One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

I wasn’t anxious to go out into the rain, but I did take some time to go to the Grand Lake Theatre to see “Zootopia” again. The audience seemed to like it a lot. I could have done without a few things at the end. The wind was blowing fiercely once I stepped outside to catch the bus. I was glad to get home. I watched the Partridge Family episode “A Partridge By Any Other Name.” They mentioned their father in this episode, and a late scene was blurred on the right side. I also watched the NUMB3RS episode “12:01 AM,” which featured a Cal Sci basketball game. I took a nap and then watched the Blu-ray of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” I still think of it as a pretty good movie, even if Ken Kesey disliked it. I would have found it difficult to accept someone like Audrey Hepburn or Jane Fonda in the Nurse Ratched role. It all seems to take place within a few months at the end of 1963. They mention the 1963 World Series, and towards the end they have a Christmas tree. From McMurphy’s play by play account, you would have thought the Yankees were winning the series, but the Dodgers would win all four games. The cast members were very convincing. I kept thinking about why Christopher Lloyd yelled out at the end. It seemed that with all that noise, the escape might not have happened. I thought about how Scatman Crothers was a real fool for letting the women in. He knew that someone would be checking the area. Also, McMurphy made one mistake after another as far as his survival was concerned. He escalated a situation by punching through some glass to get to a carton of cigarettes. Was that something that he really had to do? Of course, he should have left when he first had the chance, instead of indulging Billy. I think of the connections with “Hair” whenever I watch this movie. I thought one of the most powerful scenes in Jack Nicholson’s career was the scene where he gets the shock treatment. His face instantly turns red, and so it really looks like he’s in pain. I wouldn’t say that Chief was perfect, but he was a strong presence. The basketball scene was quite funny. The Candy in this movie reminded me of Candy Clark in “American Graffiti.” The movie couldn’t have a happy ending. If they had softened it, the movie wouldn’t have been as successful. “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” was the end of that first great period of Jack Nicholson’s career. You could make the argument that it was the peak of his career. He would win Oscars after this, and we would also remember him for “The Shining” and “Prizzi’s Honor,” but he didn’t seem to be on that top level anymore. You could ask what this movie would have been if it had been made years earlier with Kirk Douglas as McMurphy. It’s hard to imagine the film being as good, particularly with the supporting cast. I could never understand the critics who thought that “Nashville” was a better movie than “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” I will always think of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” as the great movie of 1975. From 1974 to 1977, the Best Picture Oscar winners were “The Godfather Part II,” “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Rocky,” and “Annie Hall.” I can’t think of a four-year period with films as good as those in recent times. Milos Forman was making the best films of his life. Haskell Wexler was credited as the cinematographer, although he didn’t work on all of the film. You have to give credit to Louise Fletcher for giving the performance of her life. Brad Dourif was excellent, too. I fell asleep but awoke in time to see “The Running Man” on television. I wonder what happened to Maria Conchita Alonso. It was funny that this movie featured two future governors in Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura. Mick Fleetwood played a character, and Jim Brown was also in the cast. Richard Dawson was the game show host, and it didn’t seem like such a stretch from his Family Feud persona. Some of the people who died on March 12 include Anne Frank (1945), Charlie Parker (1955), John Cazale (1978), Maurice Evans (1989), and Yehudi Menuhin (1999). Today is a birthday for James Taylor (58) and Liza Minnelli (70). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for March 12, Paul McCartney and Linda Eastman were married in 1969. Also in 1969, Simon and Garfunkel won the Record of the Year Grammy award for “Mrs. Robinson.” In 1974, John Lennon was ejected from the Troubadour Club in Los Angeles for causing a disturbance during the Smothers Brothers’ act. Today James Taylor turns 68, and Barbara Feldon turns 83.

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