Chinatown, with Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway, is recognized as one of the best movies of all time.  Its sequel, The Two Jakes, is largely forgotten.  

Any film that followed up Chinatown would be in its shadow, but The Two Jakes was, in many respects, as compelling as its predecessor.

Any thoughts about why The Two Jakes isn't better remembered?

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Hey Jackson. I saw TWO JAKES so long ago, I can't remember why I didn't like it. But that's my memory. It was sequel to a story that really didn't need one. But I was a huge fan of CHINATOWN and Robert Towne.

I agree, Jack. Some movies end so well that they shouldn't have a sequel. CHINATOWN is one, I think. SHANE is another.

Kind of like McMurtry should not have written a sequel to Lonesome Dove (or most of his other sequels as well).

I agree with Jack and Albert about CHINATOWN, but Jackson has a good point. THE TWO JAKES was a good movie on its own. I think it just got swallowed up because it wasn't CHINATOWN.

Dana, that was the point.  The Two Jakes was good as a stand-alone movie.  I thought Harvey Keitel did a superb job.

Harvey Keitel is a personal favorite of mine. One of the few actors who can push me over the fence on whether to see a movie or not.

Maybe Jack Nicholson just isn't a very good director and "The Two Jakes" would have been better off with someone else doing that job. Like Jack I only vaguely remember the movie.

And it's really too bad, because I thought the proposed Jake Gittes trilogy had a lot of potential.

I don't know about Robert Towne, though. I went to see movies like "Personal Best" and "Tequila Sunrise," because he wrote them but they're not very memorable films. Maybe he should write novels... ;)


Found this on Wikipedia: 

Robert Towne expressed his disappointment in The Two Jakes in many interviews.[citation needed] He told writer Alex Simon "In the interest of maintaining my friendships with Jack Nicholson and Robert Evans, I’d rather not go into it, but let’s just say The Two Jakes wasn’t a pleasant experience for any of us. But, we’re all still friends, and that’s what matters most."[11]

In a November 5, 2007 interview with MTV, Jack Nicholson revealed that Towne had written the part of Gittes specifically for him. In the same interview, Nicholson also revealed that Towne had conceived Chinatown as a trilogy and that the third film was to be set in 1968 and deal in some way with Howard Hughes.

I agree Tequila Sunrise sucked. But his credits include many good films, and he was known for getting called in late to fix scripts like Bonnie and Clyde. Looking at all the credits though, I guess CHINATOWN was my favorite.

Thanks for the research.  Chinatown is about as well-crafted noir that I've seen. Nicholson would be difficult to work with.  Can you imagine Jake Gittis in 1968?

Yeah, Wikipedia's a wonderful thing ;)

Timing and luck have a lot to do with how a movie is received. I remember when "Devil in a Blue Dress" was released and flopped there were all kinds of theories about was wrong with it but then someone (maybe Denzel Washington) said that it was possible not many people were in the mood for a movie with a black guy as the hero on the weekend of the LA riots.

So now I see that "The Two Jakes" was released in August of 1990 when the big hits were "Total Recall," "Die Hard 2," "Robocop 2," "Ghost," and "Presumed Innocent." A month later "Goodfellas" was released.

Maybe "The Two Jakes" just got lost among the summer movies that year. Too bad.


Good point, John. THE TWO JAKES is also a "small" movie, not intended as a blockbuster, a movie you had to pay attention to. Might have been better serves by coming out in the spring or fall, regardless of what else premiered around it.

Still, I get the feeling that if Nicholson and Towne were young guys today they'd look at Jake Gittes as the lead in an HBO series and make the first season the "water," the second the, "energy," the third the, "Hughes," and so on.



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