I didn’t like him as much in The Departed. A lotta ham in that role. I like Jack’s ham usually…but not as much here.
I agree with Casey. His ham was out of place in The Departed.
I like him when he spoofs himself a little, as in Something’s Gotta Give. His flair for comedy has been largely underused (or wasted).
But when I read his tantrum about not being consulted for The Dark Knight and his attack on Heath Ledger, I couldn’t help hating him a little and feeling like there’s nothing less becoming than an aging actor who wants to keep younger actors from doing their thing and coming up.
HAM!?!? that’s gobbleygook. He certainly has hammed it up in the past (Goin’ South, The Witches of Eastwick, Batman, cripes even the last 15 minutes of The Shining) but not in The Departed. There was a lot going on in the performance but I didn’t pick up the whiff of ham.
BTW, I enjoy Nicholson’s hammy performances, I just don’t agree that his reptilian performance in The Departed was one of them.
Jack IS ONE OF THE BEST ACTORS of ALL TIME.
I’d say he’s good. Good actors seem to have really high peaks and terrible valleys. I don’t like it when he’s too “Jack” but he can be really effective in the right role. I can’t get the bad taste out of my mouth from the Departed. I guess I’m going to have to watch the Passenger again. You’d figure he’s have learned what not to do after he worked with Brando. Opening that can of ham is not a great gift to share with others.
He is a great actor and not overrated
Depends on what era you are talking about…
Jack Nicholson will always hold a place as one of the greatest actors of all time, simply for his unbroken string of genius roles in the 1970s, its really hard to argue with that. But overrated for the last 20 years or so- no doubt true. He started hamming it up and making a total ass of himself at least as far back as that awful Joker performance in the late 80s, and has pretty much sucked ever since. But that’s how success usually goes… oh well, there will always be Chinatown, The Passenger, Five Easy Pieces, The Shining, Cukoo’s Nest, etc, etc …
Nicholson is a great actor but his range is overrated.
I do not know anything about his rating, he is very famous indeed but whatever, the thing is HE’S BRILLIANT and not just brilliant, One flew upon a cuckoo’s net, Shining, Batman…. he showed how great he could be, now whatever he plays or had played in he will still be one of the greatest actor ever. yeah i think what i’m trying to say is he’s an artist, i mean he acts like no one does…
actually i had only heard of him, or maybe not even heard of him but i only knew his name for years, but i had never seen him in any movie. i knew the name like i knew “tom cruise” and it sounded to me like “hollywood superstar”. now i just can’t get enough of him.
He’s a wonderful actor, esp. his films in the ‘70s. I don’t like it when he does his “schtick” though. I don’t know why he does that. Pacino can parody himself pretty well too. They aren’t the first to do roles in the same manner (that echoes their most famous mannerisms) for years — this happens to a lot of actors when they get older. Maybe not just actors either, but many people in the arts… Hard to keep things new, I guess…
GREAT ACTOR! Absolutely NOT overrated…he’s appropriately rated.
Brilliant in Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces (his final talk TO his father??? c’mon), The Last Detail, Chinatown, …Cuckoo’s Nest
Brilliant again in Prizzi’s Honor, About Schmidt and The Departed (you could almost smell him, he was so sleazy)
Warren Oates ate his lunch in The Shooting.
Well you couldn’t compare the roles, Billy was only in it ten minutes (not literally..) whereas Warren was" the man"…..BUT I tell you what when Jack was on screen I wasn’t look at Warren, no-sireebob
Yeah, only men think Warren Oates is hot.
Excellent in THE SHINING and REDS, pretty good in TERMS OF ENDEARMENT, okay in the rest.
He was kinda toothy-lippy (Warren Oates). But I was surprised to find Two Lane Blacktop on youtube:
who ever thinks hes overated is a complete idiot he is a terrific actor everything he has done is brilliant just look at One flew over the cuckoos nest one of the greatest films of all time and his best performance
I think people dismiss Nicholson as being over-the-top the same way they dismiss Pacino. But these people are missing something. Yes, Nicholson is Batman and Pacino in Dick Tracy are over the top crazy. But they’ve both given very moving, subtle performances.
One of my favorite performances from Nicholson is his work in About Schmidt. He really made that film. It’s funny because Nicholson is often asked why he isn’t lumped into that group of other method actors (De Niro, Pacino, Hoffman, etc.) and he always takes that as a compliment because he’s so good at what he does that people don’t even see it. They don’t even see his “method”.
I think I need to revisit his performances from the 70s because my opinion of his abilities has been going ever downward. (He wasn’t very good in James L. Brooks How Do I Know—but he was sort of miscast and the part wasn’t great, anway.)
For films like About Schmidt and As Good As it Gets, I couldn’t see him outside of his wild persona—and that hurt the film as these characters were men that were vulnerable and/or lacked confidence. I just couldn’t believe that part of the characters because it was Nicholson.
I think Nicholson’s charisma and devilish charm are his strong points and that quality makes him a movie star. I don’t think he’s a bad actor by any means (although some of his recent performances make me wonder—in the same way Pacino’s and De Niro’s make me wonder about their abilities).
It’s time for rewatch of Chinatown and some of his early work.
crafting a memorable persona and making it work from film to film is way more impressive than “acting”
In addition to About Schmidt, I’d also give props to Nicholson’s performance in The Crossing Guard and The Pledge. Though maybe not as remarkable as Cuckoo’s Nest or Five Easy Pieces, these two performances from Jack really impressed me. I think Sean Penn is a very interesting director and it’s clear he’s fascinated with obsessive, tormented characters. Nicholson epitomizes this type of character beautifully – particularly in The Crossing Guard, which I think is such a beautiful film. Yes, it may be a bit heavy handed but I really thought Nicholson brought something special to that role. Again, maybe not as iconic as Jack Torrance or JJ Gittes but an impressive showcase of range.
“crafting a memorable persona and making it work from film to film is way more impressive than “acting””
Acting comes from theatre though and on screen, it can’t escape its theatrical roots and personas are just not enough for “impression”.
That being said, a great American actor indeed up until the late 90’s, excluding of course As Good As It Gets.
Great actor when he’s into it, overrated actor when he coasts.
grrrrreat! my favourite performances are EASY RIDER, CARNAL KNOWLEDGE and THE PASSENGER
I haven’t seen The Crossing Guard, but I have seen The Pledge and I just thought he was OK in that.
Nicholson has the spirit of the Devil—if the Devil was charming and charismatic. We would expect the Devil to have a scary, ferocious side—and Nicholson has that, too. I don’t think there’s any other actor that has these qualities—the Devil as a goat. It’s this spirit and force that makes him so compelling. I do think he has some acting chops, but I think the qualities above make him so compelling and maybe override his acting. In a way this force of personality reminds me a little of James Cagney—although Cagney’s personal force was qualitatively different. But they’re similar in that this spirit was intense, magnetic and made them stars on the screen. Moreover, it was this charisma—not so much their acting (which was both fine or even more than fine)—that made them great—and even outshined whatever acting (ability they had as good as it could be).
This is why I think that if Nicholson is not in the right role, he can look utterly terrible. I also get the sense that he’s self-conscious about his film persona and that might affect the quality of his acting.
hahaha @ Mike’s photo.
Jazz, you bring up an interesting question. Can an actor with a strong persona shed that and deliver a great performance (or be a great actor)? In the case of Nicholson, I agree with you that he is very charismatic and quite a compelling performer. But I do think he can shed that and deliver something quite different (such as the example I previously gave). I wonder if an actor like that can shed that persona for a role, does that make the actor is BETTER than most? I don’t know.
“crafting a memorable persona and making it work from film to film is way more impressive than “acting.”
This is a peculiar thing to say. I mean, I suppose if you’re promoting Julia Roberts or Tom Cruise, fine. But in the world of acting, personas are persona non grata.