"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Birthday Today - Jack Nicholson

Jack Nicholson turns 75 today.   When you look back at his career, he seems oddly like an old-fashioned movie star, in that he has rarely played characters that weren't simply versions of himself.   He's like Jimmy Stewart or Cary Grant or Gary Cooper in that way... they simply were themselves on screen.   But, because they had bigger personalities than the rest of us, they became stars.   Back when I was a pretentious youth -- it's unclear to me when that period ended, if it ever did -- I remember watching Five Easy Pieces, one of Nicholson's early great movies.   I can't help thinking that this scene captures the essential Nicholson, and that he never really did much of anything too different after this.

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