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My Movie Bucket List: Jack Nicholson Goes Crazy

07/26/2012 09:19 am ET | Updated Sep 25, 2012

Hello Movie-Watchers,

Jack Nicholson certainly knows how to play psycho. In fact, he has been the subject of approximately six of my nightmares over the past several days. Why? The Shining and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. These two films both feature a crazed Nicholson that will, literally, haunt you for days.

The beautiful thing about One Flew Over is its supporting cast. Chief, played by Will Sampson, was my personal favorite. When he finally spoke... I admit I had some tears in my eyes. The film's mystery really made it standout. I never knew whether Nicholson's character was actually crazy or if he was just clever. Never knowing was the key factor that kept me hooked the whole time.

As for The Shining... I have less-than-positive feelings about Nicholson's counterpart, Shelley Duvall. Her aloof face got old after only a few short minutes onscreen. I don't completely blame the actress though -- Kubrick didn't give her a lot to work with. This is the classic case of Hollywood making a character too dumb. It was beyond frustrating how clueless she was, not to mention her poor planning. If she were going to lock him up somewhere, why not lock him in the walk-in freezer instead of the pantry?! The usual qualm with The Shining seems to be its confusing, perhaps otherworldly, conclusion. I, on the other hand, enjoy such cliffhangers. A neat bow is never as fun as trying to tie it up myself.

I was disappointed with The Shining. I was mostly disappointed because I felt like I didn't "get it." For so long people have told me that The Shining will scare me silly and that it's the best Horror film ever. I did not walk away with that impression. It saddens me because I feel like I am too jaded by the scary movies that plague the cinemas today. It's difficult for a film made in 1980 to measure up to present-day movies due to special effects, editing, etc. Despite my best efforts, I just wasn't that scared.

It's incredible that these two films with the same lead actor playing relatively similar roles could render such disparate reactions. It was easier to look at One Flew Over through more of an ageless lens. Perhaps I am just too far removed from a time when The Shining would be such a revolutionary horror film. Does anyone have any tips for getting the most out of older films?

If you have no idea what this blog is about, check out my first post here. To follow my progress in real-time, follow me on twitter @RDeChiara. As always, thanks for reading and keep watching movies!

Adaptation
Almost Famous
American Beauty
American Graffiti
American Psycho
An Education
As Good as It Gets
Blood Diamond
Breakfast at Tiffany's
Bringing Up Baby
Burn After Reading
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Casablanca
Cast Away
Crash
Crimes and Misdemeanor
Dazed and Confused
Deer Hunter
District 9
Driving Miss Daisy
Fargo
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Fight Club
Forrest Gump
Four Weddings and a Funeral
Frost/Nixon
Gangs of New York
Garden State
Gone with the Wind
Good Will Hunting
Goodfellas
Hotel Rwanda
Into the Wild
Kramer vs. Kramer
LA Confidential
Leaving Las Vegas
Letters from Iwo Jima
Lost in Translation
Man on Wire
Memento
Michael Clayton
Million Dollar Baby
Mystic River
No Country for Old Men
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Panic Room
Philadelphia
Pulp Fiction
Rain Man
Ransom
Ray
Rebel Without a Cause
Risky Business
Rocky
Saint Elmo's Fire
Scarface
Schindler's List
Shakespeare in Love
Sideways
Star Wars
Terms of Endearment
The Birdcage
The Departed
The Fighter
The Godfather Trilogy
The Hours
The Hurt Locker
The Lincoln Lawyer
The Outsiders
The Shawshank Redemption
The Shining
The Silence of the Lambs

The Sting
The Usual Suspects
The Wrestler
True Grit
Up in the Air
Winter's Bone
Witness
Working Girl