December 17, 2013

Hollywood's Obsession with Nurse Ratched

Ratched
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It was a few weeks ago while enjoying the recent film Flight, that I caught a familiar reference. Faintly obvious but certainly present was a line delivered by John Goodman who plays opposite Denzel Washington.

Goodman says, “Honey, could you hustle us up a couple of daiquiris and a cocktail weenie? On second thought, just bring the booze, I brought my own weenie. Oh, she’s offended. And she should be. I’m a pig. And I hate me. That’s what we have in common, Nurse Ratched. We both hate me.

Often referenced in dialogue but missed by many, is the infamous Nurse Ratched from the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. According to imdb.com there are over one hundred references since its original release date in 1975. Oscar winning films like 1992′s Death Becomes Her, 1993′s Philadelphia, and 1994′s Golden Globe nominated Color of Night all reference Nurse Ratched. These references however, aren’t as easy to catch if you have never seen the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which was my case two years ago.

Released in 1975, directed by Milos Forman, and staring Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest won five Oscars and numerous other awards. With a crazy plot, many ridiculous scenes, and great acting it is a definitely a phenominal film. Below is the storyline:

R.P. McMurphy, played by Nicholson is a criminal who pleads insanity to escape hard labor in prision and ends up at a mental institution run by a woman known as Nurse Ratched. Nurse Ratched, played by Louise Fletcher is a cold and vindictive nurse who runs the psych ward like she would run her sex life, dry and barren. Being completely sane R.P. McMurphy sees right through Ratched and begins to convince the other patients to rebel against her. The film’s plot quickly becomes the struggle between McMurphy and Ratched.

After seeing the film it was obvious why so many other films would reference Nurse Ratched. She is an unapologetic nurse who feeds on the struggles and misfortunes of others. Awesome. That being said, it is crazy how many films and television shows actually reference Nurse Ratched. Hollywood is obsessed. Who knew it would become such an iconic name. Regardless of reasoning I suspect this reference will stay around for years to come. Next time you are watching a movie or television show be sure to listen for this reference. You feel all good inside when you actually catch it!

Check out the list of films and television shows that reference Nurse Ratched.

By Kevin Tydlaska

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