The Bucket List – DVD Review

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If you only had a year or less to live, what would you want to do before you died? Would you make a list of everything you want to see or do before you “kicked the bucket”? If so, you would be just like Morgan Freeman and J Jack Nicholson in The Bucket List. On paper this looked like an interesting and unique idea for a film. With a couple of great actors attached to it, The Bucket List looked to be a hit. But after all the execution was it really?

In The Bucket List, Corprate billionaire Edward Cole (Nicholson) and working class mechanic Carter Chambers (Freeman) have nothing in common except for their terminal illnesses. While sharing a hospital room together, they decide to leave it and do all the things they have ever wanted to do before they die according to their bucket list. In the process, both of them heal each other, become unlikely friends, and ultimately find the joy in life.

Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman are both terrific actors, but they have never appeared together in the same film. They are both nearing the end of their film careers so playing too old guys like the ones they play in The Bucket List is not that far-fetched. In fact, the reason why this film succeeds mostly is the on-screen chemistry between Freeman and Nicholas. This unlikely duo is actually believable as friends.

If there is one word to describe this film it is heartwarming. We know the ending to this film as soon as we go into it. So there is lots of sadness in this film. But the writers tried to market this as a comedy more than anything else. There are some funny moments and it is entertaining to watch these two old guys do all of these things, but you still know they are going to die in the end.

The comedy is just not funny enough to overcome the overwhelming sense of sadness that surrounds this film. Freeman and Nicholson are fantastic in their roles and really raise this film to another level. This is an unique idea for a film and it mostly works. However, The Bucket List is nothing more than an entertaining “popcorn film”. It will make you think while you watch it, but it won’t necessarily be a movie you would want to watch over and over again.

The video is given in both 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen color, which is enhanced for 16:9 TVs, and 1.33:1 fullscreen. The transfer is pretty good with strong, rich colors. No major problems at all.

The audio included is available in either English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound, Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound, or French Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound. There are subtitles available in English, Spanish, and French as well. The dialogue and music come out loud and clear, so no major problems here either.

“Writing a Bucket List” Featurette – This runs for 5 minutes. We hear comments from the screenwriter, Justin Zackham, about how the idea for this film came about. Somewhat interesting, but it’s a little too short to be the only featurette for this DVD.

“Say” Music Video – Your standard music video for a song from the film, “Say” by John Mayer.

This is a sad movie, but there is still lots of joy to be found here. It is heartwarming and fans of Nicholson or Freeman will highly enjoy this and want to buy it. But for everyone else, it’s recommended as a rental. Everyone should watch it at least once.


Warner Home Video presents Bucket List. Directed by Rob Reiner. Written by Justin Zackham. Starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. Running time: 97 minutes. Rated: PG-13. Released on DVD: June 10, 2008. Available at

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