This morning, I woke up to the news that Jack Nicholson was retiring from acting. It was first reported by RadarOnline.com that the 76-year-old film icon is hanging up his acting hat (they exist!) due to an issue of memory loss and the inability to remember lines of dialog. Pretty sad news as Jack is one of my absolute favorite actors out there.
But hold on! Just as I was set to boo hoo hoo my way through this article, a piece was run at E! Online that have put my invisible tears at bay. It seems someone doesn’t have all their facts straight as E! News is stating Mr. Nicholson is indeed not retiring, is not dealing with any memory loss, and is currently reading scripts for future projects. Here’s hoping E! News is correct because I’m still suffering withdrawals from Gene Hackman’s decision to retire, and that was years ago!
Jack has appeared in countless films and is a three time Oscar winner. He has been nominated for 12 Oscars total, eight for Best Actor and four for Best Supporting Actor, ultimately making him the most nominated male actor in the history of the Academy Awards.
So in celebration of his non-retirement (please be true), I’ve put together a list of my 5 favorite Jack Nicholson films.
Five Easy Pieces (1970)
Jack earned his second Oscar nominations as Robert Eroica Dupea, the oil rig worker and once piano prodigy who visits his declining father, while bringing along his annoying girlfriend (Karen Black). The diner scene above is worth revisiting and Nicholson’s subtle and nuanced performance throughout the film is fantastic.
About Schmidt (2002)
Nicholson’s portrayal of Warren Schmidt was definitely an Oscar worthy one. Here, he plays a retired pathetic insurance salesman who takes off on a personal journey after a family tragedy. His mission to prevent his daughter from marrying a “nincompoop” turns into a trip of self discovery, the details of which he shares in letters to his young African pen-pal Ndugu.
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
Jack Nicholson’s first Oscar win was for his role as R.P. McMurphy. Milos Forman’s film is a classic and in my top 10 list of favorite films. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest is a very well done character study, featuring a cast of young actors like Christopher Lloyd, Danny DeVito and Brad Dourif. McMurphy’s influence on the institution and fellow patients within the establishment is the glue that holds the entire film together. If you’ve never seen this movie, stop reading this and fix that, pronto!
The Departed (2006)
We’ve already proven Jack Nicholson’s talent knows no bounds. He can do drama and comedy with ease. And in Martin Scorcese’s The Departed, Jack’s portrayal of mob boss Frank Costello reminded audiences he still has what it takes to play a character that simply exudes menace. Scorsese drew the character’s inspiration from real life gangster Whitey Bulger and the entire cast does a brilliant job. While he may not have won an award for his performance here, it’s definitely worth watching.
The Shining (1980)
This is no surprise, right? The Shining is, by far, my favorite film. There is so much happening in Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece. Aside from the theories floating about regarding all the imagery featured throughout the film [Editor’s Note: watch the doc Room 237 for more on this], one thing is definitely for certain: Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of Jack Torrance is one of the most maniacal and iconic performances of his career. Hair of the dog, Lloyd!
Whether he is truly retiring from acting remains to be seen as conflicting sources are saying conflicting things. To keep the celebration alive of all things Jack Nicholson, why not share with me your favorite performances from the movie icon below!
…now, if only we can get Gene Hackman to come out of retirement. I hear Lex Luthor has yet to be cast…
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