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Rob Reiner
Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman, Sean Hayes, Beverly Todd, Rob Morrow
Writing Credits:
Justin Zackham

Two terminally ill men escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die.

Box Office:
$45 million.
Opening Weekend
$19,392,416 on 2911 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 97 min.
Price: $14.97
Release Date: 6/10/2008

• “Writing a Bucket List” Featurette
• “Rob Reiner Interviews the Stars” Featurettes
• Trivia Track
• Music Videos


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The Bucket List [Blu-Ray] (2007)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 24, 2018)

Two aging Oscar-winners paired for 2008’s The Bucket List. In this high-concept effort, a mechanic named Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman) and a billionaire named Edward Cole (Jack Nicholson) end up together in the same cancer ward.

Initially they clash, but they eventually bond and become friends. Apparently without much time left to live, Carter and Edward generate a “Bucket List”.

This is a chart that details a number of exploits they feel they should achieve before they “kick the bucket”. Though he originated the idea, Carter resists the notion, but Edward convinces him they need to really live during their final months.

And there’s your story. The two men depart from the hospital and attempt to experience as many of their “Bucket List” items as they can before one – or both – of them passes. Hijinks and life lessons ensue.

When I first heard of List, I suspected it would provide a predictable, schmaltzy, sentimental piece of “life-affirming” nonsense. The presence of two fine actors like Freeman and Nicholson gave me some hope that it might overcome its Lifetime Channel tendencies, and to some degree, this occurs.

Neither performer breaks a sweat here. Nonetheless, whatever charms we discover come from their chemistry and warm interaction.

Otherwise, List ends up as the predictable, schmaltzy, sentimental piece of “life-affirming” nonsense I anticipated. Essentially a Grumpy Old Men flick with a more morbid bent, it exists to place a couple of old dudes in wacky situations like skydiving and car racing.

Unfortunately, almost nothing about the experience manages to capture the viewer’s imagination, and it consistently feels false. Neither Carter nor Edward offer actual characters, as they’re just amalgamations of traits and quirks cobbled together into vaguely human personalities.

Whatever three-dimensionality emerges comes from the actors. There’s no other substance to be found here.

The drowsy storytelling doesn’t help, as it takes the film quite a while to get to its titular list, and it doesn’t use that time particularly well. We learn more than enough about the leads in the first five minutes, so everything else feels like filler.

Perhaps if List produced anything satisfying when it gets going, I might not mind the slow pacing. However, it’s still so random and tedious when “the plot” arrives that I find it hard to care.

The predictable nature of the flick is really what kills it, though. I find some minor pleasure from the company of Freeman and Nicholson, but The Bucket List wastes their talents on TV movie schmaltz. Expect a couple of minor laughs that become submerged under sentimental tripe.

The Disc Grades: Picture B-/ Audio C/ Bonus C

The Bucket List appears in both an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The image appeared good but not great.

Sharpness usually came across reasonably well. A bit of softness crept in at times, especially during interiors, but the film mostly offered pretty good delineation.

I saw no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws also failed to appear.

Colors went with a fairly amber bent, and they seemed decent to good. Nothing about the hues impressed, but they showed appropriate range and impact,

Blacks looked pretty dark and dense, while shadows offered fair clarity. Some murkiness impacted low-light shots, but the majority seemed smooth enough. Nothing about the image impressed, but the movie remained more than watchable.

As for the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of The Bucket List, I couldn’t find much to praise. I expected that, though, since I wouldn’t anticipate a wild experience from this sort of dramatic comedy.

The soundfield focused relentlessly on the front spectrum, and music presented the most prominent element. The score showed good stereo imaging, and we got some minor ambience, but that was about it.

Some of the “List” adventures like skydiving or car racing opened up the spectrum, but those sequences didn’t last long. Much of the chatty piece seemed nearly monaural.

Audio quality was fine. Speech sounded distinctive and natural, without edginess or other issues. Effects didn’t have much to do, but they were acceptable for what they offered.

Music appeared reasonably full and rich. There wasn’t enough here to merit a grad above a “C”, though, so don’t expect a memorable soundtrack.

How does the Blu-ray compare to the DVD version? Audio remained identical, as the Blu-ray lacked a lossless option.

Visuals offered improvements, though. The DVD seemed unusually ugly, so the Blu-ray became a definite step-up. It may not be objectively appealing, but the Blu-ray easily topped the messy DVD.

The Blu-ray offers the same extras as the DVD and a couple of added components. We find a four-minute, 53-second featurette called Writing a Bucket List that provides notes from screenwriter Justin Zackham.

The show covers the origins of the project and Zackham’s collected book of “Bucket Lists”. It tells us very little and feels more like an ad for the book.

Two clips show up under Rob Reiner Interviews the Stars. We find “Rob & Jack” (21:45) and “Rob & Morgan” (16:49).

I felt surprised by the length of those chats – I assumed they’d both be brief promo discussions and nothing more. However, the conversations offer fairly long and lively affairs – they don’t reveal tons of insights, but they’re consistently enjoyable.

A Trivia Track can be viewed alongside the movie. It tells us about cast and crew, locations, story/characters, and various observational tidbits.

Much of the track really does emphasize trivia, as it throws out little nuggets connected to the concepts in the film. It’s not the most informative piece but it’s a pleasant enough experience.

We also get a music video from John Mayer for “Say”. It provides a simple mix of movie clips and basic lip-synch footage from Mayer. The song is lightweight at best, and the video is a bore.

If interested, you can view The Making of “Say”, a five-minute, 38-second reel with comments from Mayer. He gives us thoughts about how he wrote the song. I wouldn’t call this insightful, but it’s not bad.

Perhaps someone more daring than Rob Reiner could’ve turned The Bucket List into something memorable. Unfortunately, he goes for lowest common denominator territory in this predictable, sentimental and tedious affair. The Blu-ray offers generally good picture along with mediocre audio and a decent set of supplements. This becomes a passable release for a forgettable movie.

To rate this film, visit the prior review of BUCKET LIST

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