Saturday, August 23, 2008

"Young At Heart" Saves the Day at 30,000 Feet

Hello Nose Fans, sorry I have been a.w.o.l. this past week. I've had some cross country business travel and it has kept me away from the world's greatest TV blog.

The last leg of my air travel this past week was a nightmare of delays and nasty, scary turbulence. The only thing that kept me from a full blown screaming heebie jeebie meltdown on the Dallas to L.A. flight was the fact that they played a movie I had been looking forward to seeing, and it was the most delightful film experience I've ever had on an airplane. Although a movie, I'm counting it as TV, because I had to watch it on one of those tiny American Airlines 727 TV monitors that hangs from the ceiling.

Young at Heart is a documentary about a chorus of octogenarians who travel all over the world singing rock and roll. Some of them can barely walk, a few have battled bouts of cancer and one is on an oxygen tank. But nothing on God's green earth is going to prevent them from "going on with the show" as they learn to perform songs by Cold Play, Sonic Youth, David Bowie and James Brown. A couple can barely sing a note and some are amazingly good, with just enough power left in their aged vocal chords to break your heart. All of the seniors in this movie improve under the expert tutelage of chorus director Bob Cilman, who looks like Anthony Bourdain with a beard. As they practice for their big European tour, one of the members has a relapse and passes away in the hospital. His friend and fellow chorus-mate dedicates a Cold Play song to his memory and sings the most gorgeous version of "Fix You" this side of Chris Martin.

For me, the most moving moment in the film is when they go to a prison and sing Bob Dylan's "Forever Young" for the inmates. Hardened cons with tattoos and skin heads are so moved, they cry, and then burst into amazed applause. I had to use my cocktail napkin as a hanky on the plane.

This movie is now out on DVD and I intend to purchase a copy asap. It is heartwarming and funny and a very excellent reminder that advancing age does not have to loom before us like an abyss. Do not go gently into that good night. Sing! I am starting to lobby for this one to win the Academy Award for Best Documentary.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Looks terrific and I can't wait to see it! Of course, Rock and Roll is the de facto music choice of the baby boomer generation, and they'll keep singing it until the very end, but this is an earlier generation and much of this music is new to them. ( Some new to me, too, as I'm not a R & R fan, particularly!) Good for them and thanks for the inspiration!