Lately when I am not sure what to watch, the answer is: Jack Nicholson. And for good reason.
There is no better actor to portray Mr. Udall, a renowned romantic writer that is liked by absolutely no one and understood by fewer. When this bigoted, racist, misogynistic, and obsessive old man is coerced into doing something nice for his homosexual, artist, neighbor, he shifts into a person that he no longer understands and begins, in fact, to fear. He is thrust into a world where caring is the only option and learns that caring for one thing will invariably lead to caring for another. Despite his violent rejection of this lifestyle, his one good deed trends into a world that he worked so hard to separate himself from.
More than anything, this story illustrates the power of cycles and the even greater power in breaking them. The beauty lies in the subtlety; Mr. Udall does not appear to be having a breakthrough. He instead, appears to be having intense anxiety, which is fully within the domain of his character, (versus a breakthrough -which, as the word implies- would not). This element makes As Good As It Gets both brilliant and relatable since most people are not shaped by dramatic life-changing events. People are instead, more commonly defined by a compilation of day to day experiences and minor “breakthroughs” that shape us very incidentally, very delicately, yet somehow very suddenly and definitively.
As Good As It Gets contains every element that a great movie ought to; it’s hilarious, heart-wrenching, dramatic, relatable, and drives a powerful and deep message that our humanities will always ultimately predominate our inhumanities. Also, well beyond Jack Nicholson, this movie is brilliantly cast (down to the dog, Verdell), so… yes, this movie qualifies as a Must See Movie.