When it came time to watch Nick Nolte: No Exit, I was expecting a mix of The Wrestler, Robert Downey Jr.’s televised biography, Jerry Springer, and Dog the Bounty Hunter. While it acknowledges the man’s notorious side — even champions his "I’m an unpredictable bad ass who will strike again" attitude — Nolte’s seedy personal life, despite his infamous mugshot, is never criticized.
Could you criticize this face?
With a smug, chain-smoking demeanor, Nolte interviews himself, providing both not-so-hard questions and indulgent answers. He talks acting, childhood, Vietnam, his third testicle, God, mom and dad, love and film. The man’s voice, like a geriatric gurgling whiskey, provides an endless supply of self-love. The ass kissing of his cinematic brethren doesn’t help either. Ben Stiller, Roseanna Arquette, Jacqueline Bisset and directors Paul Mazursky and Alan Rudolph all praise the hell out of him. After watching, I felt dirty and impure, like I’d eaten dinner at a strip club.
Nick Nolte is like eating appetizers at Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club.
Instead of providing self-satisfaction and warm superiority like Jerry Springer, No Exit turned the tables on me. Instead, it was I who felt inferior to, of all people, Nick Motherfucking Nolte. This movie firmly establishes the man pictured above and below as a misunderstood artist who is clearly my (and your) superior.
Nick Nolte supports the arts, is better than you.
No Exit does give viewers another chance to see Nolte’s famous drunk driving mugshot (which apparently isn’t even a mugshot, just a photo taken by the arresting cop/fan). Entertainment-wise, said picture still contributes more than most entire films. For these reasons, No Exit earns three out of five Nick Noltes.
Nick Nolte: No Exit is available starting December 30 on Sundance Selects On-Demand.