Anger Management – 2 Stars (Average)
Anger Management brings young Adam Sandler together with old Jack Nicholson in a dippy comedy that borders on a romantic comedy without the dramatic bent.
Dave Buznik (Adam Sandler) is a businessman who is wrongly sentenced to an anger-management program following an incident on airline flight, but insult is added to injury when Dr. Buddy Rydell (Jack Nicholson), an aggressive, unorthodox therapist, becomes his live in roommate during rehabilitation. This film is dominated by Nicholson, has a script that begs for better lines, and becomes annoying after awhile, which is very similar to Nicholson’s character in the movie. I am not altogether sure this movie would not have been better if the roles of Nicholson and Sandler were reversed.
Imagine Nicholson as a problematic, anger-management reprobate (not hard to do) and Sandler as a recent psychiatrist grad about to deal with his first real patient (easy to do). I propose this because I felt very little chemistry between Nicholson and Sandler as they were cast.
Anger Management is not a film I would see twice under any circumstances. Apparently a lot of judges felt the same way as awards were really absent for this effort.
The Emperor’s Club – 2 Stars (Average)
The Emperor’s Club reminds me of the aspirations of people starting out in life and the disappointment that inevitably comes when forcing one’s ideas upon another. William Hundert (Kevin Kline) is a passionate and principled classics professor who finds his world challenged when a new student, Sedgewick Bell (Emile Hirsch), comes into his class. A battle of wills ensues.
The Emperor’s Club needed a better script and suffered from the lack of a female presence. Who wants to watch a bunch of guys being smart asses? This gets to be about as interesting as watching flour turn brown.
The Emperor’s Club was not unlike the Dead Poet’s Society with Robin Williams as English professor John Keating, except Williams does a better acting job than Kline. The message of The Emperor’s Club is negative and undermining; the message of Dead Poet’s Society is uplifting and encouraging.
Dead Poet’s Society earned an Oscar for Best Writing by Tom Schulman, and garnered three other Academy nominations: Robin Williams for Best Actor, Peter Weir for Best Director and Best Picture.
The Emperor’s Club was not even noticed at awards time.
The Fast and the Furious – 2 Stars (Average)
The Fast and the Furious is an action flick for guys featuring street car racing, macho wannabe men and mindless activity that sends a terrible message to every mixed up teenager who is out of control and looking for trouble. Yes, the cars are great, yes, the race scenes are terrific for a fantasy world, and no, this film has no redeeming quality worth talking about. It is, in a word, stupid, and glorifies a stupid activity.
The Fast and the Furious picked up some minor awards for cinematography and music, but lacks substance and gets low marks for bad behavior. Save your money on the sequel.
Five Easy Pieces – 2 Stars (Average)
Five Easy Pieces was made in 1970 and 36 years later has become a cult film in the sense that it engenders a misplaced or excessive admiration because of an actor named Jack Nicholson and a restaurant scene that suggests humor but exhibits rage.
Robert Dupea (Jack Nicholson) is a successful classical pianist from a well-to-do family who becomes a worthless piece of nothing on his way to nowhere about 1,000 miles an hour. Dupea becomes one troubled and sad person who ends up as a trashy oil rigger.
Dupea surrounds himself with enough dysfunctional people to field a basketball team. One of Dupea’s lines in the movie says a lot: “I move around a lot, not because I’m looking for anything really, but ’cause I’m getting away from things that get bad if I stay.” Dupea just needs to grow up and stop feeling sorry for himself; he simply cannot come to terms with life and what it has to offer.
Nicholson does a great job with his role in the film (he gets his second Oscar nomination for Best Actor), but the script, story, ending and everything else about Five Easy Pieces is negative and worthless. The message of the film is just a sad, sorry excuse for living.
Nicholson becomes a major force in acting during Five Easy Pieces. He goes on to earn no less than 2 Best Actor Oscars (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and As Good As It Gets), 1 Best Supporting Actor Oscar (Terms of Endearment) and no less than 9 other Best Actor nominations.
Jack Nicholson is the most nominated actor in Academy Awards history. I was about to say he could win an Oscar nomination in any film, and then I remembered Anger Management with Adam Sandler.
Five Easy Pieces also won Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actress (Karen Black), Best Picture and Best Writing by Bob Rafelson and Carole Eastman. Great scripts do help, but I find the message of this script disturbing.
Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley