Jack Nicholson: 5 Awesome Performances And 5 That Sucked

4. Walter Schmidt - About Schmidt

About Schmidt Jack Nicholson
New Line Cinema

The only later stage Nicholson film to make our "5 awesome performances" section, About Schmidt was probably interchangeable with As Good As It Gets, which also features an older Nicholson on top form, but we've gone for this one instead, purely in the hope that it garners the movie some well -deserved attention.

So here is one of Alexander Payne's best - and vastly underrated - films, which features Jack as a retiring insurance salesman who attempts to stop his daughter's wedding to a man he feels is totally unworthy. It also has Kathy Bates naked. Don't let that put you off, of course: About Schmidt contains what some might argue is the definitive performance of Nicholson's career - so much so, in fact, that many were disturbed to find that he didn't take home the Oscar for Best Actor back in 2003 when this thing came out.

As Schmidt, Nicholson nails the role in such a way that you can't imagine the movie existing without him. Displaying fine comic chops and triumphant in moments of genuine emotion, Nicholson makes up for the film's otherwise slow pace. Really, the movie plays as a tribute to his talents.


Sam Hill is an ardent cinephile and has been writing about film professionally since 2008. He harbours a particular fondness for western and sci-fi movies.