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About Schmidt

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    About Schmidt

    Warren Schmidt (Jack Nicholson) is a man who's always wanted to accomplish more in life, but now he finds himself retiring from a dead end job having made no difference in the world around him. One day, on a whim, Warren calls Childreach and "adopts" an African orphan named Ndugu, who Warren uses as a sounding board to let out his feelings concerning what he feels is his wasted life. Shortly after his retirement, Warren's wife, Helen (June Squibb), dies reminding Warren of just how much he needed her. On his way to his daughter, Jeannie's (Hope Davis) wedding Warren takes a soul searching road trip in his RV before trying to convince his daughter to not marry the waterbed salesman (Dermot Mulroney) she's currently engaged to.

    Before winning the adapted screenwriting Oscar for his wine country dramedy, Sideways, and after his nomination for the excellent Election, Alexandar Payne cowrote and directed this underrated dramedy with his oft-writing partner Jim Taylor. Overshadowed by a notorious nude scene by Kathy Bates in the late second act of the movie, it's often forgotten that Jack Nicholson and Kathy Bates were both nominated for Oscars and Jack Nicholson won a Golden Globe for best performance by an actor in a drama (to which Nicholson said during his acceptance speech, "I'm a little surprised, I thought we had made a comedy"). First picking up this movie I can't really say that I knew what to expect going in, but that's also part of what made me pick up this movie in the first place.

    What I got, for all the fuss about Kathy Bates, was a poignant character study about a very ordinary man in his 60's. I'm sure a lot of people don't feel the same way, after all some of Warren's actions are deplorable, but he's a very human character. He's an ordinary man who wants to be extraordinary about him, and so inside he pines to make a difference in the world. The movie does a great job, as well as Nicholson playing the role to a tee, of showing a man that even at his happiest carries around the weight of never having accomplished anything in his life to be proud of as he also confronts his own mortality. In the end the movie reminds us that we don't have to do big great things to make a difference in the world, though, even small gestures can make the world around us a better place.

    While in the end the overall message of the movie can be considered slightly corny, I still have to say that I recommend this movie. At times it's quite funny, and the acting is phenomenal. Even with a corny message, which does not overbear the plot or tone of the movie, sometimes we do need to be reminded of these things at times. Give it a try, if you like Payne's other films like Sideways and Election you'll probably enjoy this, and it's also one of Nicholson's best later career performances.


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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Boring and Pretentious!

    I like Jack Nicholson, he has starred in some of my favorite movies but I didn't like About Schmidt and thought it was one of the most overrated movies that I had ever seen! Boring, pretentious and filled with unlikeable characters, especially the spoiled brat daughter!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010


    The notorious Jack Nickolson has gone down in flames on this one. This drab movie has a weak plot and drags on and on and on. to say the least, i did not enjoy this movie at all and i do not recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Jack is quite delightful

    about schmidt is one of the most amazingly fantastic stories of dry horrible reality that i have ever seen jack portrayed schmidt like no actor today could THIS MAN IS GOOD he is an incredible actor and this movie proves that jack is one on THE GREATESt of our time The movie itself is not without glory,i have never seen such a great depiction of middle age reality and for its take on dry humor it is a MASTERPIECE.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010


    Though Jack Nicholson gives an undeniably spectacular performance in About Schmidt, it appears as though the public has been inundated with hype for his emoting. Meanwhile, I strongly recommend noting the movie's breathtaking dialogue, devastating depiction of Middle America disillusion, and extraordinarily accurate portrayal of human error, sacrifice, and love. The wit overflows with genius, but manages this rare feat without being precocious or pretentious. Watch for more outstanding work by Alexander Payne, and, as if anyone harbored doubts, Jack Nicholson as well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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