What would you say if I used a chainsaw as a paper weight? A waste of a chainsaw, no? Well that is the simplistic reasoning behind this list of the the “Top 5 Worst Nick Nolte Movies” of all-time.
These are not necessarily bad movies. These are not necessarily movies in which Nick Nolte does not act well. They are ONLY, and quite simply, movies which do not offer enough foaming-at-the-mouth, Nick Nolte yelling. That is what Nick Nolte does best. That is why we love Nick Nolte. And, well, you gots to let the big Nolte dog run.
5. Jefferson in Paris (1995)
Perhaps the most important rule in Nolte-land is that you must keep Nick Nolte in the 20th century. If you move him back in time, it MUST be back to place in time when people looked and smelled worse, and related to each other with words covered in tobacco spit. (I couldn’t find a clip of this flick in English, so here’s a photo of Nolte as Jefferson. Notice the lack of grizzled saliva or even the hint of irrational anger.)
4. I’ll Do Anything (1994)
This movie is Nolte-wrong in too many ways to count. He has a cute little girl and he is placed in numerous scenes where his tough-insanity is supposed to be cute. I think sometimes James L. Brooks actually thinks Nolte might be cute. Here’s the trailer, which will looked dated even in 1994.
3. I Love Trouble (1994)
Now, this movie at least cast Nick Nolte for some of the unique skills of frustrated anger that only Nick Nolte can bring to the screen. But they keep it in a box, never letting it verge on this side of crazy, and keeping it tame only to frame him as a credible love interest to Julia Roberts. In a real Nolte film, she should be running from him while clutching a sword. Here’s a clip with a foreign-language voice over, which I can only assume is dissecting all the things that are wrong with this casting.
2. Lorenzo’s Oil (1992)
Oh Lord! This movie is sad. Not bad sad, but melodramatic, tug-at-your-heart-strings sad. It’s a true story of a couple trying to help their dying son find a cure for his rare disease. Nolte plays the father. While it works in pure “cinematic” terms, it fails on the Nolte scale. First off, he plays an accented-character, but he is not dangerous. There are lots of doctors and scientists in this movie, but none of them are played by Nolte, and none of them are torturing or terrorizing others. Finally, while Nolte goes crazy a few times in the film, it is a craziness fueled by love and empathy for his child and wife. Here’s a clip, but BEWARE. Not only is there a sick child, but Nolte makes his wife dinner.
1. Prince of Tides (1991)
I am told there are people who love this movie. I don’t know who they are or who they might be but I do know they don’t include me. In her defense, Barbara Streisand let’s Nolte get somewhat emotional, just not yellingly so, and certainly not enough in Nolte-appropriate contexts (war, basketball, on the city streets with Eddie Murphy). In the end, we have a crying Nolte who is becoming more attune to his feelings as the film progresses–even falling in love! It is a affront too all things holy/Nolte, and as such, tops our list.