So what makes this movie interesting, aside from having Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman? I guess the film talks about mortality and how people would react if they knew they only had a year to live. Some people might just live in fear, withdraw from the world, or even focus their last remaining days fixing their earthly business. Other people might choose a different path.
Both protagonists are cancer patients who learn that they only have a few months to live. So they made a list of things they want to do before they die and try to do them one by one. Enter the cliche Hollywood formula -- the two fight while doing their list, make up in the end, gain some epiphany about life, love and friendship, die, live life to the fullest and die again.
I think the film would have made a bigger impact to me if it didn't remind me of a Hollywood television series called "My Name is Earl".
Here are some similarities in "Bucket List" and "Earl":
- Both have a list of things that the protagonists are trying to cross out.
- They both have one asshole protagonist who, thanks to Karma or Cancer (take your pick), gets redeemed and becomes a better person in the end.
- Both have quirky supporting casts who help them cross out the things in their list.
I think the movie dwells too much on the positive, feel good aspect of life -- like friendship, love and family. It tends to downplay the actual reality of suffering and death. I doubt if all cancer patients view living and life with such gusto. I doubt if people can make instant life changing decisions just because they know the grim reaper is looking for them.
It all boils down to how a person accepts his death and how he chooses to live out the remaining days of his life.