I thought I was ready to move on after turning 50 – after all, it’s just a number, right?
At least, that’s what I tell everyone else.
So Saturday afternoon the First Mate and I took in a movie. “Last Vegas” features many of our favorite actors and the premise looked kind of cute, so I wanted to see it before it left town.
In a small town like this, good movies hang around for about a week; the really crappy ones seem to linger for months!
I’ll try not to spoil “Last Vegas” for anyone who still hasn’t seen it, but here’s the premise: four childhood friends – Billy, Paddy, Archie and Sam – all meet up in Las Vegas to throw Billy a bachelor party. At somewhere around 70, Billy is getting married for the first time… to a 31-year-old hottie!
Before moving on, know that “Rotten Tomatoes” gave the movie a 44%; as you might guess, that is not great. Another critic said the film was just the movie “Hangover” “retread for the older set”. The film grossed $33 million in its first week… mostly from that “older set”.
On this particular day, the First Mate and I were the youngest persons in the theater for the showing.
While the movie was mostly humorous and light-hearted fun, I also came away slightly depressed.
As I mentioned, the movie was filled with actors I love. Michael Douglas (Billy) had been great in “Wall Street” (1987) and “Basic Instinct” (1992).
|Michael Douglas, "Wall Street" (1987)|
And he’s married to the still-hot Catherine Zeta-Jones (who is 44). But Michael Douglas is 69 now, and after a recent battle with cancer, it shows!
Robert DeNiro (Paddy) is 70 now. He was the young Vito Corleone in “Godfather II” back in 1974… when he was only 31 (and I was 11).
|Robert DeNiro, "Godfather II" (1974)|
Morgan Freeman, the elder statesman of the bunch, is now 76. He was already 52 when he starred in “Driving Miss Daisy” (1989).
|Morgan Freeman (2013)|
Kevin Kline is the baby of the bunch at 66. But I still remember him from “The Big Chill” in 1983 and “A Fish Called Wanda” in 1988.
|Kevin Kline, "The Big Chill" (1983)|
And prior to the movie there was a trailer for the upcoming “Grudge Match”, starring Sylvester Stallone (67) and Robert DeNiro, who portray two former boxers pitted together in a geriatric boxing match to settle an old score.
|Stallone & De Niro, "Grudge Match" (2013)|
How did these guys get so old?!?
And if they’re that old, how old does that make me???
Oh, right. I’m 50.
Another depressing part of the movie was that while in most movies the make-up artists are instructed to hide the wrinkles and blemishes, in this movie they were apparently instructed to enhance them. The crows feet, “turkey necks” and liver spots were all on harsh display.
|Kevin Kline, "Last Vegas" (2013)|
Except for Kevin Kline. He still has a youthful exuberance about him that, despite the gray beard, the intentionally obvious hearing aids, and the ridiculous wearing of two pair of glasses, he appeared a much younger “old guy” than his cohorts.
I confided to a friend last week that whenever I look in the mirror, I still see the 25-year-old me… despite the gray, thinning hair and spreading waistline.
So how old do I look to everyone else?
And finally, the message of the movie felt contradictory. What I think I was supposed to come away with was, “You’re never too old to really live!”
I like that thought.
But I’m not sure what that really means. Do I continue to try to desperately hang on to my youth, even when youth has gone? Or do I act my age? What exactly is “acting your age”?
Throughout the movie, those who were trying to “live” were ridiculed:
-Billy was constantly put down for wanting to marry a hot 31-year-old (played by Bre Blair). The badgering was constant throughout the movie and sometimes vicious!
-When the four paid to be judges at a poolside bikini contest – because, you know, they wanted the privilege of staring at young hot bodies – they were again ridiculed. As if the insults weren’t obvious enough, the young DJ ended up stripping down to a Speedo and waving his junk in Paddy’s face.
-As they tried to pick up younger women in Vegas, they were frequently dismissed as “cute” and were compared to “my grandpa”!
And the worst insult came when Paddy convinced Billy that marrying the younger woman was wrong; so he dumped her and married the much older lounge singer (Mary Steenburgen, 60).
|Mary Steenburgen (2013)|
Oops. Sorry. Didn’t mean to spoil it for you – but you had to see that coming!
But hear me when I say, if finding a 31-year-old hottie who is will marry you is not “living”, I don’t know what is!
Sure, the jokes about prostates and hip replacement surgery and Viagra were all there – as would be expected. And most of the time they were funny! But in the end, I felt like old age won out.
Near the end of the movie, as the foursome prepared to leave Vegas, Paddy once again produced the bottle of 12-year-old Scotch that the boys had swiped from a store when they were kids together. It was a recurring prop – Billy had been saving it all these years for the perfect occasion when the four would be together again.
Frankly, I can’t believe the kids didn’t drink it back then, but… [Initiate ‘intentional suspension of disbelief’ here.]
And so, sixty years later, the four friends lift a glass of now 72-year-old Scotch in a toast – but the liquor has obviously turned. As the others run to find a place to spit, Sam declares, “It can’t be bad; it’s Scotch!”
As the movie attempted to depict the lives of these men at 70 – likewise declaring “It can’t be bad; it’s Life!” – I found myself also looking for a place to spit. I’m just not ready for this.
We live in a youth-oriented culture. If you don’t believe me, just go to the mall and try to find clothes for adults!
Or check out your favorite newspaper. Even the liberal-minded Huffington Post played up this incredulous headline: “Debbie Gibson Rocks a Leotard at 42 During NBA Game”. Yes, even Debbie Gibson, the former teen pop idol, is growing older. But do they really have to put her age in the headline? As if a 42-year-old can’t still look hot?
|Debbie Gibson (2013)|
God, I’m getting old! That 42-year-old is looking hot!
But then again, my eyesight is not what it used to be either!
At my church we have a large number of members who have surpassed 90+ years of life, many of whom still enjoy good health. And I celebrate with them and all the years they have lived. Their battle cry is, “Growing old is not for sissies!”
But I’m not sure I want to go there. I just don’t want to be that 72-year-old bottle of Scotch.
“It can’t be bad; it’s Scotch!”
Other aging actors:
-Jennifer Aniston 44
-Charlie Sheen 48
-Demi Moore 51
-Bruce Willis 58
-Jackie Chan 59 (yes, he’s still alive!)
-Ted Dansen 65
-Arnold Schwarzenegger 66
-Jimmy Buffett 66 (12-25-1946)