THE BUCKET LIST directed by Rob Reiner (USA, 2007)
Death is no laughing matter but mainstream movies still have a hard time taking it seriously. How we come to terms with our mortality is rarely addressed at anything more than a superficial or sentimental fashion.
The story of two terminally ill men making full use of their final months ought to be different but isn’t. It is also dishonest in its unwillingness to show the true ravages of cancer or the messy business of dying.
The premise of the movie is that the bucket list, things to do before you kick the bucket, takes on a new urgency when you get to learn how long you have left to live. The subtext is that procrastination or postponement of these actions is never recommended.
Morgan Freeman plays Carter Chambers a car mechanic with a high IQ whose humility is at odds with brash billionaire Edward Cole played in typically over the top manner by Jack Nicholson.
Remission following surgery and intensive care is tantamount to a miraculous recovery. One minute the two men are lying in their hospital beds, seemingly at death’s door, the next they are skydiving and road racing or gadding about the globe to visit the seven wonders of the world.
Carter is a man of faith while Edward is a sceptic. Mercifully, we are spared crass religious propaganda but Christian morality is still implicit in the film’s advocacy of family values and kindness to strangers,
The underlying message is that it is the things that money can’t buy that bring joy and fulfillment in our lives. This is something I knew already and didn’t need this lame ass movie to remind me.