The Bucket List (2007)

If I were going to die what would happen is I would die. There wouldn’t be any extravagant show of rejection; no tenacious worldly traveling, miraculous friend making, or life-long conflict resolution. I would die. Period. I am a broke college student from a working class family. If I am diagnosed with cancer my fate is this: I die in a hospital room, in pain, probably surrounded by either family or darkness. Bleak? Yes. But that is reality.

Reality is what the Bucket List lacks. Don’t get me wrong- it is a fine film but if we want to talk about impossible situations that do not come true for 99.9% of Earth’s population and only exist to help people cope with their mortality as part of a cog in capitalist society, then it is not so fine. That is what the Bucket list is about, existential placebo. To divert people away from material realities (the function of essentially all “feel good movies”) and towards metaphysical hypothesis.

At its core it is a morality issue: the creative minds behind this project understand that the core of the film, a plot about two older men upon death who decide to do everything they ever wanted to do before they died, is an absurd wish for all but the richest of the ruling class. And so films like the Bucket List exist: to make people, through contrived scenarios like family and friends and the role of wealth, how it can’t stop you from dying, appreciate what is (supposedly) available to everyone: happiness through moral (both religious and atheistic) living. In other words these kind of films act as a tool in the class war at the ideological level: don’t focus the material but what can be glimpsed regardless of the material, the immaterial: bourgeois nuclearism, upright living, and kindness, generosity, and devotion.

I guess if you ignore the ideological-moral subtext you can still enjoy the movie. It is, after all, a finely-tuned machine: the acting is top-notch, the score ably produced (though nothing special), and the plot that desired amount of heart-warming family friendly concoction which is so craved by Hollywood executives. Even so, at the end of the day this is just an average film. No article about it stands out or makes it rise above any of the other films in the same category. If you crave a sentimental movie than this will do nicely. If you crave something truly unique and interesting than best to search elsewhere, best to search for an artistic director not afraid to break out of conservative/Liberal tropes.

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