Friday, October 24, 2003

The Movie I Watched Last Night LXXX

One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest
This is one of the better movies made in the last few decades. A young Jack Nicholson shines as the lead character in this adaptation of Ken Kesey's novel about a man who's transferred from prison to a mental hospital. It's mostly a statement that life is what you make it and that you should never give up regardless of the challenges you face. It's also a wonderful character study of people who find their confinement safer than the wider world even though they're not formally committed. And lastly, it's a strong argument to question and stand up to authority for what you think is right despite an overly oppressive environment. In the end, Nicholson's antihero Randall Patrick Murphy falls prey to the very system he's trying to game, and the only character to truly become free is the quiet hulk Chief Bromden, played by Will Sampson. Despite the accolades heaped on Scatman Crothers for his role as Orderly Turkle -- and later appearance in Nicholson's magnum opus the Shining -- I think it's the young Danny DeVito (Martini) and Christopher Lloyd (Taber) who deserve considerable kudos along with Nicholson. DeVito is priceless -- and almost unrecognizable. A brilliant movie. Worth revisiting.

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