Jack Nicholson is everybody’s favourite. No other actor has made such a successful career out of simply being himself. Swide chooses the top 5 monologues.
One of the most distinctive voices and characters in Hollywood, Nicholson puts plenty of himself into every role. It’s impossible to pick the top 5 monologues as in every film, in every scene, whether he speaks or not, he owns it. Here are just a few.
Five Easy Pieces
An important film that is full of social commentary of America in the 60s brought to bear on the domestic lives of a blue collar Nebraska family. This was the film that marked Nicolson out as a star. This is a scene where Nicholson makes an effort to re connect with his dying father. Sparse and theatrical, the ambient sound is an important backdrop to the delivery.
A Few Good Men
Every one knows it. It’s partly so enjoyable because you have to think that maybe Nicholson reserves just a little of that distain for young Mr. Cruise, or maybe not. It’s just a hard-as-nails monologue delivered with relish by Mr. Nicholson on top of his game.
Kubrick’s masterpiece gave free-reign to Nicholson to express his inner psychopath. Superbly supported by Shelley Duval, Nicholson’s Jack Torrance is the embodiment of a man consumed with a terrible menace… Apparently writer Stephen King is penning a sequel to the original book which will be published in September 2013. Take a deep breath.
The breakthrough role for Nicholson that saw him up with the heavyweights is a surprisingly uncool one. Never mind, he stole the show in the coolest movie of the decade, a film that defined a generation and wrote the book independent film making in Hollywood while simultaineosly sounding the death knell of the Hollywood studio system.
Not a monologue but one of the very finest scenes in cinema, certainly the best domestic fight scene ever. Fact. Every one can in some way relate to this. Tragic, but somehow simiultaneously hilarious.
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
Nicholson’s McMurphy is physically very different to the original character in Ken Kesey’s book, but the character will forever be associated with Nicholson and his performance in the film. Louise Fletcher deservedly won the Oscar for best actress for her portrayal of the bitter Nurse Ratchet, while Nicholson was nominated for Best Actor, Michael Douglas as who co-produced picked up the Oscar for Best Picture. Here McMurphy is irked that he can’t watch the World Series on TV. Instead he demonstrates that she can’t crush his spirit.
Probably his most under-rated film it was directed by Alexander Payne. Another Best Actor nomination for this had he not won the previous year with ‘As Good As It Gets’ he most definitely would have walked away with it for his sublime performance as a retired actuary facing his end-life crisis after the death of his wife. Funny, cringe-worthy, moving, intelligent, the final scene is mushy as hell, but the whole film builds to this moment. No lines for Jack, just incredible acting.