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The Bucket List

A comedy movie directed by Rob Reiner

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Seeing This Again Won't Be On My Bucket List

  • Nov 17, 2010

I should have loved this film. I really like Nicholson and Freeman. I also enjoy a good dramedy, even those about death -- one of my all-time favorites is Better Off Dead. It must be very difficult to pull off funny when the subject is death, so to do so is impressive. The Bucket List tries, and sometimes gets very close... but I didn't love this film. It was okay. I don't regret the time invested, but, I'm not adding it to my library.


There was a manipulative feel to it, at times too much emotion, and others a lack that seemed extreme even when taking the grieving process into account. And I really didn't like the characters. The actors did a great job with the material. But there were moments where I ended up scratching my head and wondering where the inappropriate emotion was coming from, or how in the world that choice was made. I will admit that I just lost a near dear one to lung cancer and the hospital scenes were tough to watch. But I don't think that affected my feelings about the characters.

Freeman plays a hard-working, responsible family man, Carter. He's sacrificed his whole life for his family. Nicholson plays the part of a rich playboy, Edward. Edward owns the hospital where Carter is living during cancer treatment. Edward is diagnosed with cancer and ends up as Carter's roommate because Edward is infamous for publicly stating from his soapbox that "there are no private rooms etc.etc." Predictably, they hate sharing and each other until treatment and struggles bring them together in a brotherhood of the suffering and dying. They begin a bucket list..."things to do before I kick the bucket." Actually, Carter does and the items on the list are evidence of his life of responsibility and service. But then Edward and his deep pockets get involved and the adventure is on.

I struggled with Carter's embracing of some of Edward's foolishness. I didn't like Carter's wife which was probably the goal otherwise Carter would have just looked selfish for taking off on the mad adventure around the world. Maybe I've been wrong about things. I always thought that I'd look back and feel that my life made a difference in others' lives because of relationship, not because of my experiences and exploits. Ultimately, that is kind of the end message. But it takes a long, twisted road to get there.

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November 21, 2010
I still haven't seen this one, I guess I am not really missing that much.
November 19, 2010
Thanks for the compliment, Butterfly. I actually stared at this film, encased in it's little red envelope for three weeks (eternity in Netflix time) before popping it into the DVD player. My sister-in-law recommended it as wonderful and, well, sigh, it was okay.
November 19, 2010
Nice review - I was wondering about this film; now I don't have to wonder anymore - it doesn't look like I'll be seeing it.
More The Bucket List (2007 movie) reviews
review by . March 16, 2011
When you think about it, The Bucket List is not a horrible movie. It's a creative, somewhat thought-provoking premise, and it has two capable lead actors. However, its main weakness that keeps me from enjoying this movie is its script. The same person that convinced me to watch Pay It Forward is the person that convinced me to watch this, and I liked this better than Pay it Forward. You see, I don't watch movies to be sad, I watch movies either to laugh or appreciate how well-done they …
review by . October 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson are two of the best actors out there. That alone makes The Bucket List a treat. It features both men at the top of their game. Nicholson as the millionaire hospital magnate and Freeman as the lowly mechanic strike an unlikely friendship while commiserating over their cancer. It's easy for movies about the elderly and death to take on an almost didactic air. However, The Bucket List is a much more subtle about two imperfect men trying to find an appropriate way …
review by . October 16, 2010
Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson are two of the best actors out there. That alone makes The Bucket List a treat. It features both men at the top of their game. Nicholson as the millionaire hospital magnate and Freeman as the lowly mechanic strike an unlikely friendship while commiserating over their cancer. It's easy for movies about the elderly and death to take on an almost didactic air. However, The Bucket List is a much more subtle about two imperfect men trying to find an appropriate way to …
review by . January 25, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Nicholson & Freeman - outstanding     Cons: none     The Bottom Line:   “Walk on, walk on  With hope in your heart  And you'll never walk alone,  You'll never walk alone”  ~Rodgers & Hammrstein     Edward Cole is an obscenely rich man. He sits on many boards, owns countless companies, dines with Presidents and Royalty, eats only the best food and dines on the choicest …
review by . December 26, 2008
Pros: Read review     Cons: Read review     The Bottom Line: Heartwarming and entertaining I’d say.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. A Bucket List: is a list of things to do before one dies that one didn't get a chance to do while alive and, well, well enough to do them. Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, now there's a combination you no doubt thought you'd never see on the silver …
review by . October 05, 2008
This movie brought tears to my eyes. It was wonderfully performed by the one and only Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. The story is about two men, Edward, a rich businessman, and Carter, a mechanic. Both men have cancer and are roommates in the hospital. Thinking they will die, they go on a trip around the world trying to fulfill Carter's (Freeman) bucket list: A list of things to do before you kick the bucket (aka die). Throughout the movie, the men deal with their fears, families and foster …
review by . June 18, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
(3.5 *`s) You've probably seen the previews, so much elaboration isn't needed, but `Bucket List' is still a worthy journey even if the plot is laid out for you already. Sweet, sage, and funny, Rob Reiner delivers another heartwarming gem that's rejuvenating to watch.    They couldn't be more opposite. Edward Cole (Jack Nicholson) is a wealthy owner of hospitals where the frills are fleeting at best. "We run hospitals, not health spas," Edward brashly tells his potential clients. …
review by . June 15, 2008
Selecting a category for this very fine film results in the all-encompassing label 'mixed media', for lack of a better term. It is smart (with an excellent script by Justin Zackham), addresses some important social issues, and it has moments of touching tenderness and equal moments of very sold comedy. AND it greatly benefits from the casting of Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, two consummate actors playing out a theme that is unexpectedly a solid study of friendship and love.    Carter …
review by . June 07, 2008
This is a painfully sentimental movie about love and death. You would be a hard soul indeed if you could sit through this without choking just a little. What makes it worth watching is that it calls the question of the bucket list: just what would you do if you knew your time was limited?    If you're willing to stay with it, it also calls for two more reflections:    *What sort of things are on your list? Is it mostly a check-off of things that other people …
review by . April 21, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman) is a relatively happy man. Carter is a self-taught man with a thirst for knowledge that is never quite quenched. He has three children, a devoted wife, and is an ace mechanic. A telephone call one morning from the hospital changes everything. The operation he had months before was unsuccessful and has terminal cancer in the brain. Carter finds himself in the hospital participating in a "promising" experimental treatment. Carter's roommate in the hospital turns out …
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Kelly Klepfer ()
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"You measure yourself by the people who measure themselves by you," says the quietly wise Carter Chambers, played with gravitas and grace by a Morgan Freeman. In Rob Reiner's moving, often hilarious filmThe Bucket List, all sorts of people measure themselves against the two heroes, Chambers and his hospital suitemate, Edward Cole (Jack Nicholson). But as Cole finds, having spent his entire life building a Fortune 500 company, none of that much matters when cancer, the great equalizer, pays a visit. The film traces the adventures of the two unlikely friends, who meet in a hospital cancer ward, each given six months to live. The "bucket list" of the title refers to a lifelong list of goals that a teacher of Chambers once advised him to compile--and achieve--"before you kick the bucket." Soon the two are off on what may be the last grand adventure of their life, vowing to tick off as many goals (skydiving, race-car driving, seeing the wonders of the world) as they can in the time they have left. What starts as a medical melodrama becomes a road trip, yet the men's mortality realities are never far from thought. The two leads give impressive performances, and remind the viewer of just how few American films focus on the lives and loves of senior citizens. Nicholson even manages to lose his persona in his character, much as he did inAbout Schmidt. There's a lovely John Mayer tune, "Say (What You Need to Say)," that's ...
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