Friday, October 06, 2006

The Two Jacks

To honor Jack Nicholson's apparently hammy--I mean "meaty"-- showing in Martin Scorsese's The Departed, That Little Round-Headed Boy has collected the Ten Greatest Lines of Jack Dialogue.

In the same item, he of all things Block-Headed is also asking readers to chime in with their Five Favorite Jack Flicks - something I pointed out was an eternally askable question for which most anyone should have an answer.

But I was inspired by Chuck's request and would now like to know...

What is the Worst Performance in the Jackster's Long Career and Why?

Do not misunderstand. I love me some Jack, but let's not delude ourselves here - his is a career that's been as wrong as often as it's been right. And it's not like I'm some snob - I put his Daryll Van Horne from The Witches of Eastwick in my Top Five Best, ahead of stuff like Reds and Terms of Endearment.

My choice?

Batman. I'll easily give the honor to his Jack Napier/Joker - the role in which he was most clearly miscast - which is rather amusing given that back in the day most everyone was busy shitting their britches over Mr. Mom's casting as Bruce Wayne/Batman (a choice that ended up being far more inspired and sound than anyone would have predicted).

But Jack is just plain wrong as the Joker - a character who should not only be roughly close in age to Bruce Wayne, but physically should also be tall and lanky. Oh...and menacing. Did Tim forget that a villian should perhaps be somewhat intimidating? Instead of the Joker basics, we're given a short, fat old guy who would've looked far more at home in Barnum & Bailey's center ring than blackmailing Gotham City. The franchise never stood a chance with this Joker as the villianous template and it's only surprising that it took three more movies to reach the low point of Arnold's Mr. Freeze. Jack's Joker owed far more to Cesar Romero than Bob Kane.