In honor of the New Year: "The Bucket List" Review

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

In honor of the New Year: "The Bucket List" Review

Rating: PG-13
Length: 97 minutes
Release date: January 11, 2008
Directed by: Rob Reiner
Genre: Comedy / Drama

"The Bucket List" is a comedy/drama directed by Rob Reiner, best-known for directing multiple blockbuster hits during the eighties and nineties, including "Stand by Me," "When Harry Met Sally," "A Few Good Men," and "Sleepless in Seattle." The film stars Jack Nicholson as Edward and Morgan Freeman as Carter. Edward is a businessman who earned billions of dollars in the hospital industry and Carter works as a mechanic. In the beginning of the film, Carter finds out that he has late-stage cancer and is admitted to a hospital to receive treatment after finding out he doesn't have much longer to live. Carter's roommate Edward is a cancer patient who is also terminally ill. Unlike Carter, Edward is an extremely bitter man and has no desire to make the most of what is left of his life. He simply wants to eat, smoke, watch television, and be alone.

Edward is alone, but Carter has a loving wife, children, and grandchildren. Because of their differences, Carter and Edward have a rough start as roommates, but the two ultimately become friends after realizing they have quite a few things in common. While at the hospital, Carter decides to create a bucket list, a list of everything he wants to do before he passes on. Yet, after finding out that his time left was shorter than he thought, Carter discards the list. Edward finds the bucket list and encourages Carter to take it seriously. Edward then tempts Carter by making the list longer and promising to finance every activity on the list. Although his wife is against it, Carter begins to prepare for his vacation around the world with Edward.

Together, the two men embark on a host of wonderful adventures and travel to places they've never been. Because money is no object, the two are able to do and go wherever they want. They eat dinner at the fanciest restaurants, fly over the North Pole, visit Africa and the Great Wall of China, go to Mount Everest, and do much more. Throughout the trip, the two men continue to bond. While at the top of the Great Pyramid, they discuss their personal lives. Edward confesses that he longs to rebuild his relationship with his daughter, and Carter confesses that he thinks he's falling out of love with his wife. After these confessions, the two men try to help each other, but both of their plans backfire, and they end up going home. Carter returns to his wife and family, and Edward continues to live as a lonely old man, although he's not as bitter as he once was. The two ultimately come together again and begin to reminisce about their adventure. Also, the two men still have things on the bucket list that they have yet to cross off. Eventually, Carter and Edward are able to cross additional items off of the list that have nothing to do with traveling, spending money, or going on adventures around the world.

This heartfelt film gives viewers the opportunity to see some of the most beautiful and historic landmarks around the world. There are breathtaking views, historical buildings, and a lot more. The underlying message of the film is to live life to the fullest. Because the two men have such a great time on their adventures, audiences may forget that the characters are terminally ill cancer patients who have been given a very short time to live.

"The Bucket List" was the number one film at the box office the weekend it opened, and while most viewers loved it and were inspired to create their own bucket lists, the movie received mixed reviews. One of the most famous movie critics in the world, Roger Ebert, was suffering from thyroid cancer at the time of the movie's release. According to Ebert, Freeman's and Nicholson's portrayals of terminal cancer patients were far from realistic. In fact, Ebert gave the film one star out of four.

"The Bucket List" did not go on to win any major awards, but the National Board of Review named this film one of the top ten movies of 2008. Freeman and Nicholson are known for their great acting abilities, and Rob Reiner did a great job of creating an ending to the film that is both happy and sad, which is quite challenging to do. The movie is a bit of a tearjerker as well, so make sure you have a box of tissues ready before watching it.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5