About Schmidt (Schmidt, #1) by Louis BegleyProud, traditional, and impeccably organized, Albert Schmidt is a button-down lawyer of the old school. But now, after years of carefulmanagement, his life is slowly unraveling. His beloved wife has recently died. He stumbles--or is he being pushed?--into earlyretirement. And his daughter, his only child, is planning to marry a man Schmidt cannot approve of, for reasons he can scarcely admit, even to himself. As Schmidt gropes for resolutions, he finds unexpected hope in an intense passion that comes out of the blue.
Set in the Hamptons and Manhattan, infused with black humor and startling eroticism, About Schmidt is both a meditation on lonelinessand on the power of romance to unlock the most impenetrable recesses of the heart.
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Jack Nicholson became a star a little over 30 years ago through his unforgettable appearances as social rebels in two road movies - the drunken lawyer picked up by the hippie bikers in Easy Rider and the middle-class dropout working as an oilfield rigger in Five Easy Pieces. In About Schmidt, he returns to the road movie at the age of 65 to give one of his greatest performances as a repressed conformist undergoing experiences he doesn't wholly comprehend. His character, Warren Schmidt, is facing the consequences of mandatory retirement from his job as vice-president and actuary with an insurance company in Omaha, Nebraska, Midwestern home town of Marlon Brando, and best known for its abattoirs and for lending its name to the most blood-drenched beach of the Normandy landings. The movie has about it the same tone that its director and co-scriptwriter, Alexander Payne, brought to his bitter high-school comedy, Election, also set in Omaha, something you might call an unsentimental realism or a bracing misanthropy. We first see Warren Schmidt sitting in his office, the walls stripped of pictures, his files packed in boxes, a briefcase on his empty desk. Blank-eyed, he's watching the clock as the second hand advances to 5pm and his departure from the Woodmen Insurance Company.
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CNN -- "About Schmidt," a dark comedy from the brilliant mind of Alexander Payne, will undoubtedly earn Jack Nicholson his 12th Academy Award nomination, which will add to his current record as the most nominated actor ever. It may be a year for oft-nominated actors: Meryl Streep is likely to earn a 13th nomination for either "The Hours" or "Adaptation. Nicholson's nomination will be well deserved: he is pure perfection as Warren Schmidt, a card-carrying "everyman" who has played by the rules his whole life, only to have the game changed in the final innings. Schmidt is an average guy, who has lived an average life, in an average house, married for 42 years to an average woman June Squibb , and together they've had an average daughter, whom Schmidt has essentially taken for granted her whole life. Suddenly his bland, tidy, predictable existence is blown apart.
Storyline: Warren Schmidt has led a safe, predictable life working in the insurance industry in Omaha, Nebr. At the same time he is forced to take a hard look at his wife, his life and his relationship with his estranged daughter. Written by wacoastguy User Reviews: Jack Nicholson stars as a Warren Schmidt, a man who suffers several crises at once. First he goes into retirement, then his wife dies, and finally his daughter marries a no-hoper. Forced to abandon his usual comfortable routine, Schmidt goes on a personal journey of discovery and tries to make some sense of his life. The beauty of About Schmidt is how well developed and interesting the characters are. They feel like real people struggling with real situations, which is a surprisingly difficult trick to pull off.