Movie review: “The Bucket List”

The Bucket List (2007) (Trailer) is a movie about two old men who are both diagnosed with cancer and, despite intensive chemotherapy, have only a few months left to live. Edward Cole (played by Jack Nicholson) is a cantankerous billionaire with a big chain of hospitals and Carter Chambers (Norman Freeman) is a mechanic in a card dealership. The two become friends during their stay in the same hospital room.

One day, Edward sees Carter writing a list of things he wanted to do before he dies – he calls this a ‘bucket list’ – “Things to do before I kick the bucket”. Edward decides to add his own items to the list as below:

  1. Witness something truly majestic
  2. Help a complete stranger for a common good
  3. Laugh till I cry
  4. Drive a Shelby Mustang
  5. Kiss the most beautiful girl in the world
  6. Get a tattoo
  7. Skydiving
  8. See the pyramids
  9. Get back in touch (previously “Hunt the big cat”)
  10. See Rome

The two discharge themselves from hospital and set off around the world to have one last adventure together.

I thought that the movie made accomplishing these things look far too easy (I guess everything is easy if you’ve got the moolah!). So it was far too convenient that Edward had all those resources at his disposal. And I wonder how the movie would have been different, if Edward had been a poor white guy and Carter had been a rich black man?

But the idea of writing such a ‘bucket list’ is still appealing, isn’t it? I’m sure most of us wrote something similar when our teachers in school asked us to write down what we wanted to become. How many of us ever actually get there, though?

To quote the immortal John Lennon, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” (“Beautiful Boy”)

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Other movies we’ve watched in July:  

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