September 12, 2010
There’s no hole in this bucket.
<em>The Bucket List</em> is a 2007 film by Rob Reiner. It is about Edward Cole, a billionaire hospital owner played by Jack Nicholson, and Carter Chambers, an automotive mechanic played by Morgan Freeman. They have something in common. Both are dying from cancer with less than a year to live. It is a movie about discovering yourself, and the impact that your life can have on others and the impact that others can have on your life.
The movie opens with narration from Carter, “I believe you measure yourself by those that measure themselves by you��? (IMDb). Depending on where you are at in your life, this can take on different meanings. If you’re a student, it may mean that you think of yourself as a good learner because of the admiration you gain from your teacher and peers for a job well done. Older people may take this to mean their own lives will become more enriched by enriching the lives of those around them.
Edward is found to have cancer and due to his own rule of two beds per room, is forced to be roommates with Carter in his own hospital. Carter, who has started to make a “bucket list��? of things to do before he dies, is told by his doctor that he has little time left. Upon hearing this news, he throws the list on the floor. Soon afterwards, Edward is told similar news of his prognosis. Edward then discovers Carter’s “bucket list��? and offers to help him in accomplishing the items on the list. Edward added a few items of his own and offered to pay for them with his billions.
After receiving their chemotherapy treatments, the two decide to check out of the hospital and get going on the list. The trip includes seeing the pyramids of Egypt, skiing on the Himalayas, racing cars, and skydiving. As one review says, “Along the way they become best pals who help each other learn the usual lessons about living life to the fullest��?(Holden).
The overwhelming storyline is based on the premise that we all only have one life to live. Living life to its fullest can have a positive impact on both your life, as well as the lives of those around you. On the other side, a life sold short can have negative side effects. We find out in the movie that Carter, when he was younger, wanted to become a history professor. Instead of being able to pursue that dream he had to get a job in an auto shop to take care of his new family. It’s reasonable to believe that this could be the reason Carter reveals to Edward later in the movie that he is not as in love with his wife as he once was.
After Edward helps Carter with most of the things on his list, Carter tries to return the favor by encouraging Edward to make amends with his estranged daughter. At first Edward is not receptive to the idea, but later in the movie he realizes she is all he really has and takes the first step to heal the relationship, and in doing so he meets his granddaughter.
Towards the end of the movie we find that Edwards’s cancer has gone into remission while Carter’s takes a turn for the worse. Having grown into close friends, Edward speaks at Carter’s funeral stating, “The simplest thing is… I loved him. And I miss him. Carter and I saw the world together. Which is amazing… When you think that only three months ago, we were complete strangers! I hope that it doesn’t sound selfish of me but… the last months of his life were the best months of mine. He saved my life… And he knew it before I did��? (IMDb). After he had spoken, he crossed the part about helping a complete stranger off the list. It could be a matter of debate whether he crossed it off the list implying that he helped Carter, but I believe it to be the other way around. Carter helped him to really take a look at himself and the choices that he had made in his life, which helped him to make changes for the better.
While the storyline is quite good, there are aspects that are hard to believe. Does anyone really believe that a billionaire hospital tycoon would really be in the same room with an auto mechanic? How does an auto mechanic with a modest income afford to pay for the long stays in the hospital, as well as the treatments? These two questions require a stretch of the imagination, and a leap of faith that it could actually happen, in order to be pulled into the rest of the story. These I do believe to be small issues with the movie that are easily overlooked by someone who is more interested in the life lessons that can be learned.
Holden, Stephen “For Geezers Gone Wild, Too Little, Too Late.��? <em>The New York Times</em> 25 December 2007.Web.24 September 2010
“Memorable quotes for The Bucket List.��? <em>The</em> <em>Internet Movie Database. </em>IMBd. Nd.Web. 12 September 2010