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About Schmidt

About Schmidt

Total Film

September 2003

Link to Article on External Website

Director Alexander Payne
Starring Jack Nicholson, Kathy Bates, Hope Davis, Dermot Mulroney,
Cert 15

Film ****

It’s testament to Jack Nicholson’s talent that his iconic bulk never creeps into the tricky role of morose retiree Warren Schmidt. Encapsulating both his life disappointments and his escalating fears about his daughter’s marriage to a mullet-locked salesman in an acid voiceover, Jack delivers one of the most finely tuned performances in his glittering career.

The highlights are nine deleted sequences, with Payne supplying a text breakdown on why they were expunged. Most deserved Payne's editing axe, including a Five Easy Pieces diner homage. And he even disses one scene as “too film school”.But if Payne's prepared to be honest, then why no commentary? After all, the Election DVD had a yak-track and working with Jack would surely yield some prime verbiage. Apart from a trailer, the only other extra is The Woodmen Tower Sequences, a pointless quintet of short films cut together by members of the editing crew from second-unit footage of dreary Omaha. Payne asks that they be “watched in the spirit in which they're offered”, but it's hard not to feel short-changed.

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