R.I.P. Nurse Ratched, aged 88

Louise Fletcher won an Oscar for that role, after many prominent actresses turned it down. She continued to work steadily for another four decades, but never again made that kind of impression.

“On its 2003 list of the 100 greatest villains in the annals of motion pictures, the American Film Institute placed Nurse Ratched at No. 5, behind only Hannibal Lecter, Norman Bates, Darth Vader and the Wicked Witch of the West.”

17 thoughts on “R.I.P. Nurse Ratched, aged 88

  1. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a piece of an interesting part of 1960s history, as well as the combination of 1950s and 1960s counterculture.

    The book, written by Ken Kesey, is a semi biographical story of his 5 months in jail for possession of marijuana (and for faking suicide to avoid arrest.)

    He made enough money off of the book to finance himself and a group of hippy friends named The Merry Pranksters to travel in some bus from the west coast to New York (and area) to meet up with old time Beats from the 1950s (incorrectly referred to as Beatnicks.)

    I believe the main purpose of their meeting was to have a large group try LSD and possibly new 1960s synthetic drugs.

  2. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest started a trend for me of watching the movie first and then reading the book it was based on. For me it makes the books more interesting to have an actual visual of the character in my mind. That said, Jack Nicholson will always be McMurphy but Tom Hanks bore little resemblance to the Forest Gump portrayed in the book.

    1. Because I spend so much time on the blogs, I determine about 90% of my reading selections from topics that get into my head from movies. Very often, like you, I read the source book to get even more details about a movie I like. Over the years that has turned me on to some great things, and has frequently changed my life in some way. The I, Claudius series got me into reading the Robert Graves books and the original work by Suetonius, which in turn got me fascinated by life in the Roman world from 100 BC to 100 AD, which led me into more bookstores and museums than I can now recall.

      1. I never thought much about JD Salinger until I saw Field of Dreams and subsequently read the book Shoeless Joe and discovered at what lengths Salinger went to keep his character out of the movie… of course I can’t imagine the movie without Jame Earth Jones and his “Baseball!” monologue

        1. If you had stopped at the movie and never read the book, you would have missed the sub-plot about “the oldest living Chicago Cub,” which supplied some of the story’s most poignant moments. The movie, limited to two hours – give or take, wisely decided to focus on Midnight Graham, Joe Jackson, and the renamed Salinger character, but the book had a lot of heartfelt moments elsewhere. I love that book and have given away more copies of it than I can recall, yet always buying another to replace the copy I handed away, because … I have to have one for the next person that deserves to read it.

  3. One thing about being born on New Years is that to know how old you were when something happened all you need to know is the year it happened. My father took me to see One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest when it was in theaters which was in 1975. That means I was 7-years-old the one and only time I saw the film. While it is widely considered one of the best films in history, I absolutely hated it. For the most part I was happy when my Dad took me to see movies I was way too young to watch. But unlike say. the Kentucky Fried Movie, there were far fewer beautiful naked women in Cuckoo’s Nest. Intellectually, I realize that I should probably watch it as an adult and would undoubtedly be able to appreciate it more than I did as a 2nd grader. But I have no desire to watch it. It may be a great film, but it’s hardly a feel good romp.

    1. I’m with you. As much as I appreciate the cinematic virtues of movies like Cuckoo’s Nest and Se7en and other films with depressing endings, I rarely feel a compulsion to go back and relive the experience, and I think that’s normal. Is there anyone out there in Scoopyland who likes a doggy-downer movie so much that they’ve watched it over and over again? And what’s the movie?

      1. OK I got one. Mainly I agree with you, most rewatching of heavy, bummer sorts of movies happens when there’s nothing else on (and, once upon a time, everything at Blockbuster looks like crap) and you vaguely think well, I stuck til the end the first time, it was at least that good.
        But I have seen Wait Until Dark at least six times. It’s one of those mysteries where you pick up little details every time you see it. Maybe not a total downer by today’s standards, Audrey Hepburn lives, but no one’s going to mistake it for a laff riot or feel that their heart has been warmed.

      2. I have rewatched The Sweet Hereafter, but I kinda wish I hadn’t, masterpiece though it is.

        I’m with you. I don’t like to re-experience misery, and on the same general topic, I never rewatch a mystery movie when I already know the secrets. (Exception: Body Double, where the solution to the murder isn’t really the reason to keep watching it.)

      3. There are movies that I saw as an adult and loved, but I never want to watch again. The best example of that is Life Is Beautiful. I think everyone should see it. It should be shown in high schools. But I never want to see it again so it’s probably a good thing I don’t teach social studies anymore. I never had to teach about the Holocaust in any of the courses I taught or I would have watched it at least twice more and maybe up to 5 times a year. I went to the movies with my brother last year and he wanted to see Uncut Gems. It was a very good movie, but I didn’t enjoy it. I don’t enjoy watching people slowly destroy themselves. So I my answer is No. I can’t think of any downer movies I watch again and again.

  4. I’ve seen that film a lot lately, since there’s a YouTube trend of people watching movies and giving their own commentary. Most of them are really fucking stupid millennials and can’t appreciate it since there’s no comic book superheroes. Louise’s performance is so subtly evil they don’t even grasp that she’s as deeply diabolical as she is. The most prevalent thing they can say about the film is, “Isn’t that the guy from The Shining?”

  5. In keeping with our mission here, she wasn’t a bad-lookin’ woman in her prime, but never played up that aspect.

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