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Mark Dujsik
01-13-2003, 03:05 PM
"The film truly is what its title suggests. About Schmidt is about one manóhis outlook on and station in life, his place in the world, his greatest fears. In a way, he represents the rest of us, but still the film remains incredibly specific to his character and situation. That it finds humor in its sad, lonely hero is surprising to a degree but, then again, not so much so. Desperation is one of those human qualities we all possess and are able to find humor in. And thatís also why the film works so well as a comedy; for the most part, it is a human one. Where the film really manages to strike an emotional chord, though, is in its examination of an ordinary manís search for meaning in his life as he nears his eventual demise. He searches everywhere for it and along the way discovers just how meaningless his life and lifeís work seem to himself and others. Itís humorous and, at the same time, incredibly sad because we see a bitóor maybe even a lotóof him in ourselves."

Mark's Full Review (http://mark-reviews-movies.tripod.com/reviews/A/aboutschmidt.htm)

oscar jubis
01-21-2003, 03:00 PM
Your review addresses the themes raised by Schmidt's crisis very well. One problem I have with this film is the use of letters to a 6 year-old boy as an expository device. I agree with your use of the word "gimmick" to refer to it. I wish the filmakers had found a way to create dramatic situations to convey what we needed to know rather than this facile, lazy gimmick. Not only that, what are we to make of Schmidt's letters being incomprehensible to a 6 year old. Is he that naive? He writes:...when you get this check, cash it, go to the corner store and buy yourself something to eat". Makes him appear stupid, which is not congruent with Nicholson's portrayal of Schmidt. What do y'all think?

Mark Dujsik
01-21-2003, 04:15 PM
Originally posted by oscar jubis
Your review addresses the themes raised by Schmidt's crisis very well. One problem I have with this film is the use of letters to a 6 year-old boy as an expository device. I agree with your use of the word "gimmick" to refer to it. I wish the filmakers had found a way to create dramatic situations to convey what we needed to know rather than this facile, lazy gimmick. Not only that, what are we to make of Schmidt's letters being incomprehensible to a 6 year old. Is he that naive? He writes:...when you get this check, cash it, go to the corner store and buy yourself something to eat". Makes him appear stupid, which is not congruent with Nicholson's portrayal of Schmidt. What do y'all think?

Nicholson was able to portray all of what we get from the letters through his face, but his voice over work in the letters adds another level to the character. That's why I think it works a lot better than the simple gimmick it is. I'm torn between him and Daniel Day-Lewis for the best performance of the past year.

I think the comment about getting something to eat was read more as a throwaway--not serious.

oscar jubis
01-24-2003, 01:09 AM
I agree that Nicholson was able to portray it all through his face, but the auteurs did not trust him. They were not pondering: what would Mr. Schmidt actually say in letters to 6 y.o. Ndugu? They were thinking about the quickest way to make the audience sympathize and identify with him. Total calculation. Character integrity and psychological verisimilitude be damned. Then, to be fair, the film gets much better.

I also like Nicholson and Day-Lewis for best male performance, along with 2 from good-but-flawed early 2002 releases: Benjamin Pratt in Pinero, and Samuel Jackson in Changing Lanes.

Ricardo
01-27-2003, 05:47 AM
Well, I must say, I just the movie, and being a 64 year old retired man of some prestige, I feel better placed to make some comments than some of you whippershanppers

But I digress....

Not wanting to be contoversial, but what atually happens once you have retired, and your wife departs is that you realise what is inevitable, slink into a comfortable chair, and wait for the icy hand of death to reach past your remote control and take you off to finally end your days as intended, with 'her indoors.

....Road Trips are right out.