Admit it, getting old is scary. With each passing decade, we look back and wonder where all the time has gone. Then there is that sensation of dread that you have approached what younger people always refer to as a milestone. For this writer, her mid-twenties are in their twilight, only a few more years until she reaches 30. Okay, that’s not so bad, but still!
We all hold the same contempt for getting older, what it means for us: achy muscles, fragile bones, high cholesterol, significantly decreased constitution, early bird specials, moth balls, Jeopardy… There are numerous times where us younger folk are supremely annoyed by the elderly by of what they can no longer do because they’re old. It should go without saying that there is always something more to get out from our close encounters with the geriatric kind; however, sometimes it takes a movie or two for us whipper-snappers to empathize with them.
Robot and Frank
Frank (Frank Langella) is an ex-con who lives alone. For some time, he’s been experiencing mental deterioration and dementia. His son, Hunter (James Marsden), gets fed up with his weekly visits, especially when they usually end in contention. Reluctant to send his father to a nursing home, Hunter decides to buy a robot butler to help Frank around the house and even provide therapeutic care with a fixed daily routine and mentally stimulating activities. Frank, the old codger that he is, is reluctant at first, but he and Robot ultimately come to a compromise: plan a jewelry heist. The following hijinks these two get into is just so fascinating to watch.
The storytelling all around is simple, pure and unadulterated. It concerns itself with grasping the audience emotionally rather than hit them over the head with a moral message on the companionship of an artificial intelligence. Something like that does happen when Liv Tyler, playing Frank’s globe-trotting daughter, comes on to the scene, but her role mostly provides an illustration on how Robot has proved to be a huge improvement on Frank’s life.
This is a quirkiest of all quirky movies whose main character is in the twilight years of his life. Bruce Campbell graces our screen in old man makeup as Sebastian Haff, a former Elvis impersonator who really believes that he’s Elvis. Haff resides in a retirement home where his house mates are dying left and right. Normally this would be nothing new until he discovers a mummy wearing a cowboy outfit walking around at night, preying on the sleeping residents. He teams up with another resident, Jack, who insists that he is really JFK dyed black.
Above all things, Bubba Ho-Tep is a weird reflection of old age. Haff is plagued with the mistakes he’s made in the past, as well as with the ailments bestowed upon him by old age. He and JFK often reflect on what they could have done better in their past lives, yet they ultimately come to the conclusion of “What’s done is done. We were the best people we could be at the time.” You can’t help but feel a little moved by that. Also, how often do you get to see two old dudes combat a mummy with a walker and a motorized wheelchair?
Plain and simple, RED is about old retirees coming back to work the jobs they loved. These jobs just happen involve killing a lot of people. Victoria, played by Helen Mirren, turned out to be the show stealer — at least to most of us. There’s something about watching Mirren in a beautiful white formal dress and big ol’ combat boots fire a high velocity gun at the Secret Service. You can’t deny this image you’ve already create in your head, whether you’ve seen it or not, is hilarious and awesome at the same time. The reason why RED is so wonderful to us is that it proves to the whole world that you can be “old” and a bad ass action star too. Expendables proves that as well, but that isn’t nearly as cool as RED (some of us have a prejudice against the former…).
This is one of those rare stories about the reconciliation between a father and his son that makes you feel all the feels every single time. And if you don’t, you must be a soulless robot. What Big Fish also gives us is the value of storytelling. The old Edward Bloom lives his reality through his fantastic stories, which frustrates his son Will. Will tries to get a real sense of who his father truly was before he dies, but ultimately discovers something much more.
By unselfishly releasing the anger he has held about his father’s stories, Will gains the understanding that all we are is our stories and that his father’s stories gave him a reality and substance and a dimension that was as real, genuine, and deep as the day-to-day experiences that Will sought out. Will comes to understand, then, that his father—and the rest of us—are our stories and that the deeper reality of our lives may, in fact, not be our truest self. – Kent L. Brintnall
In other words, all we have are our stories to pass along in the end. Just telling the facts isn’t enough, that’s boring. There’s hardly any soul or emotion in just learning the facts. We often like hearing stories that have a human element, something that makes us feel what the narrator feels. Edward Bloom’s stories just happen to be more fantastic than most.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
This stars a spectacular ensemble cast of British actors that make this movie work. Maggie Smith plays a chair-ridden ex-maid who is hilariously racist, Judy Dench is a newly widowed housewife who is just now trying to live life independently, Bill Nighy and Penelope Wilton play a couple who recently lost most of their savings in a bad investment. Tom Wilkinson is a High Court Judge who up and retires to move back to India. These actors, and more, display so many different aspects of where people are in life at that age. Take all of that and dump them in a completely foreign environment and see how they deal. What unfolds is a grand display of true human emotion long believed to be owned only by the teenagers and twenty-somethings of the silver screen.
The one movie in here whose cast is younger than the rest listed above. We almost feel guilty for including it. Part rom-com, part food porn, the audience witnesses a rare love square between Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, and her dishes. Maybe we’re making up the food part. It’s very hard watching this movie and not feel the need to make every meal featured while sipping on a glass of wine the whole way through. Despite its conventional formula one expects from a romantic comedy, It’s Complicated reminds us all that middle-aged people, who are already at the peak of their success, (i.e. our parents) can have complicated sexy times as well.