I get pretty excited on the subject of Venus, especially Peter O’Toole’s mind-blowing performance. And there’s lots more in this amazing movie from the writer of My Beautiful Launderette and a bunch of indie filmmakers doing terrific work across the pond. I reviewed it for Ronni Bennett over on Time Goes By and here’s the link.
Movies for Boomers
In the summer of 2005, as I was eagerly perusing the Internet for gardenblogs, an article in the Washington Post about “elderbloggers” led me to the unrivaled Queen of Elderbloggers, Ronni Bennett. That link outlines her long and illustrious career as a radio and television producer (think Barbara Walters, Matt Lauer, and Ronni’s own ex-husband, a “radio gadfly” over on Sirius, and more). And this actual journalist is covering the increasingly hot topic of What It’s Really Like to Get Older.
So what does that have to do with me? Well, this very blog is listed on Ronni’s long blogroll of the over-50 set (and I didn’t exactly squeek by under the rules, but who’s to know?) and I’m one of her loyal readers and commenters. Okay, maybe not when she gets all exact and well researched on Medicare Part B. (I’ll read that stuff when I have to and not before.) And after I was featured in a D.C. story about bloggers of a certain age, Ronni and I have chatted via email about story ideas.
Which leads me to the moral of this story: Don’t suggest a story idea to somebody unless you’re prepared to write about it yourself. See, when I suggested she critique the new eldersex comedy movie “Boynton Beach Club,” she told me she wouldn’t being seeing it til it was out on DVD and how would I like to review it myself?
Now who among us can resist the opportunity to be a guest blogger/reviewer/know-it-all? Not me! So my buddy Joell and I headed to the multiplex and the result is now up on Ronni’s outstanding site, Time Goes By. Stop by and say hello, even if you’re too young to remember “Laugh-In.” (We like younger people just fine; it’s the young and stupid we eviscerate on a regular basis.)
Loved the book. Loved the movie about the book. Like any avid gardener/reader/filmgoer. But my fond, fond feelings about them come from another cold day in March when it snowed on March 30, a date I remember because it’s my birthday. Instead of spending the day in the garden as expected in this climate, I took myself to a matinee showing of Adaptation. What a birthday present it was – the amazing combination of great cast, a brilliant, inventive screenplay and total immersion in the world of orchids. Friends, I got so high off that movie. I’m having a flashback now just thinking about it.
And since it is a tad icy out there and everybody’s talking about the accumulation that’s predicted, I’ll tell you my theory of winter and summer in the Mid-Atlantic, and it’s based on spending almost all of my [cough] years here in greater D.C.
Hearing people complain over the years about our summers or winters not being to their liking, I’ve sometimes offered my assessment of how much crappy weather we really do have. Which is that we have roughly 3 weeks in the summer and 3 weeks in the winter, if by crappy you mean oppressive heat and humidity or freezing temps and bothersome winter precipitation*. See, that’s not so much, is always my point, and this winter it was even less. Because really, we’re lucky to live in such harmony with the elements here, something I think about whenever all hell breaks loose in other parts of the world. And it’s the First Day of Spring and I don’t care that it’s on the crappy side today; we gardeners know how to wait a couple of days for the Opening of our Season.
*If you’re wondering if I know anything about real winters, I present my case. I had to go north to find a liberal college and ended up not far from those brutal winds off Lake Erie, in Oberlin, Ohio. You’ve heard of Chicago winters? Like that. Any other Obies out there?
Here’s a nature pick-me-up for a dreary winter day – this fabulous documentary about a flock of escaped parrots in SF and the man who’s dedicated his life to them. A smart and lovable aging hippie, Mark Bittner was determined to spend his life doing only what he loved, whether it was his music or later, spending time with these and other large birds, even if it meant being very poor. So about 10 minutes into the movie old Mark had me questioning my very way of life.
Then there’s the birds themselves, just as lovable and even more watchable than Mark. Bottom line – I want one, or more. Do you think my cats would mind? (Hell, no; they’d love a change of diet.) And in their own way, the birds, too, challenged my thinking, especially my assumption that nonnative animals in the wild are a terrible thing. Upon learning that some environmental groups had tried to have these wonderful animals exterminated I was shocked and appalled. Killer bees from Africa? Go ahead and nuke ‘em. Nutria clogging the Chesapeake Bay? Well, they’re bigger and almost cute, so go ahead but don’t show me any photos. Hey, they never asked to be brought here from South America. These parrots were spared, at least for now, but with flocks now living wild in various U.S. cities, the issue of what to do about them will surely rise again and I’m just hoping we come up with the funds to send them back to the wilds of Argentina, if it comes to that. And I thought invasive plants were a hot issue.
But don’t worry; the movie isn’t about controversy. It’s really about romance, in various forms.
A final note: If you rent this little gem I recommend getting the DVD version (assuming it’s even available in VCR) because of the terrific extras, like little stories about bird sanctuaries and Mark’s home movies, every bit as mesmerizing as the movie itself.
Yes, it’s THAT GOOD. Believe the rave reviews and go. I wish it were required viewing for everyone in the Mainstream Media.
And for once it’s nice that a pretty face is also so smart and talented and politically on target. George, if I were only young enough I’d offer to have your child.
Warning – we’re waay off topic here and I’m no movie reviewer. In fact, I worship the keyboards that great movie reviewers type on, like my favorites in the Washington Post. I’d rather think of this as a movie report, like the book reports we gave in grade school. And my report is that the most fun I’ve had at the movies in years was watching this hilarious movie. But beyond the hilarity, this couple is totally lovable.
If you’ve perused my “About” page you know that my favorite movies are usually the artsier fare, the ones that never come to the multiplex. Which is to prove that a great comedy is universal in its appeal, especially when, like this one, it attacks no one and shows us the humanity of its characters. Now if I haven’t sickened you completely, check it out and tell me what you think.