Finally saw this last night, and all the Oscar buzz about it is true. Nicholson is great in this subdued performance as a man who finds out that after retiring at age 66, he really hasn't done much in his life, after all. It's funny how both of Hollywood's greatest crazy-freaks, Nicholson in this film and Walken in "Catch Me If You Can", and played roles with such restraint against the typecast and have hit such great out of the park performances. It's as if you just see what's really bubbling in side of each of them, and that they're holding back makes it more incredible to watch.

Watching Nicholson quietly cry over a letter he's read is almost as fun as watching him go ape-shit and throw things everywhere. Which thankfully, there's a couple scenes of that nature thrown in for good measure.

Kathy Bates, as the mother of his daughter's fiancÚ is a riot, too, as the matriarch in one of the more realistic trashy families ever caught on film. And if you'll begrudge her a full-body nude scene as she walks into a hot tub with Jack, she's a kick through and through.  The hot-tub scene, picture above, is actually pretty damn funny, as Nicholson reacts rather squirmily at the situation, while the earthy Bates just tries to get him to loosen up.

And if you're one of those people who likes making fun of multi-level marketing and pyramid schemes like Herbalife you'll get a kick out of Dermot Mulroney's portrayal of his son-in-law to be, Randall, who has an investment scheme that just reeks of Amway.  It's fun to watch the family recoil in horror when Nicholson asks about it. 

Howard Hesseman, who played Johnny Fever in WKRP In Cincinnati has a fun part as Bates' ex, as well.  It's nice to see him getting work worthy of his talent.

The message of "About Schmidt" is to make a difference in your life. Working somewhere for 40 years then retiring with a nice gold watch isn't enough.

The only thing scarier than dying alone, is to die empty.

-Robert Berry