Old Men Made Me Cry

January 14, 2008

I love going to the movies. From time to time a trailer for a coming attraction will get me excited and I will spend weeks or even months waiting, waiting, waiting… Finally the day comes and I almost always go see the movie on the day it opens. Usually, it’s a bit of a letdown. I guess anything you point to for a long period of time faces a lot of pressure to live up to your expectations. The last two movies I waited to see were “The Departed” with Jack Nicholson and “American Gangster” with my favorite actor, Denzel Washington.

“The Departed” turned out to be a really good movie, but when I saw it the first time I missed a key event somehow, lost track of the plot and left feeling disappointed. I saw it again later on video and thought it was good stuff. Watching a movie at home is rarely as satisfying as watching in a theater, but this time it worked out better. If you like movies where practically everyone dies and you enjoy complicated plots, try this one.

“American Gangster” featured a great performance by Denzel, but the story just didn’t fit into the allotted time. I left with lots of questions and felt a little dissatisfied.  Not that it was a bad experience – It just couldn’t survive the pressure I put on it in the months leading up to its release. My fault. Should you see it? Sure. it’s entertaining, there is a lot to the story, and anything with Denzel Washington is worth watching. (Especially “Philadelphia” and “Remember the Titans”.)

 So a few months ago I saw a trailer for Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman in a movie called “The Bucket List.” The basic premise of the movie was to be two men discover they have terminal cancer late in life and decide to try to accomplish a list of milestones before they go. I like both stars and the plot sounded like it had promise. I started the countdown. Every time I saw the trailer I said to myself, “I’m going to that one!”

It opened on Friday and as promised, I was there. This time, I knew from very early in the movie that I had a winner. This movie has Morgan Freeman as both a main character and the narrator (think “Shawshank Redemption” – another great film) and he handles his roles spectacularly. Early in the movie his character gets “the call” with his test results and Morgan Freeman does some of his best work. His eye movement and facial expressions convey the fear and anguish that such a call must bring. He continued his brilliance throughout the film. Nicholson was fine, but Freeman was outstanding.

Go see it. The box office might not reward this movie as handsomely as it should because the characters are older and the kids don’t want to go, but you should see this film on the big screen. I cried like a baby.

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