Jack’s Big Day: 10 Movies to Watch on Jack Nicholson’s 81st Birthday
With 12 Oscar noms (the most of any male actor) in a career that has spanned over 60 years, it would be an understatement to call Jack Nicholson a Hollywood legend. With Jack's 81st birthday coming up on April 22nd, we've come up with 10 movies to celebrate the big day with:
1. About Schmidt (2002)
Warren Schmidt (Jack Nicholson) is recently retired and stuck in Omaha until he takes to the highway in a Winnebago to his estranged daughter's wedding.
Jack Fact: Accepted the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama with the words, "Well I don't know whether to be happy or ashamed, because I thought we made a comedy."
2. Broadcast News (1987)
A highly strung news producer (Holly Hunter) finds herself strangely attracted to a vapid anchorman (William Hurt) even through she loathes everything he personifies. To make matters worse, her best friend, a talented but not particularly telegenic news reporter (Albert Brooks), is secretly in love with her.
Jack Fact: Nicholson appears in a minor but important role as the network's lead anchor. He didn't accept any pay or star billing for his appearance.
3. The Bucket List (2007)
Two terminally ill men (Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman) escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die.
Jack Fact: Though Freeman wore a bald cap for the film, Nicholson shaved his head.
4. Chinatown (1974)
A private detective (Jack Nicholson) hired to expose an adulterer finds himself caught up in a dangerous web of deceit, corruption and murder.
Jack Fact: Nicholson and Anjelica Huston had just begun their 17-year on-and-off romance before filming. Anjelica was on set for the shooting of the scene where the character played by her father John Huston asks Nicholson's detective character "Mr. Gittes, do you sleep with my daughter?" Awkwaaaaard!
5. Easy Rider (1969)
In this must-see classic a pair of hippies (Peter Fonda and director Dennis Hopper) set off on a motorcycle trip across the US in search of fulfillment. Along the way they encounter hostile locals and fellow travellers.
Jack Fact: Nicholson earned his first of 12 Oscar nominations for his role as ACLU lawyer George Hanson.
6. The Fortune (1975)
Two bumbling hustlers (Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty) in the 1920s attempt to gain the fortune of an heiress. Nothing will stop them. Not even murder.
Jack Fact: Nicholson appeared in The Fortune while waiting for shooting to begin on One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975).
7. The King of Marvin Gardens (1972)
When the estranged brother (Bruce Dern) of a depressive radio deejay (Jack Nicholson) drags them both to a dreary Atlantic City and into a real-estate scam, events spiral toward tragedy.
Jack Fact: Actor Scatman Crothers, who called his role in this film his favourite, went on to appear in three other films starring Nicholson: The Fortune (1975), One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), and The Shining (1980).
8. Reds (1981)
A radical American journalist (writer and director Warren Beatty) becomes involved with the Communist revolution in Russia and hopes to bring its spirit and idealism to the United States.
Jack Fact: Beatty frustrated the cast by demanding dozens of takes – one scene actually took 100 takes to shoot. At one point, an exasperated Jack snapped at him, "Just tell me what the f**k you want and I'll do it."
9. Something’s Gotta Give (2003)
A perennial playboy (Jack Nicholson) who has never dated a woman over thirty finds that love is as serious as a heart attack when he falls for his girlfriend's (Amanda Peet) mother (Diane Keaton). Too bad she's now dating his young doctor (Keanu Reeves).
Jack Fact: Nancy Meyers specifically wrote the film with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton in mind for the lead roles.
10. Terms of Endearment (1983)
Widow Aurora Greenway (Shirley MacLaine) and her daughter, Emma (Debra Winger), have a strong bond, but Emma marries teacher Flap Horton (Jeff Daniels) against her mother's wishes. When the marriage grows sour due to Flap's cheating, Emma eventually splits from him, returning to her mother, who is involved with a former astronaut (Jack Nicholson).
Jack Fact: Nicholson would go on to appear in another James L. Brooks film: 1995's As Good As It Gets. Both films earned him an Academy Award.