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! ūüôā

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

The Martian (2015)

Moving right along, up for a few Academy Awards nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor in a Leading Role along with adapted screenplay and production design and more is The Martian. ¬†I had meant to see this in theatres but I believe it landed in a time when I didn’t find much time to go anywhere or do anything other than the normal routine. ¬†Regardless, I came home from a weekend getaway with a friend and decided to start this one up!

Let’s check it out! ūüôā

The Martian (2015)

The Martian

Director: Ridley  Scott

Cast: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Kristin Wiig, Michael Pena, Sean Bean, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong

During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.-IMDB

The Martian is a smart and thrilling action adventure. ¬†Its adapted from a novel by Andy Weir with the same novel. I’m going to be honest that I’m not a huge fan of Matt Damon. ¬†In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen many of his movies and the ones I’ve seen are somewhat forgettable. ¬†The premise of The Martian looked good and one that could amount to some fun and intense moments. ¬†All these expectations were met and exceeded. ¬†Its rare for me to stay engaged in lengthy movies and coming in at 2 hours, I’d say it borders along the length I’m not a huge fan of although most movies are averaging around that sort of runtime nowadays. ¬†However, it never feels like its that long. ¬†Even if he stays on that planet for something like 3 years or whatnot. This has to do mainly with pacing and the tone along with some good performances.

The Martian

I can’t compare it to the source material but nothing in The Martian ever felt like it was lost in translation. ¬†The story pieced together well. ¬†For one, The Martian is kind of like Cast Away but in space except it shows the other side of the spectrum working hard to bring him home, almost as hard as he is working to stay alive. ¬†Its because of that, our endearing characters go from Matt Damon’s witty attitude towards this as he slowly transforms over the time in Mars by himself to the scientists at NASA working to get him back as soon as possible and to his crew that reluctantly had to leave him behind in the first place. ¬†While this can be dramatic, it also is strewn with comedic moments to mellow out the seriousness of the situation. ¬†In many ways, its the heart of having a positive heart that keeps you going in the first place or just its better to try to work stuff out then to give up. On top of that, the production design was great along with the visual effects.

The Martian

The cast here is pretty fantastic. ¬†I’m loving that Jeff Daniels is in this one also. ¬†Back to back movies with him is refreshing (the last one was Steve Jobs that I reviewed HERE). ¬†Its also with a very different and much more serious performance from Kristin Wiig which I liked quite a bit. ¬†At the same time, Chiwetel Ejiofor is a fantastic judge of picking decent movies to be involved with and his role in this one is dynamic to say the least. ¬†Jessica Chastain might not feel like she’s in here for a long time and honestly, I didn’t even think her role was that groundbreaking, especially considering the crew also included Sebastian Stan who should get more bigger roles. A young actor Rich Purnell gets the small role of being the astrophysicist who kind of solves all the problems here and I’d truly love to see him in more movies because I loved his part. ¬†But, Matt Damon blew me away. ¬† It was a memorable performance full of energy. ¬†Smart and funny; the latter adjective is something I never quite associated him with before. ¬†Mark Watney is a great character and he did a great job bringing him to life on the big screen.

the martian

Overall, The Martian is a fun action-adventure movie. ¬†It carries a good message, adds in some thrills, puts a little space twist, and is smart and comedic all wrapped up in a little bundle. ¬†It works well and is an engaging story. ¬†The cast and their performances were great from Matt Damon to Kristin Wiig to Jeff Daniels and much more. ¬†Is it a Oscars material? Maybe not exactly fitting the normalcy and the format of it but it does have rewatchability and that’s even more important to me. It exceeded my expectations and I love that! ūüôā

Did you see The Martian? What did you think of it? Are you a fan of Matt Damon? Any of his roles stand out to you?

Steve Jobs (2015)

Biopics? Man, I watch so little of these and they appeal to me even less that I always go out of my way to avoid it. ¬†It feels like Steve Jobs has had a lot of biopics over the last few years. Or maybe its some other influential tech “giant” thats been around and done awesome things. However, Michael Fassbender is up for an Oscars nomination and if you read my review on Fish Tank, well, you know I’m a huge fan of his. Plus, it was one of the few movies with the Best Male Lead for Oscar nominations available.

Let’s check it it out! ūüôā

Steve Jobs (2015)

steve jobs

Director: Danny Boyle

Cast: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels, Michael Stuhlbarg, Katherine Waterston

Steve Jobs takes us behind the scenes of the digital revolution, to paint a portrait of the man at its epicenter. The story unfolds backstage at three iconic product launches, ending in 1998 with the unveiling of the iMac. – IMDB

Who remembers the iMac? I was using an iMac in high school. ¬†I remembered our computer lab one day filled up with these little weirdly shaped transparent-like computers. ¬†They didn’t look like the PC I had at home. ¬†I even did my computer class learning HTML codes and binary numbers and designing cutesy colorful labels with those. ¬†When I used those computers, I didn’t know who Steve Jobs was. ¬†Do I know his history any better as I grew up, even with the explosion of Apple products? Nope. That’s all to say that I don’t know how accurate these depictions of his character is and I’m not one to go digging into his history either. What I am saying is that Steve Jobs is an enjoyable biopic. ¬†The idea to focus on Steve Jobs and the people around him highlighting the events of his life and how he faces them differently (or similarly) each of these times is what makes it focused and well done. It shows character development, adds some drama and creates a well enough balance for us to understand this man a little more each time.

steve jobs

What was great about this is that they don’t try to paint Steve Jobs as someone who is perfect. ¬†This biopic works hard on focussing on his flaws actually. ¬†Steve Jobs is influenced in many ways by his past and the choices he makes are based on one view that he has and his obsession with having control over the end-product. He made mistakes and he actually isn’t afraid to be that person who makes the tough decisions. ¬†Just like most successful entrepreneurs, they aren’t exactly glorified human beings. ¬†They make ruthless decisions and maybe throw a few people under the bus or whatnot to make sure they succeed. ¬†They are extreme at times and stubborn at others and the people around them don’t quite understand what is going on in their minds. The story of Steve Jobs through his three product launch focuses on revealing his character from that first launch, what has changed in the second one and finally who he is by the third one. ¬†Michael Fassbender captures that aspect of the character full of observations and monologues very well.

steve Jobs

While we see a lot of Michael Fassbender’s Steve Jobs, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen and the three girls that play the daughter at different ages play also a big part in amplifying the character development of themselves as their roles also show the importance that they have in his life regardless of how he treats them. ¬†It brings out that humanity that we don’t often see in biopics. ¬†While the girls that play the daughter’s role tugs on very much the emotional strings and make us see especially that there is an emotional tie that Jobs may not admit but it also makes him susceptible to having feelings as well. ¬†However, the show stoppers that really seem to appear in the background but actually are rather central to this story is Kate Winslet’s Joanna Hoffman who is absolutely fantastic in this one and Seth Rogen, playing his innovative friend Steve Wozniak who started this endeavor with Apple II with him. ¬†While having a small role, Jeff Daniels deserves quite an applause also. ¬†Its nice to see him back in action doing some serious roles. ¬†I appreciated his role as John Sculley, who is a pseudo father/mentor in some senses.

steve jobs

With my limited experience of biopics, there isn’t much left to say. ¬†Steve Jobs is an excellent movie. ¬†Its choice to highlight on 3 significant events of his life while showing his character through his interactions and decisions in those hard-pressed situations while flashing back remotely to some other past scenes makes for a well-paced film. ¬†It retains his humanity and that he is also a real person with flaws despite being gifted in many ways. With a powerful cast like Kate Winslet and Seth Rogen and even Jeff Daniels, a well-written script and great directing, Steve Jobs exceeds my every expectation.

Have you seen Steve Jobs? What do you think of it? Are you a fan of biopics?

The Lookout (2007)

Back in December, Target bought out Zellers and as our neighborhood Zellers was cleaning out all of its stock, I went hunting for extra cheap DVDs.  In the piles and piles, I found this one.  I like Matthew Goode and JGL, so why not?

the lookout posterDirector: Scott Frank

Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Matthew Goode, Jeff Daniels, Isla Fisher, Carla Gugino, Sergio Di Zio

When a tragic accident causes Chris (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) to lose every thing he had in his promising future, he has to rebuild it step by step and adapt to being handicapped with his memory. ¬†He no longer can sequence his thoughts properly and control his emotions due to damage to his frontal lobes. ¬†Due to this, he ends up paired up with a blind man called Lewis (Jeff Daniels) as a means to take care of each other. ¬†After a night shift at his job, he meets Gary Spargo, a guy who claims he used to date his sister and praise the success he had in school back in the day before the accident. ¬†Gary introduces him to his friends and helps him meet an ex-dancer called Luvlee (Isla Fisher). ¬†Eventually, he learns that Gary approached him to manipulate him to join them in their bank heist and be their lookout and teaches him that “Whoever has the money has the power”.

The Lookout heist

Even after a few days of seeing this, I’m having slightly mixed feelings about this. ¬†Don’t get me wrong. ¬†Its a decent flick. ¬†In fact, for a good part of this drama/crime thriller, I felt that it was alright. ¬†Especially since we had to understand what our main character Chris was going through and to understand how his life was run. ¬†However, once the whole heist thing goes down, I felt it was a bit more predictable. ¬†I had a feeling of what was going to go down and I even figured out some of their lines.

the lookout lewis chris

 

There is one specific element that I’d like to really emphasize on because the movie would’ve been pretty horrible without it was the cast and their characters. ¬†Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a really good Chris, a guy who has to calm his emotions and deal with the mess he’s made when his brain isn’t really cooperating with him. ¬†Even before all the great breakthrough roles he had, this one shows us how promising he is. ¬†It helps that everyone else, or at least the other ¬†roles were outstanding as well. ¬†I’ve always liked Jeff Daniels. ¬†Remembering him in Speed makes me love him even more. ¬†Now, as Lewis, he plays a tough, sometimes vulgar, sarcastic, but pretty easy going blind guy. ¬†He’s extremely chill with everything that Chris does, but uses all his other senses to look out for him.

the lookout chris gary

 

Matthew Goode pretty much plays the bad guy here. He’s the leader of the heist and he wants the money to have more power. ¬†He’s secretive and the moment his Gary Spargo ends up on screen, we start wondering. ¬†He’s a suspenseful character, mostly because we’re not completely sure if he’s manipulating Chris or whether he’s really out to help him sincerely and be his friend. ¬†Thats the guessing game and the surprises of the movie and he is the main thrill. ¬†Of course, except for his other henchman, Bone who really looks creepy and doesn’t talk. ¬†That guy had me thinking about what he was there to do every time he popped up.

lookout luvlee

 

Isla Fisher plays the lovely Luvlee, an ex-dancer (we never see her dance so we’ll just accept that its the truth) who ends up having a “relationship” with Chris. ¬†This wasn’t a big role but its Isla Fisher and I love her charisma on screen. ¬†I’ve enjoyed most of the movies with her in it. ¬†Most of who Luvlee is isn’t really apparent as we don’t really learn much about her throughout the movie. ¬†This also gives her character a little bit of mystery.

This movie is a decent thriller mostly for its characters. ¬†The story is slow-paced but for a good part of the first half, it really has us guessing and trying to figure out everyone’s positions as the characters slowly one by one enter the screen. ¬†It does drop off a bit at the end however, its worth the watch just to see Matthew Goode in a bad guy role or JGL’s awesomeness.