No. of Recommendations: 17
Yeah, the one with Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt and Greg Kinear,

TONS of spoilers.

Talking to someone about this got me to thinking, again, about this movie which just gets better every time I watch it. A woman took offense that Nicholson was 60 to Helen Hunt's 34 when the movie was made. I would normally agree but then thought - what 40 year old actor of the time could have convincingly played that part as well as Nicholson? I can think of none.

The thing that occurred to me tonight was the Hunt/Nicholson relationship. Nicholson plays a complete SOB - he hates people and isn't afraid to tell them exactly what he thinks about each and every one of them. He's also OCD, germaphobic and - I believe - a complete social introvert. Think of it - in this movie he originally doesn't have a single friend in the world or a person he even likes - except Hunt.

What is so special about her? She is JUST LIKE HIM in one important respect - and he talks about this in the film. She's honest. No veneer, no pretense - genuine. Except, with her, she actually likes people and has empathy so she connects with them where he repulses them.

He's not a dirty old man. In fact, I'd be willing to bet his character is possibly even a virgin, as anti-social and phobic as he is. He doesn't even kiss her till the last 2 minutes of the film and is clumsy at it even then. As Hunt says once "you're NOT READY and you're PRETTY OLD to be NOT READY."

The three main characters end up being the only truly honest people in the film. All three have had very hard life experiences. When Kinnear's character is brutally beaten is it the "Good Christian Woman" down the hall who reaches out to help? She's polite and "nice". Ditto the maid and the female accountant. All polite and WELL FUNCTIONING members of society. Yet when Kinnear hits bottom who helps him? Not the NICE people, ot the CHRISTIAN people, but the SOB bastard Nicholson. Which shows us that as far as this film is concerned, "nice" people are a bunch of phonies and the brutally honest are the only ones we can truly depend on.

Hunt, likewise, has been brutalized by life by her son's chronic illness. The three bond because life has kicked them all in the .... "Some people have good stories, nice stories involving parties on a boat and noodle salad. Nobody in THIS car, but some people - that's there story. Good times. Noodle Salad."

Plus the dialog - I could quote pages of the amazingly written dialog.

5/5 or 10/10 or top of whatever scale you pick. This movie is a gem. Showed it to my college-aged daughter and her friends who all agreed it was the MOST UNIQUE "rom-com" or whatever genre you'd pick for it ever seen. Perfect casting. Absolutely perfect, ages be damned.

Print the post  


What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.