Jack Nicholson makes a run for an Oscar as a retired, depressed and widowed insurance agent belatedly in search of some meaning in his life. This bittersweet drama and social satire follows Schmidt as he snakes through the Midwest in a Winnebago on his way to his resentful daughter’s (Hope Davis) wedding to a pony-tailed and less-than-illustrious used-car and water-bed salesman (Dermot Mulroney). Between sending money and writing seriocomic, convoluted letters to an African foster boy, Schmidt stumbles into our heartland’s trailer-park nation for some intense if somewhat disastrous and misadventure-laden soul searching. Directed by Alexander Payne (Election). M.H.