Terms of Endearment, directed by James L. Brooks who wrote and directed the amazing Broadcast News and brought us The Simpsons along with Matt Groening was supposed to be a treat. The reviews were positive in general and the movie had won a whopping 5 Academy Awards, one of which was for the best picture of the year.
What I saw was completely mediocre. The really interesting moments are far and between and once the conflicts between all the characters are tediously set up, the movie pulls a sleight of hand of a terminal illness kind to resolve the movie without ever actually answering any of the questions it’s been raising for the last 90 minutes. It’s this cop out approach that makes the movie feel insignificant from today’s standpoint. If the movie really had some guts, it would’ve killed its starlet earlier on and concentrated on on lives of the people left behind, instead of just bailing out.
Jack Nicholson puts on his trademark lovable jerk impression, this time creating a character that’s somewhat impossible to read and even harder to see in any kind of fruitful relationship. Brooks’ 1997 movie As Good as It Gets has a similar setup but captures the whole struggle of wanting to be a better man in a much more three dimensional way.