Apparently there’s a new movie out about women in a retirement community (could be a nursing home or the refrigerator room of a funeral parlor – same thing) who start a cheerleading squad.
Let’s take a moment.
I thought I’d seen it all on the big screen when it came to being offered ‘seniors’ in circumstances depicted as people with no dignity, nothing to offer or a modicum of self-awareness.
Actually, I haven’t seen it all; I wouldn’t go to one of those road trip/buddy movies populated with old people doing silly, stereotypical deeds if they offered free admittance and an endless supply of that that deadly-but-worth-it chocolate covered popcorn, and I’ve been known to compromise all kinds of core values for a bag of that popcorn.
Am I alone? Don’t think so.
There are so many Baby Boomers alive right now, a new word should be dedicated to their number – gabrillion comes to mind. It’s actually nearly 75 million, and over the years, those men and women have bought a lot of movie tickets. Of all those gabrillion ‘on-their-way-to-you-know-where’ folks, I’m betting there’s a large percentage not inclined to spend their retirement dollars on yet another film about an adolescence-level mentality wrapped snugly inside a wrinkled body on a trip to nowhere. Likewise, there have to be at least half of those folks who wouldn’t be interested in seeing a female version with stylish, yet rickety bodies doing a task that means nothing to absolutely no one. (‘Pom poms’? Really?)
Credit must be given to the television series “Frankie and Grace” with Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda which, particularly this season when Fonda owns up to being eighty, addresses in a humorous and smart fashion topics associated with aging that don’t involve daiquiris made out of baby cereal or Bingo night featuring darling toddlers in a fashion show.
There are, Hollywood, other options. I’m happy to offer a few suggestions to counteract the wave of ‘if they’re old, they must be idiots’ genre.
But first, a few reminders:
- Just because people are old doesn’t mean their brains are mush.
- Just because people are old doesn’t mean they’re done with ideas or new concepts in art and film and LIFE.
- Just because people are old doesn’t mean they have NO IMAGINATION.
That said, Hollywood, here are some other options you might consider before you start brainstorming yet another hapless adventure for the AARP crowd. Spare us, in case you’re busy outlining the next movie where a group of seniors start a lemonade stand or decide to do the can-can in Vegas. For example:
- A couple sells their worldly goods and start an innovative, healing village for the homeless, changing lives and leaving a lasting legacy.©
- A group of ‘senior’ women, repeatedly ignored by younger generation versions of themselves, decide to educate said females about the actual aging process. This mini-university where the students must experience the physical ravages in their future (all hilarious) about chin hairs, jowls and arthritis allows those younger types to realize they, too will someday have all those trademark tells of age. They come to admire the older women for their warrior mindset. The two groups form a comic book type alliance.©
- A man and woman, recently widowed, fall in love but are too embarrassed to have sex because of the myriad of cultural and societal, real and imagined roadblocks to true intimacy with a stranger of advanced age. It eventually features the sneaky ways they figure out how to do the deed.©
These are just light offerings. There are far heartier offerings. There must be.
Please, if you don’t take any of my suggestions to heart, consider the mindset of overestimating and challenging the intelligence, sexuality, and potential of the 74 million Baby Boomer viewers at your disposal.
When you create a story worth watching, I’ll happily pay my fourteen bucks to see it. I’ll even bring a large canister of chocolate-covered popcorn to share with the crowd.