a green screen. Carter’s wife (Beverly Todd) shrewdly lobbies against this little journey, but he stands firm to have a little time for himself in one of many horribly written scenes that will nevertheless be appreciated by husbands everywhere. Carter, being Morgan Freeman, would rather not subscribe to Edward’s brand of living out your days (like finding a second woman to sleep with after six decades) and suggests they go visit Edward’s estranged daughter, whom he once hired some guys to rough up her abusive husband. This all leads to one of those standard romantic comedy break-up scenes where Edward screams that Carter has “no fucking idea who he is.” Up to that point, he’s just a guy swearing to get a PG-13 rating.

The concept behind creating a bucket list offers all the sappy machinations a tearjerker can muscle up, but this is a film with barely the strength to jerk anything around and thus takes on the qualities of a nursing home vegetable. This is a film with an inoperable disease that even Elizabeth Kubler-Ross would admit its viewers should go straight to the stages of anger since there’s no denying what a flimsily and uninspired colostomy bag of a screenplay this is. When Ron Howard’s retirees rediscovered their youth in Cocoon, there was a joyous wonder in their remembrance of it and the passion they still carried. Edward and Carter’s dying days are reduced to a Family Feud survey question whose number one answer would get a big, fat zero from anyone thinking outside the box on their mortality.

Like a big budget blockbuster cursed with the unlimited funds to scuttle imagination entirely, The Bucket List is an upper class fantasy that dangles hope in the face of a middle class reality paying for it with tickets. Offering miniscule lessons in manners to the hospital industry has all the meaning of a politician shaking hands at a flu shot line. Zackham’s atrocious vomit stench of a script never gets past the stages that life’s regrets can be rectified in some Jules Verne-ian Magellan quest. Getting the most enjoyment out of life is a dream we can all strive for, but Zackham is more interested in fooling us into who is going to die first then confronting a tangible emotion from any of the characters or their situation.

For the gravity of their situation, anyone who has lived through a loved one’s doctor-prescribed final days will either find optimism or contempt for Edward and Carter’s conveniently absentee symptoms during their journey. Save for a bloody leakage that Carter dismisses more easily than a wine spill, their weakened state during that harshly depressing first act miraculously disappears in all traces of their actions until the script decides to pull the plug. There’s no room for any great or even decent passing discussion about spirituality, immortality or the horrors of dying slowly within the confines of a business that Edward is supposedly making improvements to. It’s a three-act passion play minus the passion that can be easily labeled into Cancer, Vacation and Death; a five-stage system condensed into three for the full price of your time and money. You can deny how unabashedly evil The Bucket List and then get angry at it, perhaps even bargaining to get your ten bucks back. But the depression that sets in that this is a low point in the careers of director Rob Reiner, Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman and perhaps one of the worst films you may ever see is just a little too much to accept even if its absolutely true.

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originally posted: 12/25/07 16:00:00
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User Comments

11/10/11 brian Cliched but well acted and has some nice moments. 4 stars
3/21/11 holly sines i loved this movie...what i expected from Nicholson and Freeman 5 stars
6/01/10 User Name Yes, it's smaltzy and predictable, but the two leads are so enjoyable, you don't notice. 3 stars
5/21/09 michelle a heartfelt movie, america needs more like this!! 5 stars
3/22/09 mr.mike Take 2 old pros , a decent script and stir. 4 stars
11/12/08 Michael M While it's a cliche story, Reiner succeeds in making it believable, which makes it powerful 5 stars
9/16/08 janie thats what friendship is all about... 5 stars
8/06/08 L. Slusarczyk A sweet and enjoyable movie but not sure if its one worth buying 4 stars
6/15/08 Melissa This movie was awesome. Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman were phenomenal. Would recommend 5 stars
6/12/08 Jayson I'm not cynical so I liked it. 3 stars
4/14/08 Scott H the story was funny and easy to follow 4 stars
4/12/08 Lambutts Took almost as long to read the review as it did to watch the movie. The movie was better. 5 stars
3/26/08 sarita at last west is thinking on the ideology of india 5 stars
2/22/08 leo the film s crap if u didnt understood d deeper meaning, 8 s really good & has gr8 lessons.. 4 stars
2/17/08 lolcat i had 5 stars for this movie - but i ated them 2 stars
2/11/08 John Geddie Jack Nicholson & Morgan Freeman are a great pair. Very entertaining. 4 stars
1/27/08 Bob H. Being a cancer vitem myself probably played a large role in my opinion of this film . My wi 5 stars
1/19/08 R.W.Welch A little schmaltzy maybe, but these two guys can carry off anything. C+ 3 stars
1/15/08 Gayle I thoughtt this movie was GREAT & Funny!! 4 stars
1/14/08 Linda A feel good tearjerker of Jacks best! 5 stars
1/14/08 Daniel Kamen Nicholson is at his best. The negative reviews are from no talent, frustrated critics. 5 stars
1/14/08 John Truly crap! But my wife loved it! 1 stars
1/13/08 josh i loved it,not as funny as i thought it would be.still verry good 4 stars
1/13/08 sandy Loved this movie! I work in a hospital and with hospice. It's FICTION after all. 4 stars
1/04/08 ES Enjoyable, it's not winning Oscars but it had some funny and nice moments 4 stars
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  25-Dec-2007 (PG-13)
  DVD: 10-Jun-2008



Directed by
  Rob Reiner

Written by
  Justin Zackham

  Jack Nicholson
  Morgan Freeman
  Sean Hayes
  Beverly Todd
  Rob Morrow

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