When you are young you feel like you have forever, 30 is positively ancient when you are not yet an adult. Then when you are in your twenties you think that you are bullet proof and you do all the dumb things (or perhaps that was just me). You reach your thirties and you start to work your shit out (some of us do anyway) and by the time you reach your forties, you start to think you have your shit worked out and that the worst is behind you; which is bat shit bonkers thinking, because I am still flying by the seat of my pants most days and have no idea what I am doing a good measure of the time.
I do feel like people listen to me more now that I am in my forties, but again, this could just be self-induced illusion in order to make myself feel better about the fact that I am clearly getting older. Notice that I said older there, not old, not ready to get old just yet, but older I can handle. For all of the bullshit that I tell myself about how great being in my forties is, there are a tonne of things that are inevitably true and also crappy about being middle aged. The worst of which is the weird shit that is happening to my body, I swear that my breasts are heading an extra inch south every six months and my arms and legs get more cellulite on them by the second; does this have anything to do with my lack of physical exercise and gym phobia? Probably, and yet still I have no interest. I do admire fit older people, but I don't yearn to be fit, just upwardly mobile and generally un-sloth-like is good enough for me. As long as the local kids aren't raining me with rocks and shouting out 'fatty' when they see me, then I'm all good with that.
However, people that are older than me do tell me horrific stories about how everything goes to hell in a handbag as you get older and that kind of talk doesn't exactly fill me with excitement about my coming years. Surely there are some awesome benefits to getting older?
There must be something (other than imagining that people give a crap about what you have to say) to look forward to as you get older. Retirement seems good, as long as your not totally fucked from working too hard, and being debt free - that's a good'en. All day reading sessions and everyday long lunches, afternoon naps and pajamas in the day time - all very respectable and good things to do when you are older. Also driving like an asshole, playing insane to get your own way and pretending to throw your hip out on the dance floor just so that you can be carried out in the arms of some young hotty at the end of the night all seem like good things to me.
Yeah, this getting older stuff doesn't seem so bad, there is definitely some potential there for sure. And as long as I don't turn into one of those cantankerous, annoying, aging assholes that are too stuck to see how lucky they are, then I'm pretty sure that I can make my peace with getting older. Besides, there's not a lot that I can do to stop it from happening is there?
Release Date: 2002
Rating: MA 15+
Running Time: 125 mins
Directed by Alexander Payne and loosely based on the novel of the same name by Louis Begley, About Schmidt was extremely well received by critics, and both Kathy Bates and Jack Nicholson were nominated for Oscars on the strength of their performances. Nicholson went on to win a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture Drama, and upon accepting his award, Nicholson stated, "I'm a little surprised. I thought we made a comedy."
A newly retired and predictable man named Warren Schmidt (Nicholson) is struggling to find meaning in his life after his long term wife passes away. He embarks on a road trip in a RV in an attempt to reunite with his estranged daughter that is about to be married, and to try and discover a new sense of himself.
This movie is really focusing on the complacency, denial and delusions that people suffer later in life after they have lost their main motivations, like work or a life partner. Schmidt is so ridiculously tied to predictability and superficial idealism that we actually pity his simple existence, even though it is such a realistic and possible outcome for many people in their twilight years.
Jack Nicholson is both hilarious and pathetic as Schmidt, and this is certainly some of his better work. Kathy Bates is also fabulous as Roberta Hertzel, the self aware and empowered older woman that manages to rattle Schmidt's cage. As always, Alexander Payne delivers another thought provoking and well constructed character story that won't disappoint.
FINAL SAY: Too stuck to see the bigger picture.
3.5 Chili Peppers