Isaacs Picture Conclusions


This was originally written for a now or soon to be defunct project Tyson was running over at HEAD IN A VICE. You’ll notice the style is a little different than my normal “voice” ~ when I write elsewhere I clean up a little bit : ) I did a few others but this is the only one I really felt like saving – that belonged here.


I don’t think there are any other words that can be used for this movie other than “Classic” or “One of the best movies ever made” or “Masterpiece” and, honestly, I can’t believe that this is only number 13 on the Top 250. Looking at the other twelve, only four of them came out before this and the other eight are relatively IMDB-ish modern (except for The Empire Strikes Back which we can credit sci-fi folks for early adopting the internet) so I wonder if this has just been overlooked by our modern society or the folks who are familiar with this to some larger degree don’t frequent IMDB and do rating votes. As in: my mom knows how to use the ‘Nets and do what she needs to do and loves movies  but I am sure she has never gone and rated one. I rarely click a rating on the site, mainly because I never think of it, but I just added to the 8.8 / 10 by 337,017 (now 337,018) with mine: 10/10 (although refreshing the page indicates my vote hasn’t been registered yet).


When I watched this the first time (a long time ago) I really, really liked it and didn’t see that end coming and it stayed with me as a really good, unforgettable movie and I can’t believe I haven’t watched it again until the other day, for this project. Now that I’m all grown up and do this thing here, I have learned to appreciate what’s going on in a movie, and how it looks, and how it sounds, and what the background folks are doing, and dialogue and etc. and, watching this again I was blow away by how all of that is done here, especially for 1975. I mean, ALL of the actors are amazing in this, from those that get serious screen time to just the looks on the nurse who isn’t Nurse Ratched (Mimi Sarkisian as Nurse Pilbow). It really says something to me when the “extras” are doing some acting and not just standing there with their thumbs in their rears.


Take Christopher Lloyd. He’s absolutely fantastic as the psychotic Taber. Or Danny DeVito as Martini – he’s always fiddling with something. Or any of the other patients, they are always all doing something in the background, like the dancing guy or Chief Bromden who always seems to be sweeping. But no one steals the show (of the ensemble – Nicholson is of course the show STEALER) more than Brad Dourif, one of the most underrated actors ever, in my opinion. I’ve never read this book but I can’t imagine anyone other than Dourif as the suicidal, stuttering BIlly Bibbit. I’m talking AMAZING.


But we can’t forget Louse Fletcher as Nurse Ratched (my whole life I though it was Rachet, but now I know better). The name of her character was a household phrase for a number of years as in “She’s a real Nurse Ratched” or “I’m a Nurse Ratched so you better do what I say or I’ll bust your ass.” (at least it was a long time ago). The first time I saw this and “got” the term, I watched this thinking “man, she is a real bitch”, but the second time around I looked at it a little bit from her perspective. Sure we’re all rooting for Nicholson’s R. P. McMurphy but, she’s just doing her job. We all know McMurphy’s faking it but she treats him just as she does any of the other crazy people, we just think she’s cruel because she’s not playing nice with our anti-hero.


But let’s move on from the award winning performances – the story goes like this: Jack Nicholson is Randall Patrick McMurphy, a locked up inmate who we learn has been acting all crazy to get out of hard labor at the prison work farm. He’s sent to the local sanitarium to get studied and immediately starts riling up the “other” crazies and gets the attention of Ratched. Before too long, he’s causing trouble in his playfully roguish way which includes poker night and making his own first inning of the world series (which you won’t forget) and stealing off with his crazy buddies and going fishing. After that adventure, he’s up for evaluation and the doctors want to send him back to the farm but Ratched wants to keep him around to help him and things start to go from happy “I’m not in prison, suck it!” fun, to, well, the opposite (and that electroshock therapy scene is kind of tough).


If anyone reading Head in a Vice’ blog hasn’t seen this, not only would I be surprised and say “WHA??!” but I would very much recommend this. I don’t want to give away how this ends up, but the last twenty minutes are absolutely tragic and I know I will break the Guy Code when I confess that the end actually made me…… Eye-Moisty. This is a total classic from start to finish and if you haven’t seen this – don’t delay. This is how great movies are made.


  1. J. Kindleman

    One of the greatest of all time and Nurse Ratched is possibly the most vile character in the history of film. I hate her more than King Joffrey, and that’s saying something.


  2. Fantastic film but I guess you didn’t get the big picture, maybe you need to watch it again and really pay close attention. MARTINI is the mastermind behind everything. He’s pulling the strings in that loony bin. He’s the head doctor there and is running an experiment by going undercover as a patient, and Nurse Ratched is actually a patient too who thinks she’s a nurse! It’s kind of like Shutter Island.


  3. Why in the World did Tyson trash his IMDB Top 250? I was working on my submission of Movie 43 for him.
    I loved this film, perhaps the most perfect film of all time…and I cried a bit too.


  4. ***APPLAUSE*** I don’t get people who don’t like this movie. It’s not always an easy movie to watch, but still, it’s epic. And as the ultimate testament to how good a movie this is, my dad, who does NOT cry at movies, or at anything else, cried at the end of this movie. Yeah. That’s how good this movie is.


  5. Outstanding film bro. It’s in my personal top three and has been ever since i seen it. It used to be my favourite film but is only eclipsed by The Big Lebowski and Once Upon a Time in America. I just love this movie.


  6. Yay! You like good movies too! 😉 And one of the very best movies EVER, as well. Love it love it love it! And the music in it is awesomely weird.

    As for the IMDB Top 250, it’s now full of WAY too many modern films that don’t deserve to be there. Annoys me. And I don’t think your vote counts toward the 250 unless you’re a regular voter? That’s how it used to be. I’m probably a regular voter. I’m voting CRAZY! I gave this a 10 too.


  7. I’ve heard of this movie from my parents, and they say this is one of the best… but my mother warned me I wouldn’t like it coz It has a sad ending. I don’t like sad endings. I wonder why they don’t show this on cable, though.


    • theipc

      The ending to this is extremely sad – but overall – this is one of the best movies you can ever see. You should give it a shot!


  8. The only person I’ve hated in a movie more than Ratched (also thought its was “Ratchet;” thanks for the educations) is the “They’re good as gold” assistant principal from the documentary, Bully, and since that’s an actual, real person on my people-to-punch list, she doesn’t really count.


    • theipc

      I haven’t seen Bully because it would piss me off too much. I remember reading that some of it was shot in the state where I live and I’m afraid that if I watched it I would track someone down and give them a severe beating.

      I don’t want to go to prison. I’m too handsome….


      • Don’t worry, I would sponsor your defense fund. Or better yet, we could go on a righteous spree of brutal vigilantism, righting society’s wrongs with our own brand of justice. Like Bosom Buddies meets Road Trip, starring the Punisher and Dirty Harry.


      • Well now its time to put my money where my mouth is. My fiance has a cousin who’s a detective. I’ll ask him where we can get a good deal on kevlar.


      • Make a list. I’ll throw it all in the shopping cart. (By the way, Obama, I know you and your boys are reading this. I mean, its not even a secret like my funny-pictures-of-cats-hanging-from-trees emails I know you’re snooping around. So I just wanted to say Hi, and that we’re just fucking around. So don’t break my door in. I just installed it.)


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