Jack Nicholson Month #2: As Good As It Gets & Chinatown

As Good As It Gets

Melvin Udall is a man who works at home writing best selling novels, and is currently working on his 62nd novel. He has many problems (obsessive compulsive disorder, misanthropy, and a fear of germs) that only a waitress named Carol Connelly can put up with; through various events, the pair must continue to be around one another and be better people, something they probably would not have otherwise done. “As Good As It Gets” stars Helen Hunt, Greg Kinnear, Jack Nicholson, and Cuba Gooding, Jr. The film was directed by James L. Brooks.

This is a great film. The film’s two stars, Hunt and Nicholson, both deliver great performances that earned both stars Oscar and Globe nominations that were supremely deserved (also deserved was the fact that they won all four awards). In the film, the pair struggle to connect with one another in many ways, resulting in many reactions from the audience. James L. Brooks does a great job with the screenplay and handling his two lead actors, commanding them to give a star performance. This is a film that will remind people that you do not need to fill your film with vulgarity and sex and obscenity to keep people interested in watching the film. You can also give a winning movie if you go the extra mile and be charming, intelligent, sophisticated, and inventive. This film will continue to be one that should be counted among the great films that give the often laughed at romantic comedy genre the credit it deserves.

Chinatown

J. J. “Jake” Gittes is hired to do surveillance work on Hollis Mulwray, a chief engineer for the L. A. Department of Water and Power by Hollis’s wife Evelyn. He tails the man and shoots pictures of him with a woman and hears him put down a new reservoir. This movie stars Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, Perry Lopez, and John Hillerman. The film was directed by Roman Polanski.

This film is quite sad. You do not get the happy ending that you wanted to get. I do not want to spoil the ending, but I will say that about it. Nicholson delivers a stellar performance playing the role of Jake, he seems to do so in every picture; “Chinatown” is no different. Faye Dunaway shines as the wife of Hollis Mulwray. The film is a throwback to the old noir films of the thirties, and the style is great that takes you back to all the old films of that era. However, it does not feature some of the happier times of the thirties. There is a lot at work in this film that Jake must work through to find out who the killer is. Roman Polanski is an ace director, who in this film does no wrong (he even plays a thug who cuts Jake up in the film). To fully understand the whole film, you cannot just see it one time, you must see it multiple times to get the entire story. Robert Towne, who wrote the screenplay, does a great job of making something like the building of a new reservoir interesting.

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