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The Duke De Mondo On “About Schmidt”

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Dear Undugu

How are you? The Duke is well.

I have just saw this here film what is called About Schmidt starring Jack Nicholson, and which is directed by the young man who calls himself Alexander Payne.

If you’ve seen the works of Wes Anderson, then you’ll have some idea of what this Payne character is like. The path Anderson took from Rushmore to The Royal Tennebaums would appear to be similar to the one Payne has taken, leading him from the delightful Election, to the even more delightful About Schmidt. I’m guessing they both ended up in the same town, but probably stayed in different hotels. Just like Anderson’s efforts, Payne has gone from a very funny and highly intelligent teen-centric comedy, to a very moving, subtle and quirky “adult” type comedy.

What this is all about is this character by the name of Warren Schmidt. Mr Schmidt is mighty pissed off, and generally frustrated by the mundanity of his life. He doesn’t care that he was in The Shining, Undugu, in fact he probably hasn’t even seen it. Even if he did, he’d probably still prefer the TV Mini-Series.

After all, Undugu, it was closer to the source material.

But what happens is that a tragedy befalls Mr Schmidt, and so he goes off on a road trip, during which he meets some delightful hippies, and also Kathy Bates from Miserable gets naked and feels him up. In addition, he gets a message from the heavens in the form of a shooting star.

I don’t speak shooting star, and there was no subtitles, but I’m guessing the message that the shooting star delivered was very positive, since Warren Schmidt smiles for a long time afterwards. Maybe it told him a joke, perhaps about three paddies and a lesbian, but that would be an act of downright speculation, Undugu, and I’m not prepared to do that. Possibly in the future, but right now I’m just not the type of motherfucker who speculates about things.

This Jack Nicholson fella turns in a remarkable performance, Undugu, so much so that he proves himself to be more than just a great golfer. He is in fact a great actor too. You may have seen The Witches Of Eastwick. He was in that too. The one who was the devil. That was him, Undugu.

And even though this is all about the subtleties and the low-keyness of it all, that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, Undugu, in fact you’ll probably piss yourself is what I’m guessing. For example, Schmidt tries to lie on a water bed at one point, and ends up wrestling with the damn thing, trying to get himself into a comfortable position.

I wouldn’t lie to you Undugu, it’s motherfucking hilarious.

But it’s also very sad. In fact, honest to suffering fuck, Undugu, The Duke cried at the end of it, I’m not afraid to admit it, unlike the time I laughed at Spy Hard. That was a motherfucking fabrication, Undugu.

Anyway, the story is told mostly via Schmidt’s narration. He writes letters see, to this orphan he has adopted via a third-world charity. I can’t remember the child’s name, Undugu, but Warren Schmidt’s letter’s to this off-screen centre of events are damn well heartbreaking.

Anyway, Undugu, just thought I would let you know, since this here is a film I would gladly recommend all to see.

Cheers Undugu.

The Duke resides at Mondo Irlando.

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  • Chris Kent

    I was deeply disturbed by this film El Senior Duke, though considered it one of the best the year it was released. From the opening scene where Nicholson stares at the silent clock on the wall on his final day at work to the inevitable journey in a RV, it’s pretty heavy going. Part black comedy, part satire, part tragic mythos for the Baby Boomer Generation rapidly approaching retirement age, lots of chords struck here…..

  • Chris, yesi a agree that it is pretty bleak at times, but it’s also very humane and warm. And it’s packed to the gums with brilliant characters. Randall in particualar was a Fave De Duke. I would have let my daughter marry him in a second, and i dont even have a daughter.
    I thought the whole thing was supremely beautiful, and filled with wee moments of utter beauty. Like when Schmidt says about how he’s definately going to change his life, starting from today, and we cut to “two weeks later” and he’s lying sleeping on his armchair. It was just perfectly observed, and was indeed very bleak at times, but there was a hope in there too, that things can change. And he did make a difference after all. (SPOILER WARNING) When he gets that picture at that end, thats damn heartbreaking. Perfect ending to a perfect film, as far as The Duke is concerned. (SPOILER ENDS)
    Cheers Chris