Man, oh man, nothing turns me on more than a guy who knows how to wield an axe. Am I right ladies? In the 1980 Stanley Kubrick classic, The Shining, Jack Nicholson is the epitome of the character you love to hate. And even after all of his crazy talk and attempts to murder his wife and son, I still really didn’t hate him. I loved him actually, and that is why I am writing this little love note to the pointy-eyebrowed lunatic who captured my heart.
Nicholson plays Jack Torrance, the tragic character who slowly loses his mind while watching over the Overlook Hotel during winter. The audience sees things as Jack sees them and at first, we aren’t too sure if what is happening is real or not. However, once Wendy discovers his manuscript and witnesses his psychotic episode, we clearly know that the dude has lost his mind for sure.
Kubrick makes it difficult to fully hate Torrance because for one, he cast the insanely charismatic and undeniably charming Hollywood playboy, Jack Nicholson, in the role and secondly, the audience sees the protagonist as the everyday man who is honestly trying to make ends meet for his family. And who doesn’t love a guy who takes care of his family? Technically, it wasn’t his fault he got talked into killing them in the end.
The poor guy just couldn’t catch a break. One little drunken mistake where he accidentally broke his 6 year-old’s arm and he’s labeled a bad guy for life. The pressures that the slightly annoying Wendy placed on her husband only made him want to pick up the bottle even more and when you’re that vulnerable, it’s insanely easy for a ghost to get into your head. At least, that’s what I am told. And, Wendy, I didn’t see you trying to get a job and support your family. Get with the times woman!
Jack just wanted to have a good time! He wanted to relieve the tension that was building up inside of him over the previous months, and what better way to do that than to chase your wife and son with an axe? The man was a novelist and knew exactly the right things to say. Oh, Jack, you had me at, “Wendy? Darling? Light, of my life. I’m not gonna hurt ya. You didn’t let me finish my sentence. I said, I’m not gonna hurt ya. I’m just going to bash your brains in.”
How can one not love a real Romeo like that?
Anyone who has ever argued that anyone other than Jack Nicholson would have been perfect for the role of Jack Torrance is completely wrong in every which way. There is no one and there never will be anyone better than Nicholson to play that character because he totally emulated everything that Torrance was supposed to be. He made the pathetic and boring Stephen King character actually likeable, despite his faults and evilness, and for that, I praise him.
Jack Torrance was just a hardworking guy at heart who got mixed up in some bad things and made some bad decisions. It’s okay, Jacky boy; I still love you and this year, you are my Valentine.