We watched About Schmidt last night. Jack Nicholson plays a retired insurance salesman (you know what that means) who realizes that he was a less-than-perfect husband and father to his daughter. Jack Nicholson plays the role perfectly as a guy coming to grips with retirement and the realization that his life wasn’t very meaningful. Trying to create a meaningful life, he adopts an orphaned boy from in Africa through one of those television charities. The movie is narrated by his letters to his foster child as he expresses his feelings about his life as he travels around the midwest in his Winnebago after his wife suddenly dies.

It’s one of the best movies I’ve seen in years. You feel sorry for him, it makes you reflect on your own life (it did to me, anyway), and it’s very funny as well. At one point, he goes to see the house he was born in and finds a tire store in its place. Seeing Jack Nicholson walk into the tire store as he envisions his old house is brilliant, and then tells the sales clerk “You won’t believe this, but we had a tire swing right here”. Funny.

Howard Hesseman and Kathy Bates bicker as divorced parents of Dermot Mulroney (who has hair as good as the best I remember from the 80s), their waterbed salesman son who is marrying Schmidt’s daughter while trying to get his new business (“Everyone thinks it’s a pyramid scheme, but it’s not”) started.

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