About Schmidt

Just popping in to say I saw this film on HBO the other night and thought it was very good. Enjoyed watching Jack Nicholson go a whole film without getting the young bird, enjoyed his stupid old-man’s walk, enjoyed him being married to the frumpiest actress I think I’ve ever seen. Made Kathy Bates look like Tyra Banks. And I was crying at the ending before even Jack was. Wonderful ending. What that old man had always wanted summed up in a 6 year old’s painting.

Nice film.

friend roger thornhill,

i also enjoyed the movie. it is good to see nicholson acting his age.

most of it was filmed within walking distance of where i grew up.

Must have been the first film in 25 years whose script included the word nincompoop.

Yeah, I meant to mention the “nincompoop” line! And that fellow (was he the brother of the groom??) who looked totally gormless at the wedding reception. I can’t recall a film where the casting folk deliberately chose the ugliest people they could find.

But, ultimately, it’s the walk that I’ll never forget.

GREAT MOVIE. I moved into my dorm room last year about this time, and found A rented copy of Schmidt. I figured Id watch it before I returned it (Why not?). This movie got to me. And trust me. Im not a touchy feely guy. Whats even more amazing, is that the second time I saw it with my folks, it still got to me.

A LARGE part of my choice to go see Sideways was simply becuase it was the same Director.

I finally ended up buying it at a book store, as part of a buy 3 get 4th free.

Just read Ebert’s review of Sideways, Meeko. Sounds champion. Will seek it out (plus his other stuff: Election and Citizen Ruth).

A quote I heard about the movie was that Nicholson’s character looked like “someone who used to look like Jack Nicholson.”

I saw it on cable about 5 times last year. I never tired of watching it. My kids love it too.

So may great scenes. I love when he’s complaining to his 5 year old sponsor kid about the jerk who took over his old job.

Sideways was great. It’s not as touching as About Schmidt, but it’s just as strong in other ways, IMO.

I love About Schmidt and feel it shows a side of Jack Nicholson that we don’t usually see – a vulnerable, sensitive, and weak man.

Sideways was great as well. Paul Giamatti is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors.

I cried my eyes out throughout this movie – practically from the first scene at the leaving dinner – and I never cry at films. It’s probably because the whole father/daughter relationship thing really hit home (I’m an only child, and my dad’s always been madly proud of me, and I think it makes him sad I’m not at home any more). The film could have been really depressing but somehow the ending was massively uplifting.

Lots of critics said that Payne was making fun of Kathy Bates’ family, and their white trash boho ways – but I always thought the film meant to show that their way of doing things was much healthier and happier than Nicholson’s repressed, ultimately aimless life. What do you think?

Maybe I read too much into it, but when they were at the wedding and Randall’s friend gave that speech, and then Warren gave his speech, I thought the contrast showed that even though Randall’s world is tacky, at least everyone isn’t so isolated. The whole wedding speech was good for showing Warren’s aloneness. It was like he was giving a broadcast from outer space with all those pauses and everyone was patiently trying to hear something that meant something in it. It was really sweet. It made me feel like I was at one of my family’s weddings because I have a lot of cousins who all married Randalls and my mom is like Warren, she puts herself above everyone and then when she wants to be close she doesn’t have any way to express herself to everyone because she is always conspicuously sober and keeps to herself. Plus she thinks they’re all yahoos and everyone knows it. They all try to be nice, but they know it.

I thought the wedding scene was great for how it captured that “why am I the only bad sport” vibe. There are probably a lot of weddings like that but it was so well done with the fluorescent lights and all the depressing details. Usually in a movie they would still use the cozy lights and spare the cheap details that make weddings so disappointing and give them that special atmosphere of something that is supposed to be fun and joyful but totally is not if you aren’t able to rally your spirits for it. Then it’s just poignantly disappointing and a big ironic symbol of your inability to be intimate with the people you love. Not to project a metric ton or anything, but that was the first movie wedding I’ve ever seen that was anything like the weddings I’ve been to.

I love stories and movies about a person who is isolated and alone and trying to self-actualize somehow. I liked Sideways for the same theme.

It was hard for me to watch. I have an iffy relationship with my dad, and the wedding scene, with Schmidt sitting there rolling his eyes, unable to stomach not being the center of attention, is like my worst nightmare of my own wedding.

I just wish to say that *About Schmidt * is perhaps the one shining example of a movie which is light-years beyond the book.

After watching and loving the movie (us old farts like seeing old farts acting like old farts) I picked up the book. I could not get through sixty pages.

In what I was able to read of the book Schmidt is an early-retired Manhatten lawyer, whose wife died after a long illness. His daughter is getting married to a junior partner at the firm. He feels isolated from the Hamptons society his wife was so comfortable with and needs to find a way to leave his daughter the house in the Hamptons without having to pay more than three million for the inheritance/gift/ capital gains tax whatever…

Really. I could not identify with Schmidt in the novel in any way. Schmidt in the movie was a real mensch.

Watched Sideways over the w/e with the wife. We both enjoyed it thoroughly, and thought it much superior to Groundhog Day, which we also rented. (The latter devolved into a cross between It’s a Wonderful Life and Forrest Gump, though the basic premise was of course good.)

Back to Sideways, besides giving a guided tour of California’s Central Coast (I watched the film Times Atlas of the World in hand), it succeeded as a film that makes you think as well as laugh. It’s unpredictable, which makes a change for most films these days. The way the director handled the sex is an example of this. You think (disappointedly, in my case) that it’s all going to be off-screen (just moans and groans), and then he hits you with two stupendous scenes: the sexoholic boning (I think there’s no better way to describe the act the way it’s portrayed) the Oriental bird, and the hicks getting it on after the sexoholic has “fucked her ass”. (The “pillow talk” between the two trailer trash is thoroughly believable in the context of what has already been established of the characters - and of course one’s knowledge of American culture - and stops the scene descending into slapstick.) His ability to draw wider messages out of the everyday and the banal allows the director to get away with what would otherwise be cliches. The Oriental bird is a case in point: not only does she conform to the stereotype of the Asian hottie, she also gets to practice her moves kung fu style - reducing her 6’2" 200 lb prey to pulp with only a handbag. And yet we buy into it because the director has merited it.

Good stuff. Certainly one of the films of 2004.

And one other strange thing, if you will indulge me a moment longer. Usually, when a film features scrumptious food or drinks, I’ll hit the pause button and go and get whatever it might be - a cup of coffee, some cheese. Yet, in this case, the idea of going to the kitchen and opening that bottle of red had no appeal for me, and was instantly and easily dismissed. And not only becasue it was a Merlot. When a film has that effect, you know that it’s working well on a serious level too.

There’s a backhanded compliment!