The Bucket List (2007)
|Warner Brothers || PG13 - 97 minutes - $28.98 || June 10, 2008|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-06-09|
Writer(s): Justin Zackham (written by)
Cast: Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman, Sean Hayes, Rob Morrow
Theatrical Release Date: January 11, 2008
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The Bucket List is a sappy yet stirring drama about two terminally ill men, billionaire Edward Cole (Nicholson) and life-long mechanic/family man Carter Chambers (Freeman), who unexpectedly enter into one another’s lives. Edward Cole owns a consortium of hospitals and has a hard line that there are two beds per room because he runs hospitals, not health spas, so no special treatment. His roommate is, of course, Carter who he himself was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer, and also both men only have maybe a year to live.
In the meantime, Carter decides to write something called a “Bucket List”; it is a list of things someone wants to do or see before they kick the bucket. Being a man with limitless resources and a new found vigor for life, Edward convinces Carter to go on an adventure around the world to experience things neither of the men has ever experienced. The two new best friends go sky diving, travel to Hong Kong, Cairo and the Himalayans, and race at a track. Among other those are some personal experiences such as laughing until you cry or kissing the most beautiful woman in the world.
The Bucket List does have its issues, primarily with a story that at times does feel forced and has that Hallmark Channel-movie-of-the-week vibe to it. I can forgive writer Justin Zackham for a plot tool by making Edward a billionaire thus taking the money issue out of the equation. If it’s one thing that I dislike about these type of movies is being manipulated, and with the casting here, it’s so easy to do. But here’s the dilemma: we have two iconic and legendary actors that all these transgressions are forgivable and even makes this a worthwhile venture.
When you cast the soft spoken and immediately likeable Morgan Freeman and the life-of-the-party Jack Nicholson into the same picture together, you’ve got a winning team. And getting these two legends together is almost a must because based on the premise, you know the ending. Sorry if you consider it a spoiler, but what do you think terminal means? The chemistry between Nicholson and Freeman is the highlight of this film and the two are a blast to watch on screen together.
The Bucket List was directed by Rob Reiner, whose prestige has been on the decline probably since 1992’s A Few Good Men (and I think some might argue that wasn’t a good effort), and while there isn’t anything in this movie that shines in terms of direction, he does an amiable service with the material.
Overall, The Bucket List is saved by two fantastic actors and even though the story has some flaws, there are moments of true emotion here and there. The whole moral of the story when a character sees the meaning of life or what have you, is forced, but I like these two stars too much and together they make the film work.
The movie co-stars Sean Hayes (TV’s “Will & Grace”) as Nicholson’s assistant and Rob Morrow (TV’s “Numb3rs”) as a doctor.
Writing a Bucket List (4:52) – The solo featurette has screenwriter Justin Zackham talk about his idea of “The Bucket List” and also compiling a book of bucket lists from many people (Morgan Freeman, Hugh Heffner, Sean Hayes) with the proceeds going to support cancer patients.
A music video (3:58) from John Mayer is also included and presented in anamorphic widescreen.
Considering the film made over $90 million at the box office, one would’ve hoped that Warner Bros. would give this more features for the DVD (the Blu-ray version does feature a trivia track and interviews).
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
The picture looks good and using a 1.78 OAR, Rob Reiner keeps things personal rather than expanding on all the “worldwide” (green screen) ventures. Anyway, the colors come across very nicely and I didn’t notice anything wrong with the transfer. Warner has nicely provided the full screen version on the flipside of the disc (better than offering a separate Full Screen Edition).
The disc contains a typical English Dolby Digital 5.1 track also available in French and Spanish.
Given The Bucket List made nearly $100 million at the U.S. box office ($170 million worldwide); obviously audiences fell in love with the two stars as much as I did. Even with a subpar story (at times), the charisma and stature that both Freeman and Nicholson bring to the screen makes this a worthwhile endeavor.