Showbiz

The magnificent Jack Nicholson

Written by Omair Alavi

Movie Icons: Nicholson by Douglas Keesey celebrates the actor who made playing an anti-hero appealing long before it became the norm.

Can you believe that Hollywood legend Jack Nicholson’s last film was released in 2010? Since then, he has been living in self-imposed exile. We’re revisiting his legend because the actor with the greatest number of Academy Award nominations celebrated his 83rd Birthday last week; age is just a number and Nicholson is living, breathing proof of it. He continues to live in the memories of fans because of the strong imprint he has left with a diverse set of roles and characters.

Movie Icons: Nicholson is the best way to trace back the career of a Hollywood giant who broke into mainstream cinema after appearing in teen films.

This book is not a biography or an autobiography or a visual ode; it is a tribute to one of the greatest Hollywood actors of the last century, a man who stayed in-demand because of his ability to adapt. It covers Nicholson’s career in such fashion that while it is a trip down memory lane, it doesn’t induce nostalgia but a refreshing spin.

Jack Nicholson might have aged gracefully since his feature film debut in 1958 but this book describes him best – ‘he’s fat, old, losing his hair and he still pulls the chicks.’

How many actors who were active in the 1950s can be proud of their magnetism, except Jack Nicholson who has been popular in both, across eras?

This book has text and captions in three different languages: English, French, and German. That has more to do with the publication’s format than Jack Nicholson’s global reach, but it is the pictures here that are the highlight. From Jack’s very first film Cry Baby Killers to his last major film The Bucket List, every project makes its presence felt here in the form of both colored and monochromatic images. Sometimes the image is stretched across two pages and sometimes there are two images on one spread. Whatever the reason, the caption provides interesting anecdotes regarding the movie or the scene. If you didn’t know that after repeated fake slaps, Faye Dunaway made Jack Nicholson actually strike her in Chinatown or that a smart deal helped him earn 60 million dollars after the release of Batman; this book is your guide. For instance, how many Westerns did Jack Nicholson appear in… you no longer have to think hard and only reach for this unique presentation to get the right answer.

From The Raven and Easy Rider in the 1960s; Chinatown and One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest in the 1970s; The Shining and Terms of Endearment in the 1980s; A Few Good Men and As Good As It Gets in the 1990s; and Anger Management and The Departed in the 2000s, Nicholson has been around for a long time. While the images and the captions in this publication do justice to his brilliance – as he never looks the same in two frames of different films – it also proves that versatility was one of the strongest reasons behind his long innings at the box office. Be it working as a director, co-writing a script or even sharing the screen with his screen idol, Jack has been there and done that. It is time that the legendary actor made a final comeback and play one big inning so that he can ride into the sunset like a content performer.

About the author

Omair Alavi