Those dopes only really know The Shinning (Kubrick 1980) or Batman (Burton 1989) He has arguably been the the greatest film actor of all time. And he has done it in the last five decades. Granted his new flick The Bucket List (Reiner 2007) looks awful. And frankly I thought Nicholson was kinda outta control in the The Departed (Scorsese 2006) though it must be hard not to indulge when you’re working with one of the most indulgent directors of all time. But I’ll still argue that he wasn’t being lazy, he was trying something, he cares.
If you look at Nicholson’s important performances list it's an amazing body of work.
I won’t even include his Oscar winner As Good As It Gets (Brooks 1997), maybe he was great, but I didn't care for the movie at all. He was fantastic when previously working with director James Brooks in Terms Of Endearment (1983) and he had a fun cameo in Brooks’ Broadcast News (1987) as a Walter Cronkite type newsman.
It was just five years ago that Nicholson gave one of the freshest performances of his career in About Schmidt (Payne 2002). The year before he was powerful in Sean Penn’s underrated The Pledge (2001). Okay so that’s two more better flicks in the last ten years then Coppola has done.
I rest my case, your Honor.
Mister Coppola you are dismissed.
Now as for you “Jack is always just being Jack” people...
Lets travel back to the twentieth century.
Get a pen, here’s your rental list for the next month....just off the bat... He’s great in a bunch of landmark flicks, now considered classics by many (not yet mentioned)....
Easy Rider (Hopper 1969), Five Easy Pieces (Rafelson 1970), The Last Detail (Ashby 1973), Chinatown (Polanski 1974),
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Forman 1975) and Reds (Beatty 1981).
And this is border-line but some may call it a "classic". I’ll add to the group, Carnal Knowledge (Nichols 1971)
Also he is awesome in a couple of underrated flicks The Border (Richardson 1982), Prizzi's Honor (Huston 1985) and wow, amazing in the depressing-as-hell Ironweed (Babenco 1987).
By now you’re done watching all that. Now I'm sure you see Nicholson is more then The Joker and man with the bat in The Shinning. If you still wanna rent more flicks to fill in the holes, go with some not great movies, but interesting, that Jack is very good in... The King of Marvin Gardens (Rafelson 1972), The Passenger (Antonioni 1975), The Postman Always Rings Twice (Rafelson 1981), The Crossing Guard (Penn 1995) and Blood and Wine (Rafelson 1996).
You probably already saw on TBS one night the “you can’t handle the truth” flick A Few Good Men (Reiner 1992) because Demi Moore was in it.
Maybe you watched Mars Attacks! (Burton 1996) on TNT or Wolf (Nichols 1994) or Hoffa (DeVito 1992) and I would declare “you’re sold”.
You can keep an eye out for some of the pre-Easy Rider work the Corman flicks or his appearances on "The Andy Griffith Show". You know he wrote trippy Monkeys movie Head?
And since you've been good about it, I’ll save you from having to watch all of Tommy you can see his scene here....