If you’re looking for a film that will make you feel a little better about your own life, try either of these. They’ll also make you feel better about the “human spirit” and other noble thoughts but, basically, you will realize that all the crap you complain about every day really is just crap and that you should take a chill pill and try to realize how good things really are. Both “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” and “My Left Foot” which preceded it by almost two decades feature lead characters who are suffering through horrific physical challenges which make it nearly impossible for them to communicate but, because they are just as alive inside their brains as any of us and maybe more so, they rise above their fear, pain and sadness to communicate anyway. In the end, in both films, it turns out to be less about what they say than the fact that they said anything at all that is so inspirational.
Both the hotly-promoted “The Bucket List” and the below-the-radar “Bubba Ho-Tep” feature a pair of geriatric geezers (one white, one black) undertaking adventure in the twilight of their lives in a search to give meaning to what went before. Both films are entertaining, but can the big budget, major studio offering with an “A List” cast and a big name director trump a small, independently-made gem based on a Bram Stoker Award nominated short story? Can Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman best Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis? Is gallimaufry globetrotting more poignant than fighting giant roaches in Nacogdoches? Will the Hollywood-based screenwriter from NYU’s film school hold his own against the Mojo Storyteller from the Big Thicket in East Texas? In short, will “The Bucket List” command as fervent and as loyal a following as “Bubba Ho-Tep?” Will the questions ever stop…