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Faded Films: Geriatrics


Oh man. Time for some unnecessary and bizarre insights into my psyche. When I was a child, I spent a lot of time visiting my grandmother in god’s waiting room (Florida). Even though I was the middle of five children, I often went alone with my mom a seemingly sweet and innocuous part of my childhood. I’d never really thought that much about the time I spent with my grandmother, great aunts and uncles.

A few years ago my best friend pointed out to me that I had a penchant for odd and outdated idioms, and a constantly surprisingly bizarre choice of words. It was after I had remarked to her (with no sense of irony) that “this is not my first time at the rodeo.” After she asked me why I always used phrases she was only familiar with because of Huckleberry Finn. I finally registered some of the vocabularic strangeness that comes from spending your formative years around geriatrics. Speaking of geriatrics, that is another word I use too frequently which I know because it’s pretty much only used in assisted living facilities. Anyways, it’s all coming up fine because the entire seven seasons of Golden Girls was just put on Hulu and Netflix is working on the next season of Grace and Frankie. So whether or not it’s appropriate I’m diving head first into geriatric culture (which also side note trust me will be the next normcore). To celebrate my affinity for those people bridging the line between charming and dead, some of my favorite movies that pay homage to senior citizens.

The Straight Story

Quick — who’s the last person you’d literally ever expect to direct a Disney movie? If you said the man behind the movie about a baby mutant he-devil monster, David Lynch then guess what! You’re wrong. Apparently David Lynch isn’t literally the last person Disney would ever work with because in 1999 he directed The Straight Story, a Disney movie. The movie is a surprisingly linear and cohesive narrative about an old man, his tractor and his brother. This is still a David Lynch movie so I’m not going to say any more.

What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?

As a part time beauty writer, I reference this movie in about 20% of my articles (but also 50% of my irl conversations). If you’ve heard of it recently its probably because it’s going through a resurgence tied to the fact that Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange will be playing Jane Fonda and Bette Davis in an upcoming tv show. What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? is about a child star and her crippled sister who live in a mansion and essentially torture each other both physically and psychologically. In a real juicy Hollywood insider spin, Jane Fonda and Bette Davis did actually torture each other during the filming of the movie, so there’s that too look for too.

Harold and Maude

Harold and Maude is one of those movies that you got into either because you spent a lot of time on the internet in high school (i.e. had no friends) or because you really wanted to fuck an old lady. I’m not old enough to know if the cliche of a quirky eccentric old lady had existed before this flick, but if not this definitely seems like the type of cultural event that could have birthed it. Harold is a vaguely young dude and Maude is 79 going on 80. They share a mutual interest in funerals, probably having to do with their respective proximities to death, and begin a romantic relationship. It’s funny and dark and shows you what the flip side of the old man, young woman trope looks like.

Film Column by Tamim Alnuweiri. Follow her here.

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