The Bucket List - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Bucket List Reviews

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Super Reviewer
February 11, 2008
One thing has become quite evident with this film: Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman have sure gotten old and grey these days. Luckily though, these two legends have lost none of their masterful acting skills and are as good and gung-ho as ever. Their two characters, that are the center of this story, are incredibly funny, charming and well-written roles and I had a really good time watching them together on screen. So good in fact, that it sure enough ended up on my Top 10 of 2007 list.

This movie is much like one of those good old buddy comedies they made so frequently during the 90's, although with a lot more heart, soul and dignity. Because not only is it very enjoyable, but it also has a lot to teach about life and what makes it worth living. With that said, I wasn't surprised at all to see it was directed by another great legend; namely Rob Reiner, who in the past has gifted us with such memorable films as "When Harry met Sally", "Stand by Me", "Misery" and "A Few Good Men". And as for "The Bucket List", well, I'm happy to say it's another brilliant addition to Mr. Reiner's long and respectable career.
Super Reviewer
April 21, 2012
Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. There's the draw here in a nutshell, two heavyweights in the same space. The story, one of redemption while facing death, is predictable enough, as is predictable the reliance on its two stars to save it, which they do but only just. If only the story had mas huevos ...
Super Reviewer
½ January 18, 2008
this was a wonderful movie with great characters and perfect diologue. seeing these two hollywood icons on the screen together was a treat and the film helps you rethink life in a similar way to kurosawa's great film ikiru. a must see.
Super Reviewer
November 4, 2011
This was the best movie for skydiving since point break.
Super Reviewer
½ November 2, 2011
The Bucket List is an amazingly cliched and predictable script buoyed up by the high octane charisma of its two leads. Both Nicholson and Freeman phone in characters they could do and have done many times before in their sleep. Seeing these two together is a joy, and most of the jokes work due to the Reiner knack for comedy as well as Jack and Morgan's sparkling chemistry.

However, a deeper, darker and more interesting and disturbing film could have been made with the same story and the same actors and it's a shame that that film never got made. What we do when we have been given a death sentence is a rich vein for drama, and anyone who has experienced cancer or had loved ones stricken will completely relate. However, the formulaic working out of this tried and true plot is ham handed and utterly void of imagination.

Freeman's saintlike family man perfection and Nicholson's hard core lone wolf selfishness never break, until the end - where else? At this convenient ending, all lessons are learned and ambiguity is resolved. If you want to see Jack, Morgan and Rob having a crowd pleasing good time with a mostly witless script, indulge yourself. I did and it did me good at a bummed out moment. But this is one of those bad/movies that can be watched more like therapy than an artistic experience, which it is decidedly not. It's like the lighthearted gossip and lifestyle magazines like People and Good Housekeeping, that we bring sick people in the hospital, rather than the Economist and Atlantic Monthly, which are too depressing for someone waiting for chemotherapy.
Super Reviewer
½ February 23, 2009
Some topics such as illness and death are hard to cover in the form of entertainment, but this film is one with several emotions attached. It becomes less about the meaning of death and more about the meaning of life, something that money can't buy, something that is inspiring and thought provoking and concentrates on the basic human needs.
Super Reviewer
½ August 15, 2011
The plot was predictable, acting was incredible, and overall just an okay film for me.
Super Reviewer
June 24, 2011
Amazing! So heart wrenching and Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman warmed your hearts.
Super Reviewer
December 21, 2007
Saw it again!!! The movie is truly great. Everyone no matter age difference should watch this because of been such a magnificent film.

Blue-collar mechanic Carter Chambers (Freeman) and billionaire hospital magnate Edward Cole (Nicholson) meet for the first time in the hospital after both have been diagnosed with cancer. They become friends as they undergo their respective treatments. Carter is a gifted amateur historian and family man who had wanted to become a history professor, but in his youth had been "broke, black, and with a baby on the way" and thus never rose above his job at the McCreath body shop. Edward is a four-times-divorced healthcare tycoon and cultured loner who enjoys nothing more than tormenting his personal valet/servant, Matthew (Hayes), whom he calls Thomas. He makes Matthew serve Carter as well as him and orders his employee and doctor (Morrow) to familiarize himself with Carter's health.

Carter begins writing a "bucket list," or things to do before he "kicks the bucket." After hearing he has less than a year, Carter wads it up and tosses it on the floor. Edward finds it the next morning. He urges Carter to do everything on the list (suggesting he add things like skydiving) and offers to finance the trip. Carter agrees, despite the protests of his wife, Virginia (Todd).

The pair begins an around-the-world vacation, embarking on race car driving, skydiving, climbing the Pyramids, and going on a lion safari in Africa. They discuss a rare coffee and its unusual taste. They also confide about faith and family, revealing that Carter has long been feeling less in love with his wife and that Edward is deeply hurt by his estrangement with his only daughter, who disowned him after he sent some people to "take care of" her abusive husband (hinting at physical assault, but ruling out murder).

In Hong Kong, Edward hires a prostitute (Rowena King) for Carter, who has never had sex with any woman but his wife. Carter declines and asks to return home, and reciprocates by trying to reunite Edward with his daughter. Edward angrily storms off. Carter returns home to his wife, children, and grandchildren.

The family reunion is short-lived. In the preparation for a romantic interlude, Carter suffers a seizure and is rushed to the hospital. The cancer has spread to his brain. Edward, who is now in remission, visits him and they share a few moments, where Carter reveals to great amusement the disgusting origin of the "world's most rare coffee" (Kopi Luwak), over which Edward obsesses and Carter has refused to drink. Carter crosses off "laugh till I cry" from his bucket list and insists Edward finish the list without him. Carter goes into surgery but the procedure is unsuccessful. He dies on the operating table.

Edward delivers a eulogy at the funeral, explaining that he and Carter had been complete strangers, but the last three months of Carter's life were the best three months of his (Edward's). He crosses off "help a complete stranger for a common good" from the list. We see Edward finally attempt to reconcile with his daughter. She not only accepts him back into her life but also introduces him to the granddaughter he never knew. After greeting the little girl with a kiss on the cheek, Edward crosses "kiss the most beautiful girl in the world" off the list.

In the epilogue, it is revealed that Edward lived until the age of 81, and his ashes are brought to the top of the Himalayas. It turns out to be Matthew who does this, and as he places Edward's ashes alongside a can containing Carter's, he crosses off the last item on the Bucket List ("witness something truly majestic") and places it beside them. In the final lines of the movie, Carter explains " I'm pretty sure he {Edward} was happy with his final resting place. Because he was buried on the mountain, and that was against the law."
Super Reviewer
½ August 9, 2010
Story of two "about-to-die-soon" friends who decides to appreciate the life to its fullest, for whatever time they has left.Although a bit clichéd at many points, the movie serves it purpose..
Super Reviewer
½ March 7, 2009
I knew this film would be good going into it, but I didn't know how good it would be. I was pleasantly surprised and it gave me a lot to think about. The cast was great, funny and entertaining. The story was a simple one, but one that was well executed and thought provoking. Do yourself a favor and go see it.
Super Reviewer
September 28, 2010
Jack and Morgan, now over the hill, attempt fetching a bucket of laughter. Jack fell down in a hospital gown and Morgan came tumbling after.
Pretty damn poor considering it unites two of cinema's great actors in Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, under the direction of the normally reliable Rob Reiner ¬ who is no stranger to fine comedies. However, Reiner seems to have forgotten something integral here...namely comedy itself.
Nicholson and Freeman play two terminally ill patients sharing a room in hospital. When faced with the news that they have months to live, they compose a "Bucket List". A list consisting of all the things they'd like to do before they shuffle off their mortal coil. Working their way through their list, they achieve feats of sky-diving, racing fast cars, tackling the Himalayas etc.
You'd think watching these two veteran actors in several hair-raising scenarios would be a joy but quite frankly, it's not. What it is, is dull and uneventful. Jack and Morgan are given next to nothing to work with and are let down by a very tedious and formulaic script and Reiner's direction is extremely flat, not helped by some very poor, sub¬standard special effects and fake use of international locations. By today's standards it's very insulting and the talent involved, not to mention us, deserve more.
If I ever compose a Bucket list for myself, first thing on the list will be...'Don't attempt to polish a turd. Despite what it says on the tin'.
Avoid. As this is one bucket that definitely has a hole in it.
Super Reviewer
½ July 15, 2010
I thought that they used too much of the Shawshank Redemption plot elements in this film. Good wasted wasted in a terrible film filled with overused dramatic cliches. Bad directing and bad plot. This is a film that I thought was very boring, slow and terrible. I though it was going to be better than this, but it wasn't
Super Reviewer
½ January 14, 2008
This film about two fatally ill men who wanna make the best of their last year of life is full of stereotypes. Nicholson plays himself, or at least the same kinda character he played for decades, except that it's slowly getting embarrassing when he can still score the young stewardesses. Of course a man like Freeman can't act badly if he tried, but the first 20 minutes in the hospital are no fun to watch for a healthy person. Once the two begin to go through their list the film looks like a World-sightseeing-clip and yet fails to add something really surprising to their bucket list. It's still pretty entertaining at that point and doesn't avoid questions of faith and death, apparently. The ending doesn't get as sappy as feared, comes with a bit of a surprise and actually manages to touch the viewer. Decent, but with some wasted opportunities.
Super Reviewer
½ January 14, 2010
Good film to watch when you are depressed! But when it gets halfway through it actually gets pretty funny!
Super Reviewer
October 21, 2007
It's a warm, funny, deeply moving and extraordinary movie. A joy-ride you wont want to miss. A powerful, outstanding and terrifically fun film. Astonishing, gripping, compelling and endlessly wonderful. Incredibly heartfelt and emotionally enduring. Tremendously entertaining and absolutely unforgettable. Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson are magnificent. They deliver two of the best performances of the careers. Their chemistry is such pure spun solid gold, every scene with them together is just real magic. Sean Hayes and Rob Morrow give great performances. This is a film surely to be treasured. A masterpiece. Director, Rob Reiners finest film ever. Theirs heart in it's humor and charisma in it's stars. Absolutely perfect and superb in every way. It's riveting, wonderfully original, remarkable, brilliant, endlessly enjoyable and breathtaking. When your not laughing you'll be smiling and perhaps crying. A feel good movie about death.
Super Reviewer
December 6, 2009
Two worlds apart and they found something Priceless called Friendship!
Super Reviewer
September 14, 2009
Critics hated this one, but I liked it a lot. I'm a big fan of both actors and they were great together. Everyone should have a bucket list...
Super Reviewer
½ July 6, 2009
As a pure fantasy film, the premise (and the film overall) is great. As something a little more realistic, this film has problems. Too much formula, too much cliche, and, considering the subject matter, it makes it seem hard to feel truly uplifted once it's over. The message is a good one though, despite being an old one. I like the performaces, depite being fairly routine and undistinguished. I wanted this movie to be great, but in my heart I just knew it probably wasn't gonna happen. This film's not a total failure, but it's far from a winner.
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