Here’s Jack Blogathon: Terms of Endearment (1983)

Today is Jack Nicholson’s 80th birthday. In celebration for that, Gill at Realweegiemidget Reviews is hosting the Here’s Jack Blogathon celebrating his work. Jack Nicholson is one of those actors that has been around ever since I was little, and way before. I can’t remember exactly when was the first move I saw Jack Nicholson but definitely one of the first that I remember vaguely was his role in Terms of Endearment even if I realized in this rewatch that I misunderstood a ton and was really too young back then. There were some scenes that feel familiar and it is a much delayed rewatch.

Let’s check it out!

Terms of Endearment (1983)

Terms of Endearment

Director: James L. Brooks

Cast: Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson, Jeff Daniels, Danny DeVito, John Lithgow, Lisa Hart Carroll, Huckleberry Fox, Troy Bishop

Follows hard-to-please Aurora looking for love and her daughter’s family problems. – IMDB

Terms of Endearment is a comedy-drama centered around Aurora, a single mother and her daughter, Emma who don’t exactly have a great relationship on the surface but deep down, they have a strong connection. From a young age, Emma had left her home against her mother’s will to get married to an English professor, Flap. As they live separately and keep contact, we see their lives as they both grow and change. Aurora, with the leaving of her daughter, learns to embrace being alone while also accepting and opening up herself to another relationship with her next door neighbor, Garrett. On the other hand, Emma grows into being a stay at home wife and then mother living in a less than perfect life economically as her husband moves them from city to city pursuing his career. It truly brings out the reality of life sometimes handing out both good and bad without any prior notice and having the ability to deal with it. The star of this movie is both in the script that carries out these events in Aurora and Emma’s lives and also the great performances from the entire cast which portray both the joy and devastation of the situations thrown at them.

Terms of Endearment

Terms of Endearment shines in their performances and more specifically the way we see the characters develop. Not only do Aurora, played by Shirley MacLaine and Emma, played by Debra Winger have depth to their characters and make us connect or simply believe in their story and love their mother and daughter relationship despite them have their differences in opinions. Their supporting characters also carry quite some depth. Perhaps the acting experience helps but playing opposite of Shirley MacLaine is the older gentlemen: an honorable astronaut but also a man who lacks commitment, Garrett who moves next door to Aurora and is played by Jack Nicholson. Garrett is not exactly a complex character but there is some depth as we grow to see him shift his views from the playboy that he starts off as who goes after young girls and tries to impress them to accepting to go on a date with the older Aurora and yet still be mesmerized by how she teaches him some things about life. We can see that he likes the simplicity of their relationship which is more physical than outwardly emotional and in their own bubble and he has a harder time when he starts to feel that he needs to be someone that she can rely on and feels that he will let her down. However, we do know that there’s something a little more to him than that. Sometimes, people aren’t exactly who we expect them to be: a lesson that constantly is reminded to us over and over again, and perhaps its these surprises that makes us want to keep watching this drama as they tug on our heartstrings over and over again.

Not to mention that these relationships are all quirky in their own way. These moments are the comedic bits that break up the dramatic parts and they are very well-timed and suitable to cut through the tension or change the pace or direction of the story. Perhaps this movie fits really well with the Here’s Jack Blogathon because what I remembered the most of Terms of Endearment from when I was little watching this next to my dad was Jack Nicholson’s role and as I watch it again, those are the parts that really make feel unsettled just like it should for Aurora. Jack Nicholson tends to remind me of many roles where he is a tad eccentric and its part of the fun of watching him because he fits into those roles so well. This is no exception for playing Garrett because he does the most unexpected things and sometimes also shares some deeper thoughts than we’d expect. He definitely was one of my favorite characters here. His scenes with Shirley MacLaine are possibly the most entertaining in the film in such an odd and uneasy way.

Terms of Endearment

Looking on the side of Emma and Debra Winger’s portrayal of it, who does a great job at really making us see her character a whole lot from the ups and downs. On top of that, her supporting role is her husband Flap played by Jeff Daniels. I’m the first to stand up for liking Jeff Daniels even in his not to big role in Speed, but this one he does a fantastic job, perhaps its the fact that his characters has a decent arc and that there’s something that contrasts about his character as well, there’s a hidden something there that opens up what this story is telling. Their relationship are some of the good moments as their relationship grows as their family gets bigger with the kids. The kids are pretty cool as well. They don’t have a huge part but there’s something written for them and how they accept who their parents are especially with their oldest played by Troy Bishop in the role of Tommy. However, they aren’t the focal point in this relationship but really how Flap and Emma’s marriage has changed as they also change over the years together.

Overall, Terms of Endearment is a movie with great performances by the cast and a fantastic script that leads us down the road of these two ladies as they grow with the things that happen to them separately and in different phases of their life. Its really nice to see a movie that has a great direction and execution of highlighting the characters and every one gets the same care including the supporting roles as well. Also a great pick for myself as I rewatch this and realize that this might be one of my most memorable roles of Jack Nicholson if not one of my first roles that I saw him in, not to mention that its one of those memories of movie watching with my dad and in one of the final scenes, it actually made me remember a moment with my dad that made that moment tug on my heartstrings even more.

A huge thanks to Gill for thinking this up! It was a ton of fun (and tears) to rewatch Terms of Endearment!
It also makes me want to rewatch some of his other movies and catch up with the ones I’ve missed (which are a lot)!

I’m at the brink of the date that Gill gave me to release this post (in my time zone), so here it goes! Hope you enjoyed! 🙂

What are your thoughts on Terms of Endearment? What Jack Nicholson movies stand out for you?

Halloween Marathon Finale: The Shining (1980)

A little delayed with the Halloween marathon but its FINALLY here. 🙂

The final movie in my Halloween Marathon was The Shining and one that my boyfriend has been wanting for us to sit down and check since I announced the Halloween marathon.  Seeing as this is a classic, I decided to put it as the finale to give it a special spotlight 🙂 Unfortunate was that I needed to finish this over Saturday and Sunday because I was so exhausted from my huge deadline that I couldn’t keep my eyes open to finish the movie.

Lets check this out!

the shiningDirector: Stanley Kubrick

Cast: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers, Barry Nelson

Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) is hired to look after the deserted and secluded yet prestigious Overlook Hotel during the closed season. A perfect opportunity for him where he can focus on his writing while having his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and son, Danny (Danny Lloyd) with him.  Before he takes on the job, the hotel manager informs him of peculiar instance of a previous caretaker that murdered his family there.  When a snow storm brews outside, having them on lockdown, Jack grows restless and more and more unstable in his personality.

Everyone knows the story, right? Well, I actually didn’t until I saw the movie.  The only thing I knew was that “Here’s Johnny” line that goes with the poster image on the side.  As I was watching this, I was wondering what makes The Shining scary and at the same time, hoping that I’ll like it because no disrespect to Stanley Kubrick as a director, but I’ve had a hard time enjoying his movies.  Its not really my style, I guess.  I’ve only seen a fraction of his movies so I do hope to find one that’ll pull me right in.

The Shining is a slow, gradually building story.  There’s a lot to love about it.  The premise of it all, especially set in an incredibly huge closed space (mostly) is pretty genius.  Is it evil lurking around? Is it what people thought was cabin fever? What is The Shining exactly?  Because thats something that Danny apparently has, from what the cook says.  There are questions that build up as bizarre things happen to everyone.  Jack Torrence mostly experiences mood changes until when he starts getting a lot of alone time and for Danny, he sees more physically than everyone else.  I’m still a little confused with what actually went on but there is one particular highlight of The Shining.

Jack Nicholson’s take of Jack TorranceTHE SHINING

the shining jack


So, I know nothing about the source material of The Shining but I was reading that it was supposed to be descent into madness for Jack Torrance.  I never have movies being carbon copies or not with movies. I think that for movies to work, they sometimes need to approach things differently than the book because of the description and whatnot.  Jack Torrance already seemed like a questionably sane man when the movie started.  He had creepy and awkward reactions and expressions and as the movie progressed, his character got more chilling in a very entertaining way.  Does that make me crazy that I wasn’t scared by the movie? I do think it was really entertaining to watch because if anything, the final act was really where it was completely crazy and that was when it shot from good build up to great development.  (Sorry Tyson, 10/10 maybe not for me but I’d give this one 9/10 if I had to rate it).

Another really nice thing about the movie was the camera angles.

the shining

Like not just the straight lines and the elongated hallways and all that but just how its structured: the colors and contrast and the patterns.  There’s so much detail to every scene and thats pretty impressive.  It makes it feel a bit like the movie is set in an illusion.  There’s something unreal about the whole Overlook Hotel scene.  And then don’t even get me started how I really liked the whole labyrinth set-up.

Add on the violin music (which I think bothered my boyfriend a little) to add on the intensity and mood of the scene. By the way, violin music eternally remind me of that horror movie directed by James Wan. I think its Insidious.  I have horrible memory with horror movies just because sometimes, I hide behind my blanket to watch some of them and can’t remember exact scenes.  But this one, didn’t bother me so much and was pretty awesome.

the shining

The entertaining part was watching Shelley Duvall act as Wendy.  She was really fun to watch because she panicks A LOT.  Thats part of the movie and the plot and it matches to the context.  Everyone in The Shining borders on extreme in everything.  She’s a pretty awkward character as well.  Who isn’t in this Torrance family anyways? They all have something to learn about them.  What I like about her character is that there is a big development because she’s literally oblivious to everything around her because whatever’s happening, her son can see it so he’s scared and her husband is just being affected and going nuts, she just gets thrown into this craziness and then freaks out because it makes sense to. That scene with the bat: stellar performance and my favorite scene in the whole thing.

The Shining had 3 stars and since I’ve already mentioned the Torrance parents, I have to talk a little about Danny, played by Danny Lloyd. I have my issues with child actors but Danny is different.  Somehow he is the key in all this because he has The Shining.  I’m still trying to figure out what that is exactly. Is it communicating with others and foreseeing thing? I have to rewatch it or read the book, either/or. The kid has the best scared and shocked faces ever.  He has some pretty nicely shot scenes too.  Like the whole rolling down the hallways in high speed.  Love it! That goes back to my camera angles compliment.  Plus, he’s smart, like in that last scene, just in case you haven’t seen it (and I’m not judging because I only saw this the first time), I’m going to keep it at just that.

I expected a lot from The Shining.  There’s a lot of great aspects about it: camera, characters, story (although confused a little with the ending).  I’m looking at this solely as a movie and nothing related to source material because I haven’t check it out.  I’m not even familiar with any of Stephen King’s writing except for some of them adapted on the big screen or TV.  It was entertaining, Jack Nicholson gave a chilling performance and the setting was great.  Nothing build atmosphere like seclusion and shifting human behavior (aka crazy) and evilness all around.  I don’t think its perfect but then its pretty close to it 🙂 I still have a few issues to work out and it’ll probably require a second viewing but I’ll gladly do it.

Thoughts on The Shining? Have you read the source material? Enlighten me on how it differs!

The Departed (2006)

A round of applause please! I made it through The Departed finally! I figured it was the stylish way to end off the Infernal Affairs trilogy review and finally get this crossed off my to-do list.

Lets check it out!

the departed posterDirector: Martin Scorsese

Cast: Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Martin Sheen, Mark Wahlberg, Vera Farmiga, Ray Winstone, Alec Baldwin

An undercover state cop who has infiltrated an Irish gang and a mole in the police force working for the same mob race to track down and identify each other before being exposed to the enemy, after both sides realize their outfit has a rat.-IMDB

The Departed is inspired by Infernals Affairs in case you didn’t know before. Directed by Martin Scorsese, it has a style that cannot be replaced or doubted. I’ve always been a fan of his despite sometimes really not liking the length especially in gang/crime movies. The Departed really could have benefit from being shorter. The first half was so slow. I literally wanted to cry because it felt like it would never end. And then the halfway point hit and the majority of the events were almost identical to Infernal Affairs.  I’m not saying thats a bad thing but I guess because I found the original to be genius, this one didn’t have as much of an impact.Does that make sense?


However, like Infernal Affairs, it has a very strong cast. I may not be very knowledgable about Matt Damon but I have always liked Leonardo DiCaprio and Jack Nicholson. They both did well. I still think Leonardo did better than Matt in some ways. The best has to go to Jack Nicholson in his role as the bad guy, the leaderof the Irish gang. He had this outrageous unpredictable nature and that gave immense life to the movie. I couldn’t really picture another actor taking up that role in having such an impact. Another actor that I loved was Mark Wahlberg. He was completely an asshole but it worked well to give the movie some conflict and friction.

the departed vera farmiga

These movies are all about the boys but the difference is in the love story behind this. In this one, it just has one lady, but who wants to compete with the lovely Vera Farmiga? She really can act in any role. Her character brought in nice balance especially because she was kind of like the intermediary between the undercover and mole. Her one character replacing the two separate ones gave The Departed a nice little twist that I thought worked very well.

the departed mark matt

Casting and cinematography are definitely not my issues with this. My issue is really the story itself. I can get that background check would lead to Leonardo’s character being discovered and his getting kicked out. But although its not an obvious connection, Matt’s was really visible ever since he was a kid. How was it not apparent? Maybe its just me being nitpicky but I felt on some levels this was just a little too over the top for my liking.

I really don’t have much to say anymore. Overall, The Departed was an okay remake of its original. It had an awesome cast that brought life to a stretched out story. Although it did give it a new twist to it, I’m still debating if I really liked the ending. I know I’m the minority who doesn’t think this was absolutely great but thats okay. We can’t agree with everything 😉

What did you think of The Departed?