Directed by Rob Reiner. US. 2008.

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Rob Reiner unites two big stars to make this film about ageing and the contemplation of death. Jack Nicholson plays Edward Cole, a white billionaire owner of hospitals who due to his illness and his no exceptions rule, has to share his room with Carter Chambers (black, working class mechanic) played admirably by Morgan Freeman. When doesn’t Freeman play anything admirably and honestly?  Both men know they are close to heaven’s door, and on the whim Cole decides to execute Chambers’ bucket list – all the things you should do before you die.

Most of the list is globe-trotting and unfortunately presents the rest of the world as America’s playground, as everywhere is shot lushly and beautifully in rich bright colours.  The twosome travel to France, Africa, Himalayas, China, Hong Kong before they return. All the time while they have Edward’s PA, Tim (Sean Hayes) - his real name is Matthew but that is too biblical.  Hayes’ role is one note, the target of many put downs and is only a third wheel because he has to be there.

The original script by Justin Zackham is light on plot but the two stars do lift the material above its elevated station to something better than it should be.  Seeing two stars go exchange dialogue is a gift and something I can write off my bucket list.  Nicholson is all ballyhoo, while Freeman is calmness and he has his obligatory voiceover, which although it appears at the start, the visual throws us a curve.

By the end, the film will have you fighting back some tears (‘Kiss the most beautiful girl in the world’) and this is a credit to the actors who gain your sympathies based not on the class-consciousness of the script (which had potential but is forgotten), but their ongoing careers. Maybe those lists can be put aside for a few more years.

The DVD comes with a music video by John Mayer ‘Say’ and a profile of Zackham, explaining how he wrote the script.  But no deleted scenes or commentary means the film that gives the impression of being filmed quickly, might actually have been.

Released by Warner Home Video on July 7 on DVD and Blu-Ray for £15.99 and £26.99 respectively
Jamie Garwood

The results of a new survey, released today discovers what things the British public want to do before they ‘Kick the Bucket’ and add to their own Bucket Lists.  The survey was conducted to coincide with the release of the film The Bucket List starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, out on DVD and Blu-ray this week.

When faced with their own mortality, the British population would rather watch all their DVDs (13%) than do a sky dive (11.8%), sleep with a supermodel or celebrity (8.3%) or win an Oscar (3.6%).  Proving that it pays to be nice to Mum and Dad, an alarming 13% of respondents want to squander their children’s inheritance.

What do the British population want to do before they Kick the Bucket?

1.     Visit the Seven Wonders of the World

2.     Swim with Dolphins

3.     Go on Safari                                       

4.     Learn to speak more than one language fluently

5.     Write a best-selling novel

6.     Take a trip in a hot air balloon

7.     Scuba dive off Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

8.     Watch all their DVDs

9.     Do a sky-dive

10.  Make amends with a friend of family member they have fallen out with

Others just wanted to be content or be happy, whilst others had goals to bring many people to the Lord Jesus, finish my patchwork quilt, loose weight, get married and have children, go into space, go whale watching, have group sex, learn to play the bagpipes, rule the world and win the lottery.

For the two characters in the film The Bucket List who learn they are terminally ill, the items on their Bucket List include racing car driving, followed by sky diving, climbing the Pyramids, a lion safari in Africa and a trip to the Taj Mahal.

When asked which films they must see on DVD before they ‘Kick the Bucket’ the population was obsessed with Harry Potter.  The top ten films were;

1.     All of the Harry Potter Films

2.     The Shawshank Redemption

3.     Breakfast at Tiffany’s

4.     Schindler’s List

5.     Gone with the Wind

6.     The Green Mile

7.     All of the Star Wars Films

8.     The Godfather Trilogy

9.     Casablanca

10.  A Brief Encounter

Other popular films included the entire James Bond collection, The Matrix Trilogy, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Dirty Dancing and The Sound of Music.


The survey by Opinion Matters / of 1,519 UK adults aged 18+ was commissioned by Warner Home Video to mark the release of The Bucket List on DVD and Blu-ray. 
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