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Do you have a Bucket List?
by Michol Little

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Living life to the fullest

Living life to the fullest
I never really thought about it before I saw the film by Rob Reiner, THE BUCKET LIST (2007) starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, two very unlikely characters as well as actors that make this film worth watching. We all have seen both for years....well in their younger years......play detectives, military ranking officers, and a werewolf but having two men who face likely death reflect on all the fun things they've missed can't help but put you in the same frame of mind. What would you want to do, or a number of things you may want to do, before you "kick the bucket?"

Since most of you know I love to get the scoop on puns, trivia and all the impossibly useless information relating to a move, I thought a little info on where the term, "kick the bucket" originated. There was a book written in 1785 called "the Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue" which tells us the expression "kick the bucket" means "to die." Well, no doubt we knew that but why the bucket? One theory involved the death by hanging practice where they "kicked the bucket" out from under the accused. Others believe it was the "bucket of holy water" that sat between the legs of one dying. I suppose it often was kicked, wouldn't you say? Funny, but I actually thought it might have come from milking a cow when a cow would kick and knock someone off their stool, perhaps kill the milk-er and spill the contents of "the bucket." Regardless of the beginnings of the phase, it has stuck for eons of time.

In this film, the two characters, Edward Cole, filthy rich billionaire tycoon in the medical facility
Oh to have money to do these things!

Oh to have money to do these things!
industry, and Carter Chambers, blue collar mechanic and part-time history buff, find themselves sharing a room in the hospital battling terminal cancer. Carter suffers most of the time in complete silence except when visited by his wife and kids. Edward, on the other hand, imposes on any audience willing to listen how indignant it is to have all the resources one could wish for, but still has to suffer sharing a room, eating horrible meals and having no one except a greedy and pious assistant, Thomas, played by Sean Hayes to do his bidding. Edward, so proud of the fact that he was willing to rub elbows with the lesser mortals, actually owns this hospital and prides himself with accepting the same type of service as the little people yet when it gets right down to it, he hates being reduced to such a state of common-ness. Edward has married and divorced 4 times; has an estranged daughter he never sees, and feels the bleakness of pending death alone as a failure. In one of dozen one-line zingers worth remembering, Edward tells Thomas: "Here's something to remember when you're older, Thomas; never pass up a bathroom; never waste a hard-on; and never trust a fart!" At least his sense of humor was still intact.

Edward and Carter in suffering together or laughing together they form a bond in their mutual pain fighting cancer and their fear of losing a life they weren't ready to give up. Carter begins his "bucket list" of places he never went, things he never did and experiences he wished he had time to have, yet when he learns he has only 6 months to live, he tosses the list away
A bonding moment

A bonding moment
and turns inward pushing family and Edward emotionally away. Edward decides he has the money and time to not only work through Carter's List when he discovers the crumbled paper left by Carter, and determines they both should live as much life as they can in the time they have left. Edward devises a scheme whereby the two men go globe hopping to various interests from driving a race car, or jumping out of a plane, to the pyramids in Egypt. Each time they mark off an item on their list others would be added, sometimes not always agreed to such as the one for Edward to reconcile after so many years with his daughter. The bond between the two men grows; their mutual respect for each other regardless of class, race or wealth deepens. They become each other's anchor in light of their limited days left.

Very few times do you enjoy two powerhouse actors in a single film eager to work together on a script that is a little light for their typical Oscar-deserved roles they would more than likely choose for themselves. In pre-release interviews, Morgan Freeman remarked that Jack was his idol during the upward climb of his career. Truthfully, Morgan tells us Jack was always on his personal bucket list! In fact they both were aware of each other's successes and in the Hollywood style, rubbed elbows from time to time, yet never made a movie together. The first time Rob Reiner sent Morgan the script to consider, he turned it down. It didn't seem the type of role he would be interested in. Time passes and Reiner revised the script sending it to Morgan again; this time it pricked his
uh-uh...not going to do it!

uh-uh...not going to do it!
interest but only if the character of Edward was played by Jack. What is really odd is that when Jack was approached with the script, he agreed to do it only if Morgan played Carter! You would think the stars were aligned right for this movie and the audience agreed it was a perfect match.

I thought of all the movies both have made numbering between 80 and 90 each. Who can forget Freeman in SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, DRIVING MISS DAISY, INVICTUS and winning an Oscar in the 2005 film MILLION DOLLAR BABY. It is also odd that both Jack and Morgan's contribution to the Batman series of movies is unforgettable. Jack will always be remembered for stunning performances in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST, AS GOOD AS IT GETS, THE DEPARTED, and SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE. I simply can't forget his role in WOLF which was not a box office winner, but I thought he was excellent and more importantly, believable!

I will end with two tidbits of trivia about the film. First, the Ford Mustang is one of the most used cars for movies in Hollywood. Ford Motor Company as reported in About.Com, tells us the mustang has been the preferred car in over 500 movies. In THE BUCKET LIST, one of Freeman's items on his list is to drive a Shelby Mustang. Who wouldn't! Last, a factual error in the movie? There are always those it seems but in the scene where they are skydiving and having conversation, Myth Busters, proves to us in one of their wacky demonstrations that it is a physical impossibility to hear any talking and skydive! I really don't think I'm going to give that a test; I'll take their word for it.

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Mike Thomas
Jul 21, 2012 12:29 AM
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Good Review! It was a real treat seeing two old pros just rip through a script, playing their age, and not being too insulted.
Jul 21, 2012 2:38 PM
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Hi Mike, you're great to comment. I look forward to you each Saturday. Yes I just love this film even with the light duty script. They together make it all worthwhile! I'd love to see them in something else together, but I don't see any rumors of that happening yet.

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An update of current gossip surrounding the good, bad and just horrible events while filming different movies. What went wrong, who did what and the answer to the burning question, "What is the point of this movie anyway?"

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Other columns by Michol Little:

Do Actors Necessarily Make Good Politicians?

Directors of Actors Make the Film

What movie nearly wrecked Kevin Costner's career?

Children's Top Box Office of all Times!

Dinesh D'Souza and 2016: OBAMA'S AMERICA

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Michol Little
I've been writing about anything and everything all my life: fiction, research projects, speeches and term papers for anyone who needed help. I'm a single Mom with all kids out of the nest, and now have time to really enjoy my writing passion. While finishing my courses for my MBA, I developed a burning desire to actually publish some of my work in fiction as well as research white paper on most anything that interests me. I work for a national retail food brand as a construction project manager which is my DAY job; and hope to increase my exposure as an author and ghost writer as well as write articles and commentaries for various venues. .

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Michol Little by clicking here.

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